Superb statement of US strategy

Okay it’s old, but I just stumbled on this transcript of an MIT seminar which is probably the best articulation I’ve seen of US strategy in East Asia. The speaker – Michael McDevitt – was a rear admiral and involved in policy making at the DoD, and that shows. From the no-nonsense starting point that market access is the strategic goal, to the hard-headed recognition that “as a rising power China cannot be expected to acquiesce in the status quo if the status quo does not serve its interests”. Other interesting tidbits include, on the Koreas, an implicit recognition that unification will not happen (I’m slightly reading between the lines, but not by much).

Now this is a record of a seminar behind closed doors. What I don’t know is to what extent it is reflective of current attitudes, vis-a-vis public pronouncements (e.g., the Obama website’s promise to “work to ensure that China plays by international rules”). I assume that to a large extent this also reflects the State-Pentagon tension and differing biases.


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