Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced today that Lt. Gen. Raheel Sharif will succeed Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as Pakistan’s powerful chief of army staff. Kayani, who will retire on Nov. 29 after a six-year tenure, commanded the Pakistani army through a tumultuous time in the country’s history, which included Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s clash with the Supreme Court, imposition of emergency rule and forced ouster; a complex and violent insurgency; antagonism with the U.S.; and economic uncertainty. Kayani was instrumental in transforming the army, enabling it to better cope with current and emerging security threats. He also distanced the army […]

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced today he is seeking to establish a new security dialogue with Indonesia in an effort to repair a bilateral relationship damaged by recent spying revelations. In an email interview, Richard Chauvel, senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Victoria University, discussed the security relationship between Australia and Indonesia. WPR: What are the main areas of overlap in security interests between Indonesia and Australia? Richard Chauvel: Indonesia remains Australia’s most important regional relationship. Indonesia shapes Australia’s strategic environment. The air and sea approaches to Australia are through the Indonesian archipelago as […]

After winning the October 2013 elections, the new Coalition government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott inherited the difficult task of readjusting Australia’s strategic and defense policy. Power shifts in Asia have already begun to challenge fundamental aspects of Australia’s strategic posture. The rise of China and the relative decline of the U.S. position in the Asia-Pacific region potentially put Australia in a difficult position: that of maintaining close relations with both its major ally, the United States, and its most important trading partner, China. If Sino-U.S. relations become even more competitive, Canberra could find itself between a rock and a […]

China’s decision to establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that encompasses its disputed islands with Japan is yet another attempt to expand its territorial claims by presenting neighboring countries with a fait accompli. These power plays aim to augment China’s regional position over time without provoking a major military confrontation or countervailing coalition. But in this case Beijing may have overreached and scored an own goal. Over the past few months, China has engaged in a sustained diplomatic campaign to exploit tensions between Seoul and Tokyo. As part of this effort, Beijing has deftly used its influence over North […]

The debate about U.S. targeted killing policy has become repetitive and familiar. The policy’s proponents argue that the precision and accuracy of drones keep civilian casualties to a minimum, and that drones are the most viable tool in fighting an asymmetric war, particularly in places that are off-limits to U.S. troops. Opponents of drone strikes argue that civilian casualties are much higher than U.S. government estimates, and that the policy is counterproductive because it leads to the radicalization of a new generation of terrorists. The number of civilian casualties from drone strikes is perhaps the most complicated of these questions, […]

For many in Washington, last month’s two-week shutdown of the federal government is already ancient history, replaced by a focus on the travails of the Obamacare website and feverish speculation about Hillary Clinton’s prospects as a presidential candidate in 2016. But the aftershocks of the shutdown continue to reverberate around the world. In particular, there is concern that President Barack Obama will have difficulty getting Congress, particularly a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, to vote in favor of giving his administration the flexibility it will need to conduct delicate negotiations, both with foes as well as with friends. The continuing negotiations […]

On Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines. The storm, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the largest typhoons on record, with estimates of the dead in the thousands and of the displaced in the millions. The United States acted quickly to help its ally, but some senior lawmakers and military officials worry that in the age of sequestration U.S. capabilities to carry out such operations in the future may deteriorate. The U.S. response in the Philippines has been “rapid and decisive,” according to Renato DeCastro of De La Salle University in Manila. He explained […]

There is some relief now that the presidential election in the Maldives has been completed and its result accepted by all sides. But the outcome has not allayed concerns over the nation’s democratic transition. Yaamin Abdul Gayoom of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), who is the half-brother of former authoritarian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was sworn in as the Maldives’ new president Sunday, Nov. 17. He narrowly defeated the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted in what Nasheed claims was a coup in February 2012. The runoff, held Nov. 16 after repeated […]

This month, thousands of anti-government protesters have rallied in the Thai capital Bangkok, at first turning out against a bill that would have offered amnesty to deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but continuing to protest after the bill was defeated. In an email interview, Duncan McCargo, professor of Southeast Asian politics at University of Leeds, explained what’s driving Thailand’s recent protests and their likely effects on Thai politics. WPR: What do Thailand’s recent protests mean for the stability of the government under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra? Duncan McCargo: Thailand has a long tradition of political rallies and protests; street […]

The Chinese government has been unabashedly showing off its nuclear weapons this past month. The most noteworthy display was unprecedented TV coverage in late-October of China’s nuclear submarines conducting combat drills, accompanied by a photo spread profiling the subs’ activities. Chinese media justified the display as reinforcing deterrence against foreign threats and meeting Western demands for military transparency. One can debate whether this selective transparency, which builds on previous exposures of China’s new stealth planes and other new military capabilities, is meant as a warning to Washington and Tokyo not to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims, a message primarily for internal […]

By Sept. 10, 2001, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, was increasingly slouching toward irrelevance. Although USAID Administrator Brian Atwood had instituted important reforms during his tenure at the helm during the 1990s, the agency had been badly bloodied by a contentious political battle with the Republican-controlled Congress over whether it should be folded into the State Department. Remarkably, Atwood held both the State Department and Sen. Jesse Helms at bay when Congress tried to abolish USAID and place its remains in Foggy Bottom. But Atwood and the agency paid a steep price for their resistance, and angry […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently visited Istanbul to mark the opening of the Marmaray, a mammoth tunneling project connecting Europe with Asia beneath the waters of the Bosphorus. Constructed at a cost of more than $4 billion, the project is an iconic example of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grand vision for Turkey. More ambitious still is Erdogan’s plan to build an extensive nuclear power program, virtually overnight, in a country that currently has no nuclear power plants. The prime minister hopes to have two nuclear power plants, with four reactors each, online in time for the Turkish Republic’s […]

China is moving to ease restrictions on its one-child policy, Chinese policymakers announced Friday. The new rules will allow parents who are themselves only children to have two children. Therese Hesketh told WPR in August that changes to the policy were seen in China as inevitable: The policy has achieved its original goal of reducing population growth and lifting many out of poverty. It has also become an anachronism as freedoms have increased in many areas of life; as growing wealth means many can afford the fines; and as China becomes a key player in the global community and can […]

The debate over whether America is the world’s indispensable nation will continue, but when it comes to the Middle East nobody is waiting for the answer. Washington’s gradual but steady retreat from its once-unabashed exercise of influence in the region has sparked a rush by second-tier powers to fill the vacuum that has resulted. As the U.S. holds back, other nations are raising their profile, hoping to gain from Washington’s reluctance to play a larger role. The more passive the U.S. becomes, the more assertive others grow. To be sure, the U.S. remains far and away the most influential outside […]

Globalization is predominantly thought of as a benign force offering greater opportunities for trade, communication and technological innovation. Yet globalization has developed a dark side, exploited by malicious actors like drug and human traffickers, terrorists and WMD proliferators. Globalization has done more than just provide these actors tools for conducting their trade; it has created an entirely new breed of crime, where illicit activities converge and the drug trafficker may also be the terrorist or the proliferator, or both. One recent example of this growing confluence of transnational security threats is Panama’s recent seizure of the North Korean cargo ship […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip this week to Vietnam and South Korea, which follows last week’s unprecedented foreign and defense ministerial meeting in Japan, testifies to Moscow’s continuing efforts to raise its profile in Asia. Last year, Russia hosted its first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference; the previous year, it joined the East Asian Summit. Half of Russia’s arms exports flow to Asian countries, which also buy Russia’s oil and gas as well as its civil nuclear technologies. Like their Western counterparts, Russian analysts consider that demographic, economic and other trends will make the Asia-Pacific the world’s most important region […]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently met with his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni, in part to advance a proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor. In an email interview, Nimmi Kurian, associate professor at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and India representative at the India China Institute at the New School in New York, explained the BCIM proposal and its vision for regional integration.* WPR: What is envisioned in the proposed BCIM Economic Corridor? Nimmi Kurian: The BCIM Economic Corridor is a proposal being actively considered by both the governments of India and China to promote subregional cooperation among […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 221 2 Last