After more than a century of recurring conflict, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region have managed something remarkable: avoiding war among nations. Since 1979, Asia has endured threats, near-miss crises, and nuclear proliferation but no interstate war. How fragile is this “Asian peace,” and what is America’s role in it? Van Jackson argues that because Washington takes for granted that the United States is a force for good, successive presidencies have failed to see how their statecraft impedes more durable forms of security and inadvertently embrittles peace. At times, the United States has been the region’s bulwark against instability, but America has been a threat to Asian peace as much as it has been its guarantor. By grappling with how America fits into the Asian story, Van Jackson shows how regional stability has diminished because of U.S. choices, and why America’s margin for geopolitical error is less now than ever before.
"This book presents a timely and critical account of American statecraft toward Asian peace since the Nixon administration. Provocative in theoretical reasoning, rigorous in empirical analysis, and rich in policy implications, it is a must-read for students of American foreign policy and Asian studies."—Chung-in Moon, Yonsei University
“Van Jackson’s Pacific Power Paradox is a ‘must read’ for policymakers, would-be policymakers and students of history focused on America’s role in Asia. Jackson has not only written an impressive, tightly written distillation of the history of America’s foreign policy on Asia, but tells his narrative through an incredibly useful, practical frame — the tools of statecraft.”—Philip W. Yun, President and CEO of World Affairs
“In this refreshing and stimulating book, Van Jackson challenges the conventional wisdom about the role of the United States in Asia with sophistication and rigor. Anyone interested in the region’s past—and future—should read it.”—M. Taylor Fravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology