Restraining Rivalries? US Alliance Policy and the Challenges of Regional Security in the Middle East and East Asia
McNamara, Eoin Micheál
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Barack Obama’s US presidency clearly signalled that America aims to re-order its foreign policy preferences to emphasise Asia. This article examines the challenges for US alliance management in the Middle East and East Asia, the two regions that have encountered the sharpest turnaround in terms of the US strategic attention received, as measured by the past decade. The threat of regional rivalries, linked to wider nuclear proliferation, lingers over both these regions. In addressing the Middle East, this article will focus on the problematic US-Saudi alliance; this arrangement represents a fragile regional linchpin, preventing further nuclear proliferation and regional destabilisation. By comparison, East Asia is a far more stable security order. However, it is argued that the US will continue to face a difficult balancing act between its accommodation of China’s ‘peaceful rise’ and the credible assurance of its nervous allies: Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.