Category Archives: U.S.

Post-American World Order | Hoover Institution

What China and Russia have in common is that both are engaged in advancing their spheres of influence in their neighborhoods and beyond. Both also seek to crack the Western liberal world order. The United States, meanwhile, has become blasé about its former leadership position in the Western hemisphere, where China’s companies have entered into business deals, some with strategic implications. Washington, without a hint of nostalgia, treats the Monroe Doctrine as a relic of yesteryear’s Yankee imperialism in Latin America.

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These newly assertive major powers are not alone in shattering the post-Cold War order, which witnessed the unrivaled predominance of the United States—the “indispensable nation,” in the words of the Clinton administration. Trouble-making regional powers, such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea either spread terrorism, provoke instability, or arm themselves with longer-range missiles and nuclear weapons. While they were independent actors a few years ago, each of these pariah regimes increasingly aligns with the two chief U.S. adversaries. Iran and Syria cozy up to Russia, and North Korea depends for fuel and food on a China that hypocritically protests that it lacks influence over a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

Post-American World Order | Hoover Institution

How America Should Confront China’s Unchecked Maritime Bullying | The National Interest

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific recently convened a hearing to discuss the U.S. policy response to China’s maritime push in the South and East China Seas. China has so far suffered no discernable cost for its destabilizing activities in these disputed waters. In Congress, there is growing desire to put a check on this belligerence, which Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis observed has “shredded the trust” of other nations and revealed China’s desire for “veto authority over the diplomatic, and security and economic conditions of neighboring states.” Underscoring the critical interests at stake, the hearing made evident that the United States has several unilateral tools available which could finally begin to impose costs on China’s destabilizing actions in the South and East China Seas. We should start using these tools.

How America Should Confront China’s Unchecked Maritime Bullying | The National Interest

Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program – The New York Times

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson ruled out on Friday opening any negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs and said for the first time that the Trump administration might be forced to take pre-emptive action “if they elevate the threat of their weapons program” to an unacceptable level.

Mr. Tillerson’s comments in Seoul, a day before he travels to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders, explicitly rejected any return to the bargaining table in an effort to buy time by halting North Korea’s accelerating testing program, which the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said on New Year’s Day was in the “final stage” of preparation for the first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States.

Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program – The New York Times

Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’; Pyongyang warns of war – The Washington Post

The Trump administration made a clear break Thursday with diplomatic efforts to talk North Korea out of a nuclear confrontation, bringing the United States and its Asian allies closer to a military response than at any point in more than a decade.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that 20 years of trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program had failed and that he was visiting Asia “to exchange views on a new approach.”

Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’; Pyongyang warns of war – The Washington Post

China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose – The Washington Post

China’s premier told the United States on Wednesday: We don’t want a trade war with you, but if one breaks out, your companies would bear the brunt.

Yet despite tensions over jobs, currency rates and “security matters,” Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference in Beijing ahead of the first visit by the new U.S. secretary of state that he remained optimistic about the future of China’s relationship with the United States.

China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose – The Washington Post

Why would China want a trade war given its current advantage? Naturally it wants to keep its advantage. I see Trump as having no choice but to launch a trade war in order to make trade more equitable.

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a series of meetings in Asia this week with the region in a military turmoil.

North Korean missiles streaking toward Japan.

US anti-missile batteries arriving in South Korea.

China’s foreign minister fearing a massive military confrontation is about to happen.

China’s state news agency openly speculating Asia is on the verge of a nuclear arms race, the likes of which has not been seen since the Cold War.

Each one of these things alone would be enough to destabilize the status quo.

Taken together, they have placed tensions in North Asia on a knife’s edge.

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

Where Will Putin Strike Next? Ukraine? Georgia? Belarus?

Russia’s president thinks Donald Trump is not ready to meet a sudden challenge.

Predicting Putin’s specific move is a conundrum, but expecting him to do nothing is a fallacy. He has reasons to assume that Ukraine fatigue in the West is growing and that the Trump administration is not ready to meet a sudden challenge—which would aggravate the confusion in NATO to the point of shambles.

Where Will Putin Strike Next? Ukraine? Georgia? Belarus?

Putin likes to take advantage of existing opportunities. Certainly there are places for meddling – like Libya but not great opportunities without a lot of risk. Is Putin ready to step up to the plate and take a big risk? Maybe he is, but I’m not seeing it. I think Putin will wait until another good opportunity comes along. Perhaps he might try to facilitate that opportunity.

U.S. May Soon Increase Pressure on China to Constrain North Korea – The New York Times

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will warn China’s leaders that the United States is prepared to step up missile defenses and pressure on Chinese financial institutions if they fail to use their influence to restrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, according to several officials involved in planning his first mission to Asia.

China has complained vociferously about the Trump administration’s recent decision to speed up the deployment of the Thaad antimissile system in South Korea, charging that it will undermine regional stability.

But the Trump administration’s message is that the United States has run out of time to respond to North Korea’s military advances, and that the party the Chinese needs to complain to is in Pyongyang.

U.S. May Soon Increase Pressure on China to Constrain North Korea – The New York Times

What Are the Chances of the U.S. and China Going to War?

With improved long-range sensors and weapon accuracy, the conventional forces of each are increasingly able to target and strike those of the other. In a crisis, the inhibition toward war could give way to the impulse to gain advantage by striking first, even pre-emptively, before being struck. Thus, the test is not whether barriers against war are strong enough in peacetime but whether they would hold in time of crisis.

Of course, Chinese and American leaders could instantly intervene to stop a conflict before it got out of hand. But here, too, complacency would be a mistake. Because both sides have increasingly potent but vulnerable strike forces, there is an incentive to “use ’em or lose ’em” once hostilities began. A conflict could escalate swiftly and become even harder to stop.

What Are the Chances of the U.S. and China Going to War?

US FONOPs Actually Conceded Maritime Rights to China | The Diplomat

The United States Navy has now made it official: the Obama administration recognized China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea as sovereign Chinese territory.

Under that policy, the disputed features belonging to the Spratly Island group were now conceded by Washington to be as much a part of the People’s Republic of China as Beijing and Shanghai.

China’s purported acquisition of new territory was accomplished by two sets of acts–one, illegal, by China; the other, ill-advised, by the United States.

US FONOPs Actually Conceded Maritime Rights to China | The Diplomat