The pivot to Asia failed. Underwriting it were two distinct features, alliance maintenance and TPP (trans pacific partnership). Both failed. Diplomatically, team Obama’s posture throughout the Pacific resembles Syria in that diplomacy fails when it isn’t backed up by credible deterrents. Reassuring regional allies of your staying power meant coalescing Pacific nation states in the aggregate, that the U.S. Navy would prevail in an open confrontation with Beijing in the South China Sea. As of this writing, State has lost out to Navy, but we failed in making TPP a litmus test of American credibility. We may get in right post 2016 but the damage is done.
China’s geopolitical initiative of “One Belt, One Road” seeks to build on having China’s currency become a reserve asset, permitting Beijing fiscal and monetary privileges that only Atlantic nation states have preserved. By funding infrastructure projects tying the Eurasian landmass closer to China by land and sea with linchpin support for east African and Arabian littoral regions, China hopes to preserve a predominance of power favorable to the Han.
State led investments cannot suture nor replace what Beijing struggles to achieve, namely the cultural, diplomatic and political gravitas, the alchemy of benevolent power characteristic of American hegemony. Beijing is far less adept abroad, especially under adverse conditions. These blue navy geo-strategic conditions are cultural, they remain dependent derivatives of our Judaeo-Christian framework and cannot be replicated without having the host nation state identify with the moral foundation supporting our political framework.
What China seeks is fealty throughout the Pacific interior and periphery. Beijing seeks to make it very difficult for Asian nations who draw upon American sovereignty. It has yet to play out how adroit Beijing remains in its diplomacy toward smaller nation states throughout the Pacific.
Currently, the Han masters in Beijing continue to demonstrate blinding hubris in its fielding on One Belt-One Road initiative, downplaying the historical agency of smaller nations while undermining its own efforts by reflexively pursuing policy through aggressive behavior.
The weaknesses of the Han masters in Beijing are legion. As they begin to forcibly build an ever growing concentric circle of influence throughout the Pacific, they may want to study up on Clausewitz, who admonished those forging power in a vacuum.