Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Outlook for Cross-Strait Relations

Some interesting recent articles on cross-strait relations:

Douglas Paal, who is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was the unofficial representative of the US to Taiwan from 2002 to 2006. This commentary was published in June.

Liu Fu-kuo is research fellow and chairman of the Division of American and European Studies at the Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University in Taiwan. This commentary was published the Brookings Institution in July 2011.

Alan Romberg is director of the East Asia Program at The Henry L. Stimson Center. This paper was published by the China Leadership Monitor of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University in October.

A Business Pivot to Asia

In class this Thursday, we will have as a guest Curtis Chin, the former US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank in Manila, who is currently a senior fellow at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. In this Wall Street Journal essay, Chin argues that. while much has been made about the Obama administration’s strategic pivot to Asia, “missing from this shift is a ‘business pivot’—a more concerted effort to increase trade and investment between America and its allies in the region.” Such a move “would be good strategy, and good economics too,” Chin writes. He concludes:

A central benefit of peace and stability in Southeast Asia—which is a goal of the U.S. administration’s strategic pivot—would be to open the way for greater commercial opportunities on both sides of the Pacific. It’s time for Washington to understand that trade and economic ties can be part of the means to a strategic solution in the region, and not just the ends.

India, Japan and the US: A Stable Three-Legged Stool?

From the CG:

Read this Japan Times essay on the power balance in Asia by Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, an independent think tank in New Delhi. Chellaney writes:

At a time when Asia is troubled by growing security challenges, trilateral U.S.-India-Japan security consultations and cooperation are also taking place. These three democratic powers recently held their third round of security consultations in New Delhi, after similar meetings earlier in Washington and Tokyo.

These consultations are just one sign of their shift from emphasizing shared values to seeking to trilaterally protect shared interests. Their trilateral cooperation could lead to trilateral coordination, with a potentially positive impact on Asian security and stability.

More broadly, the nascent trilateral security cooperation may signal moves to form an entente among the three leading democracies of the Asia-Pacific, along the lines of the pre-World War I Franco-British-Russian “Triple Entente,” which was designed to meet the challenge posed by the rise of an increasingly assertive Germany. The present steps, however, are still tentative, and meaningful trilateral security collaboration can emerge only in response to important shifts in the U.S., Japanese and Indian strategic policies, including a readiness to build trilateral military interoperability.

Such an entente’s geopolitical utility, however, is likely to transcend its military value. A geopolitical entente, for example, can help strengthen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region — the world’s leading trade and energy seaway — and contribute to building a stable Asian power equilibrium.

A fast-rising Asia has become the defining fulcrum of global geopolitical change. Asian policies and challenges now help to shape the international security and economic environment. Yet Asia, paradoxically, is bearing the greatest impact of such shifts, as underscored by the resurgence of Cold War-era territorial and maritime disputes.

A constellation of powers linked by interlocking bilateral, trilateral, and possibly even quadrilateral strategic cooperation has thus become critical to help institute power stability in Asia and to ensure a peaceful maritime domain, including unimpeded freedom of navigation.

Further maneuvers to contain China?