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  • Author: Mikkel Runge Olesen
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Biden administration is likely to adopt a less chaotic US approach to the NATO alliance concerning China. European members should utilize this calmer time to develop viable strategies on how to tackle non-conventional threats from China within the Alliance in concert with the US. RECOMMENDATIONS: NATO members should: Continue to develop their own strategies and procedures against non-conventional Chinese threats in the domains of cyber, influence activities, and trade and investments. Resist the temptation to fall into inertia in determining how NATO should deal with China after the fear of a US withdrawal from NATO has subsided. Work with the Biden administration to develop NATO’s role in relation to China further on grounds that are acceptable on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Denmark, United States of America
  • Author: Tina J. Park
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg puts it, North Korea remains a "global threat that requires a global rsponse". The threats posed by North Korea are arguably imminent, with the potential to cause serious harm to the security of NATO member states. Since 2006, North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests, in clear defiance of the Treaty on Non -Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that the regime withdrew from in 2003. To date, the international community has failed to tame North Korea's nuclear ambitions, despite various diplomatic and political efforts. In addition to its nuclear capabilities, Pyongyang has made significant advances with conventional weapons, both chemical and biological, as well as with its cyber capabilities. North Korea's substantive linkages to China and Russia, and non-state terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas in the Middle East, amplify their threats beyond the borders of the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Diplomacy, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Brendan Taylor
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Australian diplomacy could ease rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait, if Australian policymakers rediscovered an appetite for involvement in the flashpoint. Tensions between Taiwan and China are rising, driven in part by an increasingly assertive government in Beijing, growing Taiwanese estrangement from the Chinese mainland, and deteriorating US–China relations. If key regional governments fail to help de-escalate tensions, the consequences are likely to be serious. Rather than continue the debate about Australia’s position on its ANZUS obligations should the United States invoke the treaty in a Taiwan conflict, Australia should work with other regional powers to advocate for more robust risk avoidance and crisis management mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Multilateralism, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Australia, United States of America
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Many fear that strategic competition between the US and China threatens longstanding regional cooperation and stability in the Arctic. But if they recognise their own political and economic significance and work collectively, the Nordic states and Canada can still play an instrumental role in steering the region’s future away from confrontation. Recommendations: Recognise how US–China strategic competition represents a false binary for policy choices in the Arctic. Understand how economic connectivity provides room for manoeuvre against big power pressure. Encourage participation of non-Arctic states with similar economic and political norms on natural resource and infrastructure development.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of 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: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Tensions between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have remained high ever since violent clashes occurred in the Galwan Valley region in mid-June, resulting in the deaths of 20 Indian Army soldiers and an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops (Jamestown, June 29; China Brief, July 15). A significant new development occurred on the night of August 29-30, when the Indian Army took control of strategic heights at the southern bank of the Pangong Tso, a lake in eastern Ladakh that straddles the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between India and China. The operation was significant: it was the first time since the eruption of tensions along the LAC in May that the Indian Army preempted the Chinese from unilaterally altering the status quo (The Telegraph, September 2).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Armed Forces, Conflict, Borders
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: John Dotson
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Events throughout 2020 have seen a measured but steady increase in tensions surrounding Taiwan. The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to deny any legitimacy to the democratically-elected government of the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan. The PRC also continues to make menacing insistence upon unification on Beijing’s terms, in language that has grown more strident throughout the tenure of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping (China Brief, February 15, 2019; China Brief, November 1, 2019). Against this background, the PRC has reacted with both harsh rhetoric and saber rattling to enhanced U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic contacts in August and September, as well as a reported further round of impending U.S.-Taiwan arms sales (see discussion further below). One PRC English-language outlet opined in late September that “The U.S. has been releasing all kinds of supportive signals to Taiwan this year, with the level and frequency of their so-called interactions flagrantly enhanced… While [some in Taiwan] jump at such signals, they’d better think long and hard whether the signals are sweet poisons from the U.S. for Taiwan” (PLA Daily, September 25).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • 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: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Kharis Templeman
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the past three decades, democracy has put down roots in many seemingly unlikely places across Asia, from Mongolia to Indonesia. At a time when democracy is in global retreat, the majority of these Asian regimes have demonstrated surprising resiliency, though many continue to suffer from glaring flaws: weak state capacity and accountability institutions, the absence of impartial rule of law, and uneven protection of political rights and civil liberties. This issue brief, “Democracy under Siege: Advancing Cooperation and Common Values in the Indo-Pacific,” by Dr. Kharis Templeman, examines challenges and opportunities for advancing cooperation and common values in the Indo-Pacific as the region faces an increasing challenge from China.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Diplomacy, International Organization, Politics, Reform, Elections, Democracy, Rule of Law, Norms, Transition
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Taiwan, East Asia, Asia, Australia, Korea, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The first contact in this reference was initiated by the Tibetans, when, upon hearing the news of the defeat of Bhutan’s King Desi Shidariva by the British forces in the battle for Cooch Behar (1772-1774), the Panchen Lama, Palden Yeshe, wrote a historic letter of mediation addressed to the Governor General. Hastings seized the opportunity, and, in his response proposed a general treaty of amity and peace between Bengal and Tibet.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The backdrop to this was created when the ruler (sde-srid or srid-skyon) of Bhutan overran Sikkim some years prior. In 1771, the Bhutanese descended on the plains and invaded Cooch-Behar, taking in the Raja (King) as a prisoner. The royal family called on Warren Hastings for assistance, who, in turn, dispatched a battalion of sepoys. The Bhutanese were driven away from Cooch-Behar and chased into the Duars around winter 1772-1773.1 In the given circumstances, the Bhutanese government appealed the Tashi Lama (who was the acting Regent of Tibet during the infancy of the Dalai Lama) to intervene on their behalf.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Bilateral defense cooperation agreements (DCAs) have become the most common form of institutionalized defense cooperation. These formal agreements establish broad defense-oriented legal frameworks between signatories, facilitating cooperation in fundamental areas such as defense policy coordination, research and development, joint military exercises, education and training, arms procurement, and exchange of classified information. Nearly a thousand DCAs are currently in force, with potentially wideranging impacts on national and international security outcomes. A theory that integrates cooperation theory with insights from social network analysis explains the significance and need for DCAs. Shifts in the global security environment since the 1980s fueled the demand for DCAs. Ever since, States are known to have used DCAs to modernize their militaries, respond to shared security threats, and establish security umbrellas with like-minded states. However, the DCA proliferation cannot be attributed to the demand factor alone. Nations are required also to overcome dilemmas of mistrust and distributional conflicts. Network influences can increase the supply of DCAs by providing governments with information about the trustworthiness of partners and the risk of asymmetric distributions of gains. Two specific network influences that can be identified here are—preferential attachment and triadic closure. They show that these influences are largely responsible for the post-Cold War diffusion of DCAs. Novel empirical strategies further indicate that these influences derive from the proposed informational mechanism. States use the DCA ties of others to glean information about prospective defense partners, thus endogenously fueling further growth of the global DCA network.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Asia
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China is actively building Network Power in economic and traditional security and non-traditional security areas, while in some cases maximizing its own interests by using the Network Power already formed. In particular, China is building Collective Power at a rapid pace in significant areas. China also actively participated in existing networks and established Positional Power by preoccupying important positions. However, China’s Network Power still seems to have a long way to go in terms of Programming Power to build new systems, unlike Collective or Positional Power. What is notable in the process of analyzing China’s Network Power is that competition between the U.S. and China is fierce over Network Power.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Yang Jiang
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Beijing has imposed sanctions on North Korea each time the latter has conducted a nuclear test, sometimes leading Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table. The aim is to make North Korea abandon its nuclear program and open up its economy. RECOMMENDATIONS: ■ Denmark should support UN inspections of North Korea’s denuclearization activities, as well as the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by the signatory states. ■ Denmark, in collaboration with other countries, can monitor the implementation of economic sanctions against North Korea while at the same time joining the EU’s discussions on the option of gradually easing sanctions. ■ Denmark should also prepare for the possibility of diplomatic and political normalization between North Korea and the rest of the world in the medium to long term....
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Power Politics, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North Korea, Denmark
  • 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: Yang Jiang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite China’s strong economic influence over Southeast Asian countries, tensions in the South China Sea have been flaring up again this year, as domestic oppositions and external interventions create dilemma for Southeast Asian governments. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ When considering joining the freedom of navigation operations in the SCS Denmark should consider that foreign interference will likely escalate Chinese military activities. ■ Denmark’s delicate relationship with the US and China must be carefully evaluated and managed. ■As a major maritime nation it is important for Denmark to secure a free sea through diplomacy and UN institutions. ■European countries have much room to enhance their contribution to regional development in Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Organization, History, Power Politics, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Elana Wilson Rowe, Helge Blakkisrud
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One widely recognized achievement of the Arctic Council and its various working groups has been the production of collectively generated assessments on Arctic problems. Assessment reports such as the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) provide an important baseline of shared knowledge for making collective circumpolar policy recommendations. But how does the knowledge produced through Arctic Council working groups figure into the policymaking of the Arctic states? This is an important question for understanding Arctic politics and the relationship between national decisionmaking and international relations more generally. Much of what the Arctic Council produces is in the form of recommendations, declarations of intent, and commitments to "best practices" in areas of shared interest and activity. While in recent years the Council has produced three binding agreements covering specific functional areas—search and rescue (2011), oil pollution preparedness and response (2013),and science cooperation (2017)—much ongoing Arctic collaborative work falls outside of these areas. This policy brief explores how science/policy outputs of and discussions at the Arctic Council fit into the Arctic political discourse of the USA, with an emphasis on key actors within the executive branch: the White House, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Domestic Policy, Arctic Council
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: During two critical meetings, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to France in May 2019, followed by President Macron’s visit to Japan in June of the same year, several elements were highlighted that demonstrate a close convergence of analysis on the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific region. This convergence paves the way for increased opportunities for cooperation. Internal evolutions on defense-related issues in Japan since 2012 have made this type of cooperation more accessible. On the French side, a more assertive ambition for engagement in a critical area has been expressed on many occasions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia, France, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Nepal, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Standing atop the point where the snowcapped heads of the skyreaching Dhavalgiri ranges get interspersed with the undulating stretch of the northeast prairies of Tibet, scattered with shining streams of water, Ekai Kawaguchi was to keep heading north until arriving at Lake Mānsarovar. Having nothing else to guide him but a compass and a survey that he carried along with, Kawaguchi recalled that at the time of bidding adieu to his folks and friends back home in Japan, he had claimed to enter Tibet in three years. That day was June 26, 1897, and “… here I was, stepping on the soil of Tibet on July 4, 1900” filled with mixed feelings of joy, gratitude and hope.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Around the decade of 1880s, a substantial number of native Indians (usually pilgrims and priests visiting sacred places) were permitted to enter Tibet. Ekai Kawaguchi recalled his experience and understanding of the Tibetans and described them as inherently hospitable people, by and large. Assessing the relationship existing formerly between British India and Tibet, Kawaguchi acknowledged that British India was closely connected with Tibet since long. In the initial phase, Tibet’s attitude towards the British Indian Government could not be termed resentful or hostile.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Britain, India, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Histor y often tends to repeat itself, or as Spanish-American philosopher, Jorge Agustín Santayana wrote in 1905-06 in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. While setting out to write on, or about Tibet, it is inevitable to conclude that there never was, or will be, a long walk to freedom either for Tibet, or for the holy chair of the successive Dalai Lamas – the god and king-in-one incarnation of Chen-re-zi, the Lord of Mercy – the patron deity of Tibet. The Dalai Lama not only governs his subjects in this life, but can influence their rebirth in the next, or as Tibetans believe is the “Ruler in this life, the Uplifter in the hereafter.” The journeys of the Dalai Lamas in and out of Tibet recount being perennially those, which forced them out of their homeland in the most pressing, dark, and arduous circumstances. These have been recorded most persuasively by Sir Charles Bell, British civil servant, and former British Political Representative in Tibet, Bhutan, and Sikkim, whose accounts dedicated to the memory of the 13th Dalai Lama stand testament to their long and affectionate friendship. Bell’s work Portrait of The Dalai Lama published in 1946 is amongst the finest accounts on Tibet’s chequered history. It’s important to understand Tibet’s geography and the course of events that shaped its historical and political destiny in order to realize the relations that Tibet shared with the powers that encircled it. The Chinese overlord ship, which commenced early in the 18th century and ended in 1912, was often little more than nominal. China’s endeavor to control the foreign policy of Tibet sprang mainly from two reasons: First, the Chinese desired the country as a barrier on the west; and second, from 1642, when the supreme authority of the Dalai Lama was established– China sought his spiritual backing to restrain the turbulent Mongols from invading the northern Chinese provinces.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Religion, History, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Asia, Tibet, Bhutan
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Paris Peace Conference opened on January 18, 1919, paving way for an ensuing legacy of peacemaking. It aimed at fortifying the conceptual foundations in reference to the very essential premise on which peacemaking rests – i.e., bringing a conflict/war to a halt, and thereafter initiating a diplomatic process that seeks to provide a platform for initiating the process of reconciliation. Held at the Palace of Versailles, the Peace Conference saw delegates from 27 parties, with rigorous deliberations and recommendations that eventually got included into the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, held at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, on June 28, 1919.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, History, Peace
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Defense Priorities
  • Abstract: The U.S. is strong and safe—North Korea is weak, deterred by U.S. power, and desperate for economic relief.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Sanctions, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jessica J. Lee
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: President Trump contends that “very rich and wealthy countries” like the Republic of Korea should pay more for American troops stationed in their countries. While a more balanced burden-sharing arrangement is necessary, the U.S.’s demand for a five-fold increase in South Korea’s contribution, from $924 million to $5 billion, threatens to tear apart the bilateral relationship and undermines U.S. interests on the Korean Peninsula. The issue demanding attention is not who pays how much, but whether the existing terms of the U.S.–ROK security relationship remain pertinent or must be revised. The long-term goal of U.S. grand strategy should be to facilitate the creation of a peaceful global order consisting of fully sovereign, law-abiding states capable of providing for their own security. Any state that hosts foreign forces and relies on those forces for its defense is not fully sovereign: It is dependent upon others to ensure its security. This describes the Republic of Korea today.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Liberal Order, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: David Brewster
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Strategic competition between India and China in the Indian Ocean is growing and has the potential to profoundly impact the stability and security of the region. The Indian Ocean is becoming the scene of a sustained contest that in some ways resembles strategic competition during the Cold War. This will include pressure on Indian Ocean states to align themselves with one side or another within an increasingly unstable and complex strategic environment.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Political stability, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Nimmi Kurian
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India’s transition from being a recipient of aid to a donor makes for a feel-good story. The policy brief questions this rose-tinted rhetoric and argues that there is an urgent need to map and systematise the diversity of India’s engagement as an actor in this evolving space. What sort of normative choices and tensions are these likely to present for Indian diplomacy? At the end of the day, many of these issues will be fundamentally linked to how India perceives its role in the region and the world at large and how it chooses to engage with questions of benefit sharing, trade-offs and the allocation of risks and burdens. Outlining its development priorities and bringing greater clarity to conceptualising what foreign aid with Indian characteristics constitutes should be the first order of business that India needs to attend to, if it wants to stay ahead of the (lending) curve.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Currency
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Steven Holloway
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Security and Development, Dalhousie University
  • Abstract: As the North Korean nuclear crisis escalates, the media is filled with an endless rehashing of the old inutile options. Typically articles in Globe and Mail and others will restate all the traditional options from multilateral diplomacy to tougher sanctions to unilateral US military action but then recount the long acknowledged problems with each option. This paper suggests a simple but revolutionary diplomatic move. It agrees with the many commentators who have said that China is the only actor with the leverage to effectively halt or even roll back Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program (or even to attempt regime change.) But unlike some of these analyses, I will argue that so far China has not had sufficient motivation to fully exercise its leverage on North Korea. Therefore the key is to develop a threat plausible enough to provide that motivation. If the US is to face a nuclear deterrent from North Korea, then China should face a similar deterrent and threat from Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Economic engagement between South and North Korea is often justified as a means of encouraging economic and social evolution in North Korea, with the ultimate goal of national unification. The South has invested heavily in the North, and firms have employed more than 50,000 workers. Yet expectations of a transformational impact rest on unexamined assumptions. The North recognizes the Trojan horse nature of the engagement policy: results of an original survey of South Korean employers show that the North Korean government has largely circumscribed the exposure of its citizens to both South Koreans and market-oriented economic practices, in the process violating labor rights defined by covenants to which both countries belong. The problem seems intractable, given that South Korea's diplomatic commitment to engagement with North Korea trumps labor rights concerns and South Korean firms perceive that the North Korean status quo confers benefits. As the experience of labor rights movements elsewhere shows, conditions will likely improve only if an aroused citizenry—here, the South Koreans—demands change.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: John Lee, Charles Horner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: U.S. administrations and officials are consistently caught flat-footed by the increasing assertiveness of the People's Republic of China (PRC) over disputed territories in the East China and South China Seas. This assertiveness is strident, yet controlled. Beijing's objectives in the region, with respect to maritime issues in particular, have been apparent for several decades. While the United States is well aware of the PRC's "talk and take" approach—speaking the language of negotiation while extending de facto control over disputed areas—U.S. policy has been tactical and responsive rather than strategic and preemptive, thus allowing China to control the pace and nature of escalation in executing talk and take.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Yukio Tada
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: There have been already “many ‘firsts’” in the Abe 2.0 administration. With continued political leadership and bold economic initiatives on both sides, there is now a historic opportunity to help get the U.S.-Japan alliance back on the right track.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Leadership, Economy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: How Canberra should manage its relations with Beijing, given the importance of China economically, politically and militarily, is a question which divides Australians. There is general agreement that the rise of China will have a profound effect on the well - being and security of Australia. The consensus ends there.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp, Suzanne DiMaggio
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In January 2012, an Asia Society delegation visited Burma/Myanmar to engage in a Track II dialogue with the Myanmar Development Resources Institute (MDRI), a newly created, independent think tank based in Yangon. The MDRI participants in the dialogue include advisors with a mandate to provide policy advice in the areas of political, economic, and legal affairs to President Thein Sein and his government. The goal of this informal dialogue is to establish an ongoing channel of communication between experts from both countries and to explore opportunities to advance U.S.–Myanmar relations during a particularly fluid and fragile period of transition in Myanmar.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: John Fei
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
  • Abstract: Contemporary Japanese approaches to defense transparency are informed by history, relations with external states, the domestic political configuration of institutions, and state–society interactions. Analysts from the Japanese defense establishment agree that greater levels of transparency are inherently good, while their counterparts from China note the importance of political and diplomatic relations in increasing the credibility of defense transparency efforts. There is a consensus that expectations of defense transparency should be realistic, and the emphasis should be on bilateral efforts to promote defense transparency.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Nick Bisley
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has just completed a lightning visit to Australia for formal discussions with newly installed Foreign Minister Bob Carr. In spite of the political turmoil that brought Carr to office, the Australia-US alliance is in the best shape of its 60-year history. Having begun as a Cold War convenience, about which the United States was not enthusiastic, it has become a key part of Washington's regional role and a cornerstone not only of Australia's defense and security policy, but of its broader engagement with the world. The arrival in early April of the US Marine Corps to begin six-month training rotations in Darwin is emblematic of the alliance's standing and its evolution.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As Sino-American competition for influence enters a new stage with the Obama administration's re-engagement with Asia, each power's legacies in the region add to economic, military and diplomatic factors determining which power will be more successful in the competition. How the United States and China deal with their respective histories in regional affairs and the role of their non-government relations with the Asia- Pacific represent important legacies that on balance favor the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Author: John Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2011, in response to US, European, and potential Asian sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the government in Tehran issued a threat to “cut off the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department responded that any blockade of the strait would be met with force. On first read, it is easy to dismiss such saber rattling as another chapter in the new Cold War in the Middle East between Iran and its allies – including Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and the US, Israel, and the Sunni Gulf States, mostly notably Saudi Arabia. Iran has since backed away from its threat, but the event still carries importance because it is unclear how both the US and Iran will continue to respond, particularly as the diplomatic and economic pressures grow more acute while Iran's controversial nuclear program advances. Could such a verbal threat by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuzignite a military conflagration in the region? The relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions is well established; however, policymakers and analysts tend to focus on the incidents in which military conflict causes disruptions in oil supplies and sharp increases in prices. The first and most obvious example of this dynamic was the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The subsequent oil embargo by the Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against the United States and the Netherlands for their support of Israel caused prices to soar as oil-consuming nations endured supply shortages. The Iranian Revolution from 1978 to 1979 was another event that curtailed Western nations' access to oil and caused prices to spike. When thinking about the relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions, however, policymakers and analysts should also recognize that the competition over oil – and even verbal threats to disrupt oil supplies by closing oil transit chokepoints – have either led directly to military conflict or have provided a useful cover under which countries have initiated military conflict. By examining past episodes when countries issued threats to close oil transit chokepoints, this Policy Brief helps illuminate the dangers associated with the current crisis over the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Özdem Sanberk
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: 2011 was undoubtedly a year that witnessed the beginning of grand transformations which will continue in the years ahead. The popular movements under the name of the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread quickly to the rest of the region, sparking the process of political transformation. In another part of the world, the economic crisis which began in Greece and then engulfed the whole eurozone took the European Union to a difficult test regarding its future. Both events, one lying to the south of Turkey and the other to its west, interact directly with our country and therefore its zone of interest. Ankara inevitably stands in the epicenter of these two transformations of which the effects will certainly continue for a long period. Consequently, rising as a stable focus of power with its growing economy and its expanding democracy, Turkey has tried to respond to historically important developments throughout the year. In light of these realities and developments, this study will focus on the performance of Turkish foreign policy with regard to global and regional transformations which took place during 2011.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Isabelle Francois
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Conventional arms control in Europe remains relevant more than two decades after the singing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). Today, it could serve as a useful vehicle for collaboration with Russia on a broad range of security issues, and productive movement forward would also do much to reassure and secure smaller NATO allies and regional partners. Ultimately, what is needed is a paradigm shift away from "mutual assured destruction" and towards a concept of "mutual assured stability."
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Maria Wey-Shen Siow
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Many observers view China's overseas Confucius Institutes as the most visible symbols of China's growing soft power, and a tool for the country to expand its international influence and advance its public diplomacy agenda. The institutes were first established in 2004, with the first institute opening in Seoul. The primary goal of these institutions is to promote Mandarin Chinese language learning. Other functions include promoting Chinese culture and developing positive opinions of China within a global setting. Modeled along the lines of Germany's Goethe-Institut and France's Alliance Française, there are currently 320 Confucius Institutes in 96 countries with over 230,000 registered students. Apart from language classes, the institutes organize a wide variety of cultural activities ranging from music, calligraphy, cooking, and traditional Chinese medicine to hosting talks on China's economy, history, culture and society. China aims to open one thousand Confucius Institutes by 2020.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, France
  • Author: Walter Kemp
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Damaged by shelling during the 1992 conflict, the Gura Bicului Bridge, which spans the Dniestr river, was reconstructed in 2001 with money from the European Union. The bridge—along the main highway between the Black Sea and the Baltic coast—should facilitate trade and contacts between Moldova and the break-away region of Transdniestria. But it has never been reopened: only pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed to cross. It stands as a potent symbol of how hard it has been, for the past twenty years, to bridge the two sides of the Dniestr.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P, like all norms, is bound to see its capacity to deliver on its intended goals tested by real experience. Ever since R2P was endorsed by member states at the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, a number of cases have helped define the boundaries of its application. Well before Libya, R2P had already made a discrete difference in a number of cases: from the most cited example of the political and diplomatic response to the outbreak of ethnic violence in Kenya in early 2008; to the patchy response to signs of ethnic cleansing in Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2010; to the more forceful regional and international efforts in Guinea at the end of that year.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, United Nations, Guinea
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Sanctions and China's growing economic clout have altered Iran's trading patterns in ways that are reducing Iran's access to hard currency but may also be insulating the Iranian government and political elite from further US unilateral pressures.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The two sentiments that define the political impasse in Papua are frustration on the part of many Papuans that “special autonomy” has meant so little, and exasperation on the part of many Indonesian government officials that Papuans are not satisfied with what they have been given. The gulf between the two might be reduced by dialogue, but any prospect of serious talks is hampered by an un-willingness of Jakarta to treat the problem as essentially a political, rather than an economic one. To move forward, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs personally to take the lead in recognising that autonomy means more than increased budgetary allocations or accelerated economic development. He needs to explore directly with credible Papuan leaders how political autonomy can be expanded; affirmative action policies strengthened in all sectors; and Papuan fears about in-migration addressed. Unless these three issues are tackled head on in face-to-face meetings, the impasse is unlikely to be broken and increased radicalisation is likely.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Fergus Hanson
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The relationship with Indonesia is one of Australia's most important but it is still not on a firm footing. Government-to-government ties have been strengthening but relations are focused around a mostly negative set of security-related issues. Business-to-business links are underdone and mutual public perceptions are poor. Without significant incentives to drive closer ties, one of Australia's most important relationships will continue to stagnate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed on June 30, 2007. Since then, the Korean National Assembly has vetted the agreement and the pact cleared a major legislative hurdle when the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee approved it in April 2009; the full assembly has deferred final passage pending comparable action by the US Congress. In the United States, the ratification process has not yet begun; neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama has submitted implementing legislation to Congress.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia, Korea
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent clash between a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese coast guard in the East China Sea demonstrates continuing potential for conflict between China and Japan over territory and maritime resources, one that could affect the United States. China's stronger navy and air force in and over the waters east and south of the country's coast is one dimension of that country's growing power. But the deployment of these assets encroaches on the traditional area of operations of Japan's navy and air force - and a clash between Chinese and Japanese ships and planes cannot be ruled out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia