In June of 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set the Obama Administration off on a bold new course in Asia. She announced with great fanfare on the pages of Foreign Policy a “pivot” that would shift America’s defense forces, particularly, its ships more towards the Asian theater. In defending this policy, she (with the assistance of Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell for East Asian and Pacific Affairs) noted both the economic and strategic importance of a region of the world that is home to about half of the world’s population and will likely be the most important driver of global growth during this new century.
As Ms. Clinton herself now runs for president against several other Democrats and a large contingent of Republicans, it is useful to ask this group of White House aspirants whether they each support such a pivot to Asia. If so – and perhaps far more importantly – what should be the size of the US naval fleet to make the pivot a truly effective US security policy?
In this video, a number of experts interviewed for the Crouching Tiger Project examine the reality of some sobering “pivot math” against a backdrop of US budget sequestration and a steadily shrinking US naval fleet. An equally stark comparison is offered between the booming shipyards of China and an American shipbuilding industry in what may well turn out to be a very dangerous decline.
Experts featured include: Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, Patrick Cronin of the Center for a New American Security, Princeton University’s Aaron Friedberg, Edward Timperlake of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, and Professor Toshi Yoshihara of the US Naval War College.
Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California-Irvine and author of Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books) crouchingtiger.net
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