How Hedging Made US-China Tensions Worse: Order, Strategic Competition, and Aggregated Security Dilemmas in Asia and the Pacific

Oct 15 12:00–1:30pm
Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA

Chong Ja Ian (Associate Professor, National University of Singapore; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2019-20)
Chair/discussant: 
M. Taylor Fravel (Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Co-sponsored with the Asia Center and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

States in eastern Asia and the Pacific entered the 21st century trying to find a middle way between a dominant United States and a rising China—to hedge. Such behavior sought to moderate major power competition and make the region more stable. Their aspirations have apparently not panned out. This presentation argues that a key reason for this outcome was because efforts to hedge, while individually rational, aggregated to exacerbate the security dilemma between Beijing and Washington, creating greater uncertainty and incentives for more intense competition.