Freeman Report November/December 2011 - Vol.11, No.11&12
December 21, 2011
Offense-Defense Gaming in the Asia-Pacific: Sinoamerican Ties Enter a New Era?
By Dr. Zhu Feng
The United States has recently launched a wave of an “Obama offensive.” From Honolulu to Bali, and from Australia to the Philippines, the United States has reiterated its high-profile leadership role, while vowing to hold China to the “rule of law” and a “grown-up” standard of behavior. It is to this end that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have coordinated their offensive. They announced the establishment of a new military base at Darwin in northern Australia, ushered in the Manila Declaration promising a security guarantee and economic partnership for the Philippines, and pushed for a framework for a multilateral resolution to the South China Sea issue at the East Asia Summit in Bali to address freedom of navigation. The strategy behind this offensive is obviously to persuade China and even compel China to avoid challenging the U.S. in the region. Despite the denial of American officials that the United States seeks to “contain China,” Obama’s offensive has ignited a media frenzy of “strategic encirclement” talk in China. In the worst case, it appears that the U.S.-China relationship may be headed for the precipice of a new Cold War.
Dr. Zhu Feng is currently the Deputy Director of the Center for International & Strategic Studies and Professor of the School of International Studies at Peking University.