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What the US-Japan Alliance Hopes to See Europe Contribute to the Indo-Pacific


In recent years, the Indo-Pacific has become one of the most discussed regions by scholars and policy makers.  YCAPS held an Indo-Pacific Policy Dialogue with Jeunes IHEDN on June 14th, to discuss what the US-Japan alliance hopes to see Europe contribute to the Indo-Pacific. Moderated by Stephen Nagy, the discussion featured two prominent experts: Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Research Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and Kevin Maher, Senior Advisor at NMVConsulting, LLC. who formally served as Senior Foreign Service Officer at the US Department of State.   

Mr. Watanabe started by highlighting the shifts in United States Indo-Pacific policy, from the Nixon era’s engagement strategy to today’s“competitive engagement.” He then cited examples from history, including the Japan-Russo War and the Cold War, to show the long history of cooperation between Japan and European countries. Mr. Maher built on Mr. Watanabe’s point, and talked briefly about the recent G7 summit, especially the discussion regarding China raised at Cornwall. He said that instead of attempting to contain China, policy makers need to focus on deterrence against China and make sure that the US-Japan led coalition has the ability to defeat China if deterrence fails. To do this, the US-Japan alliance needs to become more integrated and networked, and engage with European militaries in the region, such as the ARC-21 exercise that took place in May.   

The Q&A session focused on future military cooperation among the US, Japan and European countries, implications from the G7 outcomes,and regional actors' actions if conflict occurs in the Taiwan strait. Finally, when asked about their expectations for European countries to provide capabilities that would add value to FOIP, both speakers agreed that we are currently moving towards the right direction of US-Japan-Europe cooperation based on the shared values of the rules of law, and hope to see more European presence in the region. 

Alex Chou for YCAPS University Chapter