Thursday, April 2, 2015
Geopolitical tensions in Asia-Pacific will lead to increased military spending, attracting another level of competition
- Ashton Carter, the new US Secretary of Defense, has been one of the strongest advocates of the pivot.
- Australian capabilities will grow with a new submarine acquisition, contested by companies from Sweden, France, Germany and Japan.
- Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will grow as an area for military-to-military cooperation.
- Moscow may be willing to transfer high-tech equipment in order to gain geostrategic influence or basing rights.
Concerns about China's growing strength have led to greater US involvement in Asia-Pacific, seen most recently in disputes over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The US 'pivot' is based on increased military cooperation, with equipment purchases and exchanges being a key tool for diplomacy. However, the region imports military supplies from a number of countries and will attempt to leverage competition among suppliers.
This could blur traditional geopolitical lines. For example, Vietnam, traditionally an importer of Russian goods, will receive US aid in building coast guard capacity. European firms, facing stagnating defence spending in home markets, may take advantage of these trends, establishing themselves as acceptable options to both sides in the event of worsening US-China or US-Russia relations.
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