The United States federal government should: Adopt a policy of flexible response toward China in the South China Sea



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Containment CP

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The United States federal government should:

- Adopt a policy of flexible response toward China in the South China Sea.

- Increase defense cooperation, including military assistance for modernization, with Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

- Increase coast guard presence in the South China Sea

- Provide information about its defense activities to China

Solves South China Sea conflict and avoids the appeasement disad


Truong-Minh Vu and Ngo Di Lan, 4-8-2016, 2 Truong-Minh Vu is the director of the Center for International Studies (SCIS) at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. Ngo Di Lan is a PhD student in Politics at Brandeis University, where he focuses on U.S foreign policy and U.S-China relations. This Is How to Stop China from Dominating the South China Sea," National Interest, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-stop-china-dominating-the-south-china-sea-15732, Accessed: 6-22-2016, /Kent Denver-MB

To stop China from continuing to change the status quo in the South China Sea and militarize the dispute, the United States must be able to deter effectively. And ultimately, the greatest value of flexible response lies in its ability to send an unambiguous deterrence signal to China. As long as U.S. responses rely on actions with a primary purpose other than deterrence, such as joint exercises and freedom of navigation operations, it is not able to send a message of resolve to China because it suggests Washington is not ready to bear the costs of directly confronting China’s actions. A flexible response strategy would show China that there is a cost to deconstructive actions. It would also demonstrate that the United States has both the will to challenge China and a specific plan to counteract every Chinese measure. And it would strongly reassures allies and partners in Asia that Washington will match words with deeds.

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Flexible response solves China aggression in the South China Sea


Truong-Minh Vu and Ngo Di Lan, 4-8-2016, 2 Truong-Minh Vu is the director of the Center for International Studies (SCIS) at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. Ngo Di Lan is a PhD student in Politics at Brandeis University, where he focuses on U.S foreign policy and U.S-China relations. This Is How to Stop China from Dominating the South China Sea," National Interest, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-stop-china-dominating-the-south-china-sea-15732, Accessed: 6-22-2016, /Kent Denver-MB

To counter China’s “salami-slicing,” a strategy of flexible response is needed—one that imposes immediate and proportionate costs on every Chinese escalatory action. Such a response should have four core features: it should be discrete, targeted, proportionate, and immediate. The U.S. retaliatory response to a Chinese action should be discrete, meaning a single, independent action that can be unilaterally or multilaterally carried out at will. A clear example was the sending of two B-52s to contest China’s announcement of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea in 2013. It should be targeted instead of indiscriminate. This is important because it limits the risk of large-scale Chinese retaliations. At the same time, ensuring that U.S. actions are only aimed at those actively and directly engaged seeking to change the status quo in the South China Sea bolsters the legitimacy of the U.S. response. For instance, instead of imposing sweeping economic sanctions on China, the United States should respond to China’s land reclamation by sanctioning companies involved in the process, such as the China Communications Construction Company Dredging firm. The response should also be proportionate, in that its intensity should roughly match that of the Chinese act. This limits the risk of escalatory response while allowing the costs that China would have to suffer to vary according to its own actions. And lastly, U.S response should be carried out immediately after a Chinese escalatory action to show that there is a cost to every misbehavior, as well as to negate any potential benefits that China could reap from its action. For instance, if China deploys surface to air missiles on its features in the Spratlys, the United States should help Vietnam and the Philippines acquire assets specifically designed to counteract those Chinese capabilities.

Flexible response solves escalation and avoids our disadvantages—maintains deterrence and protects allies


Brendan Cooley is a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). And James Scouras is a national security studies fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). This research was completed under the auspices of JHU/APL’s internal research program A CONVENTIONAL FLEXIBLE RESPONSE STRATEGY FOR THE WESTERN PACIFIC, National Security Perspective, Johns Hopkins University 2015, http://www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/publications/pdf/AConventionalFlexibleResponseStrategyfortheWesternPacific.pdf, /Kent Denver-MB

Although the United States must be cognizant of the impact of its military strategy on the course of US–Chinese relations, its strategy must still deter potential Chinese aggression and coercion, provide credible retaliatory options, and prevent unwanted escalation. Both the nature of China’s challenge to US power and interests and the innate characteristics of the Asia-Pacific region make developing deterrence doctrine for the region different than developing Cold War deterrence doctrine. US doctrine then was predominantly focused on deterring a Soviet ground force invasion of Europe in the Cold War; by contrast, China presents a variety of deterrence challenges. Although the United States has been chiefly concerned with the potential for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and has used this scenario to motivate development of doctrine and capabilities, a host of other deterrence challenges exist in the Western Pacific.19 In particular, the United States wants to prevent changes to the status of island chains in the South China Sea and East China Sea by force or under the threat of force, protect international maritime norms, safeguard allies and partners from military intimidation from China, maintain stability on the Korean peninsula, and protect its own bases and forces in the region. Meeting these challenges requires a variety of capabilities. Deterring an invasion of Taiwan requires a robust set of capabilities to deny China’s use of the Taiwan Strait, cripple its command and control networks, and intercept significant portions of incoming missiles and fighters. Likewise, serious threats to US bases and forces require the ability to impose commensurate damage to Chinese forces. However, deterring naval harassment and attempts to take control of small island outcroppings requires different capabilities to maintain deterrence while preventing escalation. Near Seas scenarios have been given increasing attention by defense policy makers as a potential source of conflict, but the United States has not yet attached a set of capabilities to its regional strategy designed to maintain the territorial and normative status quo in these regions. Moreover, deterrence is made more complicated by the asymmetries of stakes that exist in many possible conflicts with China. US responses must be credible reactions to provocations if they are to be effective deterrents, but these asymmetries call into question US credibility. In most potential conflicts over Taiwan or in the Near Seas, China’s leaders and its people would have a much larger stake in their outcome than the leaders and people of the United States.20 And if China doubts US resolve in these potential conflicts, it will be more likely to use force. Consequently, the United States must carefully match its doctrine and capabilities to the types of incursions it expects to encounter in the region. Just as the threat to use nuclear weapons early in a limited conflict lacks credibility, the threat to launch missile strikes on the Chinese mainland in response to a limited armed conflict over the Senkaku Islands is also not credible. If the United States lacks the capabilities to respond proportionally to low-level Chinese incursions, China may be more likely to challenge US resolve. And a challenge would present US leaders with an undesirable choice: ceding the issue in question to the Chinese or escalating the conflict. Tailored capabilities prevent these undesirable scenarios by providing the United States with a set of credible responses.21

Although the United States must be cognizant of the impact of its military strategy on the course of US–Chinese relations, its strategy must still deter potential Chinese aggression and coercion, provide credible retaliatory options, and prevent unwanted escalation. Both the nature of China’s challenge to US power and interests and the innate characteristics of the Asia-Pacific region make developing deterrence doctrine for the region different than developing Cold War deterrence doctrine. US doctrine then was predominantly focused on deterring a Soviet ground force invasion of Europe in the Cold War; by contrast, China presents a variety of deterrence challenges. Although the United States has been chiefly concerned with the potential for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and has used this scenario to motivate development of doctrine and capabilities, a host of other deterrence challenges exist in the Western Pacific.19 In particular, the United States wants to prevent changes to the status of island chains in the South China Sea and East China Sea by force or under the threat of force, protect international maritime norms, safeguard allies and partners from military intimidation from China, maintain stability on the Korean peninsula, and protect its own bases and forces in the region. Meeting these challenges requires a variety of capabilities. Deterring an invasion of Taiwan requires a robust set of capabilities to deny China’s use of the Taiwan Strait, cripple its command and control networks, and intercept significant portions of incoming missiles and fighters. Likewise, serious threats to US bases and forces require the ability to impose commensurate damage to Chinese forces. However, deterring naval harassment and attempts to take control of small island outcroppings requires different capabilities to maintain deterrence while preventing escalation. Near Seas scenarios have been given increasing attention by defense policy makers as a potential source of conflict, but the United States has not yet attached a set of capabilities to its regional strategy designed to maintain the territorial and normative status quo in these regions. Moreover, deterrence is made more complicated by the asymmetries of stakes that exist in many possible conflicts with China. US responses must be credible reactions to provocations if they are to be effective deterrents, but these asymmetries call into question US credibility. In most potential conflicts over Taiwan or in the Near Seas, China’s leaders and its people would have a much larger stake in their outcome than the leaders and people of the United States.20 And if China doubts US resolve in these potential conflicts, it will be more likely to use force. Consequently, the United States must carefully match its doctrine and capabilities to the types of incursions it expects to encounter in the region. Just as the threat to use nuclear weapons early in a limited conflict lacks credibility, the threat to launch missile strikes on the Chinese mainland in response to a limited armed conflict over the Senkaku Islands is also not credible. If the United States lacks the capabilities to respond proportionally to low-level Chinese incursions, China may be more likely to challenge US resolve. And a challenge would present US leaders with an undesirable choice: ceding the issue in question to the Chinese or escalating the conflict. Tailored capabilities prevent these undesirable scenarios by providing the United States with a set of credible responses.21

The counterplan is the best policy option—solves conflict


Brendan Cooley is a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). And James Scouras is a national security studies fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). This research was completed under the auspices of JHU/APL’s internal research program A CONVENTIONAL FLEXIBLE RESPONSE STRATEGY FOR THE WESTERN PACIFIC, National Security Perspective, Johns Hopkins University 2015, http://www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/publications/pdf/AConventionalFlexibleResponseStrategyfortheWesternPacific.pdf, /Kent Denver-MB

Conclusion: Reconciling Grand Strategy with Operational Imperatives The grand strategic problem posed by China’s rapid rise merits the development of a true grand strategy— one that balances the risks of Chinese aggression against the potential for mutual economic gain and also balances the need to deter aggression and coercion against the need to shape political outcomes. We applied a top-down approach to this problem, first recognizing that the future of US–Chinese relations is largely unpredictable but that we can still imagine potential futures. Because of the mix of combative and cooperative elements of this relationship, the spectrum of potential outcomes is broad. Rather than simply preparing for the worst-case scenario, US military strategy should be adaptable to each of these scenarios and, when possible, refrain from actions that preclude cooperation. The inability of the US defense establishment to effectively communicate the AirSea Battle Concept’s place in a larger US defense strategy could encourage an arms race detrimental to US interests or serve to preclude mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Additionally, AirSea Battle’s emergence reflects a focus on capabilities designed to fight high-level conflict that neglects consideration and development of lower-order capabilities that would provide the United States with a stronger deterrent and escalation control. We advocate a conventional flexible response strategy that would supplement AirSea Battle capabilities with lower-order capabilities. This shift would provide a scalable response to US decision makers and enhance peacetime and in-crisis stability. Simultaneously, by demonstrating that the United States is not solely concerned with preparing for the worst outcomes in US–Chinese relations, such a strategy—articulated well—would not unnecessarily undermine the prospects for a cooperative future. Our futures paradigm and the strategic approach derived from it emphasize the need for balance in setting US policy for the Western Pacific and for directing military technological investment. Striking this balance in military strategy will allow the United States to better shape political outcomes in an uncertain world while still preparing it to fight and deter the worst of foreseeable conflicts.


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The counterplan solves China war comparatively better and avoids the appeasement disad


Newsham 2014 (Grant Newsham, Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, 9-8-2014, China, America and the "Appeasement" Question," National Interest, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/china-america-the-appeasement-question-11226, Accessed: 5-27-2016, /Kent Denver-MB)

Some revisionist historians argue that Neville Chamberlain’s 1930’s era appeasement was in fact a wise stratagem to buy time to rearm. This overlooks that even as late as 1939 when Hitler seized all of Czechoslovakia, the Western democracies still had the military advantage. One can appease oneself into a corner. And the beneficiary of the appeasement usually strengthens to the point it is too hard to restrain without great sacrifice. One worries that the Chinese seizure of Philippine territory at Scarborough Shoal in 2012 – and the US Government’s unwillingness to even verbally challenge the PRC - might turn out to be this generation’s “Rhineland”. Had the West resisted Hitler in 1936 when he made this first major demand, there would have been no World War II, no Holocaust, and no Cold War. Our choice about how to deal with the PRC is not simply between either appeasement or treating China as an enemy. Our policy must accommodate options ranging from engagement to forceful confrontation. Who would not be delighted with a China that stopped threatening its neighbors and followed the civilized world’s rules? While ensuring we and our allies have a resolute defense – both in terms of military capability and the willingness to employ it – it is important to maintain ties and dialogue with the PRC and to provide encouragement and support when it shows clear signs of transforming to a freer, less repressive society. We should constantly stress that China is welcome as a key player in the international order – but only under certain conditions. The US and other democratic nations have not done enough to require China to adhere to established standards of behavior in exchange for the benefits of joining the global system that has allowed the PRC to prosper. Human nature and history are a useful guide to where appeasement (by whatever name) leads. And they also show that a strong defense and resolutely standing up for one’s principles is more likely to preserve peace.


It preserves deterrence and assurance—avoids the link to the disad


Brendan Cooley is a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). And James Scouras is a national security studies fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). This research was completed under the auspices of JHU/APL’s internal research program A CONVENTIONAL FLEXIBLE RESPONSE STRATEGY FOR THE WESTERN PACIFIC, National Security Perspective, Johns Hopkins University 2015, http://www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/publications/pdf/AConventionalFlexibleResponseStrategyfortheWesternPacific.pdf, /Kent Denver-MB

Low-Intensity Operations Low-intensity operations enhance deterrence by providing the capabilities necessary to symmetrically respond to small incursions, particularly those in contested waters. The United States needs a way to respond to potentially violent naval skirmishes in the Near Seas between the PLAN and the navies of Japan and the Philippines. US credibility rests on the defense of these allies, and territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea are flashpoints that have ignited in the past. Although neither side has a large enough interest in the islands to intentionally induce a war, smaller conflicts over the islands, particularly in a tense, geopolitical environment, could serve as a spark leading to unintended escalation.45 The United States might be called on to fulfill its treaty obligations to Japan and the Philippines in the aftermath of a low-intensity territorial conflict. In this case, US actions against China must be symmetric but would satisfy allies’ calls for support. The US military should thus develop capabilities to disable, disrupt, and confuse PLAN assets. These capabilities could then be deployed in hypothetical standoffs over Near Seas island chains to achieve limited objectives while controlling the potential for escalation. One such example could include an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) launching a device designed to disable the propeller of a PLAN vessel. The most important advantage of the conventional flexible response strategy is its shaping impact. Taken together, these capabilities are more defensive and thus less threatening to China than current US defense posture and plans for the region, which are unclear and thus breed suspicion. They preserve deterrence while making it less likely that the United States and China begin to slide into our combative futures.


The Counterplan is necessary to maintain US supremacy


Tellis ‘14 (Ashley J. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues, “Balancing Without Containment: An American Strategy for Managing China,” http://carnegieendowment.org/files/balancing_without_containment.pdf, MT)

This transition will not occur automatically if China’s GNP one day exceeds that of the United States. Rather, the threat of supersession will be more gradual as continuing Chinese economic growth—at levels superior to the expansion occurring in the United States— steadily enables Beijing to acquire all the other accoutrements that make for comprehensive national power. On current trends, China will consistently accumulate these capabilities over the next two decades. It certainly aims to do so, at the latest, by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the date by which Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared China’s intention to become a fully developed nation. Acquiring the appropriate foundations of power will position China to achieve, first, strategic equivalence with the United States, thus transforming the international system into a meaningfully bipolar order. Then, depending on Beijing’s own fortunes, China may possibly surpass Washington as the center of gravity in international politics. Irrespective of which outcome occurs—or when—either eventuality would by definition signal the demise of the primacy that the United States has enjoyed since the end of the Second World War. Even if during this process a power transition in the strict vocabulary of realist international relations theory is avoided—a possibility because China’s per capita income will lag behind that of the United States for a long time even if it acquires the world’s largest GNP—Beijing’s capacity to challenge Washington’s interests in multiple arenas, ranging from geopolitics to trade and from advancing human rights to protecting the commons, will only increase as its power expands. In other words, China will demonstrate how a rival can, as Thomas J. Christensen phrased it, “[pose] problems without catching up.”8 As Avery Goldstein has persuasively argued, these hazards could materialize rather quickly because China is currently pursuing provocative policies on territorial disputes over islands in the East and South China Seas.9 That these disputes, which a former U.S. official described as involving “uninhabited and uninhabitable rocks,”10 do not appear prima facie to implicate a systemic crisis should not be reassuring to the United States because every serious contestation that occurs in future Sino-American relations will materialize against the backdrop of a possible power transition so long as China’s growth rates—even when diminishing—continue to exceed those of the United States. This dynamic, as William R. Thompson has pointed out, can produce extended “crisis slides” in which even “relatively trivial incidents or a string of seemingly minor crises” may suffice to escalate what was up to that point a precarious structural transformation into full-fledged geopolitical polarization and major war.11 Since the relative disparity in Sino-American economic performance is likely to persist for quite some time, even trifling quarrels will push bilateral ties ever more concertedly in the direction of greater abrasion as accumulating Chinese power further constrains U.S. freedom of action.

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The counterplan and the plan are mutually exclusive


Aaron L. Friedberg is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Survival vol 57 no 3 June/July 2015, http://www.ou.edu/uschina/texts/Friedberg.2015.Survival.US_China_Strat.pdf, /Kent Denver-MB

Moving one significant step further along the spectrum of strategic alternatives brings us finally to a policy of pure containment. Adherents of the so-called ‘offensive realist’ school of international relations envision the Sino-American relationship as a zero-sum struggle for power and influence. If China’s power continues to grow, it will be driven to seek to displace the United States as the leader, not only in Asia but on the global stage. The antagonism between the two nations is therefore profound and absolute; it cannot be ameliorated by supple diplomacy or a change in the character of the Chinese regime, and it is very likely to lead eventually to conflict. Under the circumstances, writes John Mearsheimer, ‘the optimal strategy for dealing with a rising China is containment’. The central feature of this approach would be an American-led effort to bring ‘as many of China’s neighbors as possible’ into ‘an alliance structure along the lines of NATO’, and to oppose Chinese efforts to project its power into distant regions, including the Persian Gulf and the Western Hemisphere.37 As to other measures that might accompany this programme of alliance building, Mearsheimer appears ambivalent. He acknowledges that ‘if the United States were to sever its military ties with Taiwan or fail to defend it in a crisis with China’, it would send a signal of weakness to its other friends and allies in Asia. That said, because the island is more important to China than it is to the US, and because he believes that it will soon be indefensible in the face of growing Chinese power, Mearsheimer suggests that Washington ‘will eventually conclude that it makes good strategic sense to abandon Taiwan and allow China to coerce it into accepting unification’.38 As regards economic policy, in 2001 Mearsheimer argued that the United States should ‘reverse course and do what it can to slow the rise of China’.39 More recently, he has taken the view that doing this is infeasible because ‘there is no practical way of slowing the Chinese economy without also damaging the American economy’. Nevertheless, having doffed his cap to the conventional wisdom on this topic, Mearsheimer reverts to his previous position, asserting that ‘the United States has a profound interest in seeing Chinese economic growth slow considerably in the years ahead. That outcome might not be good for American prosperity … but it would be good for American security, which is what matters most.’40 A full-blown containment strategy would not shrink from measures designed to impede Chinese economic growth. Following the model of the Cold War, it would also call for restricting China’s access to critical technologies and putting pressure on its domestic regime through information and political warfare designed to challenge its legitimacy, and by supporting dissidents, human-rights advocates and perhaps even violent separatist groups. In a notable departure from the mixed approach that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War, a containment strategy would effectively abandon engagement and any hope of ‘taming’ China, and would seek instead to hasten its transformation.

China will be revisionist—only balancing and deterrence solves conflict—the will pocket the engagement of the plan and perm to act more aggressively


Aaron L. Friedberg is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Survival vol 57 no 3 June/July 2015, http://www.ou.edu/uschina/texts/Friedberg.2015.Survival.US_China_Strat.pdf, /Kent Denver-MB

The case for better balancing The six strategies discussed here reflect differing assumptions about the sources of Chinese conduct and the likely impact of US behaviour upon it, as well as on the actions of other Asian nations. The first three options rest on what appear increasingly to be overly optimistic assessments of the likely extent of the ambitions of the current Communist regime and the degree to which it can be placated or appeased. As regards ‘enhanced engagement’, the notion that the regime wants nothing more than to be accepted as a full-fledged member of the prevailing American-led order does not comport well with the evidence of recent Chinese behaviour; it also reflects a certain lack of imagination and historical perspective. Rising powers typically want to change things for reasons of pride and prestige, as well as rational material calculation. Their leaders believe that prevailing structures, put into place when they were relatively weak, are inherently unfair and disadvantageous. But they also chafe against having to accept rules and roles that were designed by others; they want to make their own mark and to receive the deference to which they believe themselves entitled.41 In intensifying its claims to offshore waters and resources, Beijing has already made clear its desire to alter certain aspects of the status quo in Asia. The fact that it has not yet put forward a full-fledged alternative vision for global order is hardly surprising, and should not be mistaken for acceptance of the one that currently exists. The growth of China’s power has been so rapid in recent years that the nation’s strategists have only just begun to lift their eyes from their immediate neighbourhood and to think about how they might like the wider world to look someday.42 Instead of allowing themselves simply to be absorbed and transformed by the existing global system, as optimistic Western observers believe, China’s leaders seem to have chosen to play within its rules for the time being, exploiting them to their advantage and pushing for marginal modifications wherever they can, while continuing to accumulate the wealth and power that will be needed to implement more far-reaching changes. Meanwhile, in its own neighbourhood, Beijing is already seeking to establish alternative structures, including regional trade agreements and new political mechanisms that serve its interests and enhance its influence, while marginalising the United States. An American strategy that continues to bank on the transformative potential of engagement may yet bear fruit, but only if it is accompanied by a programme of balancing sufficiently vigorous to defend the existing order and to compel China to continue to operate within its boundaries. The claim that the United States needs to find ways to reassure China reflects a questionable reading of the dynamics of the current strategic competition, as well as what appears to be an overly benign interpretation of Beijing’s motivations and intentions. While it may be true that China’s leaders see their ongoing military build-up as in some sense ‘defensive’, this does not make it any less threatening to their neighbours or to the interests of the United States. Proposals for restraint rest on the belief that the United States and China are on the verge of an ‘arms race’. In fact, a competition is already well under way. As during the Cold War, the mechanical ‘action–reaction’ image grossly oversimplifies the character of the interactions between the two sides and points towards prescriptions that are likely to be unhelpful, and possibly dangerous. China’s leaders feel constrained and potentially threatened, not by any particular US weapons programme or operational concept, but by the presence of its forward-deployed forces, the persistence of its alliances and its continuing commitment to intervene on behalf of its friends if they are threatened or attacked. Beijing has had to live with these facts because, for many years, it lacked the means to challenge or change them. Today that is no longer the case. China now has the resources, as well as the resolve, to push back against American power, and it has started to do so. Many of its military-modernisation programmes appear to be aimed precisely at making it more difficult, costly and dangerous for the United States to continue to project power into the Western Pacific. Unfortunately, at this point in the sequence of strategic interaction, China’s leaders are likely to interpret gestures of restraint not as an indication that a more aggressive approach is unnecessary, but rather as a sign that it is succeeding. Advocates of reassurance also likely overestimate the degree to which the leadership of the Communist Party of China is motivated by fear and insecurity about external, as opposed to possible internal, threats. The current cycle of Chinese ‘assertiveness’ did not begin when the United States was building up its forces in the Western Pacific, but rather when it seemed to be weak, preoccupied and in decline.43 While the initial announcement of the ‘pivot’ gave Beijing pause, the subsequent lack of follow-through has reinforced the view that the United States is constrained, at least for the time being. Despite their protestations about ‘encirclement’, China’s leaders evidently believe that their more assertive stance is succeeding, rather than provoking an effective countervailing response from the United States and its allies.44 Beijing’s decision to push harder on maritime issues in 2009–10 may have been motivated primarily by a perception of American weakness, but it appears also to have reflected a concern that the global economic crisis would have damaging reverberations within China itself. At the onset of the crisis, the Communist regime had reason to fear that falling exports would lead to dramatically slower growth, rising unemployment and possible social unrest. Ratcheting up external tensions may have been seen as one way of deflecting internal frustration and discontent. In the event, the massive stimulus programme unleashed in 2009 helped to stave off the worst effects of the global downturn, but it did nothing to address the structural imbalances in China’s investment- and export-driven model of economic development. After a brief bump in 2010, growth began to slow, and it has now sunk to its lowest level in a quarter-century.45 The prospect that the regime may not be able to deliver on the promise of never-ending increases in prosperity seems to be reinforcing its inclination to use nationalism and international tension to sustain popular support. Given its internal preoccupations, as well as the external ambitions that are driving its behaviour, efforts to reassure Beijing are unlikely to have the desired effect. The belief in Beijing that, whatever its current challenges, China’s relative power will continue to grow while America’s declines does not augur well for attempts to forge a ‘grand bargain’. For as long as they see the tides of history flowing in their favour, China’s leaders are unlikely to accept a spheres-of-influence arrangement based on the current distribution of power, even if it is in some respects an improvement on the status quo. In the past, Beijing had little choice but to accept America’s dominant regional presence and its alliances, albeit with the caveat that they were ‘relics of the Cold War’. Why should it ratify their existence now, when it has more means at its disposal than ever before with which to try and weaken them, and when (especially insofar as Japan is concerned) they no longer seem Growth began to slow to be acting as a restraint on the military programmes of other regional powers? The idea that China’s leaders believe they can subsist comfortably as a continental power, leaving control of the maritime domain to the United States, also appears increasingly implausible and at odds with the facts. Even if China succeeds in ‘marching West’, building transport and communication links through Central and South Asia, it will continue to be heavily reliant on seaborne imports of energy, food and raw materials.46 The presence of US forces and bases around China’s maritime periphery, and its leadership of a maritime coalition that extends from Northeast Asia into the Indian Ocean, will likely be perceived as posing an even greater threat in the future than it does today. Attempting to implement a spheres-of-influence strategy would also carry significant risks. In addition to the harmful implications for its people, ‘backing away’ from Taiwan could unleash a cascade of damaging consequences for the United States. Finally succeeding in its decades-long campaign to ‘reunify’ with Taiwan seems more likely to feed Beijing’s appetite for further gains than to satisfy it. Aside from its impact on China’s intentions, gaining access to the island would increase its capabilities, enhancing its ability to project power into the Western Pacific and potentially threatening the sea lines of communication of Japan and South Korea.47 Regardless of the way in which it was framed, a decision to abandon its ambiguous but long-standing commitment to Taiwan would inevitably raise doubts in the minds of America’s other friends and allies. If they conclude that continued balancing is no longer a viable option, some may choose instead to bandwagon with China. An explicit American shift towards ‘offshore balancing’ would greatly exacerbate these risks. While it is possible that the prospect of being forced to provide for their own security would shock at least some current US allies into more vigorous defence programmes, it would likely demoralise others, creating new opportunities for Beijing to pursue divide-and-conquer strategems. The advocates of this approach assume that, even if they cannot balance China alone, in the absence of full US support other Asian countries will be impelled to cooperate more closely with one another. Again, this may be easier in theory than it turns out to be in practice. Some of the states that would have to join in a countervailing coalition (most notably Japan and South Korea) have long histories of suspicion and animosity. Others (such as Japan and India) do not, but they also have little experience of close strategic cooperation of the kind that would be needed to counter a fastgrowing challenge.

The permutation is seen as appeasement and fails


Jackson ’15 (Van Jackson is an Associate Professor in the College of Security Studies at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI-APCSS) in Honolulu “The Myth of a US-China Grand Bargain” August 06, 2015 http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/the-myth-of-a-us-china-grand-bargain/, MT)

A number of scholars have tried to advance the well-intentioned proposal that U.S. concessions to China’s many concerns will somehow facilitate a peaceful order in Asia. While I agree with the sentiment and recognize that there are areas of international life where Sino-U.S. cooperation is essential, the idea that U.S. accommodation of China will produce a peaceful and stable order in Asia isn’t just unrealistic; it’s irresponsible. Though it wasn’t the first, Hugh White’s China Choice was an early and pointed call for the United States to form a “G-2” with China in which the two countries would work together to set the terms of the regional order, requiring that the United States accommodate the demands of a rising China. Jim Steinberg’s and Michael O’Hanlon’s Strategic Reassurance and Resolve reiterates many of White’s points, but with better theoretical grounding. Lyle Goldstein’s Meeting China Halfway argues far more persuasively than many in this lineage, and some of his specific recommendations merit serious consideration—not least because they would incur no great cost to try. But there are equally serious reasons to doubt the transformative ambitions attached to U.S. concessions. The latest salvo in this “America must accommodate China” literature hails from an accomplished political scientist at George Washington University, Charles Glaser, writing in the most recent issue of International Security. Glaser makes the sweeping and somewhat unhelpful claim that military competition is risky and therefore undesirable. As an alternative he suggests that if only the United States would abandon commitments to Taiwan, China would be willing to resolve its territorial disputes in the East and South China Sea, thereby sidestepping military competition. Prior to around 2008, proposals for U.S. accommodation of a rising China made much more sense, or at least could be taken more seriously. But times have changed. China’s ambitions have changed. And so has its foreign policy behavior. These contextual changes matter for whether and when accommodation can have the desired effect. More to the point though, there are a number of problems with the grand bargain line of argumentation. First, any proposal for a Sino-U.S. solution to regional problems is by definition taking a great power view of Asia that marginalizes the agency and strategic relevance of U.S. allies and the region’s middle powers. In the brief period (five to ten years ago) when a G-2 concept was taken semi-seriously in Washington, allies—especially South Korea and Japan—chafed. The region’s middle powers would be unlikely to simply follow the joint dictates of China and the United States without being part of it, and attempting a G-2 could ironically create a more fragmented order as a result. Including others, at any rate, is antithetical to the concept of a Sino-U.S. G-2 arrangement. As early as the 1960s U.S. officials tried to rely on China to deal with regional issues spanning from North Korea to Vietnam. It was almost always to no avail. Second, and as I’ve written about extensively elsewhere, Asia is rife with security concerns that have nothing to do with China directly, so any understanding reached with China would leave unresolved many of the region’s latent sources of potential conflict. Sino-U.S. grand bargain proponents forget that China and the United States only have real conflicts of interest by proxy. Every conceivable conflict scenario involves China and some other Asian state—Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Korea. The United States only becomes part of the picture because of a commitment to regional order, including its alliance network. Third, as its recent stock market crash makes all too obvious, China remains a “fragile superpower,” to quote Susan Shirk. Many factors in its domestic political situation—corruption, growing wealth disparities, and many forms of civil challenges to government legitimacy—make it an unpredictable player. Nor is China showing meaningful signs of political liberalization. There’s so much brewing underneath the surface in China that dealing with China today as if it were a hegemon tomorrow assumes too much, and grants China too much credit too soon. Fourth, there’s a defunct theory that’s been smuggled into arguments about changing Chinese behavior through U.S. accommodation. Political scientists call it “neofunctionalism,” a term rarely used these days, even though its spirit is pervasive in grand bargain arguments. Neofunctionalism came about in the 1950s as a failed way to account for and push for European integration.The basic idea involved an assumption that low level and innocuous types of cooperation would “spillover” into still more and better quality cooperation. Comity among nations, it was thought, would be the eventual outcome of mundane socioeconomic interactions. But by the 1970s, the theory had become largely discredited. Nevertheless, echoes of neofunctionalism remain in contemporary claims that properly calibrated restraint, accommodation, or appeasement can have a transformative effect on a relationship. Ironically, these arguments tend to come from scholars, not policymakers. The idea that the United States can induce China into resolving its East and South China Sea disputes by “giving” it Taiwan reflects precisely this type of expectation, as do calls for the United States to make small concessions to China in hopes that it will enable a more stable situation.

The perception of the perm hurts the perception of the U.S.


Krauthammer ‘16 (Charles Krauthammer “Capitulation by Obama a signal to foes, allies” January 8, 2016 http://archive.heraldnet.com/article/20160108/OPINION04/160109282, MT)

For the United States, that would be the greatest geopolitical setback since China fell to communism in 1949. Yet Obama seems oblivious. Worse, he appears inert in the face of the three great challenges to the post-Cold War American order. Iran is only the most glaring. China is challenging the status quo in the South China Sea, just last week landing its first aircraft on an artificial island hundreds of miles beyond the Chinese coast. We deny China's claim and declare these to be international waters, yet last month we meekly apologized when a B-52 overflew one of the islands. We said it was inadvertent. The world sees and takes note. As it does our response to the other great U.S. adversary — Russia. What's happened to Obama's vaunted “isolation” of Russia for its annexation of Crimea and assault on the post-Cold War European settlement? Gone. Evaporated. Kerry plays lapdog to Sergei Lavrov. Obama meets openly with Vladimir Putin in Turkey, then in Paris. And is now practically begging him to join our side in Syria. There is no price for defying Pax Americana — not even trivial sanctions on Iranian missile-enablers. Our enemies know it. Our allies see it — and sense they're on their own, and may not survive.


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