Pacific Defense: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia

Article excerpt

Pacific Defense: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia by Kent E. Calder. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York 10019, 1996, 253 pages, $25.00.

Asia is a mystery to most Americans. We look at its success but fail to comprehend the intensity of the people, the magnitude of their accomplishments, and the extent of their impact on the United States. Because of geography, the United States is a Pacific power and therefore needs an awareness of the developing trends and conflicts that Kent E. Calder sees in East Asia. His most recent book, Pacific Defense, studies two basic "aspects" of US defense in the Pacific. The first is "protection against direct national security challenges." The second is the disruptive influence produced by the growing requirement to feed East Asia's economic engine while competing for finite energy resources, with its potential impact on the first aspect.

Pacific Defense is an excellent synopsis of the major issues that are currently confronting the United States and East Asia. The author concentrates on the "Northeast Asian Arc of Crisis," which extends from "the Taiwan Strait, across North China and Korea to the Russian Far East," with Japan as its focus. Flash points exist along this arc, including the Taiwan Straits and Korea. As Asia's economies grow, so does the demand for a greater share of the world's energy resources. East Asia relies primarily on oil imports for its primary energy source-even the countries with domestic oil production. Anticipating a future energy crisis, Asia is looking to nuclear power as an alternative energy source, despite its problems. …