Questions have arisen in recent months about the sustainability of the United States' rebalance toward Asia. The costly cancellation of President Obama's trip to the region during the U.S. government shutdown last fall fueled that skepticism, which has only grown as urgent foreign policy challenges have required U.S. leadership in the Middle East and Europe.
Authors: Michael Forsythe, Chris Buckley, and Jonathan Ansfield
"Some political analysts argue that a leader of Mr. Zhou's status would not face an inquiry of this kind unless Mr. Xi regarded him as a direct threat to his power… But another school of thought is that Mr. Xi considers the enormous agglomeration of wealth by spouses, children and siblings of top-ranking officials a threat to China's stability by encouraging mercenary corruption and harming the party's public standing."
"Empathy can provide insights into how other actors are likely to perceive and react to what the United States does, and expose false assumptions that sometimes underpin strategic mistakes.This kind of information is critical as the United States weighs options for action–coercive or otherwise–in Syria, Ukraine and beyond. The case of Afghanistan shows that the human, financial and geopolitical costs are too high for empathy to be ignored."
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs released this report on April 17, 2014. The report details "progress made on the non-military elements of the Obama administration's policy to pursue a strategic rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific region."
"Japan and Australia share an important ally in the United States, and lest the U.S. pivot to Asia be forgotten, Japan and Australia reaffirmed the importance of strong U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed strong support for what the U.S. now calls the rebalance. But how can Australia pull this off without antagonizing Beijing?"
Votes are still being counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, but preliminary results suggest that no candidate won a majority. If these results hold up and no backroom deals are cooked up between Afghan politicians, a runoff poll will follow and the victor will not likely be declared until late summer. That timeline is making U.S. and NATO military planners very nervous.
"During the first year of the Xi administration, China's policy toward Africa has shown several new trends that illustrate Beijing's evolving priorities and strategies in the continent. These new trends foreseeably will have significant implications for the future of Africa and Sino-Africa relations."
"The organisations could be a way for the Communist Party to co-opt the energy and resources of civil society. They could also be a means by which that energy challenges the party's power. And so their status has big implications."
"The displays of China's military power reveal some dividends from years of heavy investments, and perhaps a sense that China is now more willing to stand toe-to-toe with the Americans, at least on regional security issues. But American officials and Asia experts say the visits also showed a more insecure side of China's military leadership — a tendency to display might before they are ready to deploy it, and a lingering uncertainty about how assertively to defend its territorial claims in the region."
Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to China and Japan as part of the Obama administration's rebalance to the Asia Pacific region. On April 8, 2014, he spoke at the PLA's National Defense University about military-to-military relations and took questions about the U.S. stance on East China Sea and South China Sea disputes, the status of Taiwan, and the rapid economic development in China.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan held a press conference on April 8, 2014, to discuss the status of the two countries' military-to-military relationship. Secretary Hagel also spoke at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.
Janine Davidson and Emerson Brooking assess potential glideslopes for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in wake of the April 5 presidential elections. The most effective plan for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be phased and gradual—but this will likely be incompatible with American public opinion.
Asked by Najibullah Adamji, from Mithibai College, Mumbai University
Historically, India's foreign policy has not oscillated on a partisan basis, exemplifying the American adage: politics stops at the water's edge. This doesn't mean politics has no effect on foreign policy in India; it is, however, more attenuated with powers farther away, and amplified with smaller neighbors.
In advance of the presidential election in Afghanistan, Gayle Lemmon writes on why some policymakers are hoping that "things go well – or at least well enough – to keep both the Obama administration and the American public on board."
Though strategists have long feared that China's quest for natural resources would lead to ever-higher prices, a breakdown in trade, and perhaps even wars, Elizabeth Economy and Michael Levi write that a stunning WTO rebuke of Chinese exports restrictions shows that the global system is far more resilient than the worriers have claimed.
For more on the complex challenges that lie ahead for the world's largest and most rapidly changing continent, visit the Asia Program.
CFR Experts Guide
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.