Today saw two more examples to support Professor Kennedy’s point — and, thinking slightly less in terms of world history, to support the idea that the East Asian balance of power is becoming, despite US predominance, vigorously multipolar.
First, South Korea has reportedly become the fifth country in the world to deploy an Aegis-equipped warship (hat tip: Marmot’s Hole).
Second, the FT reports that the US is concerned about Chinese plans to develop a new ballistic missile submarine. While SSBNs are not necessarily a factor in the naval balance, being more directly related to questions of nuclear deterrence between the US and China (and Japan, on some level), the development of more sophisticated SSBNs will likely put pressure on the US and Japan to improve their anti-submarine warfare capabilities, prompting other navies in the region to respond.
The dance of the powers continues: one week the US offers to help China with its aircraft carrier program, the next it expresses fears about Chinese SSBNs. All the while the US navy presence in the region continues to provide the maritime public goods that growing Asia desperately needs.