PRAVIN R. JETHWA: Towards High Noon in U.S.-China Relations.

The administration should craft and implement a clear, bold and bipartisan “Pacific Doctrine” which would stipulate the following:

Any attempt by an outside or a regional power to impede, block or jeopardize America’s freedom to navigate or overfly any of the maritime spaces in the western Pacific, at any time or anywhere, including the South China Sea, now or in the future, (a) will be resisted by force, and (b) that America will seek to impose an unmistakable military defeat on the aggressor to preserve and protect America’s access and alliances in the aforementioned regions.

A clearly articulated and nationally agreed doctrine along these lines would not only proclaim America’s purpose, but at an operational level, establish, for the first time, red-lines and explicit deterrence vis-à-vis the Chinese regime, much like the Truman doctrine of 1947 which laid the foundations for the historically successful containment policy against the Soviet Union.

A clear strategy backed by strong alliances is perhaps the best deterrent to war, but the “bipartisan” part is going to be problematical given that there doesn’t seem to be anything Democrats won’t do to sabotage the current Administration.