Two Minds on China

Two Minds on ChinaThe fictional Doctor John Doolittle traveled from England to Africa many years ago and discovered a rare creature called the pushmi-pullyu. It looked something like a gazelle, but with no tail. Instead it had two heads with horns, one at each end of its body. As one head slept, the other was awake and watching.…

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)As 2016 chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Laotian People’s Democratic Republic is leading the group toward political irrelevance. And that is doubtless how China, the hand controlling the Laotian glove puppet, would like to see it. The three minnows of ASEAN, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, have just undermined ASEAN’s efforts…

What if the US Tilt Doesn’t Work?

What if the US Tilt Doesn’t Work?The Obama administration has never plainly acknowledged that it faces a major challenge from China to the US-led order in Asia, and it has therefore never clearly explained its strategy to deal with that challenge. Because it has never been clearly explained, the strategy has never been carefully scrutinized to see whether it has a…

Return of the Arc of Democracy

Return of the Arc of DemocracyThe United States sends an aircraft battle group composed of the USS John C. Stennis with escorting destroyers and cruisers on a cruise into the South China Sea. Washington also dispatches B-2 stealth bombers to Guam and floats the idea of rotating heavy bombers to bases in northern Australia. Meanwhile, China has moved fighter aircraft…

China’s Giant Coast Guard Cutters Threat to Regional Neighbors

China’s Giant Coast Guard Cutters Threat to Regional NeighborsChina is currently commissioning two of the world’s largest coast guard cutters, ships that could alter the balance of power in the South and East China Seas (one ship is to be stationed in both seas). Known only by their hull numbers, in this case Haijing 2901 and Haijing 3901 (the first digit denotes which…

Double Blow for China in the South China Sea

Double Blow for China in the South China SeaChina has been put on the back foot with a unanimous decision by a UN-backed court in the Hague, Netherlands, that the court has jurisdiction over a case brought by the Philippines against Beijing’s repeated intrusions into what Manila claims are its waters. Given that the court ruled it has jurisdiction, it is considered likely…

Possible Wriggle Room on South China Sea Claims

Possible Wriggle Room on South China Sea ClaimsWhile tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea, with steady military build-up by all sides, especially by China, a new pathway may be opening for peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes. The Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration will soon announce whether it has jurisdiction to rule on the Philippines’ case…

Xi Visit: Little Impact on Sino-US Relations

Xi Visit: Little Impact on Sino-US RelationsDespite the apparent amity displayed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States last week, US-China relations are not undergoing any change that might really transform their rivalry into an “alliance” or that might lead to the conclusion that the two will no longer be competing with each other. That is not going…

China Rewrites Southeast Asia’s WWII History for the Big Parade

China Rewrites Southeast Asia’s WWII History for the Big ParadeThe outpouring of Chinese propaganda about its self-proclaimed victory over Japan 70 years ago has drowned the actual history of Asia during World War 2. China, well supported by western media, likes to believe that the whole of Asia was united in its opposition to Japan’s war against the US, Britain and China. Nothing could…

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?As the world’s attention has been focused on China’s provocative land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and their implications for potential conflict, the situation in the East China Sea has been relatively quiet so far this year, which may be a comfortable delusion. The last major provocation was in November, 2013, when China…