An Asian Security Standoff

An intense security competition is under way in East Asia. Beijing and Washington must take care to ensure that this competition does not give way to entrenched bloody-mindedness or even outright violence.

Issue: May-June 2012

PIVOTAL MOMENTS in history are seldom anticipated. And when change is systemic, this rule is even truer. There are unmistakable signs in East Asia, however, that the old, U.S.-dominated order can no longer be sustained in the face of China’s emerging challenge and the relative weakness of both the United States and Japan. A failure of American diplomacy to adjust to these new power realities, or of China to accommodate long-standing U.S. and Japanese interests, could jeopardize the promise of the much-heralded Asian century and return East Asia to its bloody and fractious past. What emerges in this critical region will have global consequences.

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