Em artigo publicado pela RAND, Scott Warren Harold (25/05) analisa as razões que levaram os Estados Unidos a suspenderem o embargo de armas letais ao Vietnã. Para o autor, medida faz parte de uma estratégia regional de Washington. Dentre os principais motivos estão: o rebalanceamento regional, com o governo Obama procurando melhorar as relações com os países da Ásia-Pacífico; o esforço dos EUA de liberalizar o sistema político e econômico de Hanoi, facilitando a entrada no acordo TPP; a busca por melhorar as capacidades militares (especialmente navais e aéreas) dos países do Sudeste Asiático, a fim de aumentar a venda de armas e a capacidade destes de defesa e consciência de situação; e auxiliar o Vietnã a se armar contra a assertividade chinesa no Mar do Sul da China.
O pivô da Rússia para a Ásia é analisado em artigo publicado na revista The Diplomat (05/01) por Richard Weitz. Este considera que as relações russas com a região ainda são muito dependentes das áreas energética e securitária (e.g. venda de armamentos), apesar das tentativas de Moscou de aumentar sua influência política e econômica. Entre os principais problemas desse pivô estariam a falta de uma estratégia geral para a região Ásia-Pacífico, falta de liderança multilateral, a preferência pela Europa e falta de uma orientação exportadora da economia russa.
Confira aqui artigo publicado no Núcleo de Estudos e Análises Internacionais – IPRI/Unesp pela Mestranda Bruna Bosi Moreira sobre os pivots asiáticos dos Estados Unidos, Rússia e China. Nos últimos anos, as três potências têm direcionado suas atenções para a Ásia, e em especial a Ásia Central. Isso leva ao entrecruzamento das políticas externas dos países, que criam padrões de cooperação e competição, fundamentais para entender as dinâmicas regionais e globais de poder.
No início de julho, o governo militar da Tailândia aprovou a aquisição de três submarinos chineses 039A (Yuan), medida que tensiona as relações do país com os Estados Unidos e complica a estratégia de rebalanceamento para a Ásia. Mesmo que Bangcoc seja tida por Washington como fundamental para a realização do pivo asiático, após o golpe militar naquele país, os EUA restringiram os laços bilaterais e impuseram sanções, as quais estão gradualmente fazendo com que Bangcoc se aproxime de Pequim.
Robert E. Kelly argumenta que a incapacidade de os Estados Unidos pararem de se envolver em guerras no Oriente Médio — a luta contra o “Estado Islâmico” sendo o último exemplo — impede que o pivô para a Ásia seja realizado. Devido à política interna, Washington parece não conseguir se desvencilhar de atoleiros na região para poder se focar onde realmente importa para o país.
No mês passado, o ministro canadense para comércio internacional realizou uma missão de quatro dias no Laos e em Mianmar para impulsionar parcerias comerciais e de desenvolvimento entre o Canadá e os países do sudeste asiático. Medida é sintomática dos laços rapidamente crescentes entre Ottawa e a ASEAN.
Recente discurso do presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, em West Point serviu para delinear a chamada “Doutrina Obama”. No entanto, o pivô para a Ásia não foi mencionado, causando temores de que a iniciativa tivesse sido abandonada. Análise de Ralph Cossa mostra que esses temores são infundados e que a doutrina e o pivô andam lado a lado.
O recente discurso do presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, em West Point reafirmou o comprometimento do país para com a Doutrina Nixon (também chamada de Doutrina Guam), a qual prevê que os países aliados dos EUA sejam os principais responsáveis pela sua segurança.
O pivô para a Ásia realizado pelos Estados Unidos está não apenas testando as habilidades diplomáticas da China, mas também está aprofundando as divisões internas da Associação de Nações do Sudeste Asiático (ASEAN) ao determinar a agenda daqueles países.
Após a viagem de Obama a diversos países asiáticos, fica claro que há uma reorientação e refinamento do pivô estadunidense para a Ásia. Análise de M. K. Bhadrakumar.
O presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, assegurou o Japão de que as ilhas disputadas entre Tóquio e Pequim (Senkaku/Diaoyu) estão cobertas pelo tratado de defesa bilateral. A soberania japonesa sobre as ilhas é inquestionável, segundo os EUA, e haverá oposição a qualquer tentativa de reverter o fato. Enquanto isso, suspeita-se que a Coreia do Norte vá realizar novo teste nuclear.
João Arthur Reis, pesquisador associado do ISAPE, comenta sobre o pivô dos Estados Unidos para a Ásia e a resposta chinesa a essa virada da política externa estadunidense.
Barack Obama vai pedir para que o governo japonês aja decididamente para reparar as relações do Japão com a China e com a Coreia do Sul. Mês passado, o primeiro-ministro Shinzo Abe visitou templo para vítimas da 2ª Guerra Mundial, incluindo alguns criminosos de guerra, atitude que irritou os países vizinhos. Washington teme que a animosidade regional para com o Japão prejudique suas alianças e estratégia para a Ásia.
João Arthur da Silva Reis, pesquisador associado do ISAPE e membro do Grupo de Trabalho de Políticas de Defesa, Inteligência e Segurança do Centro de Estudos Internacionais sobre Governo (CEGOV). Graduando do curso de Relações Internacionais da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.
Dois anos após o anúncio do retorno estadunidense para o Pacífico, a China parece ter delineado, como reposta, uma estratégia que agora se mostra mais clara, de caráter dual. Por um lado, decididamente se aproximou dos países do Sudeste Asiático e da Ásia Central, propondo o estabelecimento de duas “Rotas da Seda”, através da assinatura de acordos de investimento, construção de infraestrutura e livre comércio. Por outro lado, reforçou uma postura assertiva contra Filipinas e Japão, países mais alinhados a uma estratégia estadunidense de contenção da China.
Rússia e China estudaram o fim da Guerra Fria e aprenderam como os Estados Unidos derrotaram a União Soviética ao levá-la à bancarrota. A formação de um eixo Pequim-Moscou pode servir o mesmo propósito ao tornar demasiadamente altos os custos da manutenção da liderança estadunidense ao redor do globo.
Após a quase-colisão entre belonaves chinesa e estadunidense no Mar do Sul da China que aconteceu no último dia 05/12, mas que só foi tornada pública na última sexta-feira (13/12), China afirma que o cruzador dos EUA estava ameaçando a sua segurança ao perseguir e importunar o novo porta-aviões chinês Liaoning.
Sinalizando o aumento das tensões entre Estados Unidos e China em mar aberto, embarcações das respectivas marinhas quase colidiram no Mar do Sul da China quando belonave chinesa atravessou o caminho de um cruzador estadunidense. Quase-colisão aconteceu no último dia 05/12, mas só foi tornada pública na última sexta-feira (13/12).
Chinese and American Ships Nearly Collide in South China Sea
The New York Times – 14/12/2013 – por Jane Perlez
In a sign of the increased tensions between the United States and China on the open seas, navy vessels from the two countries almost collided in the South China Sea when a Chinese ship cut across the bow of an American cruiser, a senior United States defense official said on Saturday.
A serious accident was averted when the U.S.S. Cowpens, a missile-carrying cruiser traveling in international waters, was forced to maneuver to avoid the Chinese vessel, the official said.
The episode, which occurred on Dec. 5 but did not become public until Friday, was one more example of the growing rivalry between China, a rising maritime power, and the United States, the dominant naval power in the Pacific region since World War II.
It came as the Obama administration has chastised China for imposing an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea over islands and airspace that are also claimed by Japan.
The U.S.S. Cowpens was observing the new Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, as it made its first voyage in the South China Sea from its home base in Qingdao, the headquarters of China’s North Sea Fleet, the defense official and American Navy experts said. The official and Navy experts spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The Chinese vessel cut across the bow of the America ship at a distance of less than 200 yards, the defense official said. The vessel was similar to an American tank landing ship and was accompanying the aircraft carrier, apparently as a screen.
The tactic of the Chinese ship “was particularly aggressive” and “unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies,” he said.
Analysts said the tense encounter underscored the dangers of the current situation in the area.
“This illustrates the anxieties between the United States and China, and it is very troubling,” said Lyle J. Goldstein, an associate professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College on Rhode Island. “International politics on both sides call for ratcheting up of tensions, and I don’t see either side finding compromises. Neither side knows the other’s red lines.”
Surveillance activities by the United States of Chinese military operations have always been sensitive. In 2001, an American EP3 spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in the waters off southern China, an accident that sent relations between Washington and Beijing into a freeze.
Ever since, Chinese officials have complained to senior American officials about American planes’ peering into Chinese waters, saying that the practice treats China like the enemy, a senior American official said recently. The United States replies with its own complaint: that the lack of transparency by China impels America to do its own reconnaissance, the official said.
The information office at the Chinese ministry of national defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
American officials said the U.S.S. Cowpens had been adhering to international guidelines governing such naval maneuvers.
“Our cruiser was operating in international waters of the South China Sea, not close into the coast and in the general vicinity of the aircraft carrier,” the defense official said.
The Chinese ship accompanying the aircraft carrier began shouldering the American cruiser, and then crossed its bow, he said. After making the evasive maneuver, there was “bridge-to-bridge” contact, in English, between the two ships, the official said. “It was tense but professional,” he said.
In a formal statement, the Pacific Fleet based in Hawaii said, “This incident underscores the need to ensure the highest standard of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap.”
It was not clear how far the U.S.S. Cowpens, a vessel more than two decades old, was sailing from the Chinese aircraft carrier. But because of the sophisticated American radar, it did not have to be particularly close in order to observe it, naval experts said.
The Chinese aircraft carrier, a refurbished Ukrainian vessel, was launched last year, and is not yet fully operational. For instance, it does not carry a full complement of aircraft. Still, the United States Navy wants to understand how the Chinese are planning to use the carrier.
When it left port, the carrier was accompanied by two missile destroyers and two missile frigates, Chinese new media reported.
Officials from the American and Chinese navies meet every year to discuss maritime rules and incidents at sea, but so far, the gatherings have been fairly desultory, Mr. Goldstein said. “The maritime consultative agreement has been a disappointment to the American side,” he said.
The American defense official drew a comparison between the behavior and operations of Iranian and American navies, and that of the Chinese. “We operate in the vicinity of the Iranian navy,” he said. “The exchanges are curt but professional.”
The fact that the episode between the U.S.S. Cowpens and the Chinese ship took place in the South China Sea is bound to raise concerns, naval experts said. China contends that more than 80 percent of the sea is under its purview, and in a signal of its intention to enforce that claim, the nation has taken virtual ownership from the Philippines of the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.
In March 2009, five Chinese ships harassed the USNS Impeccable in international waters in the South China Sea, forcing the American ship to make an emergency maneuver in order to avoid a collision.
Experts disseram na última quarta-feira (11/12) que os Estados Unidos não possui uma estratégia real para lidar com a China, mas sim uma colagem implícita de abordagens.
No Clear Strategy On China, Experts Say
Defense News – 11/12/2013 – por Christopher P. Cavas
No real US strategy exists right now for dealing with China, even as the country challenges the territorial status quo of nearby Asian waters, several experts said Wednesday.
“You have the option of examining the classified war plans and decide if they reflect a strategy for conducting an upper-level war,” naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service told Congress. “But for situations short of war, it is not clear to me we have a strategy for that.”
Such a strategy, he said “needs to involve our allies — it’s not something we can do ourselves.”
China expert Andrew Ericson of the Naval War College noted “the US has an implicit collection of approaches that together constitute a strategy. … But they would be more effective if they were brought together.”
Two other experts were more direct.
“We don’t have that strategy today,” declared Jim Thomas of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
“No such strategy exists,” said Seth Cropsey, a Navy official during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. “And forming one is difficult.”
The observations came at a hearing late Wednesday called by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Seapower subcommittee, to discuss China’s growing naval power. Ongoing efforts by China to assert territorial claims on a number of islands and near-island chains and the recent declaration of a new maritime air defense identification zone were cited as indications of the country’s increased confidence backed by the expanding naval capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
“While naval modernization is a natural development for any sea-faring nation such as China, it is clear the modernization is emboldening the Chinese government to exert their interests by bullying their neighbors and pushing back the United States in the Asia-Pacific region,” Forbes said.
“We also must understand how to engage with the PLA Navy in a manner that is constructive for all parties involved and demonstrates respect and adherence to established international norms of maritime conduct,” he said.
All four witnesses at the hearing noted the difficulty — and the need — for developing a coherent approach to China’s naval prowess.
“Fundamental issues hang in the balance,” Erickson said. “If not addressed properly, China’s rise as a major regional maritime power could begin an era in which the US military lost unfettered access to a key region.”
“It’s clear that Chinese leaders are ambitious,” noted Cropsey, “and that their diplomatic policy and their military armament are moving them toward great power status, or at least regional hegemony, in a series of small steps designed to achieve those ends with minimal resistance from their Pacific competitors, America’s allies. And the US is not taking this possibility as seriously as it should.”
No “single silver bullet” approach will address the issue, Thomas said. “Instead, the United States and its allies will likely have to undertake a combination of efforts to demonstrate their defensive strength in the face of China’s challenge.”
O’Rourke ticked off a list of elements to consider.
“Top-level US strategic considerations related to China’s naval modernization effort include, among other things, the following:
■ preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon in one part of Eurasia or another;
■ preserving the US-led international order that has operated since World War II;
■ fulfilling US treaty obligations;
■ shaping the Asia-Pacific region; and
■ having a military strategy for China.”
The US budget situation should not prevent addressing the issue, the witnesses said.
“Some might argue that in light of our fiscal situation this is the wrong time to introduce what amounts to a major overhaul of our power projection forces,” Thomas said. “I would argue the opposite — that a clear vision of America’s future force design should inform the near-term choices the administration and Congress will have to make about which forces and capabilities to preserve or expand as well as lower priority areas where we will have to divest and accept greater risk.
“Changes that begin today will take years, if not decades, to fully play themselves out.”
All agreed that while China’s rate of growth will decline, the risk from a Chinese military buildup will not fade.
“If their growth line bends downward, they may see the next few years as their period of maximum opportunity for pursuing their goals in the near-seas areas,” O’Rourke said. “They may see it as something where time is not on their side.”
Thomas echoed that statement.
“We share an interest with China in that we want a China that is secure and prosperous,” he said “But we don’t know what their future is in terms of defense programs.
“And China’s increasing reliance on nationalism — almost a replacement for communist ideology — is cause for concern.”
A Casa Branca pretende lançar novo documento de estratégia de segurança nacional em 2014. Marcado pela retirada de tropas do Iraque e do Afeganistão, bem como pela morte de Bin Laden, ele deve ser essencial para entender os pensamentos de política externa e de segurança dos Estados Unidos.
Next US Strategy Carries Heavy Expectations
Defense News – 11/12/2013 – por Paul McLeary e John T. Bennett
The new national security strategy document that the White House plans to release in 2014 is shaping up to be key to laying out the administration’s thinking on everything from diplomatic engagement to counterterrorism to training and advising allies, a host of national security experts say.
But how it should do that is a matter of debate.
The broad outline of what the document will contain has been expressed in speeches by President Barack Obama and administration officials over the past several years: a push for nuclear disarmament, a rebalance of diplomatic and military attention to the Asia-Pacific region, helping build economic stability in emerging regions, and a continuing focus on the global counterterrorism mission.
The administration’s first national security strategy was released in 2010, a little more than a year after Obama entered the White House and as the US was still engaged in Iraq, preparing to surge more troops into Afghanistan, and still firmly in the grips of a crippling global economic crisis.
Four years on, with the economy stronger, Osama bin Laden dead, as much as $1 trillion in government spending to be slashed over the next decade, and American troops out of Iraq and heading for the exits in Afghanistan, the landscape has changed.
Most notably, there has been a shift from the Defense Department to the State Department taking the lead as the face of American foreign policy, with the jet set diplomacy of Secretary of State John Kerry dominating the headlines as he brokers deals with Syria, Iran and Libya, while preparing to set his sights on the Israel-Palestine peace process.
As for specific recommendations for how the administration can use the document to help shape the way it uses both diplomatic and military power until the end of Obama’s presidency in 2016, Rachel Kleinfeld, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Truman Foundation, said the strategy must address the Arab Spring and subsequent political changes in the Middle East and North Africa.
“The Arab revolutions show an urgent need to weigh more heavily in our security calculus the risk factors that could create a sudden state collapse in allies and strategic states,” Kleinfeld said. “That means greater weight to acute corruption and population unrest in our security strategy — and developing the tools to help allies alter gradually rather than fail catastrophically.”
What’s more, with the Afghanistan war winding down and al-Qaida more globally dispersed than when the wars began, the US needs “a new strategy to fight terrorism,” Kleinfeld said.
The issue here is the contentious debate over the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which many on Capitol Hill want rewritten to clip some of the broad powers that it has granted the White House to use the military.
“This document will have to catch up to the shift from stability operations to a more limited train, advise and assist mission, and hopefully fill in the blanks on what the civilian agencies provide in that realm,” said Kathleen Hicks, who served as principal deputy defense undersecretary for policy from 2012 to 2013, and is now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
When it comes to the global counterterrorism mission, “I don’t think we really have a strategy right now for that,” Hicks added. “At the tactical and operational levels, there’s a lot of good work going on, but I don’t think we’ve articulated the problem at a strategic level. This is an opportunity for that.”
One former government official said the AUMF will have to be addressed in the document, predicting that “I would expect to see a legal framework that’s very much tied to al-Qaida and what this means in terms of how the US conducts itself going forward.”
Related to the AUMF issue are the lingering questions over the targeted killing program the Obama administration has employed, largely by using armed drones.
Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon official now with the Center for American Progress, expects the strategy will include “something about the use of drones and covert action.” Korb also said he thinks the strategy will stress that “diplomatic solutions should always be our first option.”
Diplomacy also plays a major role in writing such a sweeping, high-profile document. Aides and senior officials spend months changing words and entire sections, worried a friend or potential foe will react poorly.
“The strategy can’t send a signal to the Middle East that we don’t care anymore, or make China think we’re going to go to war with them,” Korb said.
Speaking to the Asia Society in March, Obama’s then-National Security Adviser Tom Donilon outlined a vision for the administration’s regional policy that will likely be reflected in the upcoming strategy document.
The United States is focused on “strengthening alliances; deepening partnerships with emerging powers; building a stable, productive and constructive relationship with China; empowering regional institutions; and helping to build a regional economic architecture that can sustain shared prosperity.”
Some Obama critics have low expectations, however.
“This president’s strategy has been retreat. Iraq: Retreat. Afghanistan: Retreat. Total disengagement from the world,” said Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute. “Some signal of a more robust American profile on the global stage would be a good thing.
“There is not one part of this administration’s foreign policy that I want to see this strategy codify,” Pletka said. “Whether it’s remote-control assassinations or cozying up to terrorists.”
Asked which terrorists she thinks Obama has embraced, Pletka pointed to Iran, saying the recent deal it struck with the UN Security Council should have included text that dubbed Tehran “a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Kleinfeld hit a similar — but less extreme — tone saying the strategy needs to reassure frustrated allies and make the case for and against isolationism to a war-weary American populace.
While the document will likely spend less time on economic issues than its 2010 predecessor did, the $500 billion in total sequestration cuts looming will have to play a role.
The United States will have to adjust its military ambitions to reflect the cuts the Pentagon will have to make, said Frank Hoffman, a former Pentagon official and now senior research fellow at the National Defense University.
“It’s going to be very hard for the administration — in a public document — to calibrate our interests and our appetites in such a way that’s its clear to everybody what we believe our most core and vital interests are,” he said.
There is little doubt that the American military will remain the most powerful military force in the world, he said. “You’re coming from a position of very dominant overmatch. Now it’s retaining overmatch and focusing on the things that are really important to you, and that’s what the [Asia-Pacific] rebalance is all about, maintaining overmatch.
EUA comunicou nesta segunda-feira (09/12) que o Secretário de Estado John Kerry realizará visita às Filipinas e ao Vietnã. Escolha de países tem potencial para desagradar a China dadas as rivalidades regionais.
John Kerry to Visit Vietnam and the Philippines This Week
The Diplomat – 10/12/2013 – por Zachary Keck
According to a statement released on Monday, Kerry will be traveling abroad from Tuesday through the middle of next week. After a stop in the Middle East to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Kerry will travel to Southeast Asia to visit Vietnam and the Philippines.
“Within the Asia-Pacific rebalance, Southeast Asia holds special importance, and the Secretary’s travel to Vietnam and the Philippines demonstrates the enduring U.S. commitment and his personal connections to the region,” the statement said.
While in Vietnam, Kerry will visit Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta region, and Hanoi. Kerry will focus on a different issue during each stop in Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, Kerry will focus on expanding bilateral trade and cooperation in education.
In the Mekong Delta, Kerry will emphasize the potential for U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation in areas like climate change and renewable energy. Under Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. started the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), a multilateral project that aims to foster cooperation and greater integration among Vietnam and its neighbors in areas like education, health, environment and connectivity. Besides Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and Laos are also participating in the LMI.
While in Hanoi, Kerry will meet with Vietnamese leaders to discuss how to best advance the comprehensive strategic partnership the U.S. and Vietnam signed during Vietnamese President Trương Tấn Sang’s trip to Washington, D.C. back in July. During that visit, Kerry hosted the Vietnamese leader for a working lunch.
Taken together, the U.S. State Department said that Kerry’s trip to Vietnam “will highlight the dramatic transformation in the bilateral relationship over the years and our growing partnership in many areas.”
Following his Vietnam visit, Kerry will next travel to the Philippines, the last stop on his trip. Kerry’s time in the Philippines will make up for a visit in October that he had to cancel at the last moment over concerns about the weather. At the time that he announced he was canceling that visit, Kerry had pledged to reschedule the trip in a “month or so.”
The statement released on Monday indicated that the bulk of Kerry’s time in the country will be spent in Manila discussing “economic, security, and people-to-people relations” with Philippine officials. The statement also said that Kerry plans to visit the city of Tacloban, which was one of the areas that was most badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan last month.
This trip will be the fourth time Kerry visited the Asia-Pacific since becoming secretary of state earlier this year. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is using senior level trips to counter the perception that Washington is not fully committed to the rebalance to Asia amid growing problems at home and in the Middle East.
Since Kerry’s last visit to Asia in October, both Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Vice President Joseph Biden have traveled to different parts of the region. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is currently in South Asia, is also expected to make a trip to East Asia before the end of the year. President Barack Obama will also be traveling to the region in April of next year to make up for having had to cancel his October trip to Southeast Asia because of the U.S. government shutdown.
Kerry’s choice of countries to visit during the upcoming Southeast Asia trip is likely to irk policymakers in Beijing. Vietnam and the Philippines are the countries that have the most acrimonious disputes with China over the South China Sea. These disputes have created an opportunity for the U.S. to forge deeper relations with both countries despite continued wariness about the U.S. among some circles in Hanoi and Manila.
Projetos de modernização das forças armadas da China, tais como projetos de novos bombardeiros nucleares e <i>drones</i> de ataque, aumentam os receios estadunidenses, que procuram realizar pivô para a Ásia.
U.S. Spooked by China’s Nuke Bomber, Attack Drone Projects
Foreign Policy – 20/11/2013 – por Dan Lamothe
In June, the Chinese military received the first of its new, long-range bombers, the Hongzha-6K. It’s an upgraded model of the twin-engine plane the Chinese have used for decades, but has some significant new bells and whistles – most notably the likely ability to carry cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
The bomber is among the ground likely to be covered at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday as members of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission testify about their annual report. It warns that the Chinese are “rapidly expanding and diversifying” their ability to strike U.S. bases, ships and aircraft throughout to the Pacific, including those in places like Guam that were previously out of reach. The report’s release comes as the U.S. simultaneously increases the frequency with which it interacts with the Chinese military, and blasts the country for hacking into U.S. computer networks to steal secrets.
The commission’s report strikes a balance between sounding the alarm on China’s ambitions and recommending continued cooperation on issues of common interest. But it warns about China’s rise in stark terms, saying the country has become increasingly aggressive in the way it handles long-standing issues with the Philippines, Japan and other nations.
“Although sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas are not new, China’s growing diplomatic, economic, and military clout is improving China’s ability to assert its interests,” it says. “It is increasingly clear that China does not intend to resolve the disputes through multilateral negotiations or the application of international laws and adjudicative processes but instead will use its growing power in support of coercive tactics that pressure its neighbors to concede to China’s claims.”
The commission highlighted the development of China’s new attack drone as another example of the country’s military development. First displayed at an air show in 2012 (pictured above), their Yi Long unmanned aerial vehicle closely resembles the MQ-9 Reaper, which can be armed with Hellfire missiles, bombs and other weapons.
The commission also warns against the growth of the Chinese navy, an issue that has increasingly has received attention as the U.S. military interacts with it. While U.S. officials fight over whether the U.S. navy should shrink, China is going in the opposite direction, the report says.
“By 2020, barring a U.S. naval renaissance, it is possible that China will become the world’s leading military shipbuilder in terms of the numbers of submarines, surface combatants and other naval surface vessels produced per year,” the report says, citing Chinese military experts Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins.
The report’s release comes as the Senate wrestles this week with the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, the law outlining the Defense Department’s budget. Service chiefs also have continued to pointedly warn Congress about the effects of sequestration, automatic spending cuts that were put in place to reduce the federal deficit.
In one example, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the House Armed Services Committee in September that unless some funding is restored, one scenario under discussion would reduce the U.S. Navy in 2020 to between 255 and 260 ships, about 30 percent fewer than today. It would mean one or two fewer carrier strike groups and one or two fewer amphibious ready groups, the three-ship configurations that commonly carry U.S. Marines around the globe.
“We understand the pressing need for the nation to get its fiscal house in order,” Greenert said in prepared testimony. “DOD should do its part, but it is imperative we do so in a coherent and thoughtful manner to ensure appropriate readiness, warfighting capability and forward presence – the attributes we depend upon from our Navy.”
The commission’s report recommends boosting funding for U.S. shipbuilding so that at least 60 ships and 60 percent of the Navy’s homeports are in the Pacific by 2020 “so that the United States will have the capacity to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific offset China’s growing military capabilities, and surge naval assets in the event of a contingency” – part of the U.S.’s previously announced plan to shift more military operations to the Pacific.
It is unclear whether that will occur now, however, in light of the budget crunch and continued hostilities across Northern Africa and the Middle East.
While the U.S. wrestles with its future naval presence in the Pacific, it is also expanding its engagement with the Chinese military on areas where common ground can be found. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of contacts between the U.S. military and its Chinese counterpart doubles from about 20 to 40, the commission’s report says. That counts visits by leaders, academic exchanges, joint exercises and other forms of interaction.
In September, two senior officers with the Chinese Navy traveled to San Diego and Washington, meeting with Greenert and touring a U.S. aircraft carrier and submarine, the report says. They also visited Camp Pendleton, Calif., where they interacted with Marine commanders, before visiting Navy leadership at the Pentagon and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
One other potential future bright spot: China will join more than 20 other nations next year in Rim of the Pacific military exercises around Hawaii – a first. The U.S. and China will continue to circle each other carefully until then, looking to learn about each other without offering more information than agreed upon.
Apesar dos recentes sucessos de política externa dos EUA no Oriente Médio, problemas não param de acumular para o país na Ásia, especialmente após a China criar de zona de defesa em área marítima disputada com o Japão.
Problems pile up in Asia for U.S. policymakers
The Japan Times – 27/11/2013
The Obama administration is making diplomatic progress on some of the Mideast’s most thorny security issues but problems are piling up in a region that Barack Obama had wanted to play a bigger part in American foreign policy: Asia.
Despite efforts to forge deeper ties with China to make East Asia more stable, Beijing’s declaration of a maritime air defense zone has escalated its territorial dispute with U.S. ally Japan. The U.S. responded by flying B-52 bombers through it on a training mission Tuesday without informing Beijing.
Analysts say the risk of a military clash between the Asian powers has gone up a notch — a serious concern for the U.S. because its treaty obligations mean it could be drawn in to help Japan.
Meantime, relations between America’s core allies in the region, Japan and South Korea, always uneasy, have deteriorated. South Korea is bitter at Japan’s attitude toward its colonial past and wants more contrition from Tokyo over Japan’s use of Korean sex slaves in World War II.
That complicates the strategic picture for the Obama administration as it looks to advance its so-called pivot to Asia and strengthen not just its own alliances, but get its partners in the region to collaborate more.
“The region is moving in a very problematic direction,” said Evans Revere, a former senior U.S. diplomat and East Asia specialist. “That’s the result of territorial disputes, historical issues, long-standing rivalries and the inability of countries to put history behind them and move forward in improving relations.”
Adding to this witches’ brew of bickering in the region, Washington is grappling with the threat posed by an unpredictable North Korea. The deal the U.S. orchestrated with Iran to temporarily freeze its nuclear program, despite three decades of animosity, is a stark reminder of the impasse in negotiations with Pyongyang.
Unlike Iran, North Korea already has a nuclear bomb, and there’s worrying evidence it is pressing ahead with weapons development.
Analysts expect Vice President Joe Biden to broach these issues when he travels to Japan, China and South Korea next week — a trip to demonstrate the top level of the administration remains focused on Asia.
Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry hasn’t neglected the region, but his primary focus is on the Mideast and is likely to remain that way as he strives for the distant goal of an end to Syria’s civil war, peace between Israel and Palestine, and a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran after the current pact expires in six months.
U.S. domestic woes have contributed to a narrative that Asia is a secondary concern to the administration.
Obama was forced to cancel a four-nation trip to the region in October because of a partial U.S. government shutdown and threat of a debt default. He’ll travel to Asia in April instead.
Obama made Asia a foreign policy priority when he took power in 2009, and has been particularly active in engaging China. Not known for the personal touch with foreign leaders, Obama sought to cultivate a relationship with new Chinese leader Xi Jinping when he met him in June at a California resort. That’s part of strategy to promote cooperation between the world’s two largest economies and prevent their strategic rivalry in the Asia-Pacific spawning conflict.
But China’s declaration at the weekend of its East China Sea air defense zone will be viewed as unhelpful. It was rejected by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and prompted quick expressions of deep U.S. concern that it could escalate tensions in the region.
“This really casts bit of a pall over efforts to improve (U.S.-China) relations,” Revere said.
The U.S. said it would not change how it conducts military operations in the region, and flew a pair of B-52 bombers through the zone Tuesday on what officials said was a long-planned training mission.
Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, expected Biden to raise it with both civilian and military leaders in China. She said while countries have a right to declare such a zone — the U.S., South Korea and Japan all have them — there will be concern about how China would enforce it.
“The question is how many times China will scramble their jets and against whom,” she said.
Analysts don’t expect immediate confrontations with foreign aircraft, but say the move fits a pattern of putting teeth behind China’s territorial claims and could potentially lead to dangerous encounters. While enforcement is expected to start slowly, Beijing has a record of playing the long game, and could gradually scale up activity.
The zone encompasses unoccupied but Japanese-administered islands that Japan calls Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu. Since Japan nationalized some of the islands a year ago, there’s been a constant cat-and-mouse between the two nations’ sea vessels and aircraft.
There’s been no skirmish, although Japan accused China in January of locking targeting radar on a helicopter and frigate, which underscored the risks of a clash.
Proponents of the U.S. pivot view a strong American military presence and diplomatic engagement as essential to maintaining the decades of relative stability and economic prosperity the region has enjoyed.
But the rift between South Korea and Japan, which host some 80,000 U.S. forces between them, complicates that task. As well as historical issues that dog relations between the U.S. allies, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s intent to allow a more active role for the Self-Defense Forces, which are constrained by the pacifist Constitution, has further alienated South Korea.
Victor Cha, White House director for Asia affairs under George W. Bush, said that has raised concerns that Seoul is siding with Beijing on the issue. Although Seoul has voiced concern over the new Chinese air defense zone, he said the Obama administration faces a major strategic problem: “How do you pivot to Asia when your two main allies are deeply in conflict with each other?”
Após a ausência de Barack Obama em duas reuniões de cúpula regionais na Ásia esta semana, Estados Unidos se encontra distante de seu pivô asiático. Enquanto isso, China parece ocupar o espaço deixado pelos estadunidenses.
Not being there: The distance between Asia and Washington, DC, increases
The Economist – 12/10/2013
TWO regional summits in Asia this week will be remembered not for their outcomes but for Barack Obama’s failure to turn up. They are symbols of regional co-operation, but Mr Obama’s no-show turned them into symbols both of gridlocked politics in Washington and of the difficulties facing Mr Obama’s strategic “pivot” to Asia and the Pacific. The whole world worries about the economic and financial implications of the American government’s shutdown and possible debt default. Much of Asia also worries about its security commitment to the region.
The first summit, in Bali on October 7th and 8th, was for leaders of the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. John Kerry, America’s secretary of state, stood in for his boss. APEC, formed in 1989, promotes trade liberalisation (see article). Yet its importance has been whittled away both by the rise of other groupings and by the decision of some members to pursue their own plurilateral trade agreement. This is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), led by America but bringing in Japan and ten other APEC members.
A centrepiece of the Obama administration’s policy for the region, the TPP is intended not just to lower tariffs among its dozen members, but also to tackle issues such as intellectual property, the role of state enterprises, labour conditions and e-commerce. At one point it was supposed to be completed at this summit, where talks were held on the sidelines. The latest target is the end of the year. It is hard to know how realistic this is. Few members are committing themselves in public to the concessions that will be needed. Japanese politicians in Bali did, however, raise hopes (though they created fury at home) that some of their farm tariffs might be put on the table.
Many APEC leaders headed from Bali to the tiny sultanate of Brunei on Borneo for the East Asia Summit on October 10th. This brought together the ten members of ASEAN and eight other regional powers, including America, China, India and Russia. Again, little was expected to come out of the meeting. But it is one of the few forums with the potential to play host to a serious, high-level dialogue over the security tensions that bedevil the region, notably in the East and South China Seas. Many blame the tensions on China’s assertive approach to disputed territorial claims. They look to America for reassurance.
A senior Asian politician describes Mr Obama’s no-show at the two summits as “stark raving mad”. Yet Mr Kerry tried to dismiss it, and his earlier cancellation of trips to Malaysia and the Philippines, as the result of no more than “a moment in politics”. America remains the pre-eminent military power and the world’s biggest economy, as well as the security guarantor of choice for most of the region. Irritation with Mr Obama may fade—though perhaps rather slowly for both Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, stood up for the third time, and Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, fighting a lonely battle at home for the TPP. America’s humiliation at being lectured by China to “ensure the safety” of its investments may also pass, if default is averted.
Even so, it was hard not to see the week as an episode in a long-running drama of relative American decline in the Asia-Pacific region as China rises. While Mr Obama was trapped in Washington, China’s Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping, was at both summits, and took in visits to Malaysia and Indonesia. His serene passage, oozing personal authority and commercial clout at every stop, might have been designed to make America look bad. In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, he surprised even some of his own officials by announcing a proposed “Asian Infrastructure Bank”, open to participation by all Asian governments.
The details are sketchy, but the bank is an attempt to meet what Rajat Nag of the Asian Development Bank calls “a very real need”. The ADB says Asia must invest $8 trillion in infrastructure between 2010 and 2020 if it is to keep growing fast. So Mr Xi came to the region with a partial answer to one of the questions it was asking. Mr Obama could not even bring himself. American protestations of its long-term commitment to the region sound perfectly plausible. With China, the question does not even arise. It is not going anywhere.
Além do cancelamento da viagem de Obama à Ásia, outros fatores impedem que os Estados Unidos se foque na região Ásia-Pacífico, como, por exemplo, o corte no orçamento de defesa e a situação no Oriente Médio. Uma análise de David J. Karl.
The Pivot Under Pressure
The Diplomat – 08/10/2013 – por David J. Karl
Senior U.S. administration officials have been at pains in recent weeks to demonstrate how Washington’s strategic focus is shifting from the military quagmires of the greater Middle East to the dynamism of Asia. It’s a tough sell, and there is reason to doubt that America’s allies and friends in the region are buying it.
Even before the cancellation of President Barack Obama’s Asia trip, which would have included the APEC and East Asia summits, doubts about U.S. focus were rising. Take Obama’s address before the UN General Assembly earlier this month. Its core takeaway is that the manifold problems of the Middle East have once more re-asserted their claim on Washington’s attention.
Unveiled with much fanfare (here and here) two years ago, the so-called Asia pivot is all about shoring up the U.S. presence in a vital region that is increasingly under the sway of an ascendant China. Obama dubbed himself “America’s first Pacific president” and declared that Asia is where “the action’s going to be.” Vowing that the future would be “America’s Pacific Century,” his lieutenants rolled out two specific initiatives: 1.) A buildup of military forces that is plainly directed against China; and 2.) An ambitious set of trade and investment negotiations known as the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP) that would contest Beijing’s economic hegemony in East Asia.
But the pivot – or the “strategic rebalance,” as administration officials now prefer to call it – was birthed with two congenital defects: It was unveiled just as the convulsions of the Arab Spring began tearing apart the decades-old political order in the Middle East, and just as an era of severe austerity in U.S. defense budgeting was taking shape.
Until a few weeks ago, Obama gave every appearance of a man wishing the problems of the Middle East would just go away. But much like the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction, the region refuses to be ignored. For all the talk about turning the page on years of military and diplomatic activism in the region, Obama keeps having to take notice. Indeed, he was forcefully reminded of its combustibility when the outbreak of fighting in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militants intruded on his last trip to Asia a year ago. And despite his stubborn determination to steer clear of it, he now finds himself sucked into Syria’s maelstrom.
The president’s General Assembly address underscores the power of this gravitational pull. In it, Mr. Obama affirmed: “We will be engaged in the region for the long haul,” and outlined the security interests that he is prepared to use military action to protect. He reiterated his intention to see through the uncertain prospect of Syria’s chemical disarmament and then staked his prestige on two long-shot projects: stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program and brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.
He also pledged renewed focus on sectarian conflicts and humanitarian tragedies like the Syrian civil war. This marks quite an evolution in Obama’s thinking from earlier in the year when he justified his Hamlet-like ambivalence on Syria by pondering: “And how do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?”
In all, Obama’s remarks last month mark a noticeable change in his foreign policy agenda. As the New York Times noted:
“For a president who has sought to refocus American foreign policy on Asia, it was a significant concession that the Middle East is likely to remain a major preoccupation for the rest of his term, if not that of his successor. Mr. Obama mentioned Asia only once, as an exemplar of the kind of economic development that has eluded the Arab world.”
This shift will only renew the multiplying doubts in the region about his commitment to the pivot. So too will the fiscal policy drama currently being played out in Washington, which regardless of its precise outcome, looks certain to end up codifying the sequestration’s deep budget cuts that have disproportionally affected defense spending. Already the drama in Washington has prompted him to cancel his Asia visit. Meanwhile, many in Asia are questioning whether the administration has the fiscal wherewithal to undertake its promised Asia pivot, including the military aspect.
The budget squeeze is already cutting into military readiness (see, for example, here and here). The U.S. Navy is slated to play a central part in the buildup, but two thirds of its non-deployed ships and aviation units reportedly don’t meet readiness goals, and the frequency of naval deployments has been noticeably pared back. The Air Force has grounded a third of its fighter squadrons and “Red Flag,” its premier combat training exercise, was canceled for the fiscal year that just ended. Deep reductions in Army and Marine Corps ground forces are in the offing, and joint exercises involving U.S. forces and their Asian counterparts have been scaled back.
Moreover, a senior officer working on strategic planning for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff recently acknowledged the difficulty of militarily disengaging from the Middle East and re-directing forces to Asia. As Defense News reported:
“‘We’ve been consumed by that arc of instability from Morocco to Pakistan for the last 10 years,’ Rear Adm. Robert Thomas said. And while the senior staffs at the Pentagon are dutifully discussing how they are rebalancing to the Pacific, ‘I suspect, though, for the next five years, just as the last 10 years, we will have this constant pull into the’ Middle East.”
“Over the next several years, he continued, ‘I think that you’re going to continue to talk about a rebalance to Asia, and you’re going to do some preparatory work in the environment, but the lion’s share of the emphasis will still be in that arc of instability.’”
Thomas also predicted a constant tug for resources between the U.S. military commands responsible for Asia and the Middle East. This strain may explain why the Pentagon has yet to develop a comprehensive game plan for the military buildup in Asia.
Likewise in doubt is U.S. resolve on the TTP, which involves 12 Pacific Rim countries that together account for a third of the world’s trade. The Obama administration, having already missed the initial November 2011 deadline it set for completion, was hoping to have a basic agreement in place in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that convened in Indonesia on the weekend. But there has been slow progress in the negotiations, and even the revised deadline looks likely to slip.
Moreover, the White House has not even moved to formally request so-called “trade promotion authority,” a traditional indicator of serious intent because it puts trade deals on a quick path to Congressional approval. The administration announced more than a year ago that it would request this authority from Congress but Michael Froman, the new U.S. Trade Representative, recently stated there is “no particular deadline in mind.” Nor has the White House used its political capital to address rising domestic opposition (here and here) to the trade deal.
Washington will continue to proclaim the Obama administration’s steadfastness to the Asia pivot. But U.S. allies and friends now have even more reason to think otherwise.
Quinta-feira à noite, o Presidente Obama cancelou sua participação em conferências na Indonésia e em Brunei sobre economia e segurança no extremo oriente, respectivamente, devido à paralisação do governo estadunidense. Atitude se soma a outros cancelamentos de viagens à Ásia e é vista como revés à iniciativa dos EUA de se voltar para o continente.
Obama Pulls Out of Asian Security and Economic Conferences
NYT – 03/10/2013 – por Mark Landler
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday night canceled the last of his scheduled destinations in a trip he had planned for Asia, saying the government shutdown had made it impossible to travel to a Pacific Rim economic conference in Indonesia or an East Asian security conference in Brunei next week.
Mr. Obama had already scrapped visits to Malaysia and the Philippines because of the shutdown, but had kept the two other meetings on the schedule in the hopes of a deal that would break the impasse with House Republicans.
But with no sign of progress, and with Mr. Obama’s departure looming, the White House decided to cancel the rest of the trip. It is a significant setback for Mr. Obama, who has made Asia a centerpiece of his foreign policy.
In a statement, the press secretary, Jay Carney, said: “The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government. This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to create jobs through promotion of U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world.”
He added: “The president looks forward to continuing his work with our allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific and to returning to the region at a later date.”
Mr. Obama telephoned the president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the sultan of Brunei on Thursday night to tell him he would not be coming.