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The Role of the United States in Post-Cold War East Asian Security Affairs

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The article argues that, while U.S. structural power has not significantly declined since the end of the Cold War, East Asian perceptions of the current and prospective U.S. role in the region's security affairs have changed. On the one hand, continuing U.S. economic and military presence in the region is widely appreciated by local governments and people who seem to be trapped in a spiraling arms race and faced with potential dominance by Japan and China. On the other hand, however, many East Asians are also highly critical of domineering and unilateralist tendencies in U.S. policy. These observations lead the authors to the conclusion that Washington's problem is not a decline of U.S. "hard" power but inadequacies in the use of its "soft" power and that security relations in post-Cold War Asia call for well-informed and intelligent use of old-fashioned diplomacy, a tool U.S. policy makers do not seem to have mastered.


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Affiliations: 1: College of International Studies, University of Tsukuba; 2: Law Faculty, Okayama University


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