Asan Plenum


Panel: US Pivot to Asia (Regency Room)
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 / 12:30-13:45
Talking Points for: Shen Dingli, Associate Dean, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University Studies

US pivot is understandable, for its professed purpose of rebalancing. But it has to be designed and geared carefully, sticking strictly to a pure defensive aim. Otherwise, it could be counterproductive. First, rebalancing is constant phenomenon. Whenever there is some imbalance, the nature tends to rebalance it till another imbalance would emerge. The world used to have a US-Soviet nuclear balance but it has been broken, leading an unchecked American preemption on Iraq, which hurts both Baghdad and Washington, as well as the entire world. The current US sequestration is a balancing to such imbalance.

Second, the rise of emerging economies is a rebalancing to America’s superpower status, though softer than the Soviet nuclear competence. Then, with their economic ascendance, inevitably their defense and political power will expand, which competes with the present share of US global power, and could give reason to American counter-balancing. Especially the White House views China’s naval expansion and more firm defense of its maritime sovereign rights as excessive, incompatible with contemporary international law. But China considers such rights shall be unchallenged as they dated back from 1982 UNCLOS. Furthermore, the US shall observe international law by not meddling Taiwan affairs. If such mutual rebalancing is not communicated and interacted well, the US pivot could well end with spiral mutual distrust and fail its initial envisioning.