Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia

Article excerpt

Asia and Pacific Andrew J. Nathan Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia BY VICTOR D. CHA. Princeton University Press, 2016, 352 pp.

In exploring the sources of the unique "hub and spoke" alliance system in Asia-in which each of the main defense treaties involves the United States and one partner-Cha has embedded a lively narrative of post-World War II diplomatic history inside a thought-provoking analytic framework. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and other U.S. policymakers wanted to deter communist expansion but also to restrain messianically anticommunist allies such as Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek and South Korea's Syngman Rhee from launching attacks that might trigger World War III. To do so required treaty arrangements that gave the United States veto power over the Taiwanese and South Korean militaries. …

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