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Analysis

America Rising: Indispensable Again in Asia

The conventional wisdom in recent years has been that the United States, reeling from loss of prestige after the Iraq invasion and awash in the foreign policy uncertainty that it created, is overextended and exhausted and now fated to watch impotently as China takes its place.

The thesis of American decline, first developed in the 1970s after the United States lost the Vietnam War, was back in vogue. America was not only fading but unable to prevent the arrival of a new Chinese superpower ready and eager to assume pre-eminence and leadership in a region dominated by the United States since the end of the Second World War. [READ MORE]

What the Philippines and Australia can learn from Vietnam about living with China

It is early days, granted, but the Philippines' crude and crass new president Rodrigo Duterte appears increasingly intent on reversing his predecessor's plucky South China Sea policy and pro-Alliance leanings, opting instead for a tilt towards China.

The Philippines' proclivity to flip-flop in its great power relations reflects various factors. One is the absence of a strategic tradition. [READ MORE]

The South China Sea Showdown: What Should America (and the Region) Do About It?

The organizers of this gathering requested a “provocative” presentation. They knew not what they were asking! I will do my best to oblige.

Regional politics underwent a phase change last July, when jurists in The Hague struck down China’s claim to “indisputable sovereignty” over some 80-90 percent of a major waterway. [READ MORE]

Will India Become the Pivot of Asian Security?

India is situated in one of the most important locations in the world: in between East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

This, together with India’s strong economy and large population, means that India is primed to be the pivotal country for Asian security. [READ MORE]

No Bigger Question: How Should the U.S. Handle the Rise of China?

Drawing on the history of the Cold War and the success of containment against the Soviet Union, the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer and Harvard University’s Stephen Walt argue that the United States will have no choice but to adopt the strategy of containment against China.

Preventing the rise of a peer competitor, in Mearsheimer’s view, is a vital strategic interest. He believes it would be wise for the United States to hem in China now, while the balance of power is so greatly in America’s favor. [READ MORE]

France Unveils Its Defense Strategy in the South China Sea and Beyond

In less than two weeks, the situation in the South China Sea has deteriorated at an accelerated pace: a joint Sino-Russian naval exercise; plans for Japan-U.S. joint patrols in the same area; Taiwan building anti-craft gun towers on Itu Aba; Jakarta trying to get U.S. help to upgrade its naval bases.

In all of these activities, the diplomatic waltz can make one dizzy. Even if nations caught in the territorial disputes share strong economic relations with China there is no doubt that, at the most opportune time, Beijing will take what it already considers as its territory, despite the disagreement of ASEAN members. [READ MORE]

Prospect of Philippine Thaw Slows China’s Plans in South China Sea

BEIJING — China’s next big target for construction of an artificial island in the South China Sea has long been assumed to be a cluster of rocks poking above sapphire waters near the Philippines.

For several years, Chinese Coast Guard vessels and fishing trawlers have hovered around the reef, known as Scarborough Shoal. Giant dredges, suitable for building a military base, were recently rumored to be on their way there. [READ MORE]

Barack Obama’s ‘Asian pivot’ failed. China is in the ascendancy

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive China without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.

It is shared by states across the east and southeast Asian region. From Indonesia and the Philippines to Vietnam, Japan, Seoul, Malaysia and Singapore, the quandary is the same.

Geographer: China’s Claim to South China Sea Not Rooted in History

A British geographer and journalist described China’s claims to large swaths of seas and land formations off its coast are based on 20th-century events — from the Boxer Rebellion to the defeat of Japan in World War II — and not deeply rooted in its history.

Bill Hayton, an associate fellow at London’s Chatham House and the author of South China Sea, The Struggle for Power in Asia, said in response to a question that Beijing’s claims are valid “because [these territories] are ours” historically, said “a hundred years ago you [Chinese citizens] wouldn’t feel” the same way. [READ MORE]

Strategic Perceptions and Misperceptions in the South China Sea

In recent years, the South China Sea (SCS) has become a defining feature of East Asia’s security complex and regional order.

In the pioneering book Perception and Misperception in International Politics (1976), Robert Jervis exhaustively explored the causes and consequences of misperception, the kinds of perceptual errors (psychological forces) in decision-making, and the importance of image (belief) formation in relation to intentions or inferences arising from information assimilation. [READ MORE]

Japan and China’s maritime tensions in the South China Sea are resurfacing World War II-era wounds

Last month, Japan’s defense ministry requested a record budget of about $51 billion for fiscal 2017. At the top of its security worries: China’s maritime aggression.

Japan has reason to worry. In both the East China Sea and South China Sea, Tokyo faces an increasingly assertive China that looks determined to become an unfettered maritime powerhouse—and is beefing up its naval capabilities accordingly. [READ MORE]

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