Towards an Asia-Pacific Maritime Entente?
“Earlier this month, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Commander Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. resuscitated a decade-old proposal for ‘an informal strategic coalition made up of the navies of Japan, Australia, India and the United States.’ Although U.S. officials scrupulously insist that the putative coalition is not an effort to balance China’s growing naval might that is its raison d’être. Beijing recognizes this. In 2006, ‘when the four powers set up the initiative (informally named the Quad),’ China issued a round of formal diplomatic protests, and the initiative was soon shelved. Strategic circumstances have changed. The four powers are unlikely to be as accommodating of Beijing’s sensitives this time around. Consequently, it is worth examining the strategic rationale behind the idea.”