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  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Foreign policy experts have struggled to describe the unusual character of contemporary world politics. Much of the debate revolves around the concept of polarity, which deals with how power is distributed among nations, as experts ask if the United States is still a unipolar power or in decline as new powers emerge. The polarity debate, however, obscures more than it clarifies because the distribution of power does not determine the fate of nations by itself. It leaves out strategic choice and does not predict how the United States would exercise its power or how others would respond to U.S. primacy. World politics can take many paths, not just one, under any particular distribution of power. The most remarkable feature of post-Cold War world politics has not been the much-discussed power accumulation of the United States—although that is indeed noteworthy—but rather the absence of counter- balancing and revisionist behavior by other major powers.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Radin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In developing U.S. intervention policy in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently Syria, the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has repeatedly been used as an analogy. For example, John Shattuck, a member of the negotiating team at the Dayton peace talks that ended the war, wrote in September 2013 that for Syria “the best analogy is Bosnia…Dayton was a major achievement of diplomacy backed by force…A negotiated solution to the Syria crisis is possible, but only if diplomacy is backed by force.” Many other analysts and policymakers with experience in the Bosnian conflict—such as Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman at the time; Christopher Hill, a member of Richard Holbrooke's negotiating team; and Samantha Power, who began her career as a journalist in Bosnia—also invoked the Bosnian war to urge greater U.S. involvement in Syria. Although the rise of ISIS has significantly altered the conflict over the last year, echoes of the Bosnian conflict remain in Syria: the conflict is a multiparty ethnic civil war, fueled by outside powers, in a region of critical interest to the United States.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Libya, Kosovo, Syria
  • Author: Aaron L. Friedberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Starting in 2009, an increasing number of foreign observers (and many Chinese as well) began to note a shift towards more forceful or “assertive” behavior on the part of Beijing. Among the most frequently cited indications of this trend were: An internal debate among Chinese elites in which some participants advocated edging away from Deng Xiaoping's “hiding and biding” strategy and replacing it with something bolder and more self-confident; A “newly forceful, `triumphalist,' or brash tone in foreign policy pronouncements,” including the more open acknowledgement—and even celebration—of China's increasing power and influence; Stronger reactions, including the threatened use of sanctions and financial leverage, to recurrent irritations in U.S.–China relations such as arms sales to Taiwan and presidential visits with the Dalai Lama; More open and frequent displays of China's growing military capabilities including larger, long-range air and naval exercises, and demonstrating or deploying new weapons systems; A markedly increased willingness to use threats and displays of force on issues relating to the control of the waters, air space, surface features, and resources off China's coasts. These include ongoing disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam (among others) in the South China Sea, with Japan in the East China Sea, and with the United States regarding its conduct of surveillance and military exercises in areas from the Yellow Sea to the vicinity of Hainan Island.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Oriana Skylar Mastro
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Chinese political, economic, and military power continues to grow at impressive rates, the impact of Chinese external behavior on the region has correspondingly increased. Since 2010, it has become commonplace for observers to refer to Chinese foreign policy behavior as abrasive, muscular, or assertive. However, China's heightened willingness to rely on coercive diplomacy—or the simultaneous use of diplomacy and limited use of force to accomplish one's objectives—began much earlier with the Impeccable incident in March 2009. In this case, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to the U.S. Naval Ship Impeccable. In the following months, commentators predicted that China would moderate its behavior in the face of regional backlash. Instead, instances of Chinese platforms maneuvering in a dangerous and unprofessional manner only became more frequent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: M. Taylor Fravel, Christopher P. Twomey
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In analyses of China's military modernization, it has become increasingly common to describe China as pursuing a “counter-intervention” strategy in East Asia. Such a strategy aims to push the United States away from China's littoral, forestalling the United States' ability to intervene in a conflict over Taiwan or in disputes in the East and South China Seas. Moreover, such a military strategy is consistent with a purported broader Chinese goal to displace the United States from its traditional regional role, including Washington's support for global norms such as freedom of navigation in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and partnerships with long-standing treaty allies.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Shadi Hamid, Peter Mandaville
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has been all too common to criticize the Obama administration for a lack of strategic vision in responding to the Arab uprisings. While such criticism may be valid, it is time to move beyond critique and articulate not just a bold vision, but one that policymakers can realistically implement within very real economic and political constraints. During the remainder of its second term, the Obama administration has an opportunity to rethink some of the flawed assumptions that guided its Middle East policy before the Arab Spring—and still guide it today. Chief among these is the idea that the United States can afford to continue turning a blind eye to the internal politics of Arab countries so long as local regimes look out for a narrow set of regional security interests. With so much policy bandwidth focused on putting out fires, the United States has neglected the important task of thinking about its longer term engagement in the region. Crisis management is the most immediate concern for policymakers, but it's not necessarily the most important.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Libya, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's rise constitutes the most serious geopolitical challenge facing the United States today. On current trends, China could–many say will–develop a national economy larger than that of the United States as early as the end of this decade, at least when measured in purchasing power parity terms. China's national ambitions too are clear: at the very least, Beijing seeks to recover the centrality it enjoyed in Asian geopolitics until the coming of colonialism. Its economic renaissance since the 1980s has now positioned it to play a major global role that was simply unimaginable some thirty years ago. With its extraordinary military modernization program, Beijing has also made tremendous strides toward holding at risk the United States' forward deployed and forward operating forces in the western Pacific, thereby raising the costs of implementing U.S. security guarantees to its partners in the region. Its unique characteristics–being a continental sized power, possessing a gigantic and technologically improving economy, having a strategically advantageous location, and rapidly acquiring formidable military capabilities-add up quickly to make China a consequential rival to the United States, even if it differs from previous challengers in character, aims, and ambitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Thomas Fingar, Fan Jishe
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Conviction is widespread and increasing in both the United States and China—as well as many other countries—that the U.S.–China relationship is becoming less stable and more dangerous. We do not agree. Relations between Beijing and Washington in 2013 are more extensive, more varied, more interdependent, and more important to one another as well as to the global system than at any time in the past. But suspicion and mutual distrust persist and may have intensified. Yet, despite dramatic changes in the international system and the need to manage fleeting as well as persistent problems, the United States and China have maintained strategic stability for four decades. The relationship is less fragile and volatile than many assert, with strategic stability the result of multiple factors that reinforce one another and limit the deleterious effects of developments threatening specific "pillars" that undergird the relationship. Complacency and failure to address misperceptions and mistrust, however, will have unfortunate consequences for both sides.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing, East Asia
  • Author: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: If there is one idea that has consistently influenced western foreign policy since the Cold War, it is the notion that extending interdependence and tightening economic integration among nations is a positive development that advances peace, stability, and prosperity. As a post-Cold War idea guiding U.S. and European foreign policy, there is much to be said for it. The absorption of Eastern Europe in both the European Union and NATO helped consolidate market democracy. Globalization led to unprecedented growth in western economies, and facilitated the ascent of China and India, among others, taking billions of people out of poverty. Access to the international financial institutions also offered emerging powers the strategic option of exerting influence through existing institutions rather than trying to overturn them. Some policymakers and experts believe that this process holds the key to continuing great power peace and stability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Charles E. Cook
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is inevitable that U.S. presidential elections get considerably more attention domestically and around the world than mid-term elections, but the latter are still extremely important; their results drive in large part the ability of a president to succeed. President Obama will be entering the 2014 midterm election with his party holding a 55-to 45-seat majority in the U.S. Senate and a 17-seat deficit in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Political Geography: United States