The Role of the United States’ Quasi-Alliances in Asia: Shadow Puppetry or Hard Alliances?

  • Charmaine G. Misalucha-Willoughby


How are alliances maintained? To answer this question, linguistic tools like representational force recognize the power differentials of states and trace how members end up acquiescing with the demands of other powers. This framework can be applied to the US’ alliances in Asia. In the face of crises, alliances deploy representational force in order to stabilize their relationship. In the short term, this takes precedence over addressing the actual threat. The US-Japan alliance faced a crisis during the War on Terror, while the US-Philippine alliance faces a crisis in the South China Sea. Here, representational force was used to stabilize the alliance. Doing so was necessary for both sides to attain convergence and address the crisis at large.



The author would like to thank the Fulbright Program and the Japan Foundation for the United States-ASEAN Fellowship (2013) and the Japanese Studies Fellowship (2014) that made data gathering for this project possible.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charmaine G. Misalucha-Willoughby
    • 1
  1. 1.International Studies DepartmentDe La Salle UniversityManilaPhilippines

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