East Asia

A Different Diplomatic Approach

May 12, 2012 by

The recent “crisis” over Chen Guangcheng’s flight to the U.S. embassy raises questions about U.S. diplomatic statecraft. Granted, this all went down quickly without warning, but one would think that a situation like this had at some point been “gamed” by the State Department so that a general response would have been in place.

Are ‘Good-Faith Assurances’ with the Chinese Enough?

May 5, 2012 by

By all accounts, Chen Guangcheng was prepared to resettle in the United States following years of run-ins with Chinese authorities. Chen Guangcheng’s reversal from seeking asylum, to an expressed desire to remain in China and ultimately to plea for help from the U.S. State Department, including a choreographed phone call to a congressional hearing, have created a diplomatic headache for the Obama administration.

The Talented Mr. Chen

May 5, 2012 by

Chen Guangcheng’s saga says a lot about the evolution in Chinese political culture currently under way as well as about the maturing relationship between China and the U.S. Not long ago, this ‘crisis’ could have severely impacted bilateral relations between the two countries; today, it appears to be a minor irritant, based on a spirit of compromise and common sense that has apparently prevailed.

A New Great Game in Asia-Pacific

April 28, 2012 by

India tested its first inter-continental ballistic missile, named Agni-V, this month and joined the select group of nations possessing both nuclear weapons and a delivery system capable of hitting targets across continents. Only a few days before, nuclear capable North Korea had test fired a rocket, supposedly to place a satellite in the orbit, but it failed.

Isolation and Hegemony: A New Approach for American Foreign Policy

April 23, 2012 by

In modern foreign policy the United States faces a complicated irony: in a bid to ensure national security and maintain global primacy the U.S. spends a large quantity of blood and treasure on interventionist policies that may actually compromise national security and the future of American hegemony. The culmination of these exercises in grandiose foreign policy has been the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, at the combined cost of between three and four trillion dollars.

North Korea Puts On Its Best Face

April 22, 2012 by

In the rare silences during North Korea’s April 15 military parade, after innumerable divisions, tanks and rocket launchers had passed by, another sound rang out across the vast square in central Pyongyang: the hacking coughs of North Korea’s top military officers. I’d heard the same tortured coughs the day before at Kim Il-sung stadium, when tens of thousands of military had crowded into the stadium’s amphitheater seats to listen to speeches in honor of the North Korean founder who would have turned 100 years old on April 15.

Thought Leadership Forum on the Future of the City

April 19, 2012 by

As cities grow in importance, so too does architecture. Architects are playing a leading role in thinking about the future of cities and building structures that will define urban life for hundreds of years to come. Rem Koolhaas is a leading urban theorist and a Pritzker Prize–winning architect who is engaged in building projects around the world. He co-founded OMA, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, which is receiving international attention for its recent completion of an enigmatic new headquarters for China Central Television in Beijing.

Chinese Cyber Information Profusion: Anti-Access, Area Denial in Summative Context

April 16, 2012 by

A recent report by Northrop Grumman entitled, “Occupying the Information High Ground: Chinese Capabilities for Computer Network Operations and Cyber Espionage” presented to the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) falls short of acknowledging that China’s increasingly modernized cyber capabilities are a product and part of its “anti-interventionism” doctrine that, at once, brings together its military, civilian, and economic spheres.

The Tailor of…Chongqing? Chinese Political Thriller Fit for Hollywood

April 9, 2012 by

The story of Wang Lijun’s supposed asylum request at the American Embassy in Chongqing, the ousting of Bo Xilai in a major denouncement by China’s Premier, the intrigue over the mysterious circumstances of Bo family friend Neil Haywood’s death and speedy cremation, the rumors of an attempted coup and gunfire being heard in the Chinese capital Beijing. It all sounds a bit like a John le Carré spy thriller.

Conference Report: “Humanity and Humanitarianism in Crisis”

April 7, 2012 by

After many months of following and writing about the triple disasters in Fukushima, Japan - the earthquake, tsunami, and the meltdown of the nuclear power plants—I was pleased to discover a conference that seemed as though it might touch on precisely these issues.

China: The Frog and the Scorpion

April 5, 2012 by

Behind the political crisis that saw the recent fall of powerful Communist Party leader Bo Xiali is an internal battle over how to handle China’s slowing economy and growing income disparity, while shifting from a cheap labor export driven model to one built around internal consumption. Since China is the second largest economy on the planet—and likely to become the first in the next 20 to 30 years—getting it wrong could have serious consequences, from Beijing to Brasilia, and from Washington to Mumbai.

Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Blocks Nuclear Power Industry Development

March 28, 2012 by

The nuclear security summit in Seoul adopted a vague communiqué suggesting the renunciation of highly enriched fuel. Apart from being aimed at non-proliferation, this appeal may testify to the intensification of competition for new technology in nuclear power engineering. Third World countries are being forced to adopt obsolete light water reactors, while the rivalry between leading nuclear powers is growing.

Disengagement the Best Engagement for North Korea

March 21, 2012 by

It took a record one month for U.S.-North Korean talks over a food for nuclear freeze swap to fall into the all too common war of words where Pyongyang threatens with war against the U.S. and South Korea. And while admittedly this game of hot and cold isn’t anything new, what’s different this time is the record speed in which it happened.

A Need for Pan-Asian Institutions in Asia

March 20, 2012 by

For over a decade, many relevant academic journals have prophesized the 21st century as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on impressive economic growth, increased production, trade and booming foreign currency reserves. Undoubtedly, the fact that Asia holds nearly 1/3 of the total world population doesn’t hurt its chances from overtaking the United States and Europe in many areas.

Iraq and the Limits of U.S. Power

March 19, 2012 by

“Washington has lost a valuable opportunity to nurture and support a key counterweight to Iranian influence among Shiites in the Arab world,” lament Danielle Pletka and Gary Schmitt of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in an op-ed for the Washington Post. They subsequently call on the Obama administration to bulk up its already grossly overloaded staff at the gigantic U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

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