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William T. Tow, ‘Rebalancing and Order Building: Strategy or Illusion?’ in William T. Tow and Douglas Stuart, eds, The New US Strategy towards Asia: Adapting to the American Pivot, Abingdon: Routledge, 2015, pp. 30-52.
Recent American behaviour in Northeast Asia has challenged the proposition that the United States is undergoing inevitable strategic decline. Robust demonstrations of US air and naval power during a standoff with North Korea in March 2013 and similar signals directed toward China after that country declared an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea have signalled the Obama administration’s determination to implement a credible ‘rebalancing’ strategy in the Asia-Pacific. It is argued in this chapter that the United States will proceed to cultivate and broaden this initiative. It will do so, however, incrementally and selectively rather than comprehensively. The US will pursue limited forms of rebalancing because it has a continuing need to apply symbolic measures to underscore American power as a factor in Asia-Pacific security.
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