The United States' regional alliances and partnerships

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    The United States has a vital geopolitical stake in maintaining its long-standing role as a leading power in the Indo-Pacific region, where ‘global sea routes coalesce’ and much of the world’s commerce traverses. 1 For nearly 70 years, Washington’s network of bilateral security alliances and partnerships in Asia has allowed it to play a critical balancing role there. In the absence of this network, there is a strong case to be made that the region would have been considerably more conflict-ridden and less wealthy than has proven to be the case. Assessing US alliance politics in the mid-1990s when the magnitude of Asia’s new-found wealth was just beginning to emerge as a major factor in global politics, the US Department of Defense’s Office of International Security Affairs summarised the fundamental importance of these bilateral relationships. Allied cooperation with the US was ‘necessary to deter potential threats, counter regional aggression, ensure regional peace, monitor attempts at proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and help protect sea lines of communication both within the [Asian] region and from the region to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf’. 2 To this list, one could add the implementation of information-and intelligence-sharing arrangements; the sharpening of force inter-operability via joint military exercises; the effective integration of military hardware and software; and the cultivation of defence burden-sharing habits leading to a more cost-effective and credible collective defence effort. 3
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAsia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2020: Key Developments and Trends
    Editors Tim Huxley, Lynn Kuok & William Choong
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherThe International Institute for Strategic Studies
    ISBN (Print)9780860792208
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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