US Power and Influence in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Decline of ‘Alliance Mutuality’

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  • May 2016

    Recently, the nature of the presence of the US in the Asia-Pacific has undergone significant changes. At least three developments—the rise of an economically and militarily resurgent China, a renewed counter-strategic approach by the US to rebalance its engagements with its close regional allies like Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Australia, and the US’ efforts to expand and extend strategic cooperation with India and Vietnam—show that there are new emerging differences between the US and its four major non-NATO allies in the Asia-Pacific. These developments point towards declining strategic reciprocity of these nation states with the US and vice versa as they seek relative autonomy in their engagements with Beijing along with other extra-regional powers. While this has tacitly mandated the expansion of the US alliance system from the core Asia-Pacific region westwards to include the Indo-Pacific, the Indian Ocean and a few other Southeast Asian nations, it has also depicted the insufficiency of the US’ alliance with non-NATO allies in meeting its somewhat altered regional objectives since the turn of the century.