“We need to be doing a better job, in my opinion, on our alliances and relationships in Asia in the [Indo-Pacific] area,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) said during a conversation at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank.
Houlahan, who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, described the nation’s work with its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific as “essential” in the context of great power competition with China’s communist regime.
Such relationships, she said, were a unique facet of American foreign policy and strategy and an enduring strength for the nation.
“We really are unique in the world in the sense that we really do have genuine and strong allies, not just in the European theater but in Asia as well,” she said.
Systemic Issues in Indo-Pacific Competition
Houlahan said that the leadership in Washington needed to better contend with the interconnectedness of the 21st century, and of how interlinked economic and security issues were across national borders.
To that end, she said that leaders needed to reckon with the fact that the United States’ competition with China in the Indo-Pacific went well beyond the issue of whether or not Taiwan would be invaded, and touched every facet of political life.
“Up and until the pandemic struck, I don’t think many everyday people really understood how interwoven all of us are as an economy,” she said. “As societies, as a result, our national securities are very interwoven.
“These are holistic, systemic issues that we need to be thinking about.”
Houlahan used the world’s current supply chain woes to explain the issue further, noting that many vital U.S. military and civilian technologies were dependent on certain minerals or rare earth elements that could only be obtained elsewhere in the world.
To that end, she said, maintaining supply chains was vital to maintaining national security, and maintaining partnerships and alliances was vital to maintaining those supply chains.
Only through continuing to develop healthy alliances and partnerships, she said, could the United States come to terms with its reliance on foreign imports.