Effective Strategic Communications in Support of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance

  • Colonel Paul T. Brooks

The Asia-Pacific region is the most dynamic and challenging in the world because of its unique blend of economic opportunities, diverse political systems, and broad security challenges. This region includes a set of responsibilities, threats and opportunities for the U.S. unlike any other. This paper describes the U.S. strategy for the Asia Pacific region and how the nation communicates this strategy. It concludes by analyzing how the regional actors are receiving the strategy and suggests possible lessons for the strategic planner. Direct communication activities appear to be resourced adequately; however, financial assistance and support programs still appear to reflect pre-rebalance priorities. Regional reactions to the rebalance suggest a number of points: first, the U.S. must avoid activities that force partners to choose between the U.S. and China; second, the U.S. is no longer the most important economy in the region; third, nations are evaluating the rebalance within the context of the U.S. fiscal situation; finally, China’s “containment narrative” is reinforced by U.S. actions to deepen relations with treaty allies.