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  • Author: Luke Patey, Elizabeth Wishnick
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: From its Belt and Road Initiative linking Asia and Europe, to its "Made in China 2025" strategy to dominate high-tech industries, to its significant economic reach into Africa and Latin America, China is rapidly expanding its influence around the globe. Many fear that China's economic clout, tech innovations, and military power will allow it to remake the world in its own authoritarian image. But despite all these strengths, a future with China in charge is far from certain. Rich and poor, big and small, countries around the world are recognizing that engaging China produces new strategic vulnerabilities to their independence and competitiveness. Researching the book took Dr. Patey to East Africa, Latin America, Europe, and East Asia over the past five years and he will discuss how countries in these parts of the world are responding to China’s rise and assertiveness. This event was cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the APEC Study Center and the Columbia Harvard China and the World Program at Columbia University.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jason Po-Nien Chen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This talk was composed of three main sections. First, Dr. Chen introduced the DPP's evolving cross-Strait policy by breaking it down into three respective phrases:1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Then he explained why the party changed from championing independence versus unification in 1990s; intraparty power struggle between de facto and de jure independence in 2000s; and reach the current position of "opposition to de facto unification under one China" rather than "pursuit of Taiwan de jure independence" in 2010s. Second, he shared his research finding and understanding regarding the DPP's view towards the status quo of cross-Strait relations. Third, he discussed the change and continuity of the DPP's position towards sovereignty and cross-Strait relations. Jason Chen has served in different positions in the Democratic Progressive Party for years mainly covering the party's external relations including cross-Strait relations and national security. His last position with the DPP was advisor (Section of National Security) in New Frontier Foundation, the DPP's think tank.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Billy Agwanda
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: During the last two decades, key reforms in social, economic, and political structures have elevated Turkey into a rising regional power. In the Middle East, the increasing influence of Turkey for a better part of the last two decades has been reinforced by its humanitarian oriented foreign policy. Whereas this transformation is extensively attributed to the reform agenda by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the last decade has proved to be challenging for Turkey’s foreign policy stance. Regional dynamics, such as the Syrian civil war, Qatar crisis, and the Kurdish question, have influenced Turkey to gradually shift from its previous subtle to a more assertive foreign policy. Additionally, the frequent domestic political challenges and economic pressure on the AKP government have only pushed Turkey further towards a more assertive Middle East foreign policy. This article examines how regional and domestic political developments are influencing Turkish foreign policy approach. The analysis will attempt to provide a comprehensive perspective on why Turkish geopolitical engagement and an increasingly assertive foreign policy that is characterised by unilateralism particularly in the pursuit of national and regional security is leading to its isolation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Gabriel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Contemporary analysis of Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics tends to focus on the discovery of offshore hydrocarbons, and how a desire to maximize commercial profits has spurred a realignment of regional interests. There is similar emphasis on how this realignment pushed some Eastern Mediterranean states into conflict with one another over maritime boundaries and drilling rights. But while natural gas pipelines may dominate political and analytical discourse, there are other infrastructure projects that deserve attention and shed further light on the region’s evolution and Israel’s role in this transitionary period. One example to support this claim is the EuroAsia Interconnector, an ambitious infrastructure project that intends to connect the European electrical grid via undersea cable from Greece to Cyprus, and Israel. Few in Israel are familiar with the interconnector. Unlike the much-publicized EastMed pipeline, the interconnector garners little attention. Ironically, there is a greater chance that the interconnector – whose cable would run along a similar route as the EastMed pipeline – will successfully link Israel and Europe in the Eastern Mediterranean, and not the more recognizable natural gas project.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Gas
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: Rafał Lisiakiewicz
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Nowa Polityka Wschodnia
  • Institution: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  • Abstract: Th e article presents an idea of the possible Russian - Chinese strategic economic partnership at the beginning of the 21st century. Th e author indicates the main factors infl uencing Russian Federation foreign policy towards China from the perspective of a neoclassical realism.Th e author stands that according to J. Rosenau, the main factors determining the Russian foreign policy are idiosyncratic and role. Th en he analyses the Russian documents of foreign policy, economic data and geopolitical ideas. On that ground, he makes a simple analyse using the neoclassical realism model, that’s integrates Foreign Policy Analyse and International Relations Th eory, joining independent and intervening variables, to support the article’s hypotheses. Th at hypotheses say that, fi rstly, Th e Peoples Republic of China (PRC) plays a role of diversifi cation of Russia’s international economic ties; and secondly, Th e PRC status as a Russia’s strategic partner is at issue, despite the official declarations of both sides.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Ketian Zhang
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: China’s coercive behavior in the post–Cold War period suggests three patterns. First, China uses coercion when it wants to establish a reputation for resolve. Second, China has been a cautious bully, resorting to coercion only infrequently. Third, when China perceives the “geopolitical backlash cost” of military coercion to be high, it chooses instead to use sanctions and grayzone coercion. (“Geopolitical backlash cost” refers here to the possibility that the target state will seek to balance against China, with the potential for U.S. military involvement.) When China perceives the geopolitical backlash cost to be low, it is more likely to use military coercion.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Vincent Artman
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ecological dimensions of the death of the Aral Sea are fairly well known. Once the fourth largest lake in the world, the Aral has all but disappeared since 1960. The complex and fragile ecosystems that once characterized the Aral Sea basin have been supplanted by the parched landscape of the Aralkum Desert, leading to a dramatic collapse of biodiversity. Desertification, in turn, has profoundly altered the regional climate, for the absence of the sea’s moderating influence has resulted in drier, hotter summers and more frigid winters.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Energy Policy, Environment, Water, Geopolitics, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Kazakhstan, Asia, Aral Sea
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In September 2019, the once anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle – M5S) agreed to enter a ruling alliance with the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico – PD).[1] By establishing this “yellow-red” coalition government with what was considered its political nemesis, the M5S managed to preserve its presence in power and avoid early elections. However, its influence gradually weakened, as attested to by poor performances in local elections. The M5S’s declining political fortunes and the changing composition of the government have a significant foreign policy dimension, especially if addressed through the lens of Italy–US relations. The PD is a solidly pro-Atlanticist party in Italy. The M5S, despite its evolution towards greater pragmatism over the years, remains a source of concern, being still perceived as the most pro-China actor within the Italian political landscape.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Geopolitics, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Italy, United States of America
  • Author: Bart Gaens, Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The United States and China are posited to be at the epicenter of an emerging and – by most accounts – intensifying rivalry. This report delves into the theoretical underpinnings as well as the geostrategic and geo-economic dynamics driving this great-power competition. It explores future prospects for contestation and engagement in key issue areas, such as arms control, trade and sanctions. The chapters in this volume also examine the Indo-Pacific as the immediate regional frontline of the unfolding great-power contest and explore the role that Europe has to play in this game. As the world is crossing the threshold into a new age of great-power competition, the debate on the US-China rivalry reveals the complex and contested nature of the meanings, causes, policy implications and future prospects of what is set to become the “new normal” in global politics.
  • Topic: Hegemony, Geopolitics, Conflict, Rivalry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Sardar Aziz
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When I moved into new accommodations in the centre of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, the lift announcements in the apartment tower were in Chinese, followed by Kurdish, Arabic and English. This multilingualism was surprising but positive; it was a clear sign of the dawn of a new era. If in the past, Kurdish was the local language, Arabic regional, and English global, the addition of Chinese signified the plurality of global language and, potentially, of global power. These days, there is a regional focus on Iran’s newly announced 25 year deal with China, which has resulted in a lot of noise both inside and outside Iran. It is not surprising that Sino–Iranian relations are continuing to develop as both countries are hoping for a different world order. Though not so scrutinized, Iraq has seen its own growing ties with China, with the two countries having signed a number of agreements last year. Former Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi, once a Maoist himself, stated in his visit to Beijing ‘we belong to Asia and we want to be a part of its emergence.’ The large Iraqi delegation accompanying him—as told to me by one member of the delegation—all noted and admired what they saw as China’s shift from a poor country to a global power. The deal agreed upon during that meeting, in remaining secret, has created fertile ground for conspiracy and speculations inside Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, Middle East, Asia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Kevjin Lim
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beijing has steadily become Tehran’s economic ventilator, diplomatic prop, and military enabler, and the Iranians need this backstop now more than ever. When the coronavirus spun out of control in Wuhan this January, Iran ignored the example of many other countries and continued to maintain direct flights and open borders with China. Even after President Hassan Rouhani’s government suspended all such flights on January 31, Mahan Air—a company affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—kept flying between Tehran and four first-tier Chinese cities, leading many to allege that the airline was instrumental in introducing or at least exacerbating Iran’s raging epidemic. Whatever the truth behind these allegations, Mahan’s policy is symptomatic of a larger geopolitical reality: Tehran has become profoundly, disproportionately, and perhaps irretrievably dependent on Beijing, despite its own revolutionary opposition to reliance on foreign powers. Where diplomatic and economic sanctions have fallen short, the pandemic has succeeded in isolating the Islamic Republic like never before, compelling it to keep its borders to China open. COVID-19 has also dispelled the notion that Iran’s heavily-sanctioned “resistance economy” still suffices to keep the country solvent. The government has conceded that staying afloat would be impossible if it curtailed cross-border trade, shut down industries, and quarantined entire cities. The crisis is so severe that Iran’s Central Bank has for the first time in decades requested billions of U.S. dollars in assistance from the IMF. Indeed, according to Deputy Health Minister Reza Malekzadeh, whenever his colleagues questioned why China flights continue, bilateral economic relations were among the reasons given. Two days after the government’s ban on such flights, Chinese ambassador Chang Hua tweeted that Mahan CEO Hamid Arabnejad wanted to continue cooperating with Beijing. Neither man specified exactly what this meant, but the implied message to Tehran was clear given China’s resentment of travel bans. Meanwhile, the Iranian Students News Agency, Tabnak, and other domestic media criticized Mahan for prioritizing profit margins over public health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: China has embarked on a grand journey west. Officials in Beijing are driven by aspirations of leadership across their home continent of Asia, feelings of being hemmed in on their eastern flank by U.S. alliances, and their perception that opportunities await across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean. Along the way, their first stop is South Asia, which this report defines as comprising eight countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—along with the Indian Ocean (particularly the eastern portions but with implications for its entirety). China’s ties to the region are long-standing and date back well before the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Alliance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Laura Barber
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's decades-long economic relationship with China has almost always been dominated by oil. Yet this relationship has changed significantly in the past decade—first with the loss of oil reserves when South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011, and more recently due to the ouster of longtime ally President Omar al-Bashir. This report, based on interviews with policy officials, diplomats, industry and security experts, and others, examines China’s evolving commercial and political interests in this vital nation in the Horn of Africa.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Geopolitics, Conflict, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Sudan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Red Sea arena—which this report defines as the eastern and western shores of the Red Sea, from the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt and the Horn of Africa, and the strategic waterways that run between, including the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Suez Canal—has long been a center of political turbulence, regional rivalries, and geopolitical interest. Historic political transitions currently underway in Sudan and Ethiopia, burgeoning economic investments amid fragility and debt in the Horn, continued conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Middle Eastern rivalries and their impact on regional conflict dynamics, and the growing presence of China have further heightened geopolitical interest in this arena. This report focuses on China’s influence and activities in the region and its relationships with twelve Red Sea arena states: Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Environment, Geopolitics, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Red Sea
  • Author: A. Borisov
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: The 20th Century went down in history as a century of ideologies and sharp confrontation of states belonging to different systems, the Soviet Union and the United States in the first place. The 21st century has already demonstrated a mounting geopolitical confrontation of great powers that drew international business interests into their whirlpool. It turned out that the main actors of world politics cannot agree on new prin- ciples of economic cooperation, free competition and respect for the spheres of interests – they have chosen the road of mounting worldwide tension.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In an atmosphere of heightened geostrategic competition, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has raised questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. Such risks are especially worrying for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. A close look at the evidence suggests that China has not been engaged in debt-trap diplomacy in the Pacific, at least not so far. Nonetheless, if future Chinese lending continues on a business-as-usual basis, serious problems of debt sustainability will arise, and concerns about quality and corruption are valid.There have been recent signs that both China and Pacific Island governments recognize the need for reform. China needs to adopt formal lending rules similar to those of the multilateral development banks, providing more favorable terms to countries at greater risk of debt distress. Alternative approaches might include replacing or partially replacing EXIM loans with the interest-free loans and grants that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce already provides.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Rebecca Strating
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The seas are an increasingly important domain for understanding the balance-of-power dynamics between a rising People’s Republic of China and the United States. Specifically, disputes in the South China Sea have intensified over the past decade. Multifaceted disputes concern overlapping claims to territory and maritime jurisdiction, strategic control over maritime domain, and differences in legal interpretations of freedom of navigation. These disputes have become a highly visible microcosm of a broader contest between a maritime order underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and challenger conceptions of order that see a bigger role for rising powers in generating new rules and alternative interpretations of existing international law. This issue examines the responses of non-claimant regional states—India, Australia, South Korea, and Japan—to the South China Sea disputes.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Maritime, Jurisdiction
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, South China Sea
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Connectivity linkages between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and trans-Himalayan countries have taken on a new hue with the recent Himalayan ‘Quadrilateral’ meeting between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal (MOFA (PRC), July 27). Often referred to as a “handshake across the Himalayas,” China’s outreach in the region has been characterized by ‘comprehensive’ security agreements, infrastructure-oriented aid, enhanced focus on trade, public-private partnerships, and more recently, increased economic and security cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The geopolitics underlying China’s regional development initiatives, often connected with its crown jewel foreign policy project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have been highly concerning—not just for the countries involved, but also for neighboring middle powers like India, which have significant stakes in the region.[2] At the Himalayan Quad meeting, foreign ministers from all four countries deliberated on the need to enhance the BRI in the region through a “Health Silk Road”. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and PRC President Xi Jinping’s ‘Community of a Shared Future for Humanity’ was cited as justification for facilitating a “common future with closely entwined interests,” and the ministers agreed to work towards enhancing connectivity initiatives to ensuring a steady flow of trade and transport corridors in the region and building multilateralism in the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote a “global community of health” (Xinhua, July 28).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration recognises the “Indo-Pacific” region—which in official terminology has replaced “Asia-Pacific”—as the most important area for maintaining U.S. global dominance by confronting China. The anti-China approach in the American strategy is not shared by other countries that also are developing Indo-Pacific policy because they are concerned about the negative effects of the U.S.-China rivalry. The Americans will put pressure on their NATO and EU allies to more strongly support the achievement of U.S. goals in the region. However, the EU approach is closer to that of the Asian countries in seeking cooperation and strengthening the stability of a cooperative and rules-based regional order.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Bi-khim Hsiao
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: On October 6, 2020, newly appointed Representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the United States, Bi-khim Hsiao discussed the challenges and opportunities in US-Taiwan relations with Professor Tom Christensen. Representative Bi-khim Hsiao assumed her position as Taiwan’s Representative to the United States in July 2020, after serving as a Senior Adviser to the President at the National Security Council of Taiwan. Representative Hsiao previously served four terms in the Taiwan Legislature, representing overseas citizens for the first term, and then the constituents of Taipei City and Hualien County through different terms. For many years she was ranking member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and previously the chair of the USA Caucus in the Legislative Yuan. She began her political career serving as Director of the Democratic Progressive Party International Affairs Department. After Taiwan’s first democratic change of government in 2000, she became an Adviser in the Office of the President, and was international spokesperson for all DPP presidential elections between 2000 and 2012. Representative Hsiao has taken on numerous leadership roles in international organizations. She was the Chair of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), an organization representing Asian democratic political parties. Between 2005 and 2012, she was elected Vice President on the Bureau of Liberal International (LI), a London-based global political party organization. She is also a founding Board Member of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Born in Kobe, Japan, Representative Hsiao grew up in Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan. She has an MA in Political Science from Columbia University in New York and BA in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College, Ohio.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Noriyuki Shikata, Takako Hikotani, Gerald Curtis
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Abe administration (2012-) and its diplomacy has been remarkably stable despite the geopolitical challenges and instability of its alliance partner, the United States. Is Japan going to stay its course, or are we going to witness major changes in the years ahead? How will Japan respond to recent developments, such as the Coronavirus outbreak? Noriyuki Shikata, Former Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Beijing, will discuss how he forecasts Japan’s diplomacy in 2030.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Phil Thornton
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world is facing unprecedented health and economic crises that require a global solution. Governments have locked down their economies to contain the mounting death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic. With this response well underway, now is the time to move into a recovery effort. This will require a coordinated response to the health emergency and a global growth plan that is based on synchronized monetary, fiscal, and debt relief policies. Failure to act will risk a substantial shock to the postwar order established by the United States and its allies more than seventy years ago. The most effective global forum for coordinating this recovery effort is the Group of 20 (G20), which led the way out of the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009, the closest parallel we have to the current catastrophe. Eleven years ago, world leaders used the G20 meeting in London as the forum to deliver a unified response and a massive fiscal stimulus that helped stem economic free fall and prevented the recession from becoming a second Great Depression. A decade on, it is clear that the G20 is the only body with the clout to save the global economy. This does not mean that the G20 should be the only forum for actions for its member states. The United States, for example, should also work closely with like-minded states that support a rules-based world order, and there are many other fora where it can and must be active with partners and allies. But no others share the G20’s depth and breadth in the key focus areas for recovery. The other multilateral organizations that could take up the challenge lack either the substance or membership. The United Nations may count all countries as members but is too unwieldly to coordinate a response. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has the resources but requires direction from its 189 members. The Group of Seven (G7), which once oversaw financial and economic management, does not include the fast-growing emerging economies. The G20 represents both the world’s richest and fastest-growing countries, making it the forum for international collaboration. It combines that representation with agility.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, G20, Global Markets, Geopolitics, Economy, Business , Trade, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Canada, Asia, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert F. Ichford
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Governments across South Asia face many challenges as they seek to improve the lives of the more than 1.8 billion people that live in the region. Increasing geopolitical competition—especially between and among China, Russia, and the United States—is one factor that is affecting progress. This “great power competition,” including over the South China Sea, is intertwined with regional rivalries (e.g., India and Pakistan, India and China, and the United States and Iran) and has important economic, military, technological, and environmental consequences. Energy is a key strategic sector in this competition as China pursues its expansive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure and trade vision, Russia uses arms sales and nuclear energy to expand its regional presence, and the United States confronts Iran and gears up its free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy and Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative. This issue brief considers the transformation of the electricity sector in Bangladesh. It is the fourth country analysis in the Atlantic Council’s “Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries” series. This issue brief applies to Bangladesh the analytical framework developed in the first report in the series, which presents general challenges and strategic priorities for developing countries in the context of their implementation of electric power policies and reforms following the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Governance, Geopolitics, Gas, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels, Transition
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Bennett Murray
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: As the United States and People’s Republic of China jostle for influence among member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Russian Federation has also declared the bloc a priority. Southeast Asian nations, in turn, would like third powers to counterbalance Beijing and Washington in the region. However, Russia has not made a huge impression in the bloc since its first summit with ASEAN in 2005. Economic success has been mostly limited to bilateral trade centered around arms sales, while security partnerships have not been forthcoming. Part of the problem is that Russia lacks historic ties in its former Cold War rivals, which are also ASEAN’s largest economic powerhouses, to lean on. More crucially, Southeast Asian nations perceive Moscow as deferential to Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Fabio Figiaconi, Claudia Adele Lodetti
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: According to the latest World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” publication, Covid-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on East Asia causing a -1,2% GDP’s reduction in 2020, that is the region’s first recession since 1998’s Asian financial crisis, while China is expected to slow to 1% this year. Among the various consequences that may materialise, the report highlights the disruption of the global and regional value chains. In addition, as stated by UNCTAD World Investment Report 2020 Foreign Direct Investments’ (FDIs) flows are expected to decrease globally by 40% in 2020 and are projected to decrease by a further 5 to 10% in 2021. This scenario would be detrimental for East Asia’s economies and especially for the network of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) located there, which have had and continue to play a fundamental part in the region’s growth. SEZs are intended as delimited areas within a country’s national borders where businesses enjoy a more favourable regulatory and fiscal regime than that of the national territory, with the aim to draw in FDIs, boost exports, increase trade balance and alleviate unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Special Economic Zones
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: South China Sea’s territorial disputes gained the spotlight yet again with the April 18, 2020 announcement1 by China’s State Council, through which, it approved setting up ‘two new’ municipal districts (dependencies of the southernmost Sansha city, in the Hainan province) covering the South China Sea – namely the ‘Xisha District’ and ‘Nansha District’. Home to an estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil, and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea possess rich natural resources and fishing areas. The Fiery Cross Reef will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reefs, and sea areas of the Spratly Islands.2 The Fiery Cross Reef used to be an underwater reef that was converted into an artificial island following massive land reclamation undertaken by China. This reef was virtually untouched by manmade structures until March 2014 and was transformed into an artificial island in the span of one year by March 2015. Furthermore, the Woody Island will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reef, and sea areas of the Paracel Islands.3 China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources has released the longitudes, latitudes, and standardized names of 25 islands and reefs and 55 undersea geographic entities in the disputed South China Sea. The listed islands include Sanzhizai – an islet north of the Woody Island in Sansha city in South China’s Hainan Province.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Arbitration
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Philippines, South China Sea
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Though analysts tend to portray Russia’s foreign policy as truly global (that is, independent of Europe, the US, and China), the country is plainly tilting toward Asia. The Russian political elite does its best to hide this development, but the country is accumulating more interests and freedom to act in Asia than in Europe or anywhere else.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Mohammed Cherkaoui
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: One should highlight the distance between fiction and reality. However, a number of China politics observers and Western military officials have claimed a strong link between Coronavirus and recent research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Neoliberalism, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: China has tried to take advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to boost its international role and status. Nonetheless, China’s own mistakes in battling the virus as well as diplomatic aggressiveness have raised doubts about its capacity to become a world leader.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Both India’s and South Korea’s strategic choices are deeply influenced by the rapidly evolving Indo-Pacific construct, particularly amid a mounting U.S.-China rivalry. With India’s “Look/Act East” policy and South Korea’s “New Southern Policy” offering a perfect stage for deepened mutual cooperation, both nations need to further their relations to build Asia’s future while advancing their respective national interests. With both countries following stringent foreign policies as a result of the actions of their immediate neighbors, they present a geopolitically strategic complementarity for their relationship to prosper and emerge as one of the most important relationships in the region. Seoul’s hesitation to overtly embrace the “Indo-Pacific” concept is not really a barrier; rather a geo-political overture to discard the balance of power politics and pursue an autonomous foreign policy. India’s preference for the “Indo-Pacific” is equally based on strategic autonomy, imbibing universal values and an inclusive regional order. Both countries emphasize a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific and have immense potential to establish security and connectivity partnerships as the keystone of their bilateral ties. With India and South Korea understanding the economic importance versus security ramifications of China, and with Japan’s reemergence as a key regional, if not global actor, both countries need to bring serious strategic intent to their relationship. Making use of the ASEAN platform and bilateral dialogues, South Korea and India have the potential to become one of the strongest Indo-Pacific partners of the 21st century
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Adrian Popa, Cristian Barna
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: Russia’s recent buildup of A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) forces in Crimea and Kaliningrad, coupled with its increasingly confronting rhetoric in the Black and Baltic Seas, pose a serious challenge for the NATO’s Eastern flank countries. While the mare sui generis status of the Black Sea might be altered under the expected inauguration of Canal Istanbul in 2023 as it would probably require the revision of the Montreux Convention, the mare liberum status of the Baltic Sea might also be questioned as Russia contests NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in this region. Facing this challenging geostrategic context, Pilsudski’s ideas of Intermarium seem to have revived within the Central and Eastern European countries under modern interfaces such as the Bucharest Nine and the Three Seas Initiative. This paper proposes a comparative analysis between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea in terms of their newly-emerged geostrategic context, discusses the feasibility of the recent endeavours to promote cooperation within the Central and Eastern European countries and not ultimately, highlights the utility of a regional military alliance in support of NATO.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Crimea, Baltic Sea, Baltic States
  • Author: Michael Flynn, Andrew Rhodes, Michael F. Manning, Scott Erdelatz, Michael Kohler, John T. Kuehn, B. A. Friedman, Steven A. Yeadon, Matthew C. Ludlow, Terje Bruøygard, Jørn Qviller
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: In 2019, the 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps released his planning guidance that laid out the strategic focus and future direction of the Marine Corps. General David H. Berger’s intent for the following four years concurred with the analysis of the previous Commandant and the necessary alignment of the Corps with the National Defense Strategy for the future needs of the Fleet by focusing on five areas: force design, warfighting, education and training, core values, and command and leadership. General Berger cogently noted that the coming decade will be characterized by conflict, crisis, and rapid change—just as every decade preceding it. And despite our best efforts, history demonstrates that we will fail to accurately predict every conflict; will be surprised by an unforeseen crisis; and may be late to fully grasp the implications of rapid change around us. Berger’s primary concern is that the Marine Corps is not fully prepared— equipped, trained, or organized—to support the naval force. To that end, force design became the priority for Marine Corps efforts to fulfill its role for the Fleet as prescribed by the U.S. Congress. The level of change required to integrate the Corps of the future with the naval forces of today would not happen overnight and certainly not without a great deal of growing pains to ensure the Corps is equipped and prepared for the future security environment. When Force Design 2030 was released in March 2020, the Marine Corps was prepared to make the force-wide changes necessary to partner with the Navy and serve as the country’s naval expeditionary force. Our current force design, optimized for large-scale amphibious forcible entry and sustained operations ashore, has persisted unchanged in its essential inspiration since the 1950s. It has changed in details of equipment and doctrine as technology has advanced toward greater range and lethality of weapon systems. In light of unrelenting increases in the range, accuracy, and lethality of modern weapons; the rise of revisionist powers with the technical acumen and economic heft to integrate those weapons and other technologies for direct or indirect confrontation with the U.S.; and the persistence of rogue regimes possessing enough of those attributes to threaten United States interests, I am convinced that the defining attributes of our current force design are no longer what the nation requires of the Marine Corps. Berger’s plan pointed to specific areas of change required to make force design a reality: the size, capacity, and capability of the Corps. In an austere fiscal environment, the Marines must assess their current capabilities to achieve a smaller footprint with broader reach—do more with less. As the reality of COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. presidential election have so poignantly reminded us all, these tasks cannot and should not rest on any single shoulder and any response should be well considered and intended to benefit the greater good. This issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies (JAMS) will address elements of the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, particularly the concept of naval integration and what it means for the Services, especially the Marine Corps. Our authors look to the past for relevant examples of military successes and failures of integration, but they also discuss how future warfare will play out based on these concepts. The authors explore the topic from a variety of perspectives, including those for and against, and they offer analyses of past and current attempts and what naval integration may mean for the future of the Corps. The following articles present the capabilities that will be required to shift from a traditional power projection model to a persistent forward presence and how the Marine Corps can exploit its positional advantage while defending critical regions. Our first author, Dr. Matthew J. Flynn, presents a historical approach to the topic in his article “The Unity of the Operational Art: Napoleon and Naval Integration.” Flynn’s research calls for greater coordination between the sea and land domains to improve U.S. national security. His article draws parallels between Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat and the importance of naval integration for military success: “Napoleon’s fate reveals a great deal about naval integration and how it explains France’s defeat and, most importantly, that there is but one operational art—not one for land and one for sea.” Our second author, Andrew Rhodes, also relies on a historical example with his discussion of the salient lessons that can be learned from the Sino-Japanese War. Rhodes encourages professional military educators and planners who are developing future operational concepts to look beyond simply retelling history and consider how the legacy of this conflict might shape Chinese operational choices. He reinforces From the Editors 9 Vol. 11, No. 2 the concept that military history is not simply a resource for answering concerns about future conflict, but it encourages us to ask better questions about the role of the sea Services and how they can handle uncertainty when preparing for the future. Lieutenant Colonel Michael F. Manning’s “Sea Control: Feasible, Acceptable, Suitable, or Simply Imperative” offers a historical review of early twentieth century Japanese naval battles as a framework to model possible future contests for control of the maritime domain. Manning believes that control of the maritime domain is a prerequisite for assured access and sets the condition for successful Joint operations. Manning believes that “nations not only have to compete with their enemy’s major air and naval capabilities but must also defend against land-based airpower; missiles; torpedoes; short-range, antisurface warfare assets; and coastal mines.” Colonel Scott Erdelatz (Ret) and his team of coauthors focused on an old approach for a new era of naval integration that acknowledges the long-term threat posed by China but also considers how much of what we know as the Marine Corps should be retained to fulfill other missions. Erdelatz et al. also analyze how radical integration might incur significant risk for the Marine Corps if long-term force structure decisions are based on still-evolving concepts and unproven technologies. Major Michael Kohler’s article, “The Joint Force Maritime Component Command and the Marine Corps: Integrate to Win the Black Sea Fight,” discusses how most current Marine and Navy integration takes place at the Service-chief level and primarily focuses on the Pacific. Kohler, however, believes that naval integration is also an important component of a successful defense against Russian expansion in the Black Sea region. Dr. John T. Kuehn shifts the focus to carriers and amphibious operations with his article “Carriers and Amphibs: Shibboleths of Sea Power.” Dr. Kuehn argues that aircraft carriers and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit represent shibboleths of seapower that conflate a deeper understanding of where the U.S. Fleet belongs now and where it needs to go in the future to face the challenges of the twenty-first century. Major B. A. Friedman’s article, “First to Fight: Advanced Force Operations and the Future of the Marine Corps,” then circles back to the traditional Marine Corps stance as always first to fight and the need for advanced force operations in the Corps of the future. Steven A. Yeadon’s article, “The Problems Facing United States Marine Corps Amphibious Assault,” rounds out the current perspective with a review of issues the Marine Corps has faced with amphibious assaults. Yeadon offers actionable information on current limitations and vulnerabilities of U.S. amphibious forces to chart a way forward for a robust forcible entry capability from the sea. The discussion closes with two articles looking to the future of naval in- 10 From the Editors Journal of Advanced Military Studies tegration and the Marine Corps. Major Matthew C. Ludlow’s article, “Losing the Initiative in the First Island Chain: How Organizational Inefficiencies Can Yield Mismatched Arsenals,” presents what may be considered a losing proposition of initiatives in China’s First Island Chain; however, strategic gaps in capabilities have emerged that could dramatically impact the ability to execute an island-defense strategy. The final article by Lieutenant Colonels Terje Bruøygard and Jørn Qviller, “Marine Corps Force Design 2030 and Implications for Allies and Partners: Case Norway,” offers a larger discussion of Force Design 2030 and its future implications for American allies with a case study on Norway. The authors encourage the Department of Defense to consider greater interoperability between and among Services and allies, including increased communication with allies on changes happening at the Service and national level of the U.S. armed forces. The remainder of the journal rounds out with a review essay and a selection of book reviews that continues our focus on naval integration, but it also highlights continuing challenges in national security and international relations. The coming year will be busy for the JAMS editors as we work to provide journal issues on a diverse range of topics relevant to the study of militaries and defense.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, History, Military Strategy, Power Politics, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Europe, Norway, Asia, North America, United States of America, Black Sea
  • Author: Albert Zhang, Elise Thomas
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This new research highlights the growing significance and impact of Chinese non-state actors on western social media platforms. Across March and April 2020, this loosely coordinated pro-China trolling campaign on Twitter has: Harassed and mimicked western media outlets; Impersonated Taiwanese users in an effort to undermine Taiwan’s position with the World Health Organisation (WHO); Spread false information about the Covid-19 outbreak; Joined in pre-existing inauthentic social media campaigns.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, Non State Actors, Geopolitics, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation , Twitter
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Isaac B. Kardon, Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This China Maritime Report on Djibouti is the first in a series of case studies on China’s “overseas strategic strongpoints” (海外战略支点). The strategic strongpoint concept has no formal definition, but is used by People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials and analysts to describe foreign ports with special strategic and economic value that host terminals and commercial zones operated by Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Port, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, East Africa
  • Author: Daniel Caldwell, Joseph Freda, Lyle J. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: China’s naval modernization, a process that has been underway in earnest for three decades, is now hitting its stride. The advent of the Type 055 cruiser firmly places the PLAN among the world’s very top naval services. This study, which draws upon a unique set of Chinese-language writings, offers the first comprehensive look at this new, large surface combatant. It reveals a ship that has a stealthy design, along with a potent and seemingly well-integrated sensor suite. With 112 VLS cells, moreover, China’s new cruiser represents a large magazine capacity increase over legacy surface combatants. Its lethality might also be augmented as new, cutting edge weaponry could later be added to the accommodating design. This vessel, therefore, provides very substantial naval capability to escort Chinese carrier groups, protect Beijing’s long sea lanes, and take Chinese naval diplomacy to an entirely new and daunting level. Even more significant perhaps, the Type 055 will markedly expand the range and firepower of the PLAN and this could substantially impact myriad potential conflict scenarios, from the Indian Ocean to the Korean Peninsula and many in between. This study of Type 055 development, moreover, does yield evidence that Chinese naval strategists are acutely aware of major dilemmas confronting the U.S. Navy surface fleet.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Dominic Sachsenmaier
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Dominic Sachsenmaier, the President of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, is Chair Professor of Modern China with a Special Emphasis on Global Historical Perspectives in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. His expertise centers on global and transnational Chinese history, with a focus on Chinese concepts of society and multiple modernities, among other topics. He is co-editor of the Columbia University Press book series “Columbia Studies in International and Global History“ and an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • Topic: Health, International Affairs, Geopolitics, Global Focus, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Yu Hongjun
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: Since the outbreak of 2008 world financial crisis, issues such as lackluster economic growth around the world and lack of progress in regional cooperation have not been resolved. Conservatism, isolationism, racism, populism, and unilateralism are on the march; political and social movements based on opposition to economic globalization are in vogue; and policymakers as much as ordinary people are expressing concern about the future of the world. Based on his observations and thoughts with regards to modern international relations, as well as his commitment towards a common destiny for mankind, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the launch of the Silk Road Economic Belt and Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road, which together form the globally influential Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Lamberto Zannier, Eleonora Lotti
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: At the beginning of the 1990s new conflicts erupted in Europe as new borders appeared on the map following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. As emerging states were striving to assert new identities (or revive old ones), various minorities found themselves living within new national borders, which in a number of cases provoked instability and conflict, with geopolitics complicating these dynamics even further. As quickly became apparent, some of these divisions were so deep that a number of those conflicts remain unresolved.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Minorities, Geopolitics, Silk Road, OSCE
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Metthew Bryza
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: The November 10th, 2020, trilateral agreement signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin could become the most significant geopolitical development in the South Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union—perhaps even more than the establishment of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-TbilisiErzurum natural gas pipelines. But it is not yet clear that key actors in the Transatlantic community appreciate this opportunity, especially Washington and Paris, who along with Moscow, comprise the Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the supposedly impartial mediating body of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The trilateral agreement defines a peace settlement in line with the framework unofficially agreed by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan over a decade ago, and thus stands a good chance to hold. The so-called “Basic Principles” or “Madrid Principles” were originally tabled by the American Russian, and French Co-chairs of the Minsk Group in November 2007 at a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Madrid.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, OSCE
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia, South Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Author: Saltanat Kuzembayeva
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Nowa Polityka Wschodnia
  • Institution: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  • Abstract: The article is devoted to the geoeconomic goals and prospects of implementing the Chinese initiative „One Belt, One Road”. The author explores the benefits, problems and future opportunities that open up to the Republic of Kazakhstan as a participant in this initiative. The analysis carried out in the article showed that there are still many problems in the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) project taking into account the state program of Kazakhstan “Nurly Zhol”, and difficulties arise in the practical implementation of various cooperation areas. At the same time, Kazakhstan should be guided exclusively by its national interests in cooperation with China in the framework of the “One Belt, One Way” initiative.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Eurasia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Howard Shaffer, Teresita Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 shocked the world with its violence and the callousness of U.S. policy, inspired a unique Beatles concert, and became a feature in a major shift in relations among the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and India. But the Bangladesh movement did not arise in a vacuum. Instead, it grew out of the fragmented geographic, ethnic, and power structure left behind from its first independence movement, when the subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947. After independence, Bangladesh was expected to be a “basket case.” Relatively successful economically, its political trajectory has been more volatile, albeit more promising than other countries studied for this project. However, many issues that shaped the Bangladesh movement—the second of the country’s two independence movements—still stalk Bangladeshi politics four decades after its bloody creation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Independence
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: Miks Muizarajs
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twenty-first century, a small half-island nation emerged from the chaos of conflict against monumental odds. Within just 15 years of independence, Timor-Leste managed to become the most democratic nation in Southeast Asia. Its success was possible due to the skill of its leaders, shifts in geopolitics, and unprecedented levels of international support. Leaders were able to unite East Timor’s ethnically and politically divided society and transform it into a powerful resistance network that coalesced military, clandestine, diplomatic, and activist efforts at a critical juncture in history. A successful campaign to win the hearts and minds of the global audience and the realignment of powerful interests after the Cold War culminated in considerable pressure on Indonesia to release its grip. Brief UN administration and considerable commitments from Australia, Portugal, the United States, and other nations to construct institutions and deploy troops helped prevent a return to violence. Timor-Leste’s savvy and dynamic leadership capitalized on this international support and managed to use its considerable oil reserves to overcome fragility. Despite centrifugal forces, the leadership continues to share aspirations of building a sovereign and prosperous nation.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Geopolitics, Independence, Resistance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Timor-Leste, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Barry Zellen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With Greenland making front page news, the world’s attention is turned to the Arctic. And yet, this region has been the focus of increasingly consequential geopolitical competition for centuries, whether for furs, whales, fish stocks, gold, oil, strategic-military corridors, or (particularly as the ice has retreated) maritime trade routes. In recent years, China has articulated an invigorated vision of Arctic engagement as part of its Polar Silk Road strategy—a component of its broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In its 2018 white paper on Arctic policy, China described itself as a “near-Arctic” state, a definition that has proven controversial and that, earlier this year, was publicly rejected by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo at an Arctic Council (AC) ministerial: “Beijing claims to be a ‘Near-Arctic State,’ yet the shortest distance between China and the Arctic is 900 miles. There are only Arctic States and Non-Arctic States. No third category exists, and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing.” Such a visible diplomatic smackdown in a forum better known for its consensus governance and multilateral approach to Arctic issues generated headlines (and some indignation) worldwide. But Pompeo is right—China cannot reasonably be considered a “near-Arctic” state, owing to its lack of geographical, climatic, and cultural attributes of the Arctic. What kind of seat at which tables a state receives is determined, to a significant degree, by its claims to have a say in the region (combined with its capacity to persuade other states of the merits of its claims), so Beijing’s assertion of near-Arctic statehood weighs on the balance of power and diplomacy in the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Arctic
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Japan’s absence from frontline diplomacy on the North Korea crisis is undermining inter-national efforts to bring about a lasting peace. A close alliance with Tokyo is essential for American and European interests in East Asia. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ The European Union should consider playing a larger role as a mediator in the North Korean crisis. ■The United States can use its diplomatic weight to help Japan solve the abductee issue with North Korea. ■In the face of their shared security threat, Japan should take steps to ease current tensions with South Korea.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Power Politics, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey D. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a controversial addition to both the global and Asian economic architectures. Western critics have alleged it is a vehicle designed to achieve China’s geostrategic goals, while scholars have argued it marks China’s adoption of a ‘revisionist’ foreign policy strategy. This article argues that such interpretations are incorrect, as they fail to account for the evolution of China’s AIIB agenda. To secure a broad membership and international legitimacy for the AIIB, China compromised with partners during governance negotiations in 2015. Western country demands saw several controversial initial proposals dropped, the governance practices of existing multilateral development banks were adopted, and cooperative partnerships were developed with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. This transition from a revisionist to status-seeking AIIB agenda reveals the flexibility of Chinese economic statecraft, and its willingness to compromise strategic goals to boost the legitimacy of its international leadership claims.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Banks
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This monograph attempts to argue and/or demonstrate three main points. First, it looks at why there were credible fears about the stability and viability of the Chinese economy — especially the financial and banking system — leading up to the end of the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011–15), and what these were. To understand why Beijing was so concerned, the monograph draws out the serious structural problems that were leading inevitably to a permanent slowdown from the double-digit growth rates of the first three decades of reform. Second, the monograph looks at what occurred from 2015 to the present, and how China apparently overcame its economic difficulties. In fact, it has not overcome its problems, but deferred them to a future time in ways that only its unique authoritarian political economy is able to do.Third, it is clear the Communist Party is not passively awaiting an unhappy economic fate in connection with its mounting imbalances and domestic economic dysfunction. In many respects, its leaders have been highly creative in seeking solutions that do not entail a weakening of the party’s hold on economic power. On the contrary, the party has been busily shaping and pursuing grand strategic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) to solve or alleviate many of its domestic political-economic problems. This monograph argues that these and other outward-focused initiatives stem most fundamentally from Chinese weaknesses and vulnerabilities but are being remade and recast into initiatives that will strengthen the position of the CCP domestically, ensure greater resilience for its political economy, and advance its ambitious strategic and international objectives at the same time. In summary, it is about the Communist Party cleverly transforming domestic vulnerability into grand strategy and using economic approaches to gain pre-eminence and “win without fighting.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, National Security, Geopolitics, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Rush Doshi, Kristine Lee, Zack Cooper
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Since its launch in 2013, what China calls “One Belt, One Road” has emerged as the corner-stone of Beijing’s economic statecraft. Under the umbrella of the Belt and Road, Beijing seeks to promote a more connected world brought together by a web of Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. The infrastructure needs in Asia and beyond are significant, but the Belt and Road is more than just an economic initiative; it is a central tool for advancing China’s geo-political ambitions. Through the economic activities bundled under the Belt and Road, Beijing is pursuing a vision of the 21st century defined by great power spheres of influence, state-directed economic interactions, and creeping authoritarianism. As Beijing prepares to host the second Belt and Road Forum in late April 2019, countries that once welcomed Chinese investment have become increasingly vocal about the downsides. This report is intended to serve as a resource for governments, corporations, journalists, and civil society groups now re-evaluating the costs and benefits of Belt and Road projects. Building on previous research by the Center for a New American Security and other institutions,2 this report provides a high-level overview of the primary challenges associated with China’s Belt and Road. It explores these challenges in the context of 10 cases that have received little high-profile attention and identifies future concerns generated by the Belt and Road’s growing digital focus. Lastly, the report puts forward a checklist for evaluating future infrastructure projects involving China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Infrastructure, Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Dina Smeltz, J. James Kim, Kang Chungku, Scott A. Snyder
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: While Seoul and Washington currently agree on using high-level diplomacy to encourage North Korea to denuclearize, South Korean and US approaches toward China differ and could become a source of friction between the two allies. Under President Donald Trump, the United States has confronted China through tariffs on Chinese imports and identified China as a near-peer adversary. Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made efforts to end a dispute with China over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and indicated openness to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Public preferences in both the United States and South Korea are not necessarily aligned with their own governments’ policies toward China. Chicago Council and Asan Institute surveys conducted in 2019 find that both South Koreans and Americans see a strengthened US-ROK alliance as an asset in dealing with China, suggesting that Washington and Seoul can afford to strengthen coordination between their policies toward China.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Giulia Sciorati
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Despite being frequently overlooked crushed as it is in the midst of great Asian powers, South East Asia recently found a new space in the international system. And this space already attracted the attention of the old and the new great powers that orbit around the region. Other than Asian powers like China and Japan, the United States are currently joined by Australia in an attempt to find a role in the promising markets of South East Asia. Competition for supremacy in the area is in fact paralleled to a quest for the control of the maritime routes that cross the region. At the same time, in the past few years, many South East Asian states have been subjected to power transitions that have remodeled the political architecture of the region as a whole. South East Asia thus is at the verge of a new momentum that witnesses radical changes in the region’s internal power relations and external balance of power. In addition, South East Asian states are diplomatically entwined within the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), an organization that is not dispensed from the reform wave that currently invests the region.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Radicalization, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • 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
  • Author: Hideshi Tokuchi
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: It is almost a cliché that Australia and New Zealand are canaries in the coal mine for Chinese attempts at exerting political influence. In fact, Chinese influence is not a topic that affects just Oceania. It is already a serious challenge that confronts all democracies and open societies. According to Clive Hamilton’s “Silent Invasion,” a Chinese diplomat who sought political asylum in Australia told Hamilton that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, a large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened Australia’s capacity to recognize and defend against the Chinese infiltration, but all democracies and open societies are susceptible to the threat
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This timely session was dedicated to a debate with the President of Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to discuss central geo-political and domestic developments, including the protests and the crisis of governance in Baghdad; the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria (particularly Rojava); and finally, the effects of internal political fissures within the KRI.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Baghdad, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Camille Lons, Jonathan Fulton, Degang Sun, Naser Al-Tamimi
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China has significantly increased its economic, political, and – to a lesser extent – security footprint in the Middle East in the past decade, becoming the biggest trade partner and external investor for many countries in the region. China still has a limited appetite for challenging the US-led security architecture in the Middle East or playing a significant role in regional politics. Yet the country’s growing economic presence is likely to pull it into wider engagement with the region in ways that could significantly affect European interests. Europeans should monitor China’s growing influence on regional stability and political dynamics, especially in relation to sensitive issues such as surveillance technology and arms sales. Europeans should increase their engagement with China in the Middle East, aiming to refocus its economic role on constructive initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Umar Farooq, Asma Shakir Khawaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The article is intended to find out the geopolitical implications, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Researcher reviewed both published research articles and books to find out geopolitical implication, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For this purpose, researcher also reviewed newspapers articles and published reports by government and non-governmental stakeholders working on CPEC. Review of the articles and reports indicated that CPEC had enormous benefits not only for China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. But different internal and external stakeholders are not in favor of successful completion of this project. Extremism, sense of deprivation, lack of political consensus, political instability are some of the internal constraints. On the other hand, Afghanistan, India, Iran, UAE and USA are posing constraints to halt the successful completion of CPEC.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, South Asia, India, Asia, Punjab, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Author: Hafeez Ullah Khan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to examine how is soft power and public diplomacy imperative conditions for Pakistan‟s international stature by examining the effective utilization of public diplomacy of the states like USA, Russia, China and India, public diplomacy of which have got a very significant position at the international stage. Based on an understanding of their Public diplomacy, the author seeks to explore what lessons and strategies should Pakistan take into consideration for the promotion of Pakistan‟s good image at the international front, and how Pakistan can be successful in achieving the positive results. The author has highlighted some serious recommendations as well.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, South Asia, India, Asia, North America, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Muhammad Faisal, Rana Eijaz Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Political Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: In the contemporary phase of international politics, national security strategy (NSC) is considered as a primary factor in the process of state-crafting. It addresses the key concerns; such as domestic, regional and global threats. It also focuses on the policy framework for the security of the state. In this age of uncertain geo-political environment, every nation-state has adopted a particular strategy in a certain strategic environment to minimize their strategic threats. Thus, the NSC is very important for enhancing the national security of the state. It also very helpful in maintaining the regional and global strategic balance. Contemporary formation of nation-state has defined some certain parameters for the formation of national security. These parameters are very important for achieving several particular objectives such as global strategic stability, regional hegemony and the survival of the political regime in the domestic political domain. The development of NSC has become more complex in the modern politico-strategic than the past ages. This research article finds the parameters of national security strategy which have been adopted by Iran and North Korea to maintain the strategic balance in the regional and global arena. The article concludes that Iran and North Korea must find an independent decision-making syndrome to accelerate the process of national security in the existing strategic domain.
  • Topic: National Security, Geopolitics, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Ric Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ric Smith has masterfully woven archival material, memories of his own time as a foreign service officer, and conversations with other officers of the then Department of Foreign Affairs to recount the crisis in East Pakistan in 1971 and the difficult birth of Bangladesh. Smith highlights the Cold War incongruities of the crisis, including the Soviet Union’s support for democratic India’s position during the crisis, while the United States supported the military regime in Pakistan. The episode also stands as an example of Canberra diverging from Washington on an issue that was garnering political and media attention in Australia. Australia was able to pursue a policy toward the region that was independent from the United States, accepting early that East Pakistan was “finished” and that there was a need to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Smith’s book imparts important lessons about diplomacy for Australia: It is not only possible for Australia’s politicians and diplomats to take independent positions on major international problems, but they are sometimes respected by their allies when they do so.
  • Topic: Cold War, Human Rights, Democracy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Europe, India, Asia, Soviet Union, Australia
  • Author: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China’s President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy programme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become one of the world’s most active infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development in emerging markets across the world. This policy is unlikely to change due to the importance that the Chinese government attributes to the BRI, with it now being formally enshrined into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitution. For the UK, the BRI stakes are high; it matters both domestically and internationally. It is impacting the wellbeing of countries that are of strategic importance to the UK. It also contributes to the emerging geopolitical rivalry on infrastructure financing. The government should explore bilateral and multilateral venues to seek to cooperate with China on the BRI by developing a UK BRI strategy post-Brexit.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, United Kingdom, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China and President Xi Jinping signature foreign policy programme, the BRI has become in a very short space of the time one of the world’s largest and most active international infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping, in a significant manner, to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development and upgrades in emerging markets – a trend that is unlikely to slow anytime time soon, especially given the initiative’s current importance to the Chinese government. For the British government (from here onwards ‘government’), although the UK is unlikely to be a prime destination for BRI projects (for now), the BRI stakes are high. Not only do BRI projects impact the economic wellbeing of a number of countries of strategic importance to the UK, but the government cannot remain passive in the emerging geopolitical context of infrastructure development and financing rivalry. In addition, in light of its relative post-Brexit geopolitical isolation, the government needs to adopt a firm and unequivocal political stance in dealing with its Chinese counterpart should the UK itself become the recipient of BRI projects.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Asia
  • Author: Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has ambitious goals for its power projection capabilities. Aside from preparing for the possibility of using force to resolve Beijing’s territorial claims in East Asia, it is also charged with protecting China’s expanding “overseas interests.” These national objectives require the PLA to be able to project significant combat power beyond China’s borders. To meet these needs, the PLA is building organic logistics support capabilities such as large naval auxiliaries and transport aircraft. But it is also turning to civilian enterprises to supply its transportation needs.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Seapower, Transportation, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Josep Baqués Quesada
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on International Security Studies (RESI)
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: China is the State that has grown the most economically and militarily in the past decades. Although its armed forces are still far from the US, the enormous Chinese commercial projection and its policy of providing facilities in ports on all continents, together with the creation of a powerful fleet of the high seas, recall the path traveled years ago by other great powers. But China, unlike the United Kingdom of the nineteenth century or the USA in the twentieth century, is rather a Rimland´s power with one foot in the Heartland. Precisely for this reason, this analysis tests the Chinese capacity from the theoretical framework least favorable for her, that is, the maritime power of Mahan. The conclusion is that, despite certain deficits in purely geographical issues, many of the parameters once defined by Mahan endorse the Chinese candidacy.
  • Topic: Armed Forces, Geopolitics, Navy, Economic Growth, Maritime
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Michael Mazza
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Southeast Asia is no mere strategic sideshow. For centuries, it has been geopolitically important due to the sea lanes that pass through it, its proximity to and abutment of India and China, and the resources to which it plays host. The United States should strive to shape a Southeast Asia that is at peace with itself and its neighbors; is characterized by states that are strong, independent, and prosperous; and is home to governments that are resilient, responsive, and accountable. Washington should adopt a comprehensive strategy—with security, economic, and governance pillars—to achieve those ends. Should the United States succeed, it will ensure a regional balance of power favorable to the United States and its friends and allies, shore up the liberal international order, deepen prosperity at home and in Southeast Asia, and advance freedom in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Astrid H. M. Nordin, Graham M. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese government representatives and scholars have attempted to ameliorate fears about China’s rise by portraying China as a new and friendlier kind of great power. It is claimed that this represents a new way of relating which transcends problematic Western understandings of Self–Other relations and their tendency to slip into domination and enmity. This article takes such claims as a point of departure, and analyses them with focus on the explicit discussions of friendship in international relations theory. Paying attention to current Chinese thinking which emphasizes guanxi relationships, friendship can contribute to the development of genuinely relational international relations thinking and move beyond a focus on ossified forms of friendship and enmity centred on the anxious self. The vantage point of friendship suggests a way out of the dangers of theorizing Self in contrast to Other, and reopens the possibility to conceptualize Self with Other.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: There is certainly no denying that, in terms of trade and investment alone, the burgeoning economic partnership between Israel and China has at least the potential of transforming not only Israel itself but also Israel’s position vis-à-vis the rest of the Middle East—and most notably vis-à-vis Iran, which happens to be Beijing’s other key partner in the region. Inevitably, it could also have an impact on Israel’s relations with the United States. But is this a marriage made in heaven? Or is it something else? Weighing the answer to that question involves probing beneath the two countries’ currently successful dynamic of trade and commercial transactions to their respective geopolitical agendas. When it comes to Israel, the acknowledged junior partner, it also requires examining whether and how the relationship with China could become a dependency. Such a change might please Beijing, but it would impose on Israeli national security a new kind of vulnerability, one very different from the challenges it has faced successfully in the past.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, National Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Today’s geopolitical conflicts, especially among great powers, involve a desire to fundamentally revise the order of alliances as well as solidify new norms of conduct. The purpose of our paper is to delineate two distinct phenomena in international affairs – hybrid warfare, which emphasizes the tactical level and grey-zone conflicts, which incorporates a long-term strategic dimension into international disputes. We argue that hybrid warfare can be a tactical subset of grey-zone conflict deployed under certain conditions and in varying degrees. We examine four case studies: China’s application of ‘unrestricted warfare’, Russia’s strategy of ‘hybrid balancing’, ‘regional hybridism’ practiced by Israel and ‘restricted hybridism’ applied by Canada/NATO globally. We conclude that the solution to challenges from Russia and China is not a military one but a political and collective one based on baseline requirements for building resilience. Israel, on the other hand, is largely uninterested in the revision of order of alliances and will continue to utilize its tactical advantage vis-à-vis regional neighbors to achieve victories in short conflicts. We conclude that NATO (and Canada) should work more closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union to effectively extend security guarantees to its members. In doing so Canada and likeminded countries will involve the costs of engaging in hybrid warfare and the subsequent erosion of democratic accountability.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Geopolitics, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Middle East, Canada, Israel, Asia
  • Author: David Curtis Wright
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: This paper discusses China’s Arctic policy white paper, covers China’s appreciation of the region’s strategic value, and samples scholarly articles across the wide spectrum of opinion and policy recommendation regarding China’s participation in Arctic affairs. It describes the articles, offers translated segments from them, and refers readers who want to read more about the articles and more extensive translated passages from them to the Appendix, where they are included in fuller form. This paper’s main contention and conclusion is that the military and strategic dimensions of China’s interests in the Arctic are part and parcel of mainstream Chinese discourse on the Arctic today. One important motivation behind China’s burgeoning interest and engagement in Arctic affairs is the eventual utilisation of the region as strategic space from which to threaten the security of North America. China’s activities in the Arctic bear close, careful, and continuous scrutiny. It is imperative that Canada not succumb to the siren song of complacency and inaction regarding China’s ambitions in the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, Arctic
  • Author: Adam Lajeunesse
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: China is a “Near Arctic State” with national interests in Arctic resources, shipping lanes, and regional governance. That was the message delivered to the world in China’s new Arctic policy (China 2018). The philosophy espoused in the Chinese White Paper is one of cooperation and mutual profit – what the Chinese have dubbed “win-win” polar partnerships. These partnerships have been expanding in recent years. Tens of billions of dollars in Chinese capital has flowed into oil and gas projects in Siberia and the Russian Arctic offshore, new shipping routes are being tested, and state-owned mining companies have acquired rich mineral deposits in Greenland and – to a lesser extent – Canada. These resources, and the sea lanes that connect them, have been labelled the “Polar Silk Road,” a maritime trade and shipping route supported by Chinese infrastructure spending (theoretically) running through the Northwest Passage and other circumpolar channels. China’s increasingly confident posture in the North represents real opportunities – and challenges – for Canada. Managed properly, Chinese money can support the decades old Canadian dream of developing the Northwest Passage as a useable sea route, decreasing shipping costs, supporting development and improving the quality of life for Arctic residents. Managed incorrectly, Chinese activity might leave the Asian power with a degree of de facto control over the Arctic, damaging Canadian sovereignty and imperiling the country’s ability to manage this increasingly important region on Canadian terms. This new White Paper is as clear a signal as can be sent that China is coming into the Arctic with long-term strategic ambitions. Canada should not fear this development, but it must be prepared for it.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, Arctic
  • Author: Jeff Kucharski
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s growing interest in trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific region corresponds with an ominous growth in geopolitical instability and insecurity in that part of the globe. With Indo-Pacific hunger for oil expected to soar – especially in China, where demand will translate to 80 per cent of imports in 10 years – Canada needs to develop policies to deal with the region’s turbulent realities. The Indo-Pacific comprises countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and includes such unstable and unpredictable players as North Korea and Pakistan, both of which have nuclear weapons and long-simmering border tensions. India is an emerging economic and military rival to China. In the next 20 years, China and India are expected to lead the global demand for gas as coal consumption continues to decline, and Canada has a stake in this prosperous future. Along with territorial squabbles in the region, Canada will have to deal with complex issues such as terrorism, human trafficking, transnational crime, piracy and cyber-crime, as well as the struggle for global dominance between China and the U.S. One key area for potential conflict is China’s recent construction and militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea. The Canadian government’s new military strategy, Strong, Secure, Engaged does little more than make a plea for peace and the rule of law in the South China Sea. However, more trade crosses the Pacific Ocean from Canada than crosses the Atlantic. And with Canada signing on to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the region’s troubles will need to be resolved by more than good intentions on paper. Canada must shift more diplomatic, security and military resources to the Indo- Pacific; otherwise, its efforts will be spread too thinly to be effective in the region. Trade, especially through a major route like the Strait of Malacca, could easily be disrupted by any one of a number of disputes, such as a conflict between China and Taiwan or if historic resentments boil over among competing territorial claimants in the region. Thus, Canada needs to step up and reaffirm its security commitments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a partner in the region. Participating in maritime exercises and Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations would also help to reinforce to countries in the region the importance of abiding by international law. Meanwhile, Canada should set aside for now any intentions to negotiate a free trade agreement with China. China does not share some of Canada’s key trade and security goals and its aggressive behaviour in the South and East China Seas clearly signal that now is not the time to talk about a trade pact. China must demonstrate that it is willing to take a more cooperative approach to resolving trade and security issues in the Indo-Pacific and to support and respect the rule of law in the region. Canada has the potential to become a reliable, stable source of energy for Indo-Pacific countries. There is also an opportunity for provinces such as Alberta to strike their own strategic deals to provide energy resources to countries in that region, in return for trade and investment benefits. However, while investing at home in the necessary infrastructure and export capability to expand its role, Canada must also strive to bring its own unique approach to enhancing regional and energy security in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Yun Sun
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Since being applied to U.S.-Soviet-China trilateral relations after the Sino-American rapprochement in the early 1970s, the notion/theory of “strategic triangles” has been widely used to examine many trilateral relations. The model of “U.S.-China plus one” is popular among students of U.S.-China relations and, consequently, the policy community has witnessed an increasing amount of scholarship on triangles among U.S.-China-India, U.S.-China-Japan, U.S.-China-Russia, and even U.S.-China-Taiwan. Unsurprisingly, this begs the question whether a strategic triangle could be construed and constructed among the United States, China, and South Korea. Generally speaking, despite the trilateral nature of U.S.-China-ROK relations, the Chinese policy community rarely subscribes to the existence of a strategic triangle among the U.S., China, and South Korea. This is not necessarily because South Korea does not carry the same strategic weight as the two great powers, but more importantly is because China does not see South Korea as possessing the strategic autonomy to act as an independent player in the trilateral relations. Although arguably such autonomy might exist in economic and trade relations, on key political and security issues, the Chinese see South Korea as invariably constrained by the U.S.-ROK military alliance and unable to form its own independent national security policy. In writing about the post-Cold War period with an emphasis on geopolitics, Chinese authors do not often treat South Korean policy or Sino-ROK relations as autonomous. Given the great weight given to the U.S. role, it is important, therefore, to take a triangular approach in assessing these writings centered on South Korea. I do so first explaining in more detail why the “strategic triangle” framework does not apply, then examining views on how this triangle has evolved in a period of rising Chinese power relative to U.S. power and fluctuating U.S.-ROK relations as the leadership in Seoul changed hands, and finally returning to the triangular theme to grasp how this shapes China’s understanding of Seoul’s policies with emphasis on the ongoing Moon Jae-in era.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Celine Pajon, Isabelle Saint-Mezard
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: In the last decade, the strengthening of the India-Japan strategic partnership has been primarily driven by geopolitical considerations, in an era of competing regional visions and influence. While bilateral relations have shown progress in terms of political values and interests, strategic convergence and military cooperation, their economic dimension has seemed to lag behind. While India has been one of the largest recipients of Japanese official development assistance (ODA) loans since 2003, it made up only 2.2% of Japan’s total overseas direct investment (ODI) flows in 2016. Moreover, the volume of bilateral trade has remained surprisingly modest. In other words, India and Japan still need to boost business links to give more substance to their bilateral partnership as well as support India’s robust and long-term development and economic growth, as Japan needs a strong democratic partner in Asia. The objective is highly political. Japan and India are eager to develop their partnership as a balancing act vis-à-vis China. If they are to fulfill their ambitious geopolitical visions, they also need to promote cooperation in third countries.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Economic Cooperation, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Asia
  • Author: Elisa Hsiu-chi Wang
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: Due to the policy of “diplomatic truce” during the presidency of Ma Ying-Jeou, and the good will of mainland China, from 2008 to 2016, generally speaking, the number of ROC’s diplomatic allies remained stable, except in November 2013, when Gambia cut its diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 20, 2016, some changes are expected in cross-Strait relations between Mainland China and Taiwan, given the reluctance of President Tsai to express her support to the 1992 Consensus, and the previous reactions of Mainland China. Nowadays, among the 20 ROC diplomatic allies, 11 are located in Latin America. This article tries to respond to the following questions: Is it possible to go back to the bilateral diplomatic competition for recognition by different ally countries, like that maintained during the governments of Lee Tenghui and Chen Sui-bian? Will Mainland China intend to seize more countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan in order to press Tsai for closer cross-Strait relations? Will the Taiwan´ diplomatic allies in Latin America turn to Mainland China, accepting its offers and incentives?
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson, Peter A. Dutton
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: Today, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is investing in marine scientific research on a massive scale. This investment supports an oceanographic research agenda that is increasingly global in scope. One key indicator of this trend is the expanding operations of China’s oceanographic research fleet. On any given day, 5-10 Chinese “scientific research vessels” (科学考查船) may be found operating beyond Chinese jurisdictional waters, in strategically-important areas of the Indo-Pacific. Overshadowed by the dramatic growth in China’s naval footprint, their presence largely goes unnoticed. Yet the activities of these ships and the scientists and engineers they embark have major implications for U.S. national security. This report explores some of these implications. It seeks to answer basic questions about the out-of-area—or “distant-ocean” (远洋)—operations of China’s oceanographic research fleet. Who is organizing and conducting these operations? Where are they taking place? What do they entail? What are the national drivers animating investment in these activities?
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: On April 10, 2012, two Chinese law-enforcement cutters on joint patrol in the South China Sea received orders to proceed immediately to Scarborough Shoal, a disputed cluster of rocks 140 nautical miles west of Subic Bay, the Philippines. Earlier that day, a Chinese fisherman aboard one of several boats moored in the lagoon had transmitted an alarming message to authorities in his home port in Hainan: “Philippine Navy ship number 15 heading this way.” Ship number 15 was BRP Gregorio del Pilar, an elderly former U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter now serving as a frigate in the Philippine navy. Not long after the first message arrived in Hainan, sailors operating from the ship entered the lagoon and approached the Chinese boats. At this point, the fisherman sent a final message: “They’re boarding.”
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Port
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Frank Lavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Donald Trump confounds political observers. For many, he is defined by his missteps and flamboyance. His foreign policy statements contain sufficient imprecision—if not outright contradictions—to allow observers to conclude a lack of care in dealing with the issues. Is China’s presence in the South China Sea acceptable or not? Is NATO useful or not? Should the United States use force in Syria for humanitarian or geo-political goals? This ambiguity gives rise to further questions regarding his foreign policy architecture: what are the guiding principles?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Populism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Syria, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Brendan Taylor, Greg Fealy, David envall, Bates Gill, Feng Zhang, Benjamin Zala, Michael Wesley, Shiro Armstrong, Anthony Bergin, David Brewster, Robin Davies, Jane Golley, Stephen Howes, Llewelyn Hughes, Frank Jotzo, Warwick McKibbin, Rory Medcalf, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Steven Rood, Matthew Sussex
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: Once again, Trump has broken the mould. The 100-day mark is traditionally used to assess a new administration’s progress in advancing its policy agenda. With Trump, that’s impossible. In foreign policy at least, it’s more appropriate to ask whether at the 100-day mark the Trump administration is any closer to actually having a policy agenda. In no region is this question more pressing than in the Asia Pacific. The Asia Pacific is home to two-thirds of the world’s population, two-thirds of the global economy, and provides two-thirds of all global economic growth. It is the arena for the most serious challenge to America’s international role since it emerged as a global power a century ago. It is also the region that hosts six of the world’s nine nuclear states, and four of those have the fastest growing stockpiles and the most unpredictable nuclear doctrines. Few would dispute that for over 70 years, the United States has both stabilised the Asia Pacific’s fractious strategic affairs and underpinned its rapid economic development. And so the possibility of a radically different American role in the region instituted by the least conventional President in living memory is of vital interest not only to the residents of the region, but to the world as a whole. We asked experts from across the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific to watch and assess the impact of Trump on the Asia Pacific during the first hundred days of his Presidency – and how the region, and Australia should respond. It’s the sort of exercise that the largest and most comprehensive collection of expertise on the Asia Pacific on the planet can do with relish – and with a customary policy eye. The result is a fascinating and varied portrait of how the new administration has affected the world’s most dynamic region, and how the region is likely to react. When viewed together, these essays allow us to reflect on three questions that will be crucial for this region and the world over the next four years and perhaps beyond. What have we learned about Trump and his administration? What do the region’s reactions to Trump tell us about the regional role of the United States in the future? And what do these responses tell us about the Asia Pacific, and its likely trajectory in the near- and mid-term future?
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Indonesia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Australia
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: At the height of the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union used money and weapons to build satellite states; today China and India are using satellites in space to win influence and secure their geo-political and economic interests. They see each other as competition in the global satellite launch business. So how do the Indian and Chinese space programs compare? In which areas is competition likely to be most intense?
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Space
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Maria Candida Arrais de Miranda Mousinho, Ednildo Andrade Torres, Silvo Alexandre Beisi Vieira de Melo
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: The act of dominating energy resources undoubtedly permeates the conquest of territories and their respective societies. Energy and geopolitics have always walked conjointly in the process of economic and social development in which societies have been based over the time. The multiplicity of issues that geopolitics gathered helped broaden the spectrum of analysis of geopolitical turning it more complex. This paper has the main objective to contribute for a discussion about the transition from the geopolitics based on the physical space to the geopolitics based on sustainability in which renewable energy has consolidated in the international scenario. The final considerations highlight the quest for energy security requires more than the quest for energy self-sufficiency itself. In addition, the sustainable paradigm introduced in the geopolitics of energy new challenges as the insertion of renewable energy in a context dominated by traditional sources of energy that provokes a reflection on how the challenges related to geopolitics will be dealt with. In that way, China and India appears as a global players. The choice of cooperative dialogues appears as an essential element in the balance of the energy system.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Renewable Energy, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Abstract: The Red Star and the Crescent (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2018) provides an in-depth and multi-disciplinary analysis of the evolving relationship between China and the Middle East. Despite its increasing importance, very few studies have examined this dynamic, deepening, and multi-faceted nexus. James Reardon-Anderson has sought to fill this critical gap. The volume examines the ‘big picture’ of international relations, then zooms in on case studies and probes the underlying domestic factors on each side. Reardon-Anderson tackles topics as diverse as China’s security strategy in the Middle East, its military relations with the states of the region, its role in the Iran nuclear negotiations, the Uyghur question, and the significance and consequences of the Silk Road strategy.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that the Turkish referendum of 16 April 2017 marks a sea change for Turkey’s political system. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have narrowly won the referendum that turns his de facto hegemonic presidency into de jure. 51.28% of Turkish citizens approved the 18 proposed constitutional amendments, while 48.72% opposed them. However, the provisions of the constitutional amendments and the statements made by the main political protagonists and antagonists give little hope that the referendum result will bring political stability or economic prosperity; or allow Turkey’s leadership to play a constructive role in Syria and Iraq - at least in the short-term. Furthermore, it is unlikely to enhance the level of cooperation with the EU and the US over the war against the Islamic State (IS) and the refugee crisis.
  • Topic: Elections, European Union, Democracy, Geopolitics, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Ferry de Kerckhove
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: While China's climb towards global, superpower status has now been underway for decades and is accelerating rapidly, that ascent is being helped enormously by the crisis of American leadership exemplified by Trump. This should be a major concern for the Unites States and the rest of the world. Through his “concession speech” at the United Nations on September 19, Trump has allowed a rekindling of the concept of spheres of influence. In Asia, China represents a model many hope to emulate to bring their people out of poverty. With it, for governments, comes the attraction of power unfettered by the shenanigans of democracy. In Europe, the U.S. foreign policy dearth has had allies looking for a new paradigm, order, stability and a minimum of predictability. China has taken over the number one rank as a donor or investing country in Africa and expects to invest half a trillion dollars in Latin America. The U.S. continues to exercise considerable influence over events, lead the fight against terrorism, brokers negotiations between foes, dominates a large chunk of the world economy, leads on innovations, and is the world’s preeminent military power. But under Trump, beneath all these evidences, confidence in the U.S. has been broken and uncertainty prevails.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Inayat Kalim
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with all its associated projects, favorably influences the geo-strategic and geo-economic prospects of China. Geo-strategic location of Gwadar further facilitates China to capture transit trade with Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Middle East and influence this regional accessibility with a viable and secured corridor for further expansion of regional economic cooperation. Since the emergence of China as an energy importer in late 90s, it has adopted a „go out‟ strategy to secure energy assets through procurement and long term energy investment in the energy rich countries, mostly in the Persian Gulf states and convert historical routes into a modern grid of energy pipelines, roads and railways for its energy supplies. The strategy aims at using financial means such as building new seaports, infrastructure development and military and hydrocarbon cooperation between regional countries to establish an artery for ensuring uninterrupted crude oil supply to its territory. This Chinese approach has been referred by many intellects around the globe as the revitalization of the Silk Road Strategy to link China with surrounding regions to generate immense economic dividends.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Geopolitics, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: China’s expansion in maritime East Asia has relied heavily on non-naval elements of sea power, above all white-hulled constabulary forces. This reflects a strategic decision. Coast guard vessels operating on the basis of routine administration and backed up by a powerful military can achieve many of China’s objectives without risking an armed clash, sullying China’s reputation, or provoking military intervention from outside powers. Among China’s many maritime agencies, two organizations particularly fit this bill: China Marine Surveillance (CMS) and China Fisheries Law Enforcement (FLE). With fleets comprising unarmed or lightly armed cutters crewed by civilian administrators, CMS and FLE could vigorously pursue China’s maritime claims while largely avoiding the costs and dangers associated with classic “gunboat diplomacy.”
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: The missile fast-attack craft and amphibious fleets of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy (PLAN) have undergone significant modernization over the past fifteen years. The capabilities of both categories of vessels have improved even if their actual numbers have not increased dramatically. Examined from the perspective of PLA doctrine and training, the missions of these forces represent the PLAN's past, present, and future.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Michael Tierney
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Central Eurasia has long been an area that occupies utmost geostrategic importance inthe international system. Scholars throughout the 20th century identified Central Eurasia as the singlemost pivotal area for powerful states to gain influence and control. Their theories were based upon the fact that the region contained vast natural resources, a large population, high economic potential, and was geographically situated in a location strategically important for all world powers. As aresult, Central Eurasia’s importance in international affairs influenced geostrategic thinking during the inter-war years into WWII, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War era. Yet the shift in power that has occurred globally in recent years has caused scholars to signal the emergence of a new multipolar world. Some scholars have additionally hypothesized that there will be new geostrategic pivot states and regions located outside of Central Eurasia as a result. This study uses both historical and contemporary literature from the field of geopolitics to construct a list of potential pivots in the current international system. It then compares potential new pivot areas to the traditional Central Eurasian region using the variables listed above. The study finds that there are in fact comparable geostrategic pivots located outside of the Central Eurasian region in the contemporary international system. The implications of these findings are then discussed in the context of geostrategy and international security.
  • Topic: Cold War, International Affairs, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, World War II
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia, Central Eurasia
  • Author: Antonio T. Carpio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Honorable Antonio T. Carpio, Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, discusses the South China Sea disputes in an October 7, 2015 lecture at Columbia University. Moderated by Ann Marie Murphy, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Co-sponsored by SEASI and the New York Southeast Asia Network.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines, South China Sea
  • Author: Iqbal Shailo
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: This study briefly discusses three case studies of regional integration, namely the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (IMS-GT), the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), to critically examine contemporary integration project as a phenomenon in which sovereignty, identity and boundary/territory are constructed and confirmed. Poststructuralist approaches reconsider regional communities as pre-given institutes, practices and actors, and inspire to focus on how these categories are constructed and implemented. I am concerned with two important questions: what are the central theoretical dilemmas concerning the concept of regional integration; and how can critical geopolitics employ the integration project and constructive discourses to form a broader view of regional integration?
  • Topic: Globalization, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Borders, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: Barry Cooper
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: At the end of the Pacific War, the United States wrote a new constitution for Japan that included an article compelling their defeated adversary forever to renounce war as an instrument of state policy. Today, in response to changing economic and geopolitical realities, Japan had the most effective military forces in Northeast Asia. This paper discusses the reasons for the change and how Japan was able to interpret constitutional pacifism so as to respond to the political necessities created by its confrontational neighbours. The “view from Tokyo” presented in this report will be of interest to Canadians not least of all because it differs from the more familiar “view from Beijing.” Japan today is a stable democracy and a natural trading partner for Canada. Understanding the evolution of Japanese security policy will assist Canadians in understanding the evolution of postwar Japan.
  • Topic: Security, History, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Canada, Asia
  • Author: Rabia Altaf, Molly Douglas, Drew Yerkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Many Western leaders point to the Arctic as a zone of cooperation—and we have observed such cooperation with the formulation of the Arctic Council, joint scientific endeavors, Search and Rescue agreements, and the very recent Arctic Coast Guard Forum—but disputes between Russia and other Arctic nations in regions to the south have raised concerns in certain quarters. While an ongoing struggle for dominance over the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage and competing continental shelf claims may reflect these tensions, tit-for-tat military exercises and plans for expanded military infrastructure in the Arctic certainly do. The Russian government recently announced completion of a new military base in Franz Josef Land capable of supporting 150 soldiers, as well as its intention to rebuild six existing airfields. While such a nominal increase in military personnel posted to the Arctic may merely be seen as a posturing act, taken in context with Russia’s recent actions in Europe and the Middle East, it might also be seen as a bold move to project power from a previously overlooked region.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Jungkun Seo
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom is that trade policy is often guided by geopolitical security considerations. A growing body of research addresses the security–trade linkage as a plausible cause for executive negotiations over the Korea–US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) in 2007. Yet, the approval of a trade deal with the Asian ally by America's legislature in 2011 features not only ‘security ties’ but also ‘electoral connections’. This paper seeks to examine the question of whether alliance relationships would inevitably translate into domestic commitments. Bringing domestic politics into consideration, this article also fills the gap in the literature on Congress-focused research of the KORUS FTA and sheds light on how lawmakers strike a balance between the principle of US foreign policy and the reality of conflicting domestic interests.
  • Topic: Security, Geopolitics, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, Korea, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Ed Stoddard
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Regional cooperation, once largely the preserve of democracies, is now seen in many regions characterized by autocracy. Indeed, authoritarian leaders increasingly cooperate regionally, above all to augment the resilience of their regimes. While the output from this cooperation differs considerably from liberal-democratic regionalism, the experience of European integration nevertheless sheds light on an important underlying dynamic within this growing autocratic cooperation. Indeed, as with early and mid-stage European regional integration, authoritarian regionalism is driven by functional demands arising from the limited access nature of their regimes. However, countervailing ideational dynamics (such as the increasing salience of identity and legitimacy issues), which affect regional cooperation, are present in many cases. These counter-functional dynamics largely pre-date regionalist efforts but appear to be exacerbated by regional cooperation. This paper examines the interplay between functional demands and counter-functional dynamics in the context of ‘protective regionalisms’ in Eurasia, the Gulf, and West Africa. As global politics becomes more polarized, with regionalism seen as a source of strength for authoritarian states, the dynamics and underlying logics of such projects become increasingly important.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Regionalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, West Africa, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Ryan D. Martinson
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This volume is the product of a groundbreaking dialogue on sea-lane security held between People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and U.S. Navy scholars at the Naval War College in August 2013, with additional material from a related conference,"China's Far Seas Operations," hosted by the China Maritime Studies Institute in May 2012. At that time the political climate in China was uncertain, in the shadow of the Bo Xilai crisis and of the impending transition of power between the Hu and Xi regimes; accordingly the PLA Navy, though invited to participate in the "Far Seas" conference, ultimately declined to do so. This was not entirely surprising. Attempts by various agencies of the U.S. Navy up to that time to engage in discussions to advance maritime cooperation between China and the United States had been met with lukewarm responses at best. But at a maritime security dialogue in Dalian in September 2012 Senior Capt. Zhang Junshe of the PLA Navy Research Institute, a key contributor to this volume and to the success of the academic cooperation between our two institutes, approached Peter Dutton to tell him that everything had changed.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Rashid Khalidi, Lydia H. Liu, Samuel Moyn, Deborah Nelson, Eurgenia Lean
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Footage from the October 8, 2014 panel discussion "Around 1948: Human Rights and Global Transformation" at Columbia University about the issues surrounding the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Featuring Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University; Lydia H. Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University; Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University; and Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor of English, University of Chicago. Moderated by Eugenia Lean, Associate Professor of Chinese History and Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. Co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Center for International History, Critical Inquiry, the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, the Department of History, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Middle East Institute.
  • Topic: Human Rights, History, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, East Asia, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Kenneth Allen, Morgan Clemens
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: Looking back at the parlous state of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the early 1980s, Liu Huaqing, its former commander, wrote, "All areas [of the navy] required significant strengthening, but I believed the key was developing capable personnel." Indeed, during Admiral Liu's tenure (1982-88), the PLAN embarked on a major effort to improve the quality of its officers and enlisted personnel an effort that continues to this day.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew J. Nathan, Andrew Scobell
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. Understanding China's foreign policy means fully appreciating these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country gains increasing influence over its neighbors. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell analyze China's security concerns on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia. By illuminating the issues driving Chinese policy, they offer a new perspective on the country's rise and a strategy for balancing Chinese and American interests in Asia. Though rooted in the present, Nathan and Scobell's study makes ample use of the past, reaching back into history to illuminate the people and institutions shaping Chinese strategy today. They also examine Chinese views of the United States; explain why China is so concerned about Japan; and uncover China's interests in such problematic countries as North Korea, Iran, and the Sudan. The authors probe recent troubles in Tibet and Xinjiang and explore their links to forces beyond China's borders. They consider the tactics deployed by mainland China and Taiwan, as Taiwan seeks to maintain autonomy in the face of Chinese advances toward unification. They evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of China's three main power resources—economic power, military power, and soft power. The authors conclude with recommendations for the United States as it seeks to manage China's rise. Chinese policymakers understand that their nation's prosperity, stability, and security depend on cooperation with the United States. If handled wisely, the authors believe, relations between the two countries can produce mutually beneficial outcomes for both Asia and the world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231511643
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Andrei Lankov
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Few people would doubt that the continuing rise of China is the single most influential factor in the evolving geostrategic position of Korea. Over the last 35 years, China has experienced a period of rapid economic growth which is probably without parallel in world economic history, and this period is not over. While China is still far from being in a position to challenge global US hegemony, it is quite possible that it will play a dominant role in East Asia, especially if ongoing changes in the world economy press the US into reducing military spending and downsizing its global role. Indeed, in the last few years China loomed increasingly large in issues of the North Korean politics. Some of the most controversial political problems of present-day Korea are clearly related to China’s rise. The fate of the Jeju naval base, whichever is officially stated, largely depends on whether Korea will eventually chose to balance against or bandwagon with rising China. The problem of the forced deportation of the North Korean refugees attracted much attention of the Korean public to the issues of human rights in China – perhaps, first time when such issues are discussed widely. It seems that the rise of China will present Korea with many a difficult decision. In some cases, confrontation is likely to develop, but usually some kind of compromise is, probably, the best option. Like it or not, most problems in East Asia cannot be effectively solved without cooperation with (or at least the passive support of) China. This is the case with the major long-term issue of Korean politics, that is, the issue of Korean unification.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Hegemony, Geopolitics, Leadership
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Beom-Shik Shin
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: On August 24, 2011, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il held a joint summit in Eastern Siberia, the first such meeting between the two countries since 2002. After the summit, many speculated upon the impact this meeting would have upon the current stalemate on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear program. Although some experts viewed Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia as merely a form of begging bowl diplomacy, such analysis underestimates recent efforts by Russia to engage Northeast Asia. Moreover, the strategic significance of the summit is reflected in the agreement reached between the two leaders which would imply that the summit could be a watershed moment in bringing about new dynamics on the Korean Peninsula and among neighboring countries. Particularly, the proposed Trans-Korea Gas Pipeline Project would have a strong impact on the political geography of Northeast Asia. In November 2011, South Korea and Russia held their own summit in St Petersburg where the Trans-Korea Gas Pipeline project was reconfirmed. Moscow even expressed its willingness to build the pipeline, passing through North Korea, at its own expense. Such a very active participation from Russia though could provoke certain competition with China in the region. The future course of this project is expected to be decided during the negotiation process between Russia’s Gazprom and South Korea’s KOGAS. Yet in South Korea, domestically, this issue of building a gas pipeline could be controversial in many ways. There are concerns regarding security matters related to North Korea as well as a lack of trust in Russia. At the same time, the responses from the United States and China must be taken into account. As 2012 is the year of leadership change for many countries in the region, it is also possible that the project will become unnecessarily politicized and eventually jeopardized. Therefore, South Korea should carefully prepare an action plan for realizing this project in order to take advantage of this opportunity amid changing dynamics in the region. In recent years there has been much talk of the United States “returning” to Asia, but Russia is also making its own return. This gas pipeline project shows how Russia intends to use its vast energy resources to facilitate its ambition to play a new role in Northeast Asia. This Issue Briefing addresses the impact of Russia’s reengagement and how South Korea should respond by considering both the positive and negative effects.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, South Korea