Tolib Ayembekov, a warlord formerly based in eastern Tajikistan, gave himself up earlier this month following a major military offensive by Tajik authorities. In an email interview, Paul Quinn-Judge, deputy director of the International Crisis Group’s Asia Program, discussed Tajikistan’s security situation. WPR: What is the background to the most recent round of violence Tajikistan? Paul Quinn-Judge: The current unrest in Tajikistan, in the mountainous eastern area of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous district, has some local elements — suspicion of central government that dates back to the 1992-1997 civil war and a strong sense on the part of the local inhabitants of […]

For the past year and a half, the Arab Spring has convulsed the Middle East. It has resulted in the overthrow of four leaders who only two years before seemed destined to rule for life, plunged another country into a fratricidal civil war and placed even long-established monarchies under renewed political and economic stress. What triggered this tsunami of political upheaval? And is it localized to the Arab world, or could it spread? It is no secret that authorities in Beijing and Moscow are playing close attention, attempting to ferret out any indications that a prerevolutionary situation may be building […]

Editor’s note: This will be Andrew Exum’s final “Abu Muqawama” column at World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew for his engaging analysis and to wish him continued success in his many endeavors. Green-on-blue violence — attacks on U.S. and allied forces by their Afghan partners — is the most serious tactical challenge to the NATO coalition since the war in Afghanistan began almost 11 years ago. The name “green-on-blue” derives from U.S. military war games in which “blue” forces are friendly, “red” forces are enemy and “green” forces represent those of the host nation. […]

Following a series of activist protests, tensions are once again rising in East Asia over the ownership of a small, uninhabited archipelago that lies between Taiwan and Japan. The specifics of this recent episode highlight the depth of nationalist sentiments held among the peoples of China, Japan and even Taiwan when it comes to matters of national territory. This is not merely a dispute over fishing grounds and potential oil and gas deposits; it is a matter of historical grievances and national pride. On Aug. 15, the anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II, a group of activists […]

BEIJING — For China, diversification away from the dollar is a strategic priority that implies more than simply adjusting the currency composition of its foreign reserves. It also involves a wide range of measures aimed at side-stepping the U.S. currency and promoting the use of renminbi (RMB) in trade and investment. Nowhere is this shift more strategically significant than in commodities markets, where Beijing is building out the physical and financial infrastructure required to establish the RMB as the dominant currency for commodities in Asia. China’s efforts to diversify away from the dollar have been multifaceted. It is buying proportionately […]

Late last month, China and South Korea agreed to establish a hotline between their respective defense chiefs. In an email interview, Jaeho Hwang, dean of the Division of International Studies at Hankuk University in South Korea, discussed the South Korea-China military relationship. WPR: What is the extent of the current military relationship between China and South Korea? Jaeho Hwang: Usually military relations are classified into three levels: military exchange, military cooperation and military alliance. The exchange level is the lowest level of military relations and includes the exchange of personnel, mutual exercises, aircraft and naval vessel visits and other less […]

Regulators in Australia gave approval last month to the $30 billion Browse gas export project in the state of Western Australia. In an email interview, Vlado Vivoda, a research fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University, discussed Australia’s energy security. WPR: What is the breakdown of Australia’s energy consumption, in terms of fuel types and sources, and is there any policy strategy to shift the balance? Vlado Vivoda: Australia is mainly reliant on fossil fuels, which make up 96 percent of its primary energy demand. The largest source of energy is coal, with 40 percent, followed by oil, […]

After a visit to Beijing earlier this week by Chang Song Taek, a high-ranking North Korean official seen as a key influence on his nephew and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, China and North Korea announced that they had signed a number of agreements to enhance economic cooperation. According to the BBC, the two countries signed deals on the development of two special economic zones as well as on electricity supply and agricultural cooperation. For Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, the deals reflect the fact that China […]

A new television show in the United States called “Stars Earn Stripes” puts various B-grade “celebrities” through military training in order to illustrate what it’s like to serve in the most elite units in the U.S. military. This show might not have been a bad idea immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, when it seemed as if most Americans were largely ignorant of the roles and responsibilities of their military and its elite units. Such a show might have prompted more Americans to enlist in the military rather than follow the advice of their president and shop at the […]

Japan-South Korea relations appear to have reached their nadir with the unprecedented visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the disputed Dokdo islets last week. Lee’s visit represents a dramatic escalation in the territorial dispute with Japan, which also claims sovereignty over the atoll, known in Japan as Takeshima. The visit marks the first time a South Korean head of state has made an official visit, a redline that had not been breached up until this point in order to avoid provoking a diplomatic crisis with Japan. Lee toured the atoll’s largest island, met with coast guard officials stationed […]

The murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, came to a conclusion last week. According to reports, Gu, a prominent Chinese lawyer, confessed to the murder of Neil Heywood, a longtime family friend and business associate. François Godement, a professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris and a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the case, which was over in less than seven hours, reflects how controlled the Chinese justice system continues to be. “Very often in China you are judged by a particular court not […]

Recent high-level visits by Russian officials to Islamabad and an upcoming trip by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first-ever by a Russian head of state since Pakistan’s independence, are highlighting Russia’s efforts to bolster strategic ties with the South Asian country. While looking to secure its near abroad in advance of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Russia is also moving to deepen its geo-economic ties with South Asia as a whole, with Pakistan serving as a gateway for energy trade to the entire subcontinent. For Pakistan, Russia can not only help the civilian government in Islamabad […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 281 2 Last