America faces a geopolitical environment with no security architecture and no agreed conflict-resolution mechanism. The division of the Korean Peninsula, the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir, and the question of Taiwan (which by 2020 the US will no longer be able to defend from a Chinese attack, according to a 2009 study by the RAND Corporation) appear as intractable as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
While the US is pivoting to the East, leaving old allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt deeply resentful, China is pivoting westward.
China’s exports to the Middle East are already more than twice those of the US. Its annual exports to Turkey total $23 billion, and now include military supplies, such as a missile-defense system that is not compatible with those of Turkey’s NATO allies. If China’s penetration into the Middle East persists at the current pace, it might even be able to obstruct the flow of energy resources to America’s Asian allies.
Comment: The Rand report was written by people who are in the business of selling very expensive weapons systems to national governments, and not surprisingly they conclude that there is a strong chance that national governments will need to buy very expensive weapons systems.
Here is an alternative that is not considered at either of the two links above: perhaps, by 2020, Taiwan will have a cheap defense alternative – e.g. small killer robots – that will alter the realistic prospects of defense.