This article addresses questions that are related to two recently proposed concepts: Hugh White’s Concert of Asia and Henry Kissinger’s Pacific Community. First, what basis is there for the US as a non-Asian country to pursue a lasting leadership role in East Asia? Second, what would it mean for the US to treat China as a security partner in East Asia on an equal basis, and is there any prospect that it might do so in the future? And third, if the US were to accept China as a partner and an equal power in the region, how would it then redefine its relations with its many military allies and strategic partners in a way that reflects this?
As China becomes stronger, the United States eventually is likely to face a choice between an increasingly dangerous strategy of confrontation and various degrees of accommodation. With regard to East Asia, the form of accommodation that would be the most beneficial one for the US would be the sharing of regional leadership with China on an equal and stable basis. As a non- Asian country, the United States can only hope to achieve this by betting strongly on regional multilateralism.
The article was published in the Journal of Global Policy and Governance, published by Springer.