The Asia-Pacific Alliances of the United States: Between Balancing, Neutralization and Hedging

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-4-5-15
A. Lukin (,
Far Eastern Federal University, 8, Sukhanova Str., Vladivostok 690950, Russian Federation;
Far Eastern Federal University, 8, Sukhanova Str., Vladivostok 690950, Russian Federation 



The U.S.- led alliances in the Asia-Pacific, also known as the San Francisco System, serve as a foundation of America’s political-military hegemony in this region as well as one of its global primacy pillars. Yet, the future of the System is uncertain. It faces the biggest challenge since its establishment in the early 1950s, the chief reason being the changing balance of power between the United States and China. Washington expects that the logic of balancing will be pushing its Asian allies and partners, wary of a rising China, closer to the United States. Japan and Australia are currently the American allies most engaged in anti-China balancing. Beijing’s strategy appears to be aimed at neutralizing the U.S. alliances so that they cease containing China and show deference to its security interests. Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan have been the most pronounced cases of neutralization. Caught between the intensifying Sino-American competition, most Southeast Asian states have chosen the path of hedging, seeking to diversify their strategic links and maximize space for maneuver. Among the U.S. allies in Asia, Singapore has been the most skilful practitioner of hedging, while the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte has become another prominent case of the hedging strategy. The combination of neutralization and hedging may prove the best solution to the Asia-Pacific’s security dilemma, as it allows China to satisfy its basic security concerns while sparing its East Asian neighbors the fate of becoming frontline states in the U.S. – China strategic rivalry. The ongoing tendencies towards neutralization and hedging are generally consistent with Russia’s interests. The key East Asian countries leaving Washington’s sphere of political-military influence will weaken America’s regional and global hegemony, thus contributing to the formation of polycentric world order. Moreover, the desire of a number of East Asian states to hedge their bets and diversify strategic relationships gives Russia more opportunities to raise its profile in the region.


Asia-Pacific region, the United States, China, the San Francisco System, security, balance of power, balancing, hedging 


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For citation:
Lukin A., Korotich S. The Asia-Pacific Alliances of the United States: Between Balancing, Neutralization and Hedging. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, No 4, pp. 5-15.

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