A major new report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has laid out detailed plans for the Pentagon’s preparations for war in Asia. The report, entitled “Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025: Capabilities, Presence, and Partnerships,” examines the range of threats to US dominance in Asia, but there is no doubt that its chief preoccupation and target is China.
The CSIS document, released last week, has a semi-official status. It was commissioned by the US Department of Defence at the instigation of Congress under the 2015 National Defence Authorisation Act. The report is a follow-up to a similar CSIS study conducted for the Pentagon in 2012 following President Obama’s formal announcement of the “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia in November 2011.
Since 2012, last week’s report declares, “the international security environment has become significantly more complicated. China has accelerated the frequency of its coercive activities and the pace of its island building in the East and South China Seas.” After noting that US military interventions in Eastern Europe against Russia and in the Middle East have “competed with the Asia Pacific for attention and resources,” it stresses the importance of countering China. “Militarily, the Pacific Command has fully embraced the rebalance, but the [Chinese] anti-access challenge is worsening and China’s tolerance for risk has exceeded most expectations,” it states.