The United States’ National Security Strategy leverages cooperation as a cornerstone. The President directs geographic combatant commanders to cultivate, maintain, and repair foreign relationships. Specifically, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) set the goal to “modernize and strengthen alliances and partnerships.”1 PACOM is home to half of Earth’s area, encompassing 36 nations and 50 percent of humanity, presenting unique opportunities for international outreach.
In the face of a rising China and increasing regional instability, PACOM partnerships are critical to maintaining regional security. Diplomatic and political overtones between the United States and China, however, make substantial military partnerships difficult. China and the United States agree on many points, but they disagree on other particularly charged subjects. In light of the overarching difficulties, both will benefit from partnerships regarding shared interests that are not strictly military.