The writing of imaginative prose demands an unfettered intellect, something incompatible with political orthodoxy of any stripe
For those looking for a reason that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is playing such an aggressive game of cat-and-mouse with US patrol planes in the South China Sea, Bloomberg’s Ting Shi provides some clarity in “China Seeks to Protect South China Sea Submarine Gateway.”
Market Reforms, Fight against Corruption Go Hand in Hand, Expert Says; Zhou Dongxu, Caixin, 22 July 2014. What appears to be another academic opinion has all the markings of the best analysis yet of Xi’s battle against corruption. H/T Bill Bishop.
“China’s Strategic Capabilities and Intent,” Rebeccah Heinrichs, Issue Brief, No. 4111, The Heritage Foundation, December 18, 2013. Heinrichs summarizes the changes taking place in China’s nuclear defense posture, noting that rather than engage in bursts of effort and spending, China has been slowly and steadily improving its offensive nuclear capabilities for years now. She also lays out a policy program that responds to these developments and reminds us that the US has ignored its own strategic forces for far too long.
“Taking Stock of Chinese Leader Xi Jinping’s One Year Rule,” R.S. Kalha, IDSA Comment, December 20, 2013. Kalha, of the Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis in India, takes a look at the first year of Xi Jinping’s rule from a security policy perspective. His takeaway: by focusing on Japan, Xi picked the right nemesis, managing to demonstrate the real limits to the US commitment to the security of its allies in the region. More adventurism can be expected as a result.
“Is China Preparing for a “Short, Sharp War” Against Japan?” Brookings Institution. Jonathan Pollack and Dennis Blasko name the elephant in the room in Asia. Their call: the alarm bells sounding at the US Pacific Fleet are premature because China lacks either the doctrine or preparedness to conduct such an operation. The conclusion is debatable, but it is interesting to note that the issue in debate is neither motive nor opportunity, but capability.
Korea’s Mistake on China’s ADIZ Controversy | Center for Strategic and International Studies – Dr. Victor Cha of the CSIS calls the government of South Korea to the carpet for allowing China to play “divide-an-conquer” on the ADIZ issue. Korea had apparently quietly and unilaterally approached China on redrawing its ADIZ to eliminate overlaps with Korea’s ADIZ. Cha says the ROK broke faith with its allies in the region when it did so.
The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force | RAND. The nice folks at RAND lay out the best alternative for extending the cost-effective relevance of American ICBMs. Why is this important? Because it addresses upgrades currently underway in China’s Second Artillery Corps; and it invites additional expenditures in those upgrades. Let the escalation begin.
bcg.perspectives – Marketing Excellence in a Globalizing World. BCG’s take on how to market in developing economies vs. developed economies. An interesting take, but here is ours: the more we try to generalize about marketing across cultures and nations, the more obvious the limitations of those generalizations become.
While we all make merry at the antics of Chinese scrap metal merchant Chen Guangbiao, who has come to America to buy a major national newspaper, we would do well to remember that of such characters history is made. Georges Danton, the great French revolutionary, once said, “il nous faut de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace” (“we need audacity, and yet more audacity, and always audacity.”) Or, as my grandmother said, “you gotta have chutzpah.” He is the harbinger of more such Chinese personalities who will seek to own the great media outlets of the west, and many of them are likely to be better funded and more subtle in approach.
The Role of Economic Development Zones in National Development Strategies: The Case of China by Wang Xiao is a doctoral dissertation submitted to the Pardee Rand Graduate School. The author takes a methodical, data-driven approach to determine the extent to which economic development zones actually helped China’s development, when they did so, when they were less helpful, and what makes for more effective zones. The conclusions offer a hint as to the prospects for Shanghai’s much-ballyhooed Free Trade Zone to help in China’s search for an economic second wind.
The People’s Liberation Army General Political Department: Political Warfare with Chinese Characteristics, by Mark Stokes and Russell Hsiao, offers look at how the PLA has updated its doctrine of political warfare to target not just Taiwan, but countries all around the world. The book also examines how the PLA’s General Political Department/Liaison Department engages in political warfare, and why the GPD/LD should not be lumped together with China’s intelligence apparatus.
We have made the point often and publicly that China wants to create its own, separate cloud for both commercial and security reasons. The United States – China Economic and Security Review Commission gets that, and commissioned Defense Group, Inc. to study why China is creating its own cloud and how it is doing it. The result is Red Cloud Rising: Cloud Computing in China. Much to my personal pleasure, the study vindicates my point of view, but it goes further, assessing the impacts to US security and the economy, and making recommendations as to what th US needs to do about it. As with many such efforts, it is not a casual read, but a scan of the text offers interesting nuggets aplenty.
Retired Naval War College professor Marshall Hoyler reviews Aaron Friedberg‘s A Contest for Supremacy; China America, and the Struggle for Supremacy in Asia, seeing the work as an extended case to support long-range procurement of expensive Navy and Air Force weapons programs. Hoyler, a navalist, acknowledges that Friedberg makes some good points. However, he suggests that if this is all the technical services have to offer for an argument to defund the ground-pounders in favor of jets and ships, then both services are in trouble.
In “How to Make China More Honest,” The Heritage Foundation‘s Derek Scissors contends that Chinese statistics are little more than politically-motiviated lies. He suggests that this means that the “Chinese miracle” could be part of the grand fib. More to the point, though, he says that the only way to keep China honest is to collect enough data about China to give lie to its own prevarications, and use that data to undermine China’s propaganda. The challenge, of course, is how to collect that data if China really doesn’t want you to do so.
China: Reeducation Through Horror by Ian Buruma | The New York Review of Books. (Paywalled) Ian’s superb review of Frank Dikötter’s remarkable book “The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957.” Ian proves my growing conviction that sometimes the reviews are as worthy as the great books they parse.
“How the U.S. Should Respond to the Chinese Naval Challenge,” Dean Cheng’s policy brief for the Heritage Foundation, offers few original policy recommendations, (“fully fund the Navy’s shipbuilding program, invest in strong R&D, strengthen ties with allies, and uninvite China to RIMPAC“) and does not even begin to address the fiscal or diplomatic impacts of the ideas it offers. It does, however, present a clear case for playing a game in the region that the Chinese will understand – and respect. The soft approach won’t work with China, Cheng asserts. Time to play hardball. Tell that to the crew of the USS Cowpens – they’ll say that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Strategic Studies Quarterly, volume 7, number 4. The Air Force is, unsurprisingly, increasingly fascinated with China, and we reap the benefits again in the Winter 2013 installment of the journal. The lead article asks whether China and the US are looking at an inevitable conflict, or greater cooperation. An op/ed by a retired Air Force lieutenant general delves into whether and how China can join the world’s nuclear arms control regime. Finally, the University of Michigan’s Philip Potter delves into the roots of terrorism in China, and how it is changing China’s approach to security.
In The Global Burden of Disease: Generating Evidence, Guiding Policy—East Asia and Pacific Regional Edition, the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Examination summarize differences in diseases, injuries, and risk factors for the East Asia and Pacific region and summarizes intraregional differences in diseases, injuries, and risk factors. Unsurprisingly, some countries do a better job than others.
A Trilateral Dialogue on the United States, Africa and China is the proceedings of a private conference organized in Beijing by the Africa Growth Initiative and the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, with the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The question was whether there was room for cooperation between the three sides to address Africa’s challenges. The conference identified common interests. Will that be enough to drive cooperation?
Asian Development Review, volume 30, number 2, has a number of great articles, including a superb paper about China’s indigenous innovation program and the role that foreign firms play in driving innovation in China, and another on on valuing firms in the region based on their political connections.
If you haven’t come across Breakout, Reuters’ series on China’s evolving defense posture, treat yourself – it will be worth your time. The series – which will ultimately reach eight parts in total – is not a primer as much as it is a focus on eight different aspects of China’s rise, sort of like a Robert Kaplan book. My favorite piece so far, “The Chinese Navy Dismembers Japan,” focuses on Maneuver 5, a large-scale exercise involving much of the PLAN designed to simulate a showdown between the PLAN and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The Strategic Studies Quarterly, vol. 7, issue 2, Summer 2013. This edition of the US Air Force’s geopolitical journal takes a multi-faceted look at the US pivot to Asia, China’s grand strategy, and the meeting of the two. Air Force publications can be a bit self-serving at times, but this collection of essays is first rate.
“The Microeconomics of North-South Korean Cross-Border Integration” Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, East-West Center – An under-publicized aspect of the economy of the Korean peninsula is the group of South Korean businesses doing business in or with the North.
“Population Aging and Economic Progress in Asia: A Bumpy Road Ahead?”
Andrew Mason and Sang Hyop Lee
Andrew Mason and Sang Hyop Lee explain that countries in both developed and developing Asia face a triple threat of an aging population, declining family support for aging family members, and the lack of government programs to support the aging, and tell us why and how that is going to put an end to Asia’s economic miracle. That is, unless the region’s leaders can figure out how to change policy and economic direction to address the issue.
- East-West Center Accepting Applications for 2010 Senior Journalists Seminar (prweb.com)
- Is China Facing an Unequal Future? (pekingreview.com)