The central pillar of America’s predominance in world affairs in the past seven decades is the Unites States’ ability to maintain and lead a system of alliances. In the Asia-Pacific region, the US-led alliance centered on the Washington-Tokyo-Seoul axis of democracies has been a credible guarantee of peace and stability. With China’s rise as a militarized revisionist state bent on changing the status quo, the US-led alliance is facing its gravest challenge since its formation. Yet America’s response to the challenge has been anemic and indolent, primarily as a misguided China policy that puts the premium on engagement without confrontation, a policy that has split the unity of the alliance and emboldened China.
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