"U.S. Primacy, Eurasia's New Strategic Landscape, and the Emerging Asian Order"
Working Paper 147, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
December 11, 2007
Author: Alexander Vuving, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2005-2007; Former Associate, International Security Program, 2007-2008
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
The central objective of U.S. grand strategy after the Cold War is to preserve a unipolar world order in which America is the preponderant power. In order to achieve this goal, the United States has been carrying out a large-scale repositioning of its foreign policy, which includes a shift in geostrategic focus from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. Underlying this shift is the change from a confrontation with the USSR to a struggle against new challenges to U.S. position and the U.S.-led world order.
This and other struggles for global and regional primacies are redefining the strategic map of the Eurasian landmass and its vicinities. The mega-continent now can be divided into four strategic regions: "Europe" (West and Central), "Central Eurasia" (former USSR), the Middle East, and "Asia" (East and South). In Asia, the central strategic issue is the contest for regional primacy between China and the United States.
This paper argues that the current structure of international power in Asia is transitional. But neither hegemony nor multipolarity will likely be the next Asian order. The paper then assesses the prospects of the emerging regional order in Asia in terms of four options: bipolarity, the East Asian Community, U.S.-China condominium, and shared leadership. The paper concludes by discussing how Southeast Asian countries should prepare for the future strategic environment.
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