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Walker's World: A 4x4 Coalition Emerging

Washington (UPI) Dec 10, 2005
The Bush administration is quietly seeking to build with Britain, Japan and India a globe-spanning coalition system that can contain China, claims a leading neo-conservative thinker.

"Over the past six months, the Bush administration has upgraded its budding strategic partnerships with India and Japan. Along with the steady special relationship with Great Britain, what is beginning to emerge is a global coalition system -- it is too soon to call it a true alliance -- for the post-Cold War world," argues Thomas Donnelly, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

In a new essay just published by the AEI, titled "The Big Four Alliance: The New Bush Strategy," Donnelly says that "far from maintaining a unilateralist approach to American security," the Bush administration has been forging a strategic partnership structure that can help to manage the rise of China, while also buttressing the liberal international order of free trade, free markets and expanded democracy.

"You might call this emerging set of alliances the 4x4 strategy," Donnelly suggests. "It is built around four great powers -- the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and India -- who share four basic strategic principles: that the dangers of radicalism, failing despotic governments, and nuclear proliferation in the greater Middle East are too great to ignore; that the growing military strength and political ambitions of Beijing's autocrats make it far from certain that China's 'rise' will be a peaceful one; that the spread of representative forms of government will increase the prospects for a durable peace; and that military force remains a useful and legitimate tool of national statecraft."

What is striking and new is that Donnelly, a powerful advocate of a strong U.S. defense, now acknowledges that the American role is overstretched and can no longer sustain its lonely superpower role.

"We need help," he suggests.

"It is clear that the Defense Department's initial conception of 'transformation' -- substituting capital for labor, firepower for manpower -- has not removed the inherent constraints imposed by a small force, reduced by 40 percent from its final Cold-War strength. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's preference for temporary 'coalitions of the willing' has been supplanted by a new understanding that preserving the Pax Americana requires more permanent arrangements. This is not to suggest that the emerging Big Four allies are not willing partners, but simply to grasp that the immensity and difficulty of the military and broader security tasks have stretched current U.S. armed forces to a degree that they cannot sustain. We need help."

Donnelly, formerly with the Lockheed Corporation and also former policy director at the House Committee on National Security, was one of the leading figures in the Project for the New American Century, the group from which the highly influential neo-conservatives emerged to dominate the thinking of the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. A highly controversial figure to many Democrats and to opponents of the Iraq War, Donnelly also played an important role in Congressional relations with the Pentagon, particularly over the 1997 and 2001 Quadrennial Defense Reviews.

"The central pillar of the new alliance is, of course, the United States," Donnelly writes. "Just as the Truman Doctrine committed the United States to lead the Cold War allies, so has the Bush Doctrine cast the country as primus inter pares among today's allies; Britain, India, and Japan are becoming partners in a Pax Americana that is generally accepted across the political spectrum.

"No other power can perform this essential organizing and leadership role," Donnelly writes. "The Clinton administration took the primacy of the United States as much for granted as has the Bush administration. There is no reason to think that the next Democratic administration will change this fundamental approach."

Donnelly leans heavily on the British alliance, which he calls "our most constant source of strategic and military help" and praises their "superbly professional forces, on a par with U.S. forces and possessed of particular strengths in special operations and expeditionary warfare.

"The Anglo-American military alliance remains the gold standard against which all others are measured and to which others -- particularly the Japanese alliance -- aspire," he argues. In Tokyo, "politicians across the spectrum now accept the premise that Japan should act like a 'normal' nation and should assume some role in 'collective self-defense' -- a euphemism for an alliance with the United States.

"Greater still is the gap between India's potential as an alliance partner and the current reality," Donnelly notes. "Nevertheless, it may be that, over the course of time, the strategic relationship between Washington and New Delhi can become the keystone to preservation of the Pax Americana. The CIA has concluded that India is the most important 'swing state' in the international system."

India has a long way to go, Donnelly concedes, both in modernizing its largely Soviet-made weaponry and in learning inter-operability with U.S. forces

"Translating diplomatic desire into hard-core military power and interoperability between Indian and U.S. forces will take many years," he writes. "Military-to-military contacts with U.S. forces are increasing, but neither Indian nor Japanese forces yet enjoy the kind of close professional relationship that has existed for many years between U.S. and British armed services.

"In truth, the whole concept of a 'Big Four' global partnership is more potential than real," Donnelly concedes. "There is not much chance of any Big Four summits or alliance charters on the horizon. Indeed, such a summit would be counterproductive; even if successful, this would be an alliance that dares not speak its name. The open question is whether common interests and common values can make this coalition a more permanent basis for American strategy."

Source: United Press International

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Outside View: Coping with China
Washington (UPI) Dec 10, 2005
President George W Bush's third trip to China has brought the inevitable cacophony of TV and print punditry, with all the old chestnut calls for the United States to "manage" relations with China, to "engage" with China, or even to "contain" China.

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