China is the only Great Power with the economic wherewithal to challenge the US all across the world, and as such, these qualities neatly complement Russia’s military capabilities in assisting both civilizational poles as they jointly forge a multipolar world order. The manifestation of their shared global vision and the framework through which they cooperate in achieving it is the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, and because of Beijing’s intimate closeness with Moscow, it too has been targeted for full-scale proxy destabilization by the US. Washington’s strategy isn’t limited to solely obstructing multipolar transnational connective projects (as ambitious of a goal as that is already), but also in physically containing China in its own home region, similar in many respects to what it’s been attempting to do to Russia ever since the end of the Cold War.
These two strategies intersect to a large degree and have a major commonality between them in that they can both be furthered by American-driven Hybrid Wars. This part of the book explores the applicability of this method to ASEAN, the strategic ‘backyard’ and ‘soft underbelly’ of China. In many ways, ASEAN is to China just what Central Asia is to Russia, although it can be strongly argued that ASEAN is of much more critical economic importance to China than Central Asia ever will be for Russia (though both regions have equal strategic value as relative to each respective Great Power). The first part of the book mapped out the three ASEAN states most vulnerable to Hybrid Wars (Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand), but their geopolitical significance and the attractiveness that the US has in targeting these specific states can’t be fully understood if explained in isolation from the larger ASEAN region.
For that reason, it’s integral for the first parts of this geopolitical study to focus on ASEAN as a whole in explaining its strategic saliency in general and then in describing how the US plans to weaponize the bloc for macro-regional proxy rivalry against China. Along the same lines, it’s also relevant to detail China’s grand strategic plans in responding to this aggressive encirclement and the unipolar militarization of the international waterways through which so much of its economic growth depends.