Political warfare is a critical component of Chinese security strategy and foreign policy. All nation-states seek to influence policies of others to varying degrees in order to secure their respective national interests. Political warfare seeks to influence emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to one’s own political-military objectives. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rely on political warfare as a means to shape and define the discourse of international relations.
The military modernization program being undertaken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is changing the security environment in the Asia-Pacific. Driven by a strategy to achieve the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership’s goals through the exploitation of advantageous conditions, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is investing in capabilities that are aimed at eroding the conventional military superiority of the United States and its allies in the region. Should the PLA’s modernization campaign succeed the likelihood of conflict and regional instability can be expected to increase as China’s authoritarian leadership is empowered with greater coercive leverage over its neighbors.
The Asia-Pacific region proved to be one of the top priorities of U.S. foreign policy during President Obama’s first term. The East China Sea and South China Sea territorial disputes; Kim Jong-un’s succession to the North Korean leadership and subsequent provocations; and China’s rapid military modernization over the last two decades were and continue to be among some of the top security issues for the Obama Administration. This paper outlines Obama’s Asia policy in the first term and assesses the trajectory of the U.S. “rebalance” strategy in the second term, taking into account the numerous personnel changes in Obama's senior-level foreign policy team.
Nuclear warheads and their associated delivery vehicles (ballistic and cruise missiles) represent the most powerful and potentially destabilizing weapons in the world today. While rapid advances in information and communications technology have endowed conventional weapons systems with the “intelligence” and precision to take on a greater number of strategic missions–for example targeting aircraft carrier groups and critical command nodes–nuclear weapons remain the sine qua non of deterrence. Indeed, while every nation’s leadership fears war to some degree, the threat of war is only truly horrific for a leader who faces an enemy armed with nuclear weapons.
This report on the U.S.-Japan alliance comes at a time of drift in the relationship. As leaders in both the United States and Japan face a myriad of other challenges, the health and welfare of one of the world’s most important alliances is endangered. Although the arduous efforts of Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and his colleagues in both governments have largely kept the alliance stable, today’s challenges and opportunities in the region and beyond demand more. Together, we face the re-rise of China and its attendant uncertainties, North Korea with its nuclear capabilities and hostile intentions, and the promise of Asia’s dynamism. Elsewhere, there are the many challenges of a globalized world and an increasingly complex security environment. A stronger and more equal alliance is required to adequately address these and other great issues of the day.
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