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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that East Asia’s maritime geography and prevailing military technology create powerful defense dominance. On the one hand, this reduces the likelihood of security dilemmas among countries by dampening both aggressive ambitions and countries’ fears of their neighbors’ aggression. But there is also a dark side to defense dominance—it makes US power projection in the region extremely challenging. To bring to bear the necessary capabilities to defend its allies, the United States must generate enormous military power relative to any potential adversary. This is likely to alarm other great powers, and makes the United States, in turn, easily threatened by even small efforts to erode its military dominance. These spiral dynamics are already occurring in the region.

Keywords: geography, spirals, security dilemma, US-China relations, Air-Sea Battle

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