America Has a Perception Problem in the Indo-Pacific Region

The perception of American prestige and credibility seems to be in jeopardy. The global influence of the United States rests on the confidence of its allies and partners. Their trust in the United States retains only if Washington is willing to and capable of protecting those who share American values and democratic ideals.

If Taiwan fell to China, then regional allies such as Japan and South Korea could be dragged out of the American security umbrella in the Western Pacific. Moreover, the loss of American authority in the Indo-Pacific region would have global consequences—and they would be irreversible.

This loss would be solidified by China’s ability to reshape the international order by forming the bigger blocks of “client” or “vassal” states. As a result, laws unfriendly to Western interests and democratic values could be pushed through both by international organizations and individual countries—as it happened in the case of Sri Lanka and its Chinese-building Colombo Port City and the Lotus Tower. The American leadership, based on the authority of liberal institutions and republican ideals, would decline or get replaced by regimes and systems considered by the democratic countries as oppressive.

Perception Drives Reality

The United States—and the West in general—must reconsider whether the strength of democratic nations’ resolve accords with the gravity of the stakes, which are now at play.

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