Asia Pacific

From Pandemic to Pan-shortages

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With some notable and grave exceptions, the COVID-19 crisis is winding down for much of the world. But as it does, another problem is...

Why China Wants the Spratlys

For several months, China has been relentlessly asserting its control over disputed parts of the South China Sea. Hundreds of vessels in the Chinese...

Brief: China Tests the Philippines and US Red Lines

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Background: The Philippines’ importance lies in its geography, located in the middle of what’s known as the first island chain, giving it – or,...

China’s Financial Brinksmanship

It’s becoming something of a semi-annual tradition in China: A major bank or company misses an earnings report or bond repayment, or finds some...

The Unlikelihood of a War With China and Russia

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Much has been made of China’s seemingly unending potential to invade Taiwan – nearly as much as Russia’s buildup near Ukraine, which many believe...

India’s Trump Card Against China

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Despite its enormous potential, India is by no means an inevitable counterweight to Chinese ambitions in the Indian Ocean. The country's immense domestic needs...

Daily Memo: US Navy in Indian Waters, Germany Negotiates for Russian Vaccine

U.S. Navy in Indian waters. A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer on Wednesday conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) inside India’s exclusive economic zone...

China as a Third World Country

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There is much discussion about the surging Chinese economy and the expanding international influence of China. There is no question that China’s economy has...

Brief: China in the Spratlys

Background: Southeast Asia is the fulcrum of U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific and the great impediment to Chinese strategic imperatives both in the region...

Australia’s Role in America’s War With China, Part 2

Perhaps America’s greatest operational advantage over China – should a war ever start between them – is the superiority of its submarines. Submarines are...

How the Tech War Is Driving the US and EU Together

Earlier this month, the United States and the European Union warned of the need to protect themselves against competition from China in key technologies....

Brief: North Korea’s New Weapons Test?

Background: North Korea’s missile development and nuclear program and its relationship with China keep the U.S. on guard on the Korean Peninsula. By positioning...

Russia, China and the United States: First Shots

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Any time there is a new U.S. president, major powers set out to test him and lay the groundwork for future bargaining in potential...

What We’re Reading: Cuba and China

The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths Versus Reality By Sheldon M. Stern The Cuban missile crisis has many heroes. In one of the many...

China’s Strategic Standpoint

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One of the hardest problems of foreign policy is developing an accurate evaluation of a potential adversary’s intentions and capabilities, which are frequently separate...

COVID-19 Expedites Demographic Change

Editor’s Note: The following was inspired by a presentation delivered by the author at a webinar for Scholas Occurrentes, an international scholastic organization founded...

The US’ Big Plans for the Indo-Pacific

Over the past month, the U.S. has been rolling out a comprehensive theory of strategic competition against China, with all sorts of grand plans...

Australia’s Role in America’s War With China

In U.S. plans for a war with China, Australia serves as a base for peripheral operations in the Indian Ocean and in the Indonesian...

Brief: Seoul Extends an Olive Branch to Tokyo

Background: Japan and South Korea have been bickering about Japanese sins committed during the occupation of the Korean Peninsula since about as soon as...

The Global Economy in 2020

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(click to enlarge) The COVID-19 pandemic hurt everyone, but it didn’t hurt equally. Social distancing measures, both elective and government mandated, devastated businesses, particularly those...

Recent Articles

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 2021 Forecast...

China needs and will search for access to global markets by using intelligence and economic power as political leverage. This will create friction with nations with which it needs economic relations, particularly European countries.

Asia Pacific in our Memos

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Latest Posts

Daily Memo: Chile’s Surprise Vote, China’s Slowing Recovery

Independents prevail. Chilean voters headed to the polls on Sunday to elect the 155-member constituent assembly charged with writing the country’s next constitution. With...

Russia Stays Out of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israel and the Palestinian territories are engaged in their most intense bout of fighting in years, and there’s a major power not too far...

Understanding the Five Eyes

What does intelligence cooperation look like in an increasingly technological world? Christian Smith, Allison Fedirka, and Phillip Orchard discuss the mysteries and misunderstandings about the world’s foremost intelligence alliance.

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