Haddick in Proceedings: The Struggle for a Strategy
To counter China’s recent actions and maintain stability in the Western Pacific, the United States must find an effective strategy—soon.
China is implementing a well-designed cost-imposing strategy in the Western Pacific that is inexorably undermining the position of the United States and its partners in the region. We need a competitive response if we are to maintain peace and stability in an area the Obama administration has made a top priority for U.S. security planning.
Policymakers faced with an emerging and perhaps ambiguous threat must make two assessments. First, what military capacity might the potential adversary eventually develop? And second, what are the potential adversary’s intentions? Is it at least plausible that the opponent could put at risk the United States’ goals and interests? Policymakers are wise to keep their attention focused first on the adversary’s future capacity for military action for the simple reason that intentions can change rapidly and unexpectedly. Benign intentions today can become malign actions tomorrow. But those actions only become a problem if the adversary has the military capacity to carry them out.
Robert Haddick is an independent contractor at U.S. Special Operations Command. He is the author of Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific.
Image Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan J. Batchelder