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  • Author: Oriana Skylar Mastro
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Chinese political, economic, and military power continues to grow at impressive rates, the impact of Chinese external behavior on the region has correspondingly increased. Since 2010, it has become commonplace for observers to refer to Chinese foreign policy behavior as abrasive, muscular, or assertive. However, China's heightened willingness to rely on coercive diplomacy—or the simultaneous use of diplomacy and limited use of force to accomplish one's objectives—began much earlier with the Impeccable incident in March 2009. In this case, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to the U.S. Naval Ship Impeccable. In the following months, commentators predicted that China would moderate its behavior in the face of regional backlash. Instead, instances of Chinese platforms maneuvering in a dangerous and unprofessional manner only became more frequent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: M. Taylor Fravel, Christopher P. Twomey
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In analyses of China's military modernization, it has become increasingly common to describe China as pursuing a “counter-intervention” strategy in East Asia. Such a strategy aims to push the United States away from China's littoral, forestalling the United States' ability to intervene in a conflict over Taiwan or in disputes in the East and South China Seas. Moreover, such a military strategy is consistent with a purported broader Chinese goal to displace the United States from its traditional regional role, including Washington's support for global norms such as freedom of navigation in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and partnerships with long-standing treaty allies.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Jomana Qaddour
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Images and videos emerging out of Syria since 2012, becoming increasingly violent and sectarian along the way, showcased extremist groups and even children chanting things like, "Assad we will bring you down, and then we will come next for the [Alawites]!" Since 1971, the Alawite community (roughly 12 percent of Syria's 22 million people) has sheltered Hafez al-Assad, and subsequently his son, Bashar al-Assad, by providing the family with both loyal foot soldiers who have aided the Assad regime throughout the many domestic, political uprisings it has faced (in 1964, 1980, 1982, and now 2011) and with a bureaucracy that has legitimized their theft of public funds. The number of Alawite casualties increased over the course of the crisis, either fighting to protect Assad or because they are accused of aiding his regime, while a growing number have faced the grim realization that the Assad family is motivated by self-interest alone. While researchers cannot pinpoint exactly how many Alewites have died, many have documented the number of Syrian soldiers instead to obtain an approximation, and have indicated that between 11,000 Alawites and 41,000 Syrian soldiers have been killed.
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Mohsen Milani
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the Arab Spring reached the Mediterranean shores of Syria in early 2011, there was an ephemeral exuberance that Bashar Assad's dictatorship would be replaced with a democratic order. Today, Syria has descended into an existential civil war among religious sects and ethnic communities. The country has transformed into a battleground for a proxy war among regional and global powers that pursue irreconcilable objectives. Balkanization of Syria appears underway as the government, the Kurds, and the opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime control different swaths of the country, while the civil war has ominously metastasized to Syria's neighbors. Alarmingly, a large number of foreign born jihadists and terrorists with possible links to al Qaeda have also flooded the country to foment mischief. Amidst all the destruction, the complex civil war has reached a stubborn stalemate with no breakthrough in sight.
  • Topic: Civil War
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Shadi Hamid, Peter Mandaville
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has been all too common to criticize the Obama administration for a lack of strategic vision in responding to the Arab uprisings. While such criticism may be valid, it is time to move beyond critique and articulate not just a bold vision, but one that policymakers can realistically implement within very real economic and political constraints. During the remainder of its second term, the Obama administration has an opportunity to rethink some of the flawed assumptions that guided its Middle East policy before the Arab Spring—and still guide it today. Chief among these is the idea that the United States can afford to continue turning a blind eye to the internal politics of Arab countries so long as local regimes look out for a narrow set of regional security interests. With so much policy bandwidth focused on putting out fires, the United States has neglected the important task of thinking about its longer term engagement in the region. Crisis management is the most immediate concern for policymakers, but it's not necessarily the most important.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's rise constitutes the most serious geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. On current trends, China could–many say will–develop a national economy larger than that of the United States as early as the end of this decade, at least when measured in purchasing power parity terms. China's national ambitions too are clear: at the very least, Beijing seeks to recover the centrality it enjoyed in Asian geopolitics until the coming of colonialism. Its economic renaissance since the 1980s has now positioned it to play a major global role that was simply unimaginable some thirty years ago. With its extraordinary military modernization program, Beijing has also made tremendous strides toward holding at risk the United States' forward deployed and forward operating forces in the western Pacific, thereby raising the costs of implementing U.S. security guarantees to its partners in the region. Its unique characteristics–being a continental sized power, possessing a gigantic and technologically improving economy, having a strategically advantageous location, and rapidly acquiring formidable military capabilities-add up quickly to make China a consequential rival to the United States, even if it differs from previous challengers in character, aims, and ambitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Thomas Fingar, Fan Jishe
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Conviction is widespread and increasing in both the United States and China—as well as many other countries—that the U.S.–China relationship is becoming less stable and more dangerous. We do not agree. Relations between Beijing and Washington in 2013 are more extensive, more varied, more interdependent, and more important to one another as well as to the global system than at any time in the past. But suspicion and mutual distrust persist and may have intensified. Yet, despite dramatic changes in the international system and the need to manage fleeting as well as persistent problems, the United States and China have maintained strategic stability for four decades. The relationship is less fragile and volatile than many assert, with strategic stability the result of multiple factors that reinforce one another and limit the deleterious effects of developments threatening specific "pillars" that undergird the relationship. Complacency and failure to address misperceptions and mistrust, however, will have unfortunate consequences for both sides.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing, East Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Reeves
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The growing consensus among Chinese analysts, both in China and the West, that elements of China's contemporary foreign policy have been self - defeating is important but limited in two significant ways. First, it focuses on China's most divisive policy stances—such as its expansive territorial claims, disruptive diplomacy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), or growing use of unilateral economic sanctions. This focus on controversial policies, while important, ignores less litigious policies which are also now contributing to regional instability. Second, analysts who look at China's foreign policy largely confine their work to China's relations with large or medium powers—such as Japan, India, Vietnam, or the Philippines—or with regional organizations such as ASEAN. This focus ignores China's relations with smaller, developing states—such as Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, or Myanmar—which are, in many ways, the building blocks of China's periphery security.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar
  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: If there is one idea that has consistently influenced western foreign policy since the Cold War, it is the notion that extending interdependence and tightening economic integration among nations is a positive development that advances peace, stability, and prosperity. As a post-Cold War idea guiding U.S. and European foreign policy, there is much to be said for it. The absorption of Eastern Europe in both the European Union and NATO helped consolidate market democracy. Globalization led to unprecedented growth in western economies, and facilitated the ascent of China and India, among others, taking billions of people out of poverty. Access to the international financial institutions also offered emerging powers the strategic option of exerting influence through existing institutions rather than trying to overturn them. Some policymakers and experts believe that this process holds the key to continuing great power peace and stability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Mike M. Mochizuki, Samuel Parkinson Porter
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2013, Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner, the Komeito, scored an impressive victory in the House of Councilors elections. Out of the 121 contested seats, the LDP won 65 and the Komeito 11. With this victory, the LDP-Komeitoruling coalition now controls 135 out of 242 seats (about 55 percent) in the upper house. This win follows the December 2012 triumph in the House of Representatives election, which brought Shinzo Abe and the LDP back to power by taking 294 out of 480 seats.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China