Expanded Military Ties With China May Be of Limited Utility for U.S.

On a 10-day trip through Asia, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel sought to build military ties with allies and partners involved in the U.S. rebalance to the region. He also reached out to China, the presumptive main U.S. competitor in the region, and announced the need for a “new model” of military-to-military relations between the two nations.

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Strategic Horizons: In Ukraine, Russia Reveals Its Mastery of Unrestricted Warfare

Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine. Moscow’s complex, multidimensional offensive uses intimidation, misinformation and any organization or group that can serve its interests. For a beleaguered Ukraine, pressure is coming in many ways and from many directions. And that is exactly what Vladimir Putin intends. Moscow has adopted, even mastered, a form of unrestricted warfare.

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Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip

By Roxane Horton
, on , Briefing

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to power in 2013 declaring that Australia was “open for business” and promising to fast-track stalled free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China. Abbott pulled off an impressive feat in Asia last week as he embarked on a three-nation tour of those countries, forging free trade agreements and announcing closer security relations on each stop along the way. more

Global Insider: Iran-Pakistan Border a Major Concern in Bilateral Relationship

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. more

Appearance of Partisan Tensions Masks Broad Agreement on Missile Defense

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Russian actions in Ukraine have injected new urgency, and partisan vitriol, into the debate over U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missile defense systems in Europe. But beneath the surface, many of the most fundamental issues relating to U.S. missile defense plans seem to be politically uncontroversial, even as technical experts continue to question whether U.S. systems will actually perform as designed. more

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Chooses Democracy Over China Trade Pact

By Joel Atkinson
, on , Briefing

On March 19, students occupied Taiwan’s legislature to protest the KMT government’s handling of a services trade agreement with China. The movement ultimately won support for a compromise that would see the services pact, and any future agreements with China, undergo more thorough—and public—scrutiny. The dramatic events are forcing a rethink about the very nature of the China-Taiwan relationship. more

Global Insider: Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries Fundamental to Australian Maritime Security Strategy

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Australia has provided ships to the international search effort for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which is taking place in part in Australia’s vast maritime domain. In an email interview, Sam Bateman, professorial research fellow at the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources at the University of Wollongong in Australia and senior fellow in the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, explained how Australia secures these waters. more

Global Insights: With Election, Afghanistan Strengthens Democratic Credentials

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The first round of Afghanistan's presidential election saw the country's political institutions perform much better than during the 2009 ballot, while the Afghan National Security Forces provided a relatively safe and secure electoral environment. The winners may not be clear until May, and a second round is likely. But already the results offer hope for Afghanistan's status as a functioning democracy. more

As Afghanistan Selects New President, Its Insurgency May Change Too

By Kathy Gilsinan
, on , Briefing

On Saturday, Afghans will vote in the first round of an election that, if all goes well, will result in the first democratic transfer of presidential power in Afghanistan’s history. The elections will also be the first of the post-Taliban era to be secured entirely by Afghan forces. But for all its historic gravity, in some respects the poll will not represent much of a break with Afghanistan’s past. more

South Korea Buy a Bright Spot for Troubled F-35 Program

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

South Korea recently announced that it will purchase the F-35 fighter jet as part of an ambitious plan to modernize its air defenses. Japan also plans to purchase the F-35, meaning that the two countries most central to the Obama administration’s Asia rebalance will be using the same platform. This is good news for a fighter that has become the most expensive defense acquisition program in history. more

Global Insights: U.S.-South Korea Alliance Faces Growing Pains

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The South Korean and U.S. militaries have begun their annual major field training exercise, which will include the largest amphibious drill in Korea in decades. South Korean officials said the exercise underscores Seoul’s strategic significance to the U.S. Asia pivot. Beneath the surface calm, however, many troubled currents will buffet both the exercise and the overall bilateral military relationship. more