Not so long ago, many of US President Barack Obama’s detractors were heaping criticism on his administration for its alleged lack of engagement with Asia, which is rapidly emerging as both a source of wealth and a potential military flashpoint.
In books, articles and on talk shows, specialists like Simon Tay(戴尚志) and others warned of a vacuum as the US was brought to its knees by the global financial crisis and military adventures from which it has had difficulty extricating itself.
While analysts argued that the US had been displaced in the Asia-Pacific by its own weaknesses and the rise of China, they also warned against what they perceived as signs of isolationism in Washington under an administration that has been weighed down by intractable domestic matters.
It was that inattention — a continuation of former US president George W. Bush’s selective engagement of Asia, focused almost solely on the “war on terror” — that allowed China to expand its power in the region, to such an extent that the US genuinely fears its own influence there may be a thing of the past.
The unstable mix of nationalism and expansionism that has characterized China’s rise in the past few years, however, is now forcing many of its neighbors, which until recently had bought Beijing’s “peaceful” rise, to revisit the assumptions that underpin their national security policies. As a consequence, what is emerging is a rebirth of the “spokes” or bilateral agreements that marked US engagement in Asia for the past half century.
The most striking symbol of this development is the burgeoning military relationship between the US and a country that 35 years ago was its sworn enemy after years of traumatic war — Vietnam.
Washington and Hanoi are cozying up on a number of issues, from civilian nuclear fuel and technology to handling claims by China and other countries over the South China Sea.
As China’s power relative to its neighbors continues to increase, the many countries that have disputes with Beijing over islands, natural resources or territory, have had to devise a mechanism to address the China challenge.
One would be to gang up on Beijing, at regional forums such as ASEAN. The problem with this approach, is that Asia’s regional organizations have little experience addressing security issues, and its constituents are too disparate to converge into a single voice likely to make Beijing reconsider its position.
The other option is to turn to Washington as a security guarantor, a role it has performed, with much success since the end of World War II. The distraction of Bush’s “war on terror” and military adventurism gave every indication that the US was on its way out in Asia. Obama’s first year in office provided little to indicate a policy change was in the offing.
This situation might have held, as long as Beijing kept its part of the bargain and continued to behave as a responsible stakeholder. However, given recent signs that this may no longer be the case, Washington has little choice but to re-engage with the Asia-Pacific, as the region has become too important to the global economy to be left to its own devices.
Unfortunately, this development risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the US strategy exacerbates fears in Beijing that it is being encircled by US allies — the latest of which is Vietnam — in a bid to contain it.
A more multilateral approach to China’s rise might be a wiser course of action, lest containment compel the dragon to lash out and undo all the development that has made this region such a vibrant and promising one in recent years.
Unless Hollywood movies like Greenland, Deep Impact, and Armageddon have predictive powers and a rogue space rock is heading our way, stopping Chinese Communist Party expansionism is likely to prove the single most challenging and dangerous problem of our lifetimes. How can the United States, Taiwan, and other liberal democracies prepare for and prevent attacks from China? How can Washington bolster Taipei’s confidence when it doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a real country and, so far, lacks the political will to make major adjustments to its ossified China policy and Taiwan policy? How can Taiwan make itself heard on the world stage when
Hypersonic weapons are defined as armaments capable of traveling at speeds faster than Mach 5 and can be broadly classified into two types: hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) and hypersonic cruise missiles. The former are launched into the upper atmosphere by ballistic missiles. The vehicle is then separated from the booster to maneuver, or glide, toward its target. The latter can be launched from a jet plane or rocket to reach supersonic speed before igniting a scramjet engine to achieve hypersonic speeds. As the US engages in a great-power competition with China and Russia, all three countries are racing to field hypersonic
The number of people emigrating from Hong Kong has been rapidly increasing, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data show, with the territory’s population dropping by 110,000 people from 2019 to this year. China’s imposition of a National Security Law has clearly triggered a massive population outflow. However, not only people but also foreign businesses are leaving Hong Kong. For example, Vanguard Group, the world’s second-largest asset management company, VF Corp and Sony Interactive Entertainment have moved their top regional management from Hong Kong to Singapore. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, has also relocated staff
Double Ten Day, Oct. 10 every year, is an important day for Taiwan, as it marks the Republic of China’s (ROC) National Day. Major holidays are usually a time for celebration and commemorative activities, but among all the clamor and excitement, Double Ten reflects one essential fact: that Taiwan is still not a normalized society. As usual, there was a large parade in front of the Presidential Office Building, displaying to the world Taiwan’s social diversity and its soft and hard power, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gave an address, relaying her message to the nation and to the world, while the