“We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” ----Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter Ash Carter is on a mission: to convince Asia’s democracies that Asian security is synonymous with American leadership. Unfortunately for him, the two concepts are not theoretically or even empirically identical, as is revealed by a... Read More
The People’s Republic of China decided to defy the “pivot to Asia” by parking its HYSY 981 drilling platform—protected by a flotilla of various vessels perhaps not including PLAN ships-- in waters that Vietnam considers part of its EEZ. Vietnam has been displeased, to put it mildly. It has reached out to the Philippines, indicating... Read More
In discussing the issue of why the PRC plunked down the drilling rig HYSY981 off the Vietnamese coast, there seems to be a certain amount of cognitive dissonance plaguing the Western commentariat. Apropos l’affaire HYSY 981,The Asia Society hosted a roundtable on its website composed of the luminaries Daniel Kliman, Ely Ratner, Orville Schell, Susan... Read More
PRC Moves to Hard Power in South China Sea It is difficult to be blithe about the dispatch of China’s HYSY981 drilling rig into disputed waters off the Vietnamese coast. It actually would have been less of a provocation if the PRC had sent the aircraft carrier Liaoning down there instead. One of the interesting... Read More
Uh-oh. Looks like things are getting somewhat Ides-of-Marchy within the Obama administration. I think the coterie of Hillary Clinton supporters and enthusiasts have something to do with it. From today’s LA Times: I should say I’m pretty much on board with President Obama’s hesitations about using military force, which I would gloss as “Don’t use... Read More
Failure of engagement to deliver ideal outcomes do not mean that deterrence will be more successful, or even more desirable.
I try to eschew dramatic, click-baiting headlines, but I think current developments in Asia are a big deal. President Obama is visiting Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea. He’s not visiting the People’s Republic of China. He never planned to, because this trip is meant as an exercise in pivot-love, the bromance of... Read More
[This piece may be reposted if Asia Times Online is credited and a link provided.] In other words, it’s time for the United States to engage in a full-throated celebration of the pivot to Asia with what I think is going to be President Obama’s America F*ck Yeah tour of Asian democracies in April 2014.... Read More
...Will Not Stop America's Merry Dash Into the Collective Self Defense/Deterrence Cul-de-Sac...
John Kerry recently concluded a friendly visit to Beijing, with both sides chatting about matters of mutual concern in a way that implied these two great powers have areas of shared concern and interest. Some observers might fear that peace might break out. Don’t worry. My personal opinion is that a dwindling group of PRC... Read More
[In the original version of this post, I mis-stated the US position on coverage of the Senkakus by the US-Japan Security Treaty. President George W. Bush had affirmed it, President Obama was reportedly primed to retract it, but Secretary of State Clinton reaffirmed it during the US response to the 2010 rare earth crisis. The... Read More
Myth: Shinzo Abe is a leading member of the team of world and Asian democracies standing up to China in the name of universal values like “freedom of navigation” and to help ensure the shared peace and prosperity of Asia. Reality: Shinzo Abe is a revisionist nationalist using friction with China to pursue Japanese national... Read More
Putting Korean Lipstick on the “Pivot” Pig [revised and expanded April 9, 2013] This piece appeared in somewhat different and more decorous, somewhat desnarked form at Asia Times Online on April 10, 2013 as "China: Pivot Partner or Pinata?". For readers outside the Americas who are unfamiliar with what a pinata is, the ATOl editors... Read More
Nope. In my current piece for Asia Times Online (reproduced below) I argue that the PRC leadership has, for better or worse, reconciled itself to a nuclear North Korea, since the alternative—the Korean peninsula unified under a pro-US democracy—is unattractive both economically and strategically. So I was rather nonplussed—actually I felt kind of stupid, mingled... Read More
[The Asia Times Online yearender, which appeared on Dec. 22, 2012. It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.] The passing year was the People's Republic of China's (PRC) first opportunity to get up close and personal with the United States' pivot back to Asia, the strategic rebalancing that looks a... Read More
[This piece appeared at Asia Times Online on Oct. 27, 2012. It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.] The real action in Sino-US relations this week was not the predictable China-bashing in the third election debate between US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Florida on October... Read More