21 November 2014

China’s Growing Naval Capability: A View from the United States

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Growing Naval Capability: A View from the United States,” Jane’s Navy International, 18 November 2014.

As China’s global maritime influence grows in seas both near and far from its shores, the one other naval power whose path it will cross in all such regions is the United States. Professor Andrew Erickson considers the nature of the US debate over where and how it may need to address its naval relations with China.

There is a growing – but not consensus – view in US policy circles that, besides non-traditional security risks and threats from pariah states, a key potential challenge to US interests comes from a more militarily capable, assertive China. Fundamental questions… confront decision-makers… :

  • Will China’s rise as a major regional power end the era in which the US military in general, and the US Navy (USN) in particular, enjoyed unobstructed access to the entire ‘global commons’?
  • Will Chinese leaders attempt to re-establish a zone of Chinese suzerainty in East Asia?
  • Can the United States accommodate such exceptionalism without compromising vital interests (including alliances), or establishing unacceptable precedents regarding the maintenance of international norms?
  • Alternatively, can the United States counter China’s asymmetric strategies affordably and work with allies and partners to preserve deterrence, stability, and regional peace? …