Understanding the america's shift to the east using the foreign policy decision model

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  • 1.     UNDERSTANDING AMERICA’S SHIFT TO THE EAST USING THE FOREIGN POLICY DECISION MODEL Joshua Peterson Student# 4319065 IRLS 502 – International Political Systems Dr. Andrew Bosworth American Military University - October 15, 2012
  • 2. 2     UNDERSTANDING AMERICA’S SHIFT TO THE EAST USING THE FOREIGN POLICY DECISION MODEL The Foreign Policy Decision Making Model is a structural framework that analysts andpolicymakers often use to guide them in formalizing and understanding the decision-makingprocess. This model assists policymakers in synthesizing a multitude of factors that mayinfluence foreign policy. The book, World Politics: Trends and Transformations, describes theforeign policy decision making framework as three components. The first component includes that the policymaker ponders several questions, which mayinclude: What are the current global conditions and the problem? What is happening in worldpolitics and does it provide the setting for international decision making? 1 Once the event(s)have been determined, policy responses will be formulated based on state objectives andpotential outcomes to each response. The second component consists of leaders that will consider internal characteristics of thestate. The internal characteristics of the state are "defined by their own attributes, which also actto determine the actor’s foreign policy choices." 2 The leader must ask the following questions:What is the populaces view of the adversary? What actions have been taken by the adversary tosupport or weaken the states position? What financial resources are available to implement apossible strategy or strategies? Are there any roadblocks from a legal or organizationalperspective that would prevent the actor to engage in a foreign policy decision? The policymaker will determine goal selections based on the events. The third component of the decision making model suggests that the leader holds a set of____________________1. Kegley, Charles W. and Shannon L. Blanton. World Politics: Trends and Transformations,2011-2012 Update Edition, 13th Edition. Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition, 2011.2. Ibid, 4907-4908.
  • 3. 3    strong personal characteristics. The strong personal characteristics of the leader include moralvalues, a solid personal approach to relationship building, and the ability to deal with conflict.The leader needs these strong characteristics in order to determine the alternatives to the event. This research paper will analyze the Obama Administration’s stated "pivot" towards EastAsia as it continues to wind down operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States (U.S.)officials have commented that a shift in strategy is due to the interest of re-confirming U.S.economic and security interests to U.S. partners in the region. According to Andrew Nathan andAndrew Scobell in a recent article in Foreign Affairs magazine, the Chinese rebuttal to thatstatement is that the "United States cannot be satisfied with the existence of a powerful China"and that "as China rises, the United States will resist.” 3 The current global considerations that the United States policymakers must consider arethe rising economic and military power of China. The U.S. must consider a diminishingdominance in the North and South Pacific as China assumes a more muscular posture against theU.S. allies in the region; as well as attempting to impose self-serving economic and foreignpolicy interests in the region. Internally, leaders must consider the economic impact of acompeting economic powerhouse and how this would affect the quality of life of thecitizenry. China has long been accused of unfair trade practices that include currencymanipulation, product dumping, and unfair state subsidies to strategically importantindustries. In addition, corporate espionage has become a significant threat to the U.S. globalcompetitive advantage. Some critics have stated that these factors have translated to a weakenedU.S. manufacturing base and a loss of high paying American manufacturing jobs.___________________3. Nathan, Andrew J. and Andrew Scobell. “How China Sees America,” Foreign Affairs 91 September/October (2012): 32-47.
  • 4. 4     The Obama Administration is seen as having two grand strategies. The first strategy is oneof "multilateral retrenchment designed to curtail the United States overseas commitments." 4 Thesecond strategy is focused on asserting "influence and ideals across the globe when challengedby other countries, reassuring allies and signaling resolve to rivals." 5 When approaching thesetwo ideals, which appear on the surface to be diametrically opposed, the analyst must take in toconsideration these two strategies of "Obama Doctrine" when explaining the U.S. focus on theshift to East Asia. The Obama Administration must monitor the balance of power effect, notonly in the region, but also on a global scale while trying to secure a policy strategy that will wina two level game. At a January 2011 meeting between the U.S. President Barack Obama and the ChinesePresident Hu Jintao, both leaders exchanged their obligatory niceties. The "United Statesreiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role inworld affairs. China welcomed the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation that contributes topeace, stability and prosperity in the region." 6 Despite these pleasant verbal exchanges, theUnited States policymakers approach to China is strategically complex. Some hardliners withinthe People’s Republic of China (PRC), and analysts, see the rise of China as re-emergence totheir rightful position in the world. The liberal international relations theorists argue that thecurrent international order is defined by economic and political openness, and that it canaccommodate Chinas rise peacefully. Realist theorists contend that due to Chinas growingstrength, they will__________________________4. Drezner, Daniel W. “Does Obama Have a Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs 90 July/August (2011): 57-68.5. Ibid.6. Kissinger, Henry A. “The Future of U.S. - Chinese Relations,” Foreign Affairs 91 March/April (2012): 44-55.
  • 5. 5    pursue its interests more assertively, which could lead to a hegemonic war between the two greatpowers. These two theories, and the possible outcomes, must be considered when using theForeign Policy Decision Making Model. Current Global Conditions – Economic Considerations The first global reality that U.S. policymakers must face is the rapidly growing Chineseeconomy. The U.S. leaders must consider the global consequences of a rising China and how itwill affect the U.S. and the current economic world order. One of Deng Xiaopings teachingswas that of "tao guano yang hui, or keeping a low profile in international affairs" 7 and is seen asevidence of Chinas peaceful rise. However, opponents see it as "hiding ones capabilities andbiding ones time" until "China has enough material power and confidence to promote its hiddenagenda." 8 China continues to view itself as a growing and developing nation. Statistical datacollected from 1981 to 2005, indicated that the proportion of Chinas population living on lessthan $1/day is estimated to have fallen from 85% to 15%. These numbers show thatapproximately 600 million people were taken out of poverty.” 9 According to Chinese officials,there are still over 400 million people that live on less than $2 per day. In 2011, the countrysincome per capita was $8,500, six times lower than the United States. However, the income percapita growth of China has increased a cumulative 136% over 10 years and over 2,600% sincethe Deng Xioapings "economic revolution".__________________7. Jisi, Wang. “Chinas Search for a Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs 90 March/April (2011): 68-79.8. Ibid.9. Sicular, T. X., B. Yue, B. Gustafsson, and S. Li. “The Urban-Rural Income Gap and Inequality in China.” Review of Income and Wealth 53, 1 (2007): 93-126.
  • 6. 6     On a larger scale, Chinas Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $11.4 trillion in 2011,which makes it the second largest economy in the world behind the United States. The GDPgrowth rates have averaged over 8.0% per annum for the last 10 years. In speculation, if Chinawere to maintain its current growth rates, it is projected to be the largest economy in the worldwithin 10-15 years. This significant growth may embolden China. Some analysts believe that this type ofeconomic heft may leave China attempting to play by their own rules as "the current world orderwas built largely without Chinese participation." 10 This turn of events may well establish theglobal economic status quo. Kissinger has stated, "where the order does not suit Chinesepreferences, Beijing has set up alternative arrangements." 11 It is important for leaders to realizethat China has consistently sought to alter or disrupt the current economic world order byproposing the yuan, as a means to conduct and settle international transactions. For example,during a G-20 summit in November 2008, Chinese president Hu Jiantao "called for a newinternational financial order that is fair, just, inclusive and orderly." 12 His comments were inresponse to Americas role in the global economic collapse of 2008. It is important for the United States to consider Chinas economic position and influencewithin the regional intergovernmental organizations (IGO). The Association of Southeast AsianNations (ASEAN) one of the most visible and influential regional IGOs, has been a forum wherethe United States could represent their interests._________________________10. Kissinger, Henry A. “The Future of U.S. - Chinese Relations,” Foreign Affairs 91 March/April (2012): 44-55.11. Ibid.12. Mallaby, Sebastian. “The Future of the Yuan,” Foreign Affairs 91 (2012): 135-138.
  • 7. 7    "Strategic elites in Asia continue to view the United States and an essential strategic balancer,vital to stability." 13 However, as China wealth and influence becomes stronger within theseorganizations, they will use their power to construct trade and security alliances that would be intheir self-interests. These interests may oppose and/or displace U.S. interests. Current Global Conditions - Military Considerations Policymakers in Washington must implement the rising status of the Peoples LiberationArmy (PLA) into the decision matrix framework. "Although U.S. forces would ultimatelyprevail in a military crisis or conflict, Beijing might be able to impose serious risks and costs onthe U.S. military if the United States concludes that it was necessary to commit air and navalforces to battle with China in defense of Taiwan." 14 According to Brown, et al., the Council onForeign Relations Independent Task Force Report has pointed out that, “the PRC is currentlyengaged in a comprehensive military modernization."15 This power shift is viewed as a threat tothe current Obama Administration for the following reasons: 1) there is a threat to the securityagreement with countries within the region, specifically close U.S. allies, such as, Japan, Taiwanand South Korea and; 2) there is a threat to the effectiveness of the U.S. influence in theregion. However, as Chinas strength and influence has grown, "the United States has bolsteredits own capabilities in the region, enhanced its strategic cooperation with traditional allies, andbuilt new partnerships with other countries that share its concerns, such as India andSingapore.” 16_____________________________________________________13. Feigenbaum, Evan A. and Robert A. Manning. The United States in the New Asia. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Special Report No. 50, 2009.14. Brown, Harold, Joseph W. Prucher and Adam Segal. Chinese Military Power. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2003.15. Ibid, 7.16. Friedberg, Aaron L. “Bucking Beijing,” Foreign Affairs 91 September/October (2012): 48-58.
  • 8. 8     The PLAs modernization plan is two-pronged. It has indicated that China is "developinglimited power projection capabilities to deal with a range of possible conflict scenarios along itsperiphery" and secondly, to "defend Chinese sovereignty and territorial interests and to pose acredible threat to Taiwan in order to influence Taiwans choices about its political future." 17The White House and the Pentagon are particularly focused on what is described as PLAs "anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities." 18 These weapons systems pose a serious threat to theU.S. as "China can target virtually every air base and port in the western Pacific, as well asthreaten to sink enemy surface vessels (including U.S. aircraft carriers) operating hundreds ofmiles off its coasts. "19 Chinese spending on military equipment and modernization has risen significantly overthe past decade. The PLAs military systems acquisition program with Russia has focused onupgrading their air-to-air and air-to-ground systems through the acquisition of advanced jetfighter aircraft and improving their maritime capabilities by acquiring (albeit outdated) aircraftcarrier technology. Cyber and communications technologies may be the most effective and mayact as the greatest deterrence against "hostile actions" within the region by the U.S. "Chineseintrusions into U.S. power grids or other critical infrastructure, especially when evidence is leftbehind, act as a warning that the U.S. homeland may not be immune to attack in the case of aconflict over Taiwan or the South China Sea."20________________________________17. Brown, 8.18. Friedberg, 53.19. Ibid.20. Segal, Adam. “Chinese Computer Games,” Foreign Affairs 91 March/April (2012): 14-20.
  • 9. 9     Internal Characteristics of the State - Internal Perception The second component of the decision framework focuses on internal characteristics andthe internal view of global events or perceptions of global competitors or adversaries. Theseglobal competitors and adversaries include policymakers and citizens in the U.S. who view thatthe economic rise of China is at the expense of U.S. businesses and jobs. Corporate espionage,unfair trade practices, and government subsidies top the long list of grievances by Americanworkers and business owners. The slow loss of Americas manufacturing base has come to the forefront over the lastseveral decades. The U.S. manufacturing firms have slowly atrophied over the decades due totrade agreements, such as, North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However,policymakers and their constituents have been quick to place the blame on China due to therapidity of the transition and restructuring It is believed that "importing inexpensive goodsmanufactured abroad by low-wage laborers, and exporting U.S. capital to finance suchmanufacturing in China and elsewhere, tends to lower the wages of U.S. manufacturing workers,to put competing U.S. plants out of business, and to eliminate U.S. manufacturing jobs. Since2001, more than 2 million U.S. jobs may have been lost due to trade with China." 21 China has openly admitted to "industrial espionage directed at foreign high-techcompanies" because the Chinese government "desperately wants its economy to move up thevalue chain." 22 China has acknowledged that their industrial espionage program is widespreadand extensive.____________________________21. Benjamin Page, Xie Tao, and Andrew J. Nathan, Living with the Dragon: How the American PublicViews the Rise of China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 17.22. Segal, 16.
  • 10. 10    The Chinese have been able to establish access to proprietary information by cyber-attacks or by"simply walking in through the front door by buying into foreign companies or selling themproducts that could give China access to technology and information." 23 The economic accomplishments of China have been impressive over the past fortyyears. Up to this point, the economic relationship has been mutually beneficial. China hasbecome an export machine, exporting $411 billion of manufactured goods to the U.S. from abase of $337 million in 1973. This export machine has brought hundreds of millions of Chineseout of poverty and it has provided Americans with cheap goods. These "cheap Chineseconsumer products saved American consumers $600 billion from 1995 to 2005." 24However, the U.S. has launched several complaints to the World Trade Organization and hasaccused China of dumping cheap exports into the U.S. and the global economy. At the center of this accusation is the claim that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) issubsidizing the businesses that manufacture the products. The reasoning behind the actionscould be two-fold: 1) China wants to ensure they maintain control of particular manufacturingbases by offering cheaper products, that other competitors cannot match, and; 2) China needs tomaintain its growth by continuing to address its remaining poor, and preparing a safety net totake care of an aging population. Internal Characteristics of a Leader Prior to Barack Obama’s election to office, the Administration campaigned for a foreignpolicy approach that focused on retrenchment and repositioning. President Obama wanted tolook less like a hegemonic, imperial power and more like an equal contributor in an increasingly___________________________23. Friedberg, 57.24. Page, 16.
  • 11. 11    multipolar world. President Obama and his advisors knew that the global world order waschanging. Some individuals considered his blanket apology to the world for being an arrogantsuperpower as repugnant. However, President Obama believed that this was necessary toencourage an open, candid dialogue between the growing countries of Brazil, Russia, India, andChina (BRIC), specifically China. However, given the Obama doctrine of retrenchment, it isimportant to have an implementation of policy and actions that keep Chinas ambitions undercontrol. It is important to consider those policies and actions that are related to disputedterritorial claims that would threaten U.S. security agreements with allies in the region. Conclusion The factors identified in this research paper which were part of the Foreign PolicyDecision Making model have provided justification for the Obama Administrations shift to theeast. Policymakers may utilize this decision making model to come to final choice to guide theimplementation of a directed foreign policy. The Foreign Policy Decision Making Modelrecognizes and defines the problem. The problem identified is a rising China and its effects onthe U.S. economic and political influence. In addition, the model determines goal selection. TheObama Administrations goal was to support a strengthening China, but to also limit itsambitions, by allowing some growth, but also keeping China in a box. Lastly, the policymakersidentified alternatives. The administrations alternatives were basic, and supported China’sgrowth, realizing the impending multipolar world order or to proceed in a more combativeapproach. A realist approach would disallow the administration from achieving a win in a two-level game strategy. The last part of the model focused on choice. Policymakers make decisionsbased off of an extensive cost-benefit analysis. The Obama Administration, nor any futureadministration cannot afford a combative, realist approach to China. Economic interdependence
  • 12. 12    would ensure that hostile actions on either side would ensure mutually assured economicdestruction. This fact is why the U.S. strategic shift to the East was a correct choice.
  • 13. 13     BIBLIOGRAPHYBrown, Harold, Joseph W. Prucher and Adam Segal. Chinese Military Power. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2003.Drezner, Daniel W. “Does Obama Have a Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs 90 July/August (2011): 57-68.Feigenbaum, Evan A. and Robert A. Manning. The United States in the New Asia. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Special Report No. 50, 2009.Friedberg, Aaron L. “Bucking Beijing,” Foreign Affairs 91 September/October (2012): 48-58.Jisi, Wang. “Chinas Search for a Grand Strategy,” Foreign Affairs 90 March/April (2011): 68-79.Kegley, Charles W. and Shannon L. Blanton. World Politics: Trends and Transformations, 2011-2012 Update Edition, 13th Edition. Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition, 2011.Kissinger, Henry A. “The Future of U.S. - Chinese Relations,” Foreign Affairs 91 March/April (2012): 44-55.Mallaby, Sebastian. “The Future of the Yuan,” Foreign Affairs 91 (2012): 135-138.Nathan, Andrew J. and Andrew Scobell. “How China Sees America,” Foreign Affairs 91 September/October (2012): 32-47.Page, Benjamin, Xie Tao, and Andrew J. Nathan. Living with the Dragon. How the American Public Views the Rise of China. New York. Columbia University Press, 2010.Segal, Adam. “Chinese Computer Games,” Foreign Affairs 91 March/April (2012): 14-20.Sicular, T. X., B. Yue, B. Gustafsson, and S. Li. “The Urban-Rural Income Gap and Inequality in China.” Review of Income and Wealth 53, 1 (2007): 93-126.