Asian Security Handbook: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region

Asian Security Handbook: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region

Asian Security Handbook: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region

Asian Security Handbook: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region

Synopsis

Western interests in the Asia-Pacific region have dramatically expanded over the last few years; particularly in terms of economic relationships and commercial investment. While economic development is predicted to continue in the region, the assumption of political stability on which it depends is clouded major security uncertainties lurking in the background, these could undermine the relative stability the region has come to expect, and new strains and fissures could develop in the region that would likely reverberate elsewhere. Featuring nineteen individual country profiles, which makes a unique contribution to the existing literature, this volume seeks to shed light on the key political and security factors and geopolitical trends that bear monitoring and to point out new trends that have greater significance in the post-Cold War environment.

Excerpt

History is clear that U.S. security interests in Asia since World War II have been paramount. World War II began for the United States in the Pacific, and the United States led Allied forces in the defeat of Japan. Since then our two most bloody and costly wars have been fought on the Asian mainland -- in Korea and Vietnam. The United States led the successful effort to stop the North Koreans and the Chinese from taking over the Korean Peninsula, and sacrificed its own national unity in unsuccessfully trying to stop North Vietnam. In short, although our efforts can be misguided, Asia matters very much to the United States.

Today, the U.S. Department of Defense, in a continuity of policy, stresses in its U.S. Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region that the United States "has served as a key stabilizing factor in the region," that the United States will honor its commitments, and that the United States seeks to enlarge the community of "market democracies" while deterring and containing a range of threats to the nation. The United States will remain forward deployed at its present considerable strength to achieve this.

Why? Security, as Joe Nye succinctly put it, is the oxygen, but today, economic growth is becoming the muscle. In this region, weighted average economic growth rates were at a robust 4.7 percent in 1994, a full 1 percent over 1993. If you take out the slow growers, the United States and Japan, the rate was 7 percent. Inflation in 1994 was an acceptable 3.9 percent, the same as 1993. After unleashing free market forces, China has taken off. Investment flows are strong, and exports continue to rise. U.S. trade with this region totaled over $274 billion and accounted for 2.8 million American jobs. That is why the United States is involved and must remain so.

The historic role of the United States since World War II has been to try to stop aggression and to foster free market and democratic forces. It seeks stability in order for free market forces to grow and supports friendly democratic governments with, naturally, Asian characteristics. To achieve this, it drew the line against military attack at the 38th parallel, around Japan, and in the Taiwan . . .

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