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  • Author: Torrey Froscher
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: The North Korean nuclear program has been a major intelligence and policy challenge for more than 30 years. Former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry described the problem as “perhaps the most unsuccessful exercise of diplomacy in our country’s history.”1 Donald Gregg, who was CIA station chief in Seoul as well as US ambassador to South Korea, called North Korea the “longest running intelligence failure in the history of American espionage.”2 To be fair, Gregg was referring specifically to a lack of success in recruiting human sources—not necessarily errors in specific or overall assessments. Nonetheless, his comment underscores the difficulty of figuring out what North Korea is up to. In 2005, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which was convened to investigate the failed 2002 national intelligence estimate on Iraqi WMD capabilities, indicated that we know “disturbingly little about the weapons programs and even less about the intentions of many of our most dangerous adversaries,”3 presumably including North Korea. Today we know a lot more about North Korea’s nuclear program— but mostly it is what they want us to know. Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests. We know that North Korea has nuclear weapons, a significant fissile material production capacity, and an ambitious nuclear and missile development effort. These programs are completely unconstrained. The United States has tried many approaches to deal with the problem over the years, and intelligence has played a key role in support. Are there lessons to be learned from this experience? Obviously, it’s a very big question and I will sketch out just a few thoughts, mostly from an intelligence perspective: What we knew and when and how we thought about the problem. North Korea was one of many issues I worked on as an analyst and manager in CIA until my retirement in 2006. The views that follow are my own, of course, and the specific information is drawn from the extensive public literature on the issue, as well as declassified intelligence documents.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, History
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The first contact in this reference was initiated by the Tibetans, when, upon hearing the news of the defeat of Bhutan’s King Desi Shidariva by the British forces in the battle for Cooch Behar (1772-1774), the Panchen Lama, Palden Yeshe, wrote a historic letter of mediation addressed to the Governor General. Hastings seized the opportunity, and, in his response proposed a general treaty of amity and peace between Bengal and Tibet.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The backdrop to this was created when the ruler (sde-srid or srid-skyon) of Bhutan overran Sikkim some years prior. In 1771, the Bhutanese descended on the plains and invaded Cooch-Behar, taking in the Raja (King) as a prisoner. The royal family called on Warren Hastings for assistance, who, in turn, dispatched a battalion of sepoys. The Bhutanese were driven away from Cooch-Behar and chased into the Duars around winter 1772-1773.1 In the given circumstances, the Bhutanese government appealed the Tashi Lama (who was the acting Regent of Tibet during the infancy of the Dalai Lama) to intervene on their behalf.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The 20th and 21st centuries will be remembered for many things, including primacy of the vast and seemingly endless seas and oceans. In this setting, the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) finds itself at the heart of the world map connecting distant nations through limitless waters. As a Northeast Asian island nation, Japan’s involvement with the Indian Ocean is heavily defined by virtue of its trade, investment and supplies from this region. Japan’s story in this reference dates back to the 17th century when a prominent Japanese adventurer, merchant, and trader, Tenjiku Tokubei sailed to Siam (Thailand) and subsequently to India in 1626 aboard a Red Seal ship via China, Vietnam and Malacca. Often referred to as the ‘Marco Polo of Japan’, Tokubei’s adventurous journey and account of his travels to India gained distinction also because he became perhaps the first Japanese to visit Magadh (which was an Indian kingdom in southern Bihar during the ancient Indian era).
  • Topic: Security, Development, Regional Cooperation, History, Capacity
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Sunil S. Amrith
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: “The history of water,” writes Sunil S. Amrith, “shows that nature has never truly been conquered.” Nature is a dynamic presence in Amrith’s oeuvre. As a historian of South and Southeast Asia, his research engages the spaces, movements, and processes of a uniquely Indian Oceanic region. The worlds recounted by Amrith are often ones marked by the ambitions of empires and polities, the mass migration of human labour, and indeed, the furies of nature itself. In his latest book, Unruly Waters, Amrith shows how “the schemes of empire builders, the visions of freedom fighters, the designs of engineers—and the cumulative, dispersed actions of hundreds of millions of people across generations—have transformed Asia’s waters over the past two hundred years.” It testifies to the dreams that societies have often pinned to water, as well as its unwieldy and turbulent nature. In his account of “the struggle for water” and control over the Asian monsoon, we come to understand how climate change exacerbates a problem both already in-progress and connected to histories of “reckless development and galloping inequality.” Sunil S. Amrith is presently the Mehra Family Professor of South Asian History at Harvard University. He was the 2017 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. From July 2020, Amrith will be the Dhawan Professor of History at Yale University. His most recent book publications include: Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History (Basic Books and Penguin UK, 2018), Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Harvard University Press, 2013), and Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2011). In this conversation, we discuss the role of water, nature, and inequality vis-à-vis history; the fields of global and environmental history; and lastly, some of the thoughts and practices that underlay the historian’s craft.
  • Topic: Globalization, History, Water, Oceans and Seas
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: 1978 has been erratic, with many interruptions along the way. The end result, however, has been eye opening: the Middle Kingdom has become the world’s largest trading nation, the second largest economy, and more than 500 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty as economic liberalization removed barriers to trade. One of the enduring lessons from China’s rise as an economic giant is that once people are given greater economic freedom, more autonomy, and stronger property rights, they will have a better chance of creating a harmonious and prosperous society (see Dorn 2019). Nevertheless, China faces major challenges to its future development. There is still no genuine rule of law that effectively limits the power of government, no independent judiciary to enforce the rights promised in the nation’s constitution, no free market for ideas that is essential for innovation and for avoiding major policy errors, no competitive political system that fosters a diversity of views, and a large state sector that stifles private initiative and breeds corruption. China’s slowing growth rate, its increasing debt burden, environmental problems, and the increasing tension in U.S.-China relations compound the challenges facing Beijing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History, Trade Liberalization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John J. Chin
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Hong Kong, once renowned as an apolitical and orderly British entrepôt, is now seething with political discontent, student unrest, and pro-democracy protests. Nothing less than the future of “one country, two systems”—the framework through which China agreed to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy for fifty years in exchange for British agreement to restore Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997 after more than a century of British administration—is at stake.
  • Topic: Government, History, Social Movement, Law, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Warren Cohen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: America’s Response to China has long been the standard resource for a succinct, historically grounded assessment of an increasingly complicated relationship. Written by one of America’s leading diplomatic historians, this book analyzes the concerns and conceptions that have shaped U.S.–China policy and examines their far-reaching outcomes. Warren I. Cohen begins with the mercantile interests of the newly independent American colonies and discusses subsequent events up to 2018. For this sixth edition, Cohen adds an analysis of the policies of Barack Obama and extends his discussion of the Chinese–American relationship in the age of potential Chinese ascendance and the shrinking global influence of the United States, including the complications of the presidency of Donald Trump. Trenchant and insightful, America’s Response to China is critically important for understanding U.S.–China relations in the twenty-first century.
  • Topic: History, Asia
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231549615
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Petri
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, (ANGLICO) supported the U.S. Army and allied units in the Republic of Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. In the summer of 1966, ten officers and 75 enlisted Marines were assigned to the 2 nd Republic of Korea Marine Corps Brigade. This paper recounts my tour of duty as a tactical air controller with the brigade’s 1 st Battalion from 1966 to 1968. I rotated among the battalion’s three companies and reconnaissance platoon, directing air strikes, coordinating helicopter resupply and arranging medical evacuations. My responsibilities allowed me to work alongside the company commander and fire support coordinator; my rank enabled me to interact with the company’s noncommissioned officers and enlisted Marines. Together we fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in nameless rice paddies and jungle choked heights, forging a legend that would define the fighting spirit that has become synonymous with the reputation and respect earned by Korea’s magnificent Marines. Throughout my association with the Blue Dragon Brigade, I have always been impressed with the leadership, training and discipline infused at every level of command. Employing two incidents of mortal combat as a vehicle to demonstrate these attributes, I attempt to convey the admiration and respect I hold for my brother Marines from the Land of the Morning Calm.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Conflict, Memoir, Vietnam War
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Michael MacArthur Bosack
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the multinational headquarters that led the allied forces in the Korean War. The command’s Military Armistice Commission supervises the Armistice Agreement. While the United Nations Command and its activities are common knowledge in the Republic of Korea, the command’s long-standing organization and functions in Japan are less well known. This relationship began in 1950 and is codified in the 1954 United Nations-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The command’s rear area headquarters, the aptly named United Nations Command-Rear Headquarters, has managed this relationship since 1957. After decades of few changes, the United Nations Command and its Sending States broadened traditional roles and missions from Japan beginning in the early 2000s. This led to expanded activities within the legal framework and security mandate governing the United Nations Command’s relationship with Japan, strengthening Japan’s ties with the command’s member states, and supporting the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. This paper examines the relationship between the United Nations Command and Japan, beginning with the institutions and interests underpinning the relationship. Next, it describes the Status of Forces Agreement and how the relationship functions. The paper concludes with a discussion of relevant policy issues, limitations to greater cooperation, and opportunities for expanded roles within the framework of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Military Affairs, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: J. Marshall Unger
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: On the basis of the comparative method, developed over more than two centuries of empirical study, the best results to date are that the presentday Korean and Japanese languages had a common source, called protoKorean-Japanese. Korean and Japanese are more similar to one another than either is to any of the languages spoken in adjacent parts of Asia. That is as far as pure linguistics takes us at present. Other scientific disciplines must be utilized to determine when and where proto-Korean-Japanese was spoken, when its speakers separated into pre-Korean and pre-Japanese groups, and when the descendants of those groups resumed contact on the Korean peninsula prior to the migration of most pre-Japanese speakers to Japan.
  • Topic: Migration, History, Linguistics, Language
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Larry Wortzel
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Today, the CCP leadership would prefer not to use the PLA again in case of riots or unrest. They have strengthened and enlarged the People’s Armed Police and created PAP and PSB riot units. But if the Party center felt threatened again, it is unlikely that Xi Jinping would vacillate and debate: he would not hesitate to crush widespread unrest. The CCP leadership remains as determined as ever to maintain their ruling position, and armed force remains the ultimate guarantor of the Party’s grip on power.
  • Topic: Political Violence, History, State Violence, Protests
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: This report is the culmination of a two-year project sponsored by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, which engaged more than 50 senior, retired and serving policymakers, intelligence officers, and top academic national security analysts. Its findings are based on hours of group discussions and private conversations that helped develop new primary histories of eight nuclear proliferation cases: India, Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Libya, and an Argentine and a separate South African nuclear rocket case. Each history was prepared by an academic historian and was based on open sources. Former officials who had direct roles in these cases then critiqued these accounts. Additional private interviews were conducted with participants to fill in historical gaps. The purpose of the case studies was to identify when and how intelligence shaped or prompted nonproliferation policy actions and, if it did not, why. This set of historical conclusions prompted a more general discussion of how policy and intelligence officials might improve their collaboration to prevent and curb further nuclear proliferation and how academics might contribute by enhancing their treatment of such issues. The project addressed three broad, related questions: How can the role of intelligencein the making of nonproliferation policy be improved? How can the nonproliferation agenda get the priority it deserves? How can the nonproliferation community be sustained and strengthened?
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, History, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, India, Israel, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Libya, South Africa, Argentina, South America, North Africa
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Nepal, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Standing atop the point where the snowcapped heads of the skyreaching Dhavalgiri ranges get interspersed with the undulating stretch of the northeast prairies of Tibet, scattered with shining streams of water, Ekai Kawaguchi was to keep heading north until arriving at Lake Mānsarovar. Having nothing else to guide him but a compass and a survey that he carried along with, Kawaguchi recalled that at the time of bidding adieu to his folks and friends back home in Japan, he had claimed to enter Tibet in three years. That day was June 26, 1897, and “… here I was, stepping on the soil of Tibet on July 4, 1900” filled with mixed feelings of joy, gratitude and hope.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Following his arrival and getting adjusted in Lhasa in March 1901, Japanese Buddhist explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi began familiarizing himself with the life and times of 20th century Tibet. Kawaguchi embarked upon his destination, Tibet, in June 1897 when he left Japan. Arriving in Lhasa nearly four years thereafter, in 1901, Kawaguchi was prepared for the challenges in store, though unaware of the scale of their manifestation. There was a sense of relief though, that he had been able to overcome perhaps the most arduous part of his journey, which was reaching this wearisome and forbidden land whilst being in disguise all through.
  • Topic: History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: What is at stake today in the Indo-Pacific, is not only strategic stability and territorial issues, but also the defence and support of an international order based on democratic values and multilateralism. These values comprise respect for the rule of law, transparency, particularly concerning defence policy, military budget, financial institutions or ODA attribution policy, but also the denunciation of the use of force or threat to use force to solve territorial or other issues and of course the respect for global commons and freedom of navigation. In that respect, the evolution of the situation in the IndoPacific is of global interest, including for the European Union and its member States. These democratic values constitute the core of the liberal international order and are more broadly accepted as universal norms, including in the Asia Pacific. Asean, for instance, a leading player in the region, favours the signature of a code of conduct in the South China sea based on these values in spite of the attachment of its member States, to the principles of non-interference and sovereignty
  • Topic: Defense Policy, History, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Around the decade of 1880s, a substantial number of native Indians (usually pilgrims and priests visiting sacred places) were permitted to enter Tibet. Ekai Kawaguchi recalled his experience and understanding of the Tibetans and described them as inherently hospitable people, by and large. Assessing the relationship existing formerly between British India and Tibet, Kawaguchi acknowledged that British India was closely connected with Tibet since long. In the initial phase, Tibet’s attitude towards the British Indian Government could not be termed resentful or hostile.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Britain, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Hans Kundnani
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Since the euro crisis began in 2010, there has been much debate about German power in Europe. Germany has been widely seen as a kind of European “hegemon.” But this both exaggerates the extent of German power in Europe and underplays how problematic it is. Rather, Germany has reverted to the position of “semi-hegemony” within Europe that it occupied between 1871 and 1945.1 However, whereas the classical “German question” was geopolitical, the new version of the “German question” is geo-economic – that is, German power is now economic rather than military. These questions around German power are extremely important for the future of Europe. But why should anyone in Japan be interested in them?
  • Topic: History, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia, Germany