Nov 02, 2015

    US 'rebalancing to Asia' strategy is counterproductive

    THE United States continues pushing its "rebalancing to Asia" strategy, thus creating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in North-east Asia. This is probably because US strategists believe that if Beijing's regional influence can be curbed, Washington's dominant position in the region will be sustained.

    But the "rebalancing to Asia" strategy runs counter to the development trend across the world and the US needs to rebalance its mentality instead.

    It is not fortuitous for a country with one-fifth of the world's population, a commitment to peaceful development and in pursuit of a moderately prosperous society to rise in strength. It is a natural process that as China's strength increases, its impact on regional and even global affairs will grow. Therefore, the US is troubling itself if it should be disturbed by this normal phenomenon.

    Multi-polarisation has already become a global trend because international relations are becoming increasingly complex. And China's rise is part of this multi-polarisation trend. In such circumstances, the US' efforts to check China's rise is tantamount to going against the global trend of harmonious co-existence.

    Since the Cold War ended 21/2 decades ago and the world today is free of ideological confrontations, there is no reason for any country to consider any country's rise as a threat. No wonder the US is finding it difficult to gather its Cold War allies to contain China. Most of the US allies understand that China's rise offers substantial benefits, instead of posing a "threat", to them. When efforts to help maintain the US' hegemony go against defending their national interests, the choice for US allies becomes obvious.

    The aim of Washington's "rebalancing to Asia" strategy should be to maintain its hegemony despite the so-called weakening of its power by diminishing Beijing's influence in Asia.

    But Asian economies have never prevented the US from participating in regional affairs; on the contrary, they have always seen the US as an irreplaceable player in the region.

    The US, as the world's sole superpower, must have wished to exploit this. But it should also realise that it is unrealistic for it to be the only leader in regional affairs owing to the democratisation of international relations rather than a "power imbalance".

    Even though the US remains the sole superpower, the world's geopolitics has been moving towards multi-polarisation. The US has been less responsive to other powers and, as a result, has made some wrong moves in its domestic and foreign policies.

    Despite American policymakers seeing the new global trend, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, as an imbalance, there is more than enough reason to believe it is the new balance or new normal in international relations.

    In this sense, the US' efforts to implement its "rebalancing to Asia" strategy is a self-imposed burden to break this new balance in world affairs in order to maintain the old balance. Such efforts not only go against the international development trend, but also create unnecessary troubles for both itself and countries in the region. It can hardly be beneficial to the US in the long run.

    If American policymakers realise this, they should change their mentality, adapt their strategic thinking according to the new normal and commit themselves to building a "new type of major-country relationship" with China to address global challenges. By doing so, they will help create a new era of win-win cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the world beyond.