Category Archives: think tanks

The Best of The Asian Studies WWW Monitor

Este es un enlace interesante, a un boletín (también ahora en formato blogg) de la Universidad Nacional de Australia, que se hace eco de las publicaciones más interesantes relacionadas con los estudios asiáticos.


Nova edició del Strategic Asia (2007-088)

Strategic Asia 2007–08: Domestic Political Change and Grand Strategy
Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills

Published September 2007
ISBN 978-0-9713938-8-2

Strategic Asia 2007–08: Domestic Political Change and Grand Strategy, the seventh volume in NBR’s Strategic Asia series, examines the varied political transitions and internal changes occurring in pivotal Asian states and evaluates the impact on Asian foreign policymaking and strategy. Through a combination of country, regional, and topical studies, the book assesses the patterns of political development, the drivers of internal change, the character of governance, and prospects for political stability in the region, and draws implications for Asia and the United States.

Domestic Politics and Grand Strategy in Asia
Ashley J. Tellis

How Domestic Forces Shape the PRC’s Grand Strategy & International Impact
Kenneth Lieberthal

Japan’s Long Transition: The Politics of Recalibrating Grand Strategy
Mike M. Mochizuki

The Two Koreas: Making Grand Strategy amid Changing Domestic Politics
Samuel S. Kim

Russia: The Domestic Sources of a Less‑than-Grand Strategy
Celeste A. Wallander

Poised for Power: The Domestic Roots of India’s Slow Rise
C. Raja Mohan

Bangladesh and Pakistan: From Secession to Convergence?
Frederic Grare

Political Change in Southeast Asia: Challenges for U.S. Strategy
Donald E. Weatherbee

Finding Balance: The Foreign Policies of Central Asia’s States
Svante E. Cornell

Iran: Domestic Politics and Nuclear Choices
Shahram Chubin

Asian Security Architectures
Nick Bisley

Environmental (In)security in Asia: Challenging U.S. Interests
Lorraine Elliott

Strategic Asia by the Numbers

strategic asia Database

Sino-Japanese Relations: The Impact of Wen’s Visit

Kenichi Ito
23 April 2007

Read this interesting piece in its original framework, here

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao completed his three-day trip to Japan on April 13, the first visit by a Chinese premier in more than six years since Zhu Rongji came to Tokyo in October 2000. Wen, who had praised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Beijing last October as “a trip to break the ice,” described his recent visit as “a trip to melt the ice” and judged it a success. The Japanese side appears more cautious, still trying to figure out Beijing’s true intentions. Nonetheless, Wen’s visit is an unmistakable sign that the Sino-Japanese relationship has taken a solid step forward toward a post-ice period.

Premier Wen told the Japanese parliament: “The amicable exchange between China and Japan is unprecedented in the history of the development of world civilizations in terms of its longevity, scale and impact.” This is no exaggeration. Wen called this Sino-Japanese relationship “a shared asset worth handing down to posterity.” I think Wen’s words echo the sentiments of many Japanese.

Still, the scars left by the violent anti-Japanese demonstrations across China two years ago remain. At that time, I was organizing a forum of intellectuals called the Council on East Asian Community in an effort to frame a common regional future together with China. The demonstrations dealt an unexpected blow to this endeavor, prompting me to write a newspaper op-ed: “The most shocking incident in the past year as we explored the possibility of an East Asian Community was the outbreak in April of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations that engulfed the whole of China. People are arguing that it is difficult to maintain normal, friendly relations with a country where slogans such as ‘patriotic innocence’ go unchallenged and whose government does not apologize for, compensate for and punish the destructive behavior of demonstrators. They say it is almost insane to imagine forming a ‘community’ with such a country. I do not reject these arguments. However….” What I really wanted to say followed that, but I remember there was little regard given at the time to opinions such as mine.

Since Japan and China normalized diplomatic relations in 1972, the bilateral relationship has continued to develop. Ties were strengthened through the mutual trust fostered between the countries’ top leaders: between Yasuhiro Nakasone (Japanese Prime Minister from 1982 to 1987) and Hu Yaobang (Chinese Communist Party Leader from 1980 to 1987), and between Noboru Takeshita (Japanese Prime Minister from 1987 to 1989) and Zhao Ziyang (Chinese Communist Party Leader from 1987 to 1989). Nevertheless, relations worsened after Jiāng Zémín came to power in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident and started in 1994 all-out anti-Japanese patriotic education. Beijing refused to hold summit meetings with Tokyo when Junichiro Koizumi, who became prime minister in 2001, made repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where the spirits of Japan’s war dead including 14 Class-A war criminals are enshrined. The anti-Japanese demonstrations in China came as the culmination of soured Sino-Japanese relations.

As the saying goes, yin (shade) and yang (light) can transform into one another. Both Jiāng’s patriotic education and Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni were intended to win the support of their respective peoples. However, when the damage caused by such domestic-oriented policies became unbearable, calls for changes in policy mounted in each country. Last October my organization, The Japan Forum on International Relations, presented policy recommendations titled “Japan and China in the Changing Asia” that urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pay an official visit to China and agree with Beijing to hold summit meetings on a regular basis. Abe flew to Beijing just a week after the recommendations. A number of problems exist between Tokyo and Beijing and their solutions will not be achieved overnight. Still, Premier Wen’s visit signaled an important step forward in bilateral relations in that Tokyo and Beijing affirmed their political will to confront these problems.

Kenichi Ito is President of The Japan Forum on International Relations, Inc. He is also President of the Council on East Asian Community and Professor Emeritus of Aoyama Gakuin University.

Power and Interest News Report

Un bon article, que serveix alhora, per presentar un bon think tank independent dels EEUU. Tenen una secció dedicada específicament a l’Àsia (també a la central, amb Pakistan i Afganistan com a focus), a la que es pot accedir des d’aquí

”Intelligence Brief: U.S. Moves to Regain Leverage over Iran”

n September 2004, PINR released an in-depth report on Iran’s foreign policy objectives. According to the report, the “best-case scenario for Iran is that the U.S. military is forced to withdraw from Iraq, leaving Iran with a dominant sphere of influence over a Shi’a-dominated Iraq or a breakaway Shi’a mini-state in the south, and that Iran is able to achieve nuclear weapons capability. Were this outcome to occur, Iran would be the dominant power in the Persian Gulf, displacing the United States.” Iran’s worst-case scenario, according to the report, “is that the United States or Israel launches a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear complex, possibly associated with American military efforts at regime change.” [See: “Iran’s Bid for Regional Power: Assets and Liabilities”]In the two years that have passed since the report’s release, developments have clearly moved in a direction closer to Iran’s best-case scenario. Not only has the U.S. intervention in Iraq deteriorated to the point where some form of withdrawal is a likely outcome, but Iran’s influence in southern Iraq has increased; Iranian-supported Hezbollah managed to defend its positions against an Israeli invasion; Afghanistan has grown increasingly unstable; North Korea tested a nuclear weapon without significant repercussions; and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology has not been thwarted despite threats and economic sanctions.All of these developments have proved positive for Iran and explain its aggressive posture on the world stage. Tehran sees developments in the Middle East moving rapidly in its favor and it considers the United States to be in a weak position strategically. As a result, Tehran believes that its window of opportunity to increase its regional power — which formed with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 — remains open. As a result, it has not backed down on any of its foreign policy ambitions despite mounting pressure.

The United States, on the other hand, remains at a loss over how to deal with Iran effectively. Washington’s recognition that the intervention in Iraq may not be salvageable, however, has recently caused it to look down the road strategically. It now appears to be pursuing new actions aimed at preventing Iran from achieving its best-case scenario. One such action was the recent U.S. decision to move a second aircraft carrier fleet — the U.S.S. John C. Stennis — into the Persian Gulf, joining the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier group. The U.S. Navy has called this development a “warning to Syria and Iran.” In addition to this tactical move, U.S. forces recently arrested six Iranians in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, accusing them of being part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and having an active role in the insurgency. Also, there were reports from Turkey that the United States moved 16 F-16 fighter aircraft into the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey; the official reason is that they are there for exercises with Turkish and N.A.T.O. forces, but combined with these two other developments, the action has greater significance.These moves are clearly attempts to change perceptions that the United States is in a position of weakness and that it is unwilling to further embroil itself in conflict. Eliminating this perception is critical for the United States in order to regain geopolitical influence in the Middle East.

Perceptions of U.S. weakness — which PINR has warned of since 2003 — were recently confirmed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. On January 15, Gates confirmed that “the Iranians clearly believe that we are tied down in Iraq, that they have the initiative, that they are in a position to press us in many ways. They’re doing nothing to be constructive in Iraq at this point.” Gates went further, admitting, “I think that our difficulties have given them a tactical opportunity in the short term…” Gates, however, added that “the United States is a very powerful country.” This caveat is a military reality that Iran must carefully take into account. While the United States is reluctant to further embroil itself in conflict, it retains the ability to attack Iran. In fact, it is possible that Washington’s latest moves are in preparation for a strike on Iran, even if such a course of action would not be in the interests of the United States.Nevertheless, even if the United States did not achieve its objectives in an attack — such as ending Iran’s nuclear research program permanently and eliminating its influence in Iraq — it would prove detrimental to Iran’s regional ambitions. For this reason, Iran will make efforts to avoid this outcome and it is here where the United States retains the most leverage. Indeed, there are reports that forces within the Iranian government are pressuring President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to tone down his aggressive posture so as not to invite a U.S. or Israeli attack.