Tag: Asia

Richard Epstein considers the pros and cons of America’s newfound diplomatic engagement with North Korea, and discusses related issues of trade, human rights, and presidential power.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss President Trump’s Asia trip and how most of the visits suggested a good working relationship with key leaders.  Jim offers his take on the Roy Moore saga, pointing out that we often think we know political figures and are shocked when allegations come forward, but he says the truth is we know very little about them at all.  And they shake their heads as Sean Hannity fans publicly destroy their Keurig coffee machines after the company pulls advertising for Hannity’s TV show over his coverage of the Roy Moore story.

Recorded on September 26, 2017

After nearly a quarter of a century of the same approach—diplomacy, sanctions, and concessions—the United States seems out of policy options other than a military solution with regard to North Korea . Michael Auslin, Hoover’s inaugural Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia, discusses what scenarios may unfold on the Korean peninsula as well as the possibility of nuclear engagement and nuclear accidents.

This week on Banter, Nick Eberstadt joined the show to explain the ongoing nuclear standoff with North Korea and possible strategies to mitigate the nuclear threat. Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at AEI. His work focuses on demographics and economic development as well as international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Additionally, Eberstadt serves as a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).

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Richard Epstein analyzes President Trump’s new plan for Afghanistan, the threat from
North Korea, and how the US should respond to trade tensions with China.

Ricochet and the TPP


Ricochet began as a podcast and a subscription-based website, but quickly became a community that extends well beyond. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it began with the unlikely friendships of its founders — @peterrobinson and @roblong — so the ensuing meet ups and social media interactions of members should not be surprising. Via Facebook, Twitter, or face-to-face, the debates and conversations don’t end here.*

Nor do they always begin here. And sometimes, that’s regrettable because I learned a thing or two that others could certainly appreciate. Case in point, @jamielockett proposed elsewhere that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a mistake. That led to the following exchange including myself, Jamie, and @jamesofengland, reprinted here (somewhat abridged) with their permission. 

A Brief Primer on Japanese Politics


Tokyo skylineThere’s a deep sense of disillusionment and malaise here in Japan. Perhaps, rather than sleeping through politics, the country is just ignoring it. Remember the 80s, when this country was going to take over the world? Many people (including me) spent that decade learning Japanese in school, preparing for a future when we’d need language skills to impress our bosses.

As it happened, I did need it. But that’s just me. For the rest of the Western world, the takeover got lost in two decades of Japanese economic recession and general stagnation. The economy has been so sluggish — and for so long — that it’s hardly even a political issue any more. Successive governments have pulled so many levers, pumped so much new currency into the economy, that it’s like watching one of those movie scenes where a character continues to perform violent CPR on some lifeless unfortunate, with ever more desperation, while everyone stands around pitying them.

What Happened?

The Sun Rises in the East?


640px-Flag_of_Japan.svgSince its defeat in the Second World War and the adoption of its 1947 Constitution, Japan — the World’s third (formerly, second) largest economy, and a country with one of the longest and proudest warrior cultures in history — has essentially adopted the military policy of Switzerland. Apparently, no more:

[Prime Minister Shinzō] Abe’s coalition pushed through the legislation a day and a half after a wrestling match in a parliamentary committee, where burly ruling-coalition lawmakers warded off opposition members who swarmed around the committee chairman in an attempt to block passage. For the first time in the 70 years since World War II, the new laws will give the government power to use the military in overseas conflicts even if Japan itself isn’t under attack. Mr. Abe said that will make possible a closer alliance with the U.S. in cases such as a war on the Korean peninsula or a blockage of sea lanes that threatened Japan’s security.

A few things of note:

Meanwhile in Japan…


1072px-Flag_of_JSDF.svgFrom today’s New York Times, the world continues to be… interesting:

TOKYO — The lower house of Japan’s Parliament passed legislation on Thursday that would give the country’s military limited powers to fight in foreign conflicts. […] The bills represent a break from the strictly defensive stance maintained by Japan in the decades since the war, under which it would fight only if directly attacked. Critics, including a majority of Japanese constitutional specialists, say the legislation violates the country’s postwar charter, which renounces war.


[Member Post]


How many of the world’s poorer nations benefit from the spending of affluent foreign tourists? How many economic opportunities surround each major attraction, from food and lodging to mementos and guided tours?  Perhaps this can be a form of charity with potential to “teach a man to fish” for widespread long-term benefits. How might Western powers […]

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The Strategika Podcast: Understanding Chinese-Japanese Tensions


In the new series of Strategika podcasts, we’re looking at the tensions between China and Japan and what the implications are for the United States and the future security situation in East Asia. In this first installment, I talk to Miles Maochun Yu, professor of East Asia and military and naval history at the United States Naval Academy. Miles explains the historical backdrop for tensions between the two countries, how China’s modern grievances may be a smokescreen for something slightly more nefarious, and what the U.S. needs to do to manage the situation. Listen in below:

How to Solve the China Problem? Look Towards India


Like many Ricochet members, I’m just back from the National Review cruise. One of the hot topics of the week — along with the 2014 elections, the 2016 race, and President Obama’s immigration order — was what to do about China.

Here is one positive step we could take. Let’s start containing the rise of China by entering into an alliance with India. It’s the world’s largest democracy and is steadily opening its economy to the free market. It has the land power to check China and is gradually improving its air and sea forces. It makes just as much sense — perhaps even more — as Nixon’s opening to China to balance the U.S.S.R. in the Cold War.

Kim Jong Un-believable? Sony to ‘Amend’ Rogen Film


The-Interview-movieKorea observers no doubt expressed the same disappointment as I did Friday when reading this: “Sony Will Amend Seth Rogen’s The Interview After North Korean Threats.” I’ve been looking forward to a lampooning of the 30ish dictator. He’s got an interest in popular culture that ensures his attention to the movie.

Quick no-spoiler synopsis: The CIA recruits two journalists (Rogen & James Franco) that landed an interview with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Their mission: kill Kim. 

I’m actually more bummed about having to wait until December instead of October for the film. In reality, this is not a U.S. backing off in the face of North Korean bombast. Making the movie is a statement in itself.  It’s more about Japan.

John Mearsheimer is Sober, Level-Headed, and Clear-Thinking . . . Except When He Isn’t


I recommend to everyone this piece on the present and expected future interplay between China, Taiwan and the United States written by my former professor, John Mearsheimer. It is exceedingly well-written, very hard-headed, and reveals that Mearsheimer has done his homework when it comes to the history of China and Taiwan. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading if one is Taiwanese, American, or a member of any Asian country that seeks to offset or balance against Chinese hegemony in Asia, but, if anything, the unsettling nature of the piece makes it all the more important.

Speaking of well-written Mearsheimerian articles, check out this recent one on the crisis concerning Russia and Ukraine, and the state of American policymaking. Again, Mearsheimer lays out the facts persuasively, accurately gauges each side’s interests and bargaining power, and then offers policy prescriptions that demonstrate a realistic understanding of the situation at play.