Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 04/2011

A Step Too Far: Why CPGS Is The Wrong Answer to China's Anti-Access Challenge

Iskander Rehman

March 2011

East-West Center


In March 1996, the waters of the Taiwan Strait were roiled by Chinese live missile firings and massive military exercises. Washington answered Beijing's blunt demonstration of coercive military diplomacy by promptly dispatching two aircraft carriers to the scene. This event set the stage for a changing tactical environment in the Western Pacific. Iskander Rehman argues that the ensuing US response of radically reconsidering its doctrine and force posture in the Western Pacific may result in greater tactical advantage but deteriorating strategic stability.