To avoid a war with China, should America abandon Asia?

(From the National Interest)

By Harry J. Kazianis

Rule number one if you are trying to win a debate: never admit your own thesis is a “fantasy.” And yet, this is the grim position that John Glaser finds himself in, stating that “there is something fantastical about my policy preferences.” Fictional foreign policy ‘fantasy’s’ like Glaser’s, alluding to an America that can hide behind “vast oceans to its east and west and a superior nuclear deterrent” that is supposedly “remarkably insulated from external threats” creates a false narrative. Such ideas should be exposed for what they are: at their worst a shameful mischaracterization of what many are dubbing a policy of “restraint” and at worst a foreshadowing of a dangerous neo-isolationism that should be thrown onto the ash heap of history once and for all.

US F-22 fighters on Okinawa

US F-22 fighters on Okinawa

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Before we continue on with our debate on American foreign policy towards Asia (you can find Mr. Glaser’s original essay here, my response here, his rebuttal here as well as a supportive post to Glaser’s position by CATO Vice President Christopher Preble here), let us recap a polished up version of Glaser’s argument:

“In order to avoid a clash with a rising China the United States should abandon its strategy of primacy in the Asia Pacific. Containment of China is a costly and risky strategy, I claimed, and one that is not necessary to secure America’s vital national interests. Crucially though, the core of my argument came down to this: the prospect for such apparently belligerent policies to successfully dampen China’s regional ambitions is very dim. That Beijing will grow more assertive in response seems more likely.”

So now that we have his arguments reestablished, I would like to focus my final effort in this debate by unpacking Mr. Glaser’s thesis points, arguing not only why they are wrong, but also why they run completely counter to furthering America’s national security interest, something Glaser argues he is advancing in his half-baked foreign policy fantasy. Read more


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