Asia Pacific

China’s Role in Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis

Over the past several weeks, Sri Lanka has been experiencing an economic crisis that has brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Nearly...

The Beginning of a New Era

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A week ago, I wrote a piece on the stages of history, pointing out systemic shifts that have taken place for more than 200...

China Struggles to Balance Zero-COVID and the Economy

Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial center, has been under strict lockdown since April 1 to contain an outbreak of the COVID-19 omicron variant....

The World and a Small War

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No war is small when you are living in it, but the world is large, and large wars are rare. At the same time,...

Real Estate Is China’s Biggest Economic Vulnerability

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China’s real estate sector is one of its economy’s most important assets. Real estate has contributed considerably to China’s transition to a socialist market-based...

Japan’s Chances at Regional Leadership

The war in Ukraine is a timely reminder that no matter what else may be happening in the world, China and Japan, the heavyweights...

On Ukraine, China Keeps Its Options Open

With all that’s happening in Eastern Europe, it’s understandable why so much attention has been paid to Russia, Ukraine, NATO, the European Union, the...

Myanmar: A New Front in the Indian-Chinese Rivalry

It’s not uncommon for India and China to spar with one another in the Himalayas, but a new front in their rivalry may be...

New Political Strategies in a New Economic Order

At several debates I’ve attended since the beginning of the year – and in several responses I’ve received from readers – one question is...

The World in 2022

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see,” Winston Churchill once quipped. Predicating expectations of the future on an understanding...

An Update on Inflation in 2022

After our last piece on energy prices and inflation scares, readers asked for updates, specifically on whether energy should be the primary concern moving...

1991: False Dawn

We do not normally think of 1991 as a defining year. We are aware of particular events that might have changed something, but we...

Globalization After the Pandemic

We enter 2022 with the same hope that we had as we entered 2021: that the pandemic will end soon. This time, we will...

2021 Year-End Review

(click to enlarge) Scale: Hit, Partial Hit, Inconclusive, Partial Miss, Miss Global The defining feature of 2021 will be insularity. Countries will simply be too consumed with...

A New Periphery in Eastern Europe?

Eastern Europe has been a buffer region between Russia and the West for centuries. In a nutshell, that means it has nearly always been...

The US-China Competition in Central America: Key Countries

The competition between the United States and China for influence over Central America and the Caribbean isn’t exactly news, and the reason for the...

The World Ocean Versus the Continent

For centuries, the power that controls the seas – the “World Ocean” – has successfully stymied continental rivals and dictated the rules of world trade. The...

Japan’s Indispensable Role in Southeast Asia

One of the funnier moments of the past few years in geopolitics took place in 2017 in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's bedroom. Duterte had...

Fertilizers and Food Insecurity

Next week is Thanksgiving, a U.S. holiday that celebrates, and is celebrated with, food. This year, however, Americans are reckoning with rising food prices....

A New Mutually Assured Destruction

To whatever extent the U.S. and China are truly sliding toward a zero-sum Cold War-type rivalry, Beijing appears to be game at least for...

Latest Posts

East Asia is the world’s most dynamic economic region. Since the early 1980s, annual trans-Pacific trade has outpaced trans-Atlantic trade.

The center of gravity in East Asia is the relationship between the two countries with the region’s largest economies and strongest militaries – China and Japan – and their individual and collective relationships with the United States.

The key to this relationship is China’s internal economic and domestic political situation. When China is unified and strong, as it is at the moment, its influence in the Asian mainland is pervasive, with the peripheral states in southeast Asia looking to Japan and the United States for balance. When China goes through a fragmentary phase, as it did from the mid-19th century until the communists took power in 1949, the peripheral states can at times assert themselves.

Despite some saber-rattling in the South China Sea, East Asia’s challenges in recent years have had more to do with economics than with aggression. But it is important to keep in mind that the last 30 or so years in Asia have been something of an aberration. For most of the 20th century, East Asia was rife with instability and war.

U.S. strategy in East Asia is two-fold. On one hand, the U.S. seeks to maintain a balance of power between Japan and China. On the other hand, the U.S. employs a maritime strategy whereby it cultivates close relationships with island nations in the western Pacific to maintain its control over trade routes and contain the Chinese on the mainland.

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Required Reads: Asia Pacific

From our 2022 Forecast...

China will avoid intense involvement in international affairs. Where it does engage, it will do so economically rather than militarily.

Asia Pacific in our Memos

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Latest Posts

Daily Memo: NATO’s Nordic Expansion, Wheat Supply Concerns

NATO enlargement. Finland officially announced its decision to apply for NATO membership on Sunday. The country’s parliament will be consulted on the matter on...

Reactions to Finland’s NATO Membership

On May 15, Finland officially announced that it would apply to join NATO. The debate over whether it would do so had taken place...

Lingering Protests in Cuba

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(click to enlarge) Earlier this week, five people who joined anti-government protests in Cuba last summer were sentenced to up to nine years in prison....

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