A Fundamental Geostrategic Shift?
Consequences of US rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific region for regional and global security policy
International relations scholars and analysts alike have been discussing the coming of an Asian Century for decades, predicting a shift of the centre of gravity from Transatlantic to Asia-Pacific. Until
last year, however, the notion remained contested, despite the new economic dynamics unfolding in the Asia-Pacific region at the turn of the twenty-first century.
With last year’s strategy statements from US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, there is a renewed and pressing sense of a fundamental strategic shift in international relations and global governance. And while in earlier debates the emphasis was often put on economic dynamics, this latest adjustment of US policy clearly demonstrates a geostrategic move with, potentially, very significant implications for security policy at the national, regional and global levels. In light of recent armaments dynamics and territorial disputes in the wider Asia-Pacific region, the US Defence Review in January 2012 explicitly stated:
»Accordingly, while the US military will continue t contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. Our relationships with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region.«
Aim of the Conference
Against this background, FES wishes to assess the significance of this supposed shift for global peace and security governance.
Primarily we want to reflect on the origin and depth of this latest dynamic in the United States and assess the consequences for traditional alliances (namely, Europe and the wider Transatlantic world), as well as for the supposed new centre of geostrategic gravity in th Asia-Pacific region. Germany’s current role and responsibilities in this regard will be given special attention.
In addition to this, we also want to look beyond the supposed old and new centres of gravity and discuss the consequences and interdependencies of a fundamental geostrategic shift for other region as well, in order to provide a more comprehensive picture for our partners in Germany and around the world.
Finally, we want to introduce a critical non-mainstream perspective on the supposed geostrategic shift: Critical Geopolitics will help us to frame this crucial debate in a way that reflects on the limitations and pitfalls of the strong geostrategic and geopolitical narratives that influence foreign policy decision-making.
Conference Reports & Blog
Pazifik anstatt Atlantik? Zur asiatisch-pazifischen Ergänzung der US Sicherheitspolitik, report by Julian Junk for sicherheitspolitik-blog.de (in German)
Conference blog featuring reports on various sessions
Related Official Documents & Statements