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  • Author: Eric B. Brown, Patrick M. Cronin, H.R. McMaster, Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande, Satoru Nagao, John Lee, Seth Cropsey, Peter Rough, Liselotte Odgaard, Blaise Misztal, Douglas J. Feith, Michael Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea. China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic for political, strategic, and economic gain is problematic in the current environment, yet it is consistent with, and a continuation of, China’s long-term strategy. This report offers a global survey and assessment of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its influence, including by exploiting the pandemic. As the United States and its allies focus on combatting the virus and salvaging their economies, there is an opportunity to better understand China’s strategy and develop a unified response.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report makes the following arguments: From Taiwan’s perspective, the greater its economic presence and importance to the world, the better positioned it is to reduce its dependency on China and maintain its autonomy. This also serves US interests. From the US perspective, deepening the economic relationship with Taiwan in strategic ways will assist it in achieving greater economic distance from China and reducing the extent to which China can capture and dominate global supply and value chains in the future. The US and Taiwanese economies are largely complementary, and this can become even more so. Thus, a deeper bilateral economic relationship will be generally consistent with domestic economic objectives, such as prioritizing high-value job creation and preventing high-value supply chains from remaining in China or leaving the United States. The report offers recommendations to: help prevent the hollowing out of Taiwan’s competitive strengths; help Taiwan broaden and deepen its participation in the regional and international economic space, which is currently being narrowed by China; assist with Taiwan’s desire to lower dependency on China-based supply chains, especially with respect to high-value-added processes; encourage more bilateral investment, intra-industry relations and firm-to-firm activity between the United States and Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report addresses China’s approach to development in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arctic. China has worked through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet Russian demands for continued regional primacy in Central Asia, helping Beijing foster economic and social dominance, access strategic energy resources, and treat the Uyghur minorities as a problem of terrorism rather than a development issue. In Southeast Asia, China has worked through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet regional demands for soft and hard infrastructure to legitimize China’s growing strategic presence. China is therefore able to undermine the regional economic and security foothold of the US alliance system and challenge the interpretations of the Law of the Sea that legitimizes the military presence and activities of extra regional powers. In East Africa, China has cooperated with the African Union (AU) and the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address regional demands for hard and soft infrastructure without political conditions, to link antipiracy problems to problems of poverty, and to mediate local civil wars. This has helped China establish an economic and strategic foothold at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Middle East, projecting power far from its shores. In the Arctic, China has established research stations that function as both environmental research laboratories and military surveillance stations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Health, Foreign Aid, Regulation, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: James Barnett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promotes its worldview and political and economic model overseas, particularly in the developing world, albeit in a very different manner than it did in the era of Mao Zedong. Under Mao, who fashioned himself the champion of Third World revolutionary movements, China exported a comprehensive, proactive, and universal ideology. Today the party’s theorists are struggling to develop a message of similar caliber. What they have produced so far has not translated into a particularly coherent or compelling “Xi Jinpingism” that appeals across cultures and societies. But this has not stopped the PRC from pursuing an ideologically grounded foreign policy. President Xi speaks frequently of a “Community of Common Destiny,” a still-vague vision for a Sinocentric world order in which the CCP’s model is lauded as a contribution to human civilization, liberal democracy is widely discredited, and the developing world looks to China above all others for inspiration.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Elites, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: It is not the caliphate that the world’s Muslim powerhouses are fighting about. Instead, they are engaged in a deepening religious soft power struggle for geopolitical influence and dominance. This battle for the soul of Islam pits rival Middle Eastern and Asian powers against one another: Turkey, seat of the Islamic world’s last true caliphate; Saudi Arabia, home to the faith’s holy cities; the United Arab Emirates, propagator of a militantly statist interpretation of Islam; Qatar with its less strict version of Wahhabism and penchant for political Islam; Indonesia, promoting a humanitarian, pluralistic notion of Islam that reaches out to other faiths as well as non-Muslim centre-right forces across the globe; Morocco which uses religion as a way to position itself as the face of moderate Islam; and Shia Iran with its derailed revolution. In the ultimate analysis, no clear winner may emerge. Yet, the course of the battle could determine the degree to which Islam will be defined by either one or more competing stripes of ultra-conservativism—statist forms of the faith that preach absolute obedience to political rulers and/or reduce religious establishments to pawns of the state.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Islam, Politics, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has described the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation as the most significant great-power challengers to the United States and its allies, values, and interests. The 2017 US National Security Strategy identified China and Russia as ideological rivals “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.” The 2018 US National Defense Strategy described China as “a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors” while undertaking “a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.” The document further criticized Russia for seeking “veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, National Security, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: China has gradually militarized its facilities in the horn of Africa (Djibouti) under the pretense of anti-piracy operations and development aid since 2017, which has forced the U.S., France, and Japan to accept a permanent Chinese military presence in the same 14,400 square-mile African territory, where China is now holding live-fire exercises. Dubbed the “Djibouti strategy,” Beijing is now executing this tactic across the South Pacific, one of the most aid-dependent regions of the world. China, one of the highest contributors to Official Development Assistant (ODA) in the South Pacific, uses that tool at first under the guise of aid while actually employing it to shape the islands’ infrastructure to its own strategic military advantage. China is currently building infrastructure capable of dual economic and military use in Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, and other Pacific islands. These projects support China’s aim to break through the First and Second Island Chains, a series of pro-U.S. countries that limit Chinese naval access to the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, U.S. ODA is deployed inefficiently and inconsistently through 19 separate agencies. The design, delivery, and administration of U.S. development assistance must be reformed. ODA is a national security issue, not just a humanitarian one. The U.S. defense community needs to embrace the strategic potential of ODA and its capacity to strengthen democracies and counter malign influence abroad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Aid, Infrastructure, Alliance, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, United States of America, Fiji, South Pacific
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: During an era in which strategic gravity is shifting to Asia, the United States cannot be careless in tending to its alliances with Japan and South Korea (the Republic of Korea, or ROK). The three countries face persistent threats from North Korea and from China’s semi-transparent bid for regional hegemony. Meanwhile, rocky relations between Tokyo and Seoul are jeopardizing vital U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific. The latest disagreement between America’s premier allies raises new questions about alliance strategy, commitment, and burden-sharing. These fissures have become exacerbated as the U.S. pressures allies to increase their contributions to regional security and reciprocal trade. [...] This report seeks to explain why the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliance are still a vital means of achieving overlapping strategic interests. At the same time, it also argues that keeping these alliances fit for purpose requires radical change rather than business as usual. Both a rapidly changing security environment and growing intra-alliance squabbling pose dangers that require U.S. leadership. This report concludes with specific ideas for advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation in the coming months and years, without trying to achieve too much too quickly.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Security, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • 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: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The key to strengthening and deepening the U.S.-Japan alliance in order to better meet regional threats is to increase defense trade and defense industrial cooperation between the two countries. A Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty (DTCT), a formal agreement between two countries which exempts their trade in certain specified defense and defense-related articles from the arms export regulations of both nations, would be an important way to achieve that goal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Trade
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America