War on the Rocks – The lesson of the last several years in clear: Beijing is determined to gain a foothold in the South Pacific, posing a direct threat to long-term U.S. and allied interests. Without a coherent strategy of denial and the projection of appropriate U.S. power across this region, fundamental American interests will be threatened. It is time for the United States to support a robust array of defense initiatives across Oceania, including in countries where we remain openly, and rightly, concerned about democracy. By increasing our presence in and political connections to this dynamic region, the United States is more likely to play a constructive role in promoting good governance than if it continues to cede the field to Beijing and its proxies. By deploying more resources now, Washington has the opportunity to prevent an entirely unnecessary strategic surprise in the future.