In his article, A/P Bratton aims to examines the basis of US power in the Asia-Pacific, looking at the historical as well as current context. In his paper, he postulates that, after Cold War, the US stands at a unique and advantegous position to gain and maintain influence in the region due to its seapower. This seapower is delivered in terms of the Pacific Command Fleet as wel as its bases in numerous countries in the region.
In terms of soft power, due to the alliances gained in the region during the Cold War, it has already established many linkages which it can leverage on. Besides alliances, US’s democratic and liberal culture also promotes trade, always a welcome benefit to the region. However, with trade, comes its own cuffs which the US exercises subtlety.
However, with the rise of China, US has to decide how to integrate this up and coming great power into its systems of San Fransico System. At the same time, US, being a global power has to balance its interests in the region with interests in other areas, such as the Middle East as well as its own coastal defense. In the face of the great US fleet, their potential adversaries used asymmetric tactics, aiming to deny the US fleet rather than facing it head on. At the same time, American domestic policies and ideals continue to threaten its alliance with other countries as the Cold War mentality no longer applies.
At the end of the day, the US seapower in the region is still evident and is multi-faceted, crossing commercial to institutional and cultural. However, it still has to face numerous issues if it wishes to pivot to Asia.