The US Air Force's Asia Pivot
Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston

The US Air Force's Asia Pivot


Here’s links to some of what I’ve been reading recently:

Over at Air Force Magazine, Marc V. Schanz has an excellent article about how the U.S. Air Force is shifting its posture in the Asia-Pacific to support the American pivot. The article relies a lot on testimony from U.S. Air Force officials in the Pacific theatre, including Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, PACAF commander.

Harry Kazianis, Flashpoints contributor and former Diplomat Editor-in-Chief, has a fascinating interview over at The National Interest with Rear Admiral James G. Foggo, Air-Sea Battle Senior Steering Group. The main topic of the interview—which will surprise no one who knows Harry—is ASB.

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Also at TNI, John Allen Gay notes some growing daylight between China and Russia over Ukraine and (wisely) wonders if the U.S. will be able to exploit this gap. I believe this question will be one of the most decisive ones of the coming decades.

The new issue of International Security has a couple of really good articles on China. In the first, Chen Dingding and Pu Xiaoyu respond to a recent IS article by Alastair Iain Johnston, which disputed that China was actually becoming more assertive. Chen and Pu seek to outline different kinds of assertiveness, including offensive assertiveness, defensive assertiveness, and constructive assertiveness. They then argue that China has been more defensively assertive—i.e. willing to defend its existing claims—as well as more constructively assertive in upholding the international order.

In the second IS article, Yuen Foong Khong collectively reviews three (somewhat) recent books on China’s rise: Aaron Friedberg’s A Contest for Supremacy, Hugh White’s The China Choice, and Yan Xuetong’s Ancient Chinese Political Thought, Modern Chinese Power. All three books are essential reads, in my opinion, and The Diplomat has had the pleasure of featuring commentary pieces from Friedberg, White and Yan. I also reviewed Friedberg’s book a long time ago when it first came out.

The Naval War College has a new issue of its China Maritime Studies out, which focuses on a number of issues involving China’s near sea combat capabilities. One notable chapter from the publication that seems especially relevant in light of the missing Malaysian flight is Andrew Erickson’s “Chinese Air- and Space-Based ISR: Integrating Aerospace Combat Capabilities over the Near Seas.” Another chapter looks at the weaknesses in China’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

On a somewhat similar topic as Erickson’s, Ian Easton of Project 2049 recently released an occasional paper on: “China’s Evolving Reconnaissance-Strike Capabilities Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance.”

The Jamestown Foundation explores the buildup of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, while the Center for Naval Analyses explores Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.

Over at the Lawfare Blog (excellent blog, by the way), Francis Fukuyama talks about the domestic bases of American power. He begins with a discussion about the very important yet often overlooked point about the importance of a state’s ability to mobilize its society’s potential resources for political purposes.  A state’s ability to mobilize its society’s resources is a topic that is often discussed by Neoclassical Realist scholars. Fareed Zakaria’s excellent (and also often overlooked) first book was essentially about post-Civil War America’s gradually increasing ability to mobilize its greater economic power for foreign policy purposes.

Finally, for a shameless plug, the always excellent China Policy Institute Blog is holding a Vietnam week, of which I contributed a piece on Hanoi’s balancing strategy. More importantly, Flashpoints’ Carl Thayer also contributed a piece on U.S.-Vietnam defense relations.

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