Southeast Asian Security in the New Millennium

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Southeast Asian Security in the New Millennium

Edited by Richard J. Ellings and Sheldon W. Simon
M. E. Sharpe, 1996
234 pp. $62.95
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These essays are timely and of uniformly high quality. "China's Challenge to Asia-Pacific Regional Stability" by Colonel Karl Eikenberry argues that China's power and motivation for using force have been exaggerated, that the internal situation is likely to absorb the central leadership's attention for some time, and that the country has more to gain by continuing to participate in normal international economic and political affairs than by risking military adventures. "Japan's Emerging Strategy in Asia" by Kenneth Pyle discusses Japan's postwar thinking, beginning with the Yoshida Doctrine and concluding that participation in multilateral efforts such as the Persian Gulf War and the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cambodia have begun to erode Japan's isolationism. The brief concluding essay, based on interviews in the region with foreign policy and security specialists, ought to be disturbing to the incoming Clinton team. There has been a substantial decline in U.S. credibility because of the closing of the Philippine bases; the election of a Vietnam War-generation president for whom Asia appears of tertiary interest; the downsizing of the U.S. military; the closing of consulates, U.S. Information Service posts, and Agency for International Development missions; the reduction in the numbers of Foreign Service officers; and the dismissal of local staff. The United States is viewed as a power in retreat.