Editor’s note: This will be the final appearance of Thomas P.M. Barnett’s “The New Rules” column at World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for the insightful, compelling analysis he has offered WPR readers each week for the past three years, as well as for the support he has shown for WPR over that time. We wish him continued success. Amid all our current fears regarding the global economy’s potential “double dip” back into deep recession, a longer-term question stands out: How can a supposedly declining America protect the golden goose that is globalization while […]

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced last week that Australian troops will withdraw from Afghanistan in 2013, a year ahead of schedule. In an email interview, Anthony Bubalo, the West Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia, discussed Australia’s mission in Afghanistan. WPR: Was participation in the Afghanistan War seen as consistent with Australia’s key strategic priorities or in competition with them? Anthony Bubalo: Australia’s participation in the war in Afghanistan has been consistent with the history of Australia’s use of its military forces beyond its immediate region, especially in the Middle East. That […]

With the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline project a casualty of U.S. opposition and persistent mistrust between New Delhi and Islamabad, India has increasingly turned to Qatar to meet its growing natural gas requirements over the past decade. Holding the world’s third-largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, Qatar is a natural choice for such a role. But after the recent visit of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to India, the two states are looking to broaden their economic ties beyond trade in energy. Qatar is set to emerge as a strategic investor in India’s infrastructure plans, while […]

Although the tense standoff between Chinese and Philippine warships at Scarborough Shoal in the northern South China Sea has been walked back from the brink, it is a harbinger of more confrontations to come. Indeed, more such incidents are inevitable if China and the four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states — the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei — that also claim the sea’s disputed islands and their adjacent waters and resources cannot agree on and implement a robust code of conduct to govern their activities there. Unfortunately, the April 2012 ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh came and […]

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Russia and China launched their first joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea on Monday. In an email interview, Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, discussed military cooperation between Russia and China. WPR: How has Russia-China military and defense cooperation evolved over the past 10 years?Simon Saradzhyan: Bilateral military cooperation has developed steadily thanks to a general rapprochement between China and postcommunist Russia. On top of strong economic ties, the growth is based on the convergence of the two countries’ interests in opposing U.S. global dominance, the development of U.S. missile defenses, the expansion […]

Even in the corridors of the Chinese Communist Party’s headquarters in Zhongnanhai, few would have predicted the remarkable rise in China’s comprehensive national strength since Deng Xiaoping launched the Reform and Open policy in 1978. China’s evolution has been one of the most remarkable feats of governance ever seen. But rather than the definitive manual in strategic planning that it is sometimes portrayed as, the history of China’s post-Mao transformation reads more like a great picaresque novel, in which the protagonist has been forced to beg, steal and kill; navigate untold pitfalls and reversals; and escape from several tight squeezes […]

With its rich civilizational history and long tradition of argumentation, India is no stranger to grand strategy. In 300 B.C., Chanakya, better known as Kautilya, the main adviser to King Chandragupta during the Mauryan Dynasty, wrote “The Arthaashastra,” a treatise on statecraft, military strategy and economic policy still referred to by many strategists today. Yet many foreigners and Indians alike have noted that this tradition of strategic thinking has not found its way into contemporary Indian foreign policy. In 1992, the American analyst George Tanham famously wrote (.pdf) that India had “produced little formal strategic thinking and planning.” Pratab Bhanu […]

As Beijing prepares for a once-in-a-decade change of leadership, the ouster of Bo Xilai and a series of significant financial reforms have been widely seen as signs that reformist elements within the Chinese government are in the ascendency. This analysis may be correct, but it needs to be tempered with a broader look at the Chinese political and policy landscape, which shows that reforms still lag in multiple key areas and that progressive signals are so far limited to the financial sector. The position of the army, a key political constituent, also remains unclear. The political intrigue surrounding the removal […]

There is a popular tendency to characterize globalization as an elite-based conspiracy or as something imposed by greedy outsiders upon unsuspecting native populations, hence the enduring belief in the possibility of its systemic reversal. In truth, the spread of modern globalization reflects a bottom-up demand function, not a top-down supply imposition. People simply crave connectivity — in all its physical and virtual forms — as well as the freedom of choice that it unleashes. This simple truth is worth remembering when we contemplate America’s global role in the decades ahead. Why? Time is most definitely on our side. Given enough […]

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Jiang Jiemin, the chairman of the China National Petroleum Corp., has reportedly floated the idea of building an undersea pipeline that would deliver Russian natural gas to South Korea via China, as an alternative to a long-discussed plan to build a pipeline connecting Russia, North Korea and South Korea. In an email interview, Se Hyun Ahn, chair of the department of international relations at the University of Seoul, discussed the prospect of a Russia-China-South Korea pipeline. WPR: What are South Korea’s sources of natural gas, and how is it delivered? Se Hyun Ahn: South Korea imports all of its natural […]

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Aung San Suu Kyi, the general secretary of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar, spent nearly two decades under house arrest after her opposition party won the country’s 1990 parliamentary elections but was denied power by the ruling military junta. Now, after winning a seat in parliamentary by-elections held earlier this month, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s role in Myanmar’s domestic politics is poised to change. Reports that her scheduled debut in parliament Monday may be delayed due to a controversy over the wording of the parliamentary oath underscore the difficult choices facing Suu Kyi as she re-enters the […]

Since 2006, India has embarked on a robust ballistic missile defense (BMD) program aimed at a two-tier defense. In that time, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has conducted a number of successful missile-interception tests, with the latest coming in February. India’s plan for missile defense, however, dates back to the early 1980s, when it started its Integrated Missile Development Program (IGDMP). IGDMP envisaged an array of offensive missile platforms, such as the Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles, as well as the development of defensive missile platforms, such as the Akash surface-to-air missile system. As currently conceived, the Indian […]

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Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou made a surprise refueling stop in Mumbai, India, earlier this month while en route to Africa. In an email interview, Fang Tien-sze, an assistant professor at National Tsing-hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and Jabin T. Jacob, assistant director of the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, India, discussed India-Taiwan relations. WPR: How have India-Taiwan relations evolved over the past 10 years? Fang Tien-sze and Jabin T. Jacob: India-Taiwan relations have improved gradually in many areas over the past few years. Bilateral trade has expanded from $1.1 billion in 2001 to $7.6 billion in 2011. The two […]

SEOUL, South Korea — In the months leading up to South Korea’s April 11 parliamentary elections, it looked like the liberal opposition was poised for an easy victory driven by voters who were sick of corruption and income inequality and in search of something new. To the opposition’s surprise, voters instead bolstered the majority of the ruling New Frontier Party (NFP), signifying a shift back to conservative tendencies in the country’s electorate. The NFP won 152 out of 300 seats, giving it a parliamentary majority, while the opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) came away with 127. Though most observers had […]

China’s astounding record of economic growth is shifting the global balance of power and, as a result, creating a new international environment in which Beijing faces enormous pressure from the West to play a constructive role on the world stage. Often, the U.S. and China stand on opposite sides of disputes involving third nations, prompting a curious diplomatic dance — one that will become a more prominent feature of international diplomacy in the years to come. Once an impoverished, inward-facing country, China has become a major trading partner to nations across the globe and a key force in world affairs, […]

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Japan announced a new defense-industry partnership with the U.K. earlier this month, its first foreign deal after relaxing its decades-old restrictions on defense cooperation with non.-U.S. partners in December. In an email interview, Ralph A. Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS discussed Japan’s new overseas defense cooperation. WPR: What brought about Japan’s relaxation of restrictions on developing defense equipment with foreign partners? Ralph A. Cossa: This has been in the works for some time and had support both from the opposition — which had flirted with the change for years when it was in charge — and the U.S. […]

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