This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. As the rebalancing of U.S. power towards the Asia-Pacific occurs, the potential for conflict has increased in the South China Sea (SCS) due to China’s assertiveness. In response, the United States has made its intentions clear about its objectives in the region. Vietnam, as the most defiant claimant in the territorial disputes, has actively sought to strengthen its military and security partnerships as a counter-balance to overwhelming Chinese military superiority. This research examines how the aligned interests of the United States and Vietnam (US-VN) have produced the beginnings of a regional security partnership. The ultimate goal of this research is to discover if the further development of a US-VN partnership aids in achieving U.S. objectives in the SCS. Another goal of this research is to recommend what elements of a security partnership should exist for an optimal and viable US-VN security partnership. In order to identify an optimal option, this research conducted an analysis of China’s strategy, which assisted in identifying the risk for each US-VN security partnership option. This research ends with recommended option for a more active and long-term security partnership that prevents Chinese domination of the SCS.
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION * Overview * Purpose and Research Goals * Primary Research Question * Secondary Research Questions * Assumptions * Limitations * Delimitations * Key Considerations * CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW AND METHODOLOGY * Overview of Literature on Asia and the South China Sea * A US-VN Partnership * Relations in the Asia-Pacific * U.S. Strategy and Policy in the SCS * Vietnam’s Strategy, Policy, and Defense * China’s Strategy, Policy, and Defense in the SCS * Other Studies Relevant to this Research * Doctrine and Key Definitions * Research Methodology and Chapter Outline * CHAPTER 3 – STRATEGIC DIRECTION AND THE ENVIRONMENT * The Geographic Environment * The Demographic Environment * The Economic Environment * The Political Environment * The Legal Environment * UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) * Other Applicable Legal Efforts * Background to the Competing Claims * The Current State in the Dispute * Strategic Direction in the SCS * U.S. Strategic Direction * Vietnam’s Strategic Direction * China’s Strategic Direction * Diplomatic Relationships * US-VN Relations * US-CN Relations * China and Vietnam (CN-VN) Relations * Current Strategies * United States: Soft Containment * Vietnam: Counter Balance * China: Salami Slicing * Provocations and Challenges * US-CN incidents * Provocations between China and Vietnam * Asian Arms Race * Miscalculation: A Threat to Stability * The Adversarial Force * U.S. Allies in the SCS dispute * Philippines * Other Forces in the SCS Dispute * Malaysia * Brunei * Conclusion * CHAPTER 4 – SWOT * United States * Diplomatic Strengths and Weaknesses * Military Strengths and Weaknesses * Vietnam * Diplomatic Strengths and Weaknesses * Military Strengths and Weakness * China * Diplomatic Strengths and Weaknesses * Military Strengths and Weaknesses * Summary * U.S. Opportunities and Threats * Vietnam’s Opportunities and Threats * Chinese Opportunities and Threats * CHAPTER 5 – OPTIONS FOR A US-VN SECURITY PARTNERSHIP * Purpose * Criteria to Evaluate Options * Options for the United States vis-a-vis Vietnam to Secure its Objectives and the Potential Risks * Option One (Decrease US-VN Security Partnership) * Option Two (Maintain Current Security Partnership) * Option Three (Advancement of the US-VN Security Partnership) * Option Four (US-VN Alliance and Basing) * Recommendations and Conclusion * Recommendation for Future Research