U.S. Policy Toward Strategic Asia Since September 11: Expanding Power or Promoting Values?

Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, University of Richmond


This paper examines the change and continuity of U.S. policy toward Strategic Asia after September 11 and discusses the impact of September 11 on regional security trends. The main arguments are: (1) the anti-terror war codenamed Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)-which successfully destroyed the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, dislodged the Taliban regime that provided Al-Qaeda with sanctuary in Afghanistan, and then turned to a "second front" in Southeast Asia-has advanced U.S. power and standing in Strategic Asia; (2) OEF constitutes a major ingredient in the emerging Bush Doctrine; (3) while the doctrine exemplified by OEF appears to follow realist premises, by connecting the destruction of terrorism and the expansion of freedom, the result of the Bush Doctrine is, paradoxically, a Wilsonian brand of internationalism that combines American power and principles; and (4) American policy since OEF should guard against such pitfalls as over-reliance on military engagement, backlash against American policies, and setbacks in the realm of human rights.