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  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Opinion surveys demonstrate that a majority of Americans consider Asia the most important region to U.S. interests and a majority of Asian experts support the Obama administration's goal of a “pivot” or “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region.1 Yet doubts have also grown about whether the pivot can be sustained by a president politically weakened by the 2014 midterm results, constrained by budget sequestration, and pulled into crises from Ukraine to Iraq and Iran. On issues from immigration to Cuba policy, the Obama administration and the incoming Republican Congress appear set for confrontation. Yet Asia policy remains largely bipartisan—perhaps the most bipartisan foreign policy issue in Washington. It is therefore critical—and practical— to ask that the White House and the Republican leadership in the Congress chart a common course on policy toward Asia for the next two years. This report outlines concrete areas for action on trade, China, defense, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A trifecta of international gatherings – the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Beijing, the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Nay Pyi Taw, and the G-20 gathering in Brisbane – had heads of state from around the globe, including US President Barack Obama, flocking to the Asia-Pacific as 2014 was winding to a close. North Korea was not included in these confabs but its leaders (although not the paramount one) were taking their charm offensive almost everywhere else in an (unsuccessful) attempt to block a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Pyongyang's human rights record. More successful was Pyongyang's (alleged) attempt to undermine and embarrass Sony Studios to block the release of a Hollywood film featuring the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This study examines the key strategic risks that shape the stability and security of the Indian Ocean Region or IOR. This means examining risks that cut across a vast span of territory that directly affects both the global economy and some 32 nations–some within the limits of the Indian Ocean, but others that play a critical role in shaping the security of the nations in the IOR region and the security of its sea lanes and petroleum exports.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Creating an effective transition for the ANSF is only one of the major challenges that Afghanistan, the US, and Afghanistan's other allies face during 2014-2015 and beyond. The five other key challenges include: Going from an uncertain election to effective leadership and political cohesion and unity. Creating an effective and popular structure governance, with suitable reforms, from the local to central government, reducing corruption to acceptable levels, and making suitable progress in planning, budgeting, and budget execution. Coping with the coming major cuts in outside aid and military spending in Afghanistan, adapting to a largely self-financed economy, developing renewal world economic development plans, carrying out the reforms pledged at the Tokyo Conference, and reducing the many barriers to doing business. Establishing relations with Pakistan and other neighbors that will limit outside pressures and threats, and insurgent sanctuaries on Afghanistan's border. Persuading the US, other donors, NGCO, and nations will to provide advisors to furnish the needed aid effort through at least 2018, and probably well beyond.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Matthew P. Goodman, Scott Miller
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Economic integration has been a focus of Asia-Pacific affairs for the last quarter century. To support and strengthen economic ties, governments in the region have pursued an array of integration initiatives, from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum launched in 1989 to bilateral and regional trade negotiations currently underway. APEC has been the most successful tool of regional trade and investment integration thus far and has the potential to continue bridging differences between various integration efforts in the region. This report, with input from a wide variety of regional and topical experts, posits that developing a common, high-standard policy approach to value chains could pull together the various integration efforts to the substantial economic benefit of the entire region. The report offers eight recommendations for a broad-based APEC initiative building on existing work in the region on supply chains and connectivity.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Sheldon Simon
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III has linked its military modernization and overall external defense to the US rebalance. Washington has raised its annual military assistance by two-thirds to $50 million and is providing surplus military equipment. To further cement the relationship, Philippine and US defense officials announced that the two countries would negotiate a new “framework agreement” under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty providing for greater access by US forces to Philippine bases and the positioning of equipment at these facilities. Washington is also stepping up participation in ASEAN-based security organizations, sending forces in June to an 18-nation ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus exercise covering military medicine and humanitarian assistance in Brunei. A July visit to Washington by Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang resulted in a US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, actually seen as a step below the Strategic Partnerships Hanoi has negotiated with several other countries. Myanmar's president came to Washington in May, the first visit by the country's head of state since 1966. An economic agreement was the chief deliverable. While President Obama praised Myanmar's democratic progress, he also expressed concern about increased sectarian violence that the government seems unable (or unwilling) to bring under control.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Huasheng Zhao
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China holds clear, coherent, but relatively low-profile positions on Afghanistan. While staying largely with the mainstream of the international community on the issue of Afghanistan, China maintains an independent policy that reflects the peculiarities of Chinese interests, concerns, and priorities in Afghanistan. China has multiple interests in Afghanistan; however, domestic concerns about the security and stability of the largely Muslim region of Xinjiang overwhelm all others. China maintains normal and good relations with the Afghan government, takes active part in the country's economic rebuilding, and provides Afghanistan financial aid and other assistance. China supports the international community in its efforts in Afghanistan, but stays away from direct military involvement. China refrains from criticizing America's involvement in the war in Afghan- istan, but it doubts the war's efficacy, and China refuses to join the American Northern Distribu- tion Network (NDN) to Afghanistan. China dislikes the Taliban because of its close relations with the “East Turkistan” organization—a Uyghur separatist group—but China deals with the Taliban cautiously, trying to avoid direct conflict. China favors an Afghanistan governed by Afghans and hopes that the “Kabul process”—the transition to greater Afghan responsibility and ownership in both security and civilian areas—will have a successful end. At the same time, China also prepares for unexpected outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sean T. Mann, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a little over two years the US and its allies plan to hand over security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government as part of a process labeled “Transition.” Afghanistan is still at war and will probably be at war long after 2014. The political, governance, and economic dimensions of this Transition, however, will be as important as any developments in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of “independence,” including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP – in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • Author: Murray Hiebert, Ernest Z. Bower, David Pumphrey, Gregory B. Poling, Molly A. Walton
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Southeast Asia will be the next big growth engine in Asia. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, with a population of 525 million and a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion (when measured by purchasing power parity), are expected to grow almost 6 percent between now and 2030, according to the Asian Development Bank. For years, they have been eclipsed by China and India, but now their combined GDP is catching up with India and they could overtake Japan in less than two decades. For U.S. firms, these five members of the Association of South East Asian Nations—hereafter the ASEAN-5—are a trade, energy, and environment story.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Asia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Southeast Asia