Create a NATO for the Pacific, U.S. senator proposes

June 7, 2022

Elbridge Colby, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, said that spending political capital to form an Asian NATO would distract America and its allies from preparing for the China challenge.

“The U.S. and Japan are heading for a more collective-defense model probably joined by Australia,” he said. A combined forces command, as seen between the U.S. and South Korea, is the model, he noted. 

Such a binational command structure would alleviate unnecessary redundancy when it comes to facing China, Colby said. “But I don’t think we should pursue a formal, multilateral alliance. What we need is not symbolism. We need the key players to have the capability and readiness to fight and that’s about Japan, Australia and about the Philippines granting access” to bases, he said.

Nikkei Asia

Elbridge Colby is co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.