A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean: Helping States Help Themselves

Walter C. Ladwig III is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Merton College, University of Oxford, and an Associate of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies at King's College London. Research for this article was conducted while he was a Predoctoral Fellow of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
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  • May 2012

    In recent years the Indian Ocean has received significant attention from the defence-intellectual community in the United States. However, the actual strategic importance of the region to US interests is less clear. In an environment of fiscal austerity, if commitments abroad are not firmly linked to interests, any significant involvement in a region of secondary concern could contribute to ‘imperial overstretch’. The ‘Neo-Nixon Doctrine’ outlined here calibrates American interests and regional commitments by devolving primary responsibility for regional security to the major democratic powers in the Indian Ocean, whom the US would bolster with aid and advice.