"PACIFIC DEFENSE: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia" by Kent E. Calder

"PACIFIC DEFENSE: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia"

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An impressive overview of the varied challenges East Asia poses to an Atlantic-oriented America's strategic interests in the aftermath of the Cold War. Noting that the Pacific Basin encompasses a volatile arc extending from the Taiwan Strait across North China and Korea to Russia's Far East, Calder (director, Program on US-Japan Relations/Princeton) argues that the US must integrate the geopolitical issues raised by this part of Asia into its foreign policy for security as well as economic reasons. Although the West has started beating its swords into plowshares in the wake of the USSR's collapse, the author reports that many nations of the East are engaged in arms buildups that have as much to do with jockeying for local advantage as protection against the looming presence of mainland China. With Tokyo's course still not clear (owing in large measure to its reliance on government by consensus), Calder asserts that America alone can--and must--bring durable order to the area. Warning of past failures not only to foresee Japan's emergence as an economic superpower and the expansion achieved by China but also to capitalize on satellite intelligence capabilities, he offers a detailed agenda for engaging in what he calls Pacific Defense. Inter alia, his 10-point program proposes recognizing energy as a security priority; joint US-Japanese projects in energy, communications, and other areas to stabilize economic and political relationships; paying special attention to Korea (whose possible reunification in the wake of growing economic ties could cause unpredictable difficulties in the region); neither isolating nor indulging China; and directly assisting American enterprises operating in Asia. A scholar's accessible and measured appraisal of a prospectively hot spot that sooner or later could bring itself to the American public's attention in a host of unwelcome ways.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow