Publication:
HOW HAS THE "AMERICA FIRST" POLICY AFFECTED THE BALANCE OF POWER IN EAST ASIA?

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Authors
Hayes, Billy
Subjects
People's Republic of China
South Korea
Japan
Taiwan
balance of power
America First
Advisors
Twomey, Christopher P.
Date of Issue
2020-06
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis examines the implications of President Trump's "America First" foreign policy (AFP) on the balance of power as it relates to America's hub-and-spoke alliance system in East Asia. Before the AFP, President Trump often questioned the relevancy of America's alliances with South Korea and Japan, accusing each of not paying their fair share for American extended deterrence. The president pressured both allies to increase their burden sharing and enhance their capabilities to defend themselves. Since the AFP, South Korea has doubled down on its goal to reduce dependency on the U.S. alliance by expediting the transfer of wartime operational control of its forces from the United States. Additionally, the policy demands that South Korea shoulders the full cost to maintain the alliance. The AFP calls on Japan to take a more assertive leadership role in regional security, pushing on an open door that allows Japan to expand its interpretation of collective defense. Taiwan has benefited greatly from the AFP, but it also received pressure similar to America's treaty allies. The strategically ambiguous partner has now tied its defense spending to keep pace with its growing economy. This allowed Taiwan to purchase an advanced fighter from the United States that will increase parity with Chinese threats while allowing for enhanced interoperability with the U.S. military in the event of a crisis.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Organization
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NPS Report Number
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. distribution is unlimited
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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