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Hedging, alliance and dynamic developments

Comments on Darren J. Lim, ANU and Zack Cooper "Are East Asian states really hedging between the US and China?" 1/02/2016

The main argument or conclusion in this is likely to depend on the relative dynamic development of China and the US in terms of political, economic and military strengths. The argument may be currently valid, but can be problematic if the growth of China’s military strengths follows the same path of its economic development of the last three decades, particularly the last two decades.

Just as few had imagined or foreseen the rise of China economically three decades ago, it is difficult to predict what China’s military strengths will be in two to three decades into the future.

Another is whether China will maintain its current and long held policy of non alignment. Arguably, China could have options in that respect.

Should China, either alone or with reliable partners, have stronger or at least the same military strengths, the argument in this post could be significantly discounted.

Some rational choice now could be changed when the circumstances and assumptions change.

Further, the US, though strongly committed to its alliance partners now, at least apparently, will also need to calculate the costs of a direct war against a rising power.

During the cold war, the threat of mutual destruction made the US and the former Soviet avoid direct war. Arguably, the US may have had superiority in conventional weapons. The Soviet invaded Afghanistan, though eventually it had to withdrawal or it was defeated there.

The point is that few countries will go to war without considering the costs it would incur, particularly it is to fight for a partner country.

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