Julian Lindley-French’s blog is always worth reading.
Regarding Europe’s position between the US and Asia, he had this to say recently:
“Within a decade all strategic relationships will have been transformed by the rise of Asia. Be it NATO membership and and its now plethora of partnerships they must all be seen in that context, i.e. part of a world-wide web of security partnerships.
Why? Because NATO’s true utility can only be defined once its place in American grand strategy has been established and that is a-changing. Especially so as the more the Europeans cut defence the more reliant they are on the US. Unfortunately, implicit in the ‘pivot’, the ‘rebalancing’, the ‘global Yank’ (shiver) or whatever one wants to call Washington’s potential zweifrontenskreig, a new strategic contract beckons between NATO and its erstwhile member America. That contract is essentially simple; NATO must take care of security for both members and partners in and around Europe to ease pressure on the US elsewhere. If not the American security guarantee will over time fade.”
An earlier entry on the China seas disputes is also well worth a read. JLF suggests that:
“[the]East China Sea dispute could in time be seen as the true beginning of a contest that will come to define the twenty-first century as much as the coming war between Iran and Israel; the struggle for power dominance in East Asia.”
I thought the two extracts make an interesting juxtaposition.