The administration could chart a new course with an initiative that includes new military funding to realign U.S. forces in the region, increase combat power, improve bases and add more exercises, McCain said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
"I believe there is strong merit for an Asia-Pacific stability initiative which is similar to the European deterrence initiative we've pursued over the last few years," he said.
In 2014, the U.S. began increasing its military presence and exercises in Europe as anxiety over Russian intervention in Ukraine spiked. This month, it deployed fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to the continent as a new show of commitment, and on Tuesday, the fifth-generation jets arrived in Estonia.
"As its behavior toward South Korea indicates over the last several years, China has acted less and less like a responsible stakeholder of the rules-based order in the region and more like a bully," McCain said.
He blamed China for opposing the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system to South Korea to protect against an attack from the regime of Kim-jong Un, though Beijing also played a key role in enabling North Korea and its growing missile threat over the years.
"Desite the U.S. efforts to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, U.S. policy has failed to adapt to the scale of China's challenge," McCain said. "That failure has called into question the credibility of America's security commitments in the region."