The East and South China Seas are the scene of escalating territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The tensions, shaped by China's growing assertiveness, have fueled concerns over armed conflict and raised questions about Washington's security commitments in its strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.
The following discussion questions, essay questions, in-class activities, homework assignments, and supplementary resources are designed to help educators use the "China's Maritime Disputes" InfoGuide in the classroom.
In a section of this week's "Saturday Essay" in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Economy says that China has been critical of the United States' Syria policy, hoping to highlight U.S. weakness and signal the onset of a power transition in the international system. However, she argues, China's observations about U.S. indecisiveness and Russian leadership only serve to emphasize China's inability to find its own diplomatic legs.
Asked by Josh Wartel, from Lake Braddock Secondary School
There is almost never a time when people do not worry about war between major powers. The history here is not a happy one. But there are good reasons to expect a better outcome in the 21st century—as long as both sides are alert and careful.
"[K]ejriwal was tramping throughout the city at the rate of a rally a day, declaring that the Delhi government was corrupt, that it was robbing citizens blind by overcharging them for electricity and water, and that it was getting away with its misdeeds. Kejriwal considers himself the leader of a mass movement, something more radical than political opposition. 'The next election,' he said, 'will be a revolution.'"
International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, "this long war will come to a responsible end."
Much of the debate about China's rise in recent years has focused on the potential dangers China could pose as an eventual peer competitor to the United States bent on challenging the existing international order.
"Criminal justice has been the weakest link of China's legal system, which, despite constitutional and legislative protections of the right to defence, has in practice rarely allowed defendants adequate opportunity to question prosecution witnesses and rebut their claims," writes Jerome A. Cohen, with respect to Bo Xilai's trial.
"With U.S. polls showing Americans wanting fewer global entanglements and dramatically reduced defense spending, and with Congress stuck in its budget limbo, the Afghanistan war still two years from Obama's finish line, and Middle East countries embroiled in a bloody tectonic shift, it will be Hagel's job to explain why Asian security, on top of all of that, is also a job for the United States."
Sheila A. Smith argues that despite some regional concerns about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's geopolitical ambitions, his diplomatic vision to date looks more like a return to Japan's much vaunted economic diplomacy.
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.
2011 Corporate Conference: Recaps and Highlights
To encourage the free flow of conversation, the 2011 Corporate Conference was entirely not-for-attribution; however, several conference speakers joined us for sideline interviews further exploring their areas of expertise.
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin and Nobel Laureate economist Michael Spence on the global economic outlook.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Edward Morse on energy geopolitics.