Pacific Defense: Arms, Energy, and America's Future in Asia

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Northeast Asia's stunningly successful political economy threatens to become a military danger zone - with global implications. In Pacific Defense, Kent E. Calder, director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, shows how a combination of high-speed economic growth, impending energy shortages, and political insecurity could well provoke an accelerating arms buildup and deepening geopolitical rivalries. Here he explains the urgent need for a strategic, far-sighted American ...
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Overview

Northeast Asia's stunningly successful political economy threatens to become a military danger zone - with global implications. In Pacific Defense, Kent E. Calder, director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, shows how a combination of high-speed economic growth, impending energy shortages, and political insecurity could well provoke an accelerating arms buildup and deepening geopolitical rivalries. Here he explains the urgent need for a strategic, far-sighted American role in defusing these dangerous possibilities. Calder analyzes the risks to regional stability of Asia's continuing struggle for offshore oil, and the subtle dangers that regional energy dependence on the Middle East may bring. He also points to the possible links between efforts to acquire civilian nuclear power and the potential for nuclear armament. Political uncertainty casts deep shadows over Asia's key nations, as experienced leaders pass from the scene and popular frustrations mount, from the large cities of China to the crucial U.S.-Japan island military bastion of Okinawa. Calder provides a dynamic overview of where each country is headed politically and describes the role that the United States can play in these developments, from improving security relations with Japan to studying alternate sources of energy for China to resolving nuclear arms issues in North Korea.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Calder is director of the U.S.-Japan Relations program at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. Here he confirms that energy shortages are becoming acute in northeast Asia because of rapid economic growth and voracious industrial demand-most countries in the region already have to import most of their energy-and warns that these shortages could become the catalyst for regional arms races and nuclear proliferation. In this well-informed study, Calder reviews the explosive potential of the East Asian balance of power, showing how the underlying resource rivalries and the persistent arms race between the two Koreas could provoke major Japanese rearmament. He calls for a reevaluation of the ``slightly incongruous, antiquated realities'' of the U.S. military presence in the western Pacific and emphasizes American policy makers' inadequate understanding of East Asian history, culture and psychology, which has contributed significantly to the static in transpacific communication. His thoughtful study highlights the relationship among economic growth, energy uncertainties and long-term security issues in East Asia, which is of vital interest to the U.S. Maps. (Mar.)
Gilbert Taylor
Currently, the world's most intense arms race is running in northeastern Asia, and Calder, an academic Japanologist, has responded to the region's unsettling trends with this study about who's acquiring what weapons and why. Igniting the activity is oil, of which the area is virtually bereft. It all comes in by the sea, which, in east Asia, reputedly covers immense oil fields, so China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are all poised to build blue-water navies. Mix in some of the countries' anxiety about their national existence (Taiwan and North Korea) and potent incentives exist to go nuclear--for either making a bomb or breaking free from oil. Aside from corralling facts, Calder dwells on strategies to prevent a major blowup, which could issue, for example, from the unification of Korea. Essentially, he recommends strengthening the U.S.-Japanese security treaty and relegating to secondary importance the two countries' obsession with economic conflict. A sober summary pitched to wonks-in-training, such as area studies students.
Kirkus Reviews
An impressive overview of the varied challenges East Asia poses to an Atlantic-oriented America's strategic interests in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Noting that the Pacific Basin encompasses a volatile arc extending from the Taiwan Strait across North China and Korea to Russia's Far East, Calder (director, Program on US-Japan Relations/Princeton) argues that the US must integrate the geopolitical issues raised by this part of Asia into its foreign policy for security as well as economic reasons. Although the West has started beating its swords into plowshares in the wake of the USSR's collapse, the author reports that many nations of the East are engaged in arms buildups that have as much to do with jockeying for local advantage as protection against the looming presence of mainland China. With Tokyo's course still not clear (owing in large measure to its reliance on government by consensus), Calder asserts that America alone can—and must—bring durable order to the area. Warning of past failures not only to foresee Japan's emergence as an economic superpower and the expansion achieved by China but also to capitalize on satellite intelligence capabilities, he offers a detailed agenda for engaging in what he calls Pacific Defense. Inter alia, his 10-point program proposes recognizing energy as a security priority; joint US-Japanese projects in energy, communications, and other areas to stabilize economic and political relationships; paying special attention to Korea (whose possible reunification in the wake of growing economic ties could cause unpredictable difficulties in the region); neither isolating nor indulging China; and directly assisting American enterprises operating in Asia.

A scholar's accessible and measured appraisal of a prospectively hot spot that sooner or later could bring itself to the American public's attention in a host of unwelcome ways.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688137380
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 253
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Arms Race Asia? 1
2 The Northeast Asian Arc of Crisis 13
3 Looming Energy Insecurities 43
4 Asia and the Nuclear Threshold 62
5 Japan's Struggle for Strategy 83
6 Thunder out of China 104
7 Asia's New Balance-of-Power Game 126
8 Asia and the Twilight of Globalism 150
9 The Policy Gap 172
10 Coping with the Transpacific Future 199
Notes 227
Index 243
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