Reluctant Guardian: The United States in East Asia

By Charles W. Freeman, jr. | Harvard International Review, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Reluctant Guardian: The United States in East Asia


Charles W. Freeman, jr., Harvard International Review


SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR, only the Asia Pacific region has seemed at peace and relatively free of change. The collapse of multiethnic states and empires has rocked Europe, Eurasia, and Africa. Anarchy and ethnic or religious strife have broken out in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, the trans-Caucasus, Liberia, Zaire, Somalia, and Rwanda. The Middle East has seen a brutal Iraqi attempt to annex Kuwait and the end of civic consensus in Algeria. Major changes have taken place in the relationships between Israelis, Palestinians, and other Arabs, and civil society has gradually reemerged in Lebanon. Confrontation with military regimes in Panama and Haiti and a border war between Peru and Ecuador has marked the advent of a new era in Latin America. Many of these situations have occasioned US military intervention or serious consideration of it--either in the name of the United States itself or under the banner of the United Nations.

At the same time, there have been major adjustments in US military spending and personnel levels. As a percentage of GNP, US military spending is now at the level of the mid- to late 1930s. The size of the US armed forces has shrunk to numbers last seen in 1939. Outside the Asia Pacific region, the United States has radically adjusted the pattern of its military deployments. The United States has built up its forces in the Persian Gulf, and the Atlantic Alliance, which France has now rejoined, is expanding eastward through the Partnership for Peace. The United States had withdrawn two-thirds of its forces from Europe by the time it joined the operation in the Balkans, the first military operation in NATO history.

In contrast, with US forces out of the Philippines, the United States seeks no further adjustments in the pattern of Asia Pacific alliances it developed during the Cold War. On the contrary, Washington affirms that the United States will keep the same number of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen--about 100,000--in the Asia Pacific region that it has stationed there for the past decade or more. Few in Asia are confident that such a US presence will in fact be sustained. Southeast Asians and South Koreans hope that it will be. Increasingly, however, Chinese, and even some Japanese, question whether it should be. They are joined in their skepticism by some US citizens who espouse America-first policies. Others in the United States doubt the relevance of military alliances. Despite the mounting evidence from other regions, these Americans continue to expect the coming decades to be dominated by economic, rather than political or military contention. We must all hope they are right.

Beneath the surface calm, however, the Asia Pacific region is undergoing changes no less profound than those that are transforming other regions. These changes go well beyond the well-publicized economic miracle in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and adjacent areas that is making the region the center of gravity for global trade and investment. They include political and military trends that challenge both the existing strategic balance in the region and the US role in it. A February 1995 paper from the Pentagon's directorate for International Security Affairs defined the role preferred by the United States for its forces in the East Asia. The "United States Security Strategy for the East Asia Pacific Region" envisages maintenance of the existing US alliance structure and military presence "as a foundation of regional stability and a means of promoting American influence on key Asian issues." It posits continued cooperation with Asian allies and friends "to deter potential threats, counter regional aggression, ensure regional peace, monitor attempts at proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and help protect sea lines of communication both within the region and from the region to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf." In short, the United States sees its alliances and cooperative engagement with non-allies as enabling it to underwrite the Asia Pacific balance and the peaceful evolution of the status quo while facilitating the nonviolent resolution of disputes within the region. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reluctant Guardian: The United States in East Asia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.