Dr. Virginia Bacay Watson has written a chapter on “Modernizing U.S. Alliances for Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific for a new Pacific Forum publication, Issues & Insights Vol. 21, SR 2 — Advancing a Rules-based Maritime Order in the Indo-Pacific, which is now available online.

In an excerpt from her chapter, Watson states that: “The U.S. alliance system was a post-World War II ‘strategic innovation’ credited with successfully protecting U.S. global and national interests for over seven decades. Today, however, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the hub-and-spokes system in Asia have lost their edge and are struggling to adapt to a security environment featuring three new strategic conditions.  First, regional skepticism regarding the United States’ level of commitment to maintain the stability of ‘frontier’ regions and alliances is exacerbated by the notion of American decline from a position of global pre-eminence. Second, China is intensifying global efforts to hardwire geopolitical and security conditions to its economic influence. Third, regional security institutions are increasingly strained to maintain unity among their members amidst contentious strategic issues and, in the face of the emergence of alternative regional security arrangements that potentially threaten the centrality of those already existing.”

Dr. Virginia Bacay Watson is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.  The views expressed in this publication are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.