Why No NATO in Asia? Analyzing the Failure of the “Pacific Pact”

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2021

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Abstract

In Europe and North America, NATO was established in 1949 to confront communist pressure. Meanwhile in Asia Pacific, however, no collective security institution was created, despite raging communism. Using the Foreign Relations of the United States and other diplomatic archives, I test current explanations for the contrast. Current explanations, insightful and illuminating as they are, fail to support themselves with sufficient evidence from documents. I then propose three arguments: US suspicion of the value-added of military commitment, a lack of commitment by regional countries towards collective security, and heterogeneity of communist threats. I conclude by proposing power configuration and geographic scope as two key factors that determine the effectiveness of collective security: the less major and middle powers included, and the larger geographical stretch covered, the less likely collective security is to succeed. This paper contributes to studies on the historical issue of collective security in Asia Pacific during the early Cold War as well as to real-world policy analysis of the current situation in the region.Keywords: Pacific Pact, Cold War, collective security, the United States, communism

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Zu, Chuang Steven (2021). Why No NATO in Asia? Analyzing the Failure of the “Pacific Pact”. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23159.

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