20 April 2012

Photo Essay: The U.S. Pivot and China Relations

Photo Essay: The U.S. Pivot and China Relations,” The Diplomat, 20 April 2012.

Last week, The Diplomat co-hosted with Harvard University a panel of leading analysts on U.S.-China relations. Following are some of the highlights from the discussion.

Speaking at the event were U.S. Congressman J. Randy Forbes, who is chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness subcommittee, regular Flashpoints writer Dr. James Holmes, his colleagues at the U.S. Naval War College Dr. Toshi Yoshihara and Dr. Andrew Erickson, Prof. Peter Dutton, who heads the China Maritime Studies Institute, and Dr. William Martel, a professor of international security at Tufts University.

With the United States winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has indicated his administration’s intention to refocus the country’s diplomatic and military efforts on the Asia-Pacific. But what does this mean for the future of U.S.-China relations? And for U.S. foreign policy generally? How might China respond? The Diplomat presented a high-level panel of analysts and policymakers who offered answers to these and other key questions.

Andrew S. Erickson—“Not Pivoting but Persistence: U.S.-China Military Dynamics in the Near Seas”

The U.S. is not “returning” to the Asia-Pacific, it never left in the first place. China is already a world-class military power—but not in the ways that many have charged. The U.S. military has many options to prevent the People’s Liberation Army from paralyzing its forces, yet it will fail if it continues business as usual. Though Beijing and Washington have considerable shared interests and potential for cooperation, the most difficult period for them to achieve “competitive coexistence” may already have begun.