East Asia in Crisis: The Security Implications of the Collapse of Economic Institutions

  • February 01, 1999
  • Dr Stephen J Blank

The challenges to the United States and to its armed forces are numerous and highly significant. Moreover, we must begin to address them now even if other institutions cannot or will not do so with us. Those crises comprise ASEAN's decline as a meaningful security provider, Russia's collapse, Japan's stagnation, South Korea's unresolved democratic transition in economics and politics, Seoul's and Tokyo's inability or growing reluctance to support the 1994 nuclear accord with North Korea, the danger of an unforeseeable crisis emerging in North Korea, and most of all the rise of China with nobody but the United States to counter or balance it. The challenge confronting the United States and its allies involves nothing less then the creation of a new, legitimate order in Asia. That order must be shaped and created very much by the leadership of the United States in all fields of national power: diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, finance, defense, and culture. But doing so requires a strong U.S. leadership that will tie all these elements of power together in a comprehensive, politically persuasive vision, and the fortitude to implement them at home and abroad.