The New Balance of Pacific Power

American primacy in the Asia-Pacific region, which former Secretary of State Dean Rusk called the United States’ ability to “control its every wave,” is no longer assured, said panelists Wednesday at an American Enterprise Institute-sponsored event in Washington, D.C. Communist China’s economic and military strength is fundamentally altering the balance of power in Asia—which has largely existed since 1945— as it pushes its influence and projects power beyond its borders. “We are in a security competition with China,” said Dan Blumenthal, AEI’s director of Asian studies and lead author of the recent AEI report examining the state of US and Asian alliances in the 21st century. Notably, China’s leadership is increasingly uncomfortable with the “hub and spoke” system of alliances between the United States and its Asian allies. “They have ambitions of their own,” he said of that leadership, noting that China’s unhappiness is manifesting in disputes over contested areas, such as the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea. (AEI webpage of event, including link to event video)