South China Sea
The Trump maritime strategy
After two decades of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq, where land and air power ruled supreme, the U.S. Navy is again on the leading edge of American foreign policy. Freedom of Navigation missions and bold forward deployments of carrier task groups are just part of a new policy to challenge expansion by strategic adversaries such as China and Russia. Yet for the Trump maritime strategy to work, it must be sustained by effective communications and diplomacy, and by an accelerated naval construction program.
GIS Dossier: Vietnam defends its independence
Vietnam, with its more than 3,400-kilometer coastline on the South China Sea, its growing economy and its large military, is a linchpin of Southeast Asia. It also lies at the crux of global powers’ interests in the region. So far, it has managed to maximize its independence, but rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region threaten to undermine its strategy. This Dossier reviews GIS experts’ analysis of and predictions for this emerging regional leader.
Europe’s China policy challenge
As it tries to manage the effects of the trade war with the United States, China is seeking more allies and partners in the West. Europe could benefit greatly – if it could speak with one voice. China is exploiting divisions in the EU, intensifying its relations with cash-strapped member states. But Europe as a whole stands to benefit from constructive engagement with Beijing, especially if it can steer the latter toward continued reform.
2019 Global Outlook: China’s regional impact
China will cast a long shadow in East Asia again this year. 2019, however, is shaping up to be less volatile than 2018. In security matters, expect China to use more “carrot” than “stick” as its neighbors try to balance Beijing against Washington. In economic terms, a stimulus program and a trade understanding with the United States could ameliorate China’s slowdown.
Two scenarios for the future of U.S.-China relations
There are no longer any illusions that the U.S. sees any potential in partnership with China. The two countries have entered into a strategic competition that in the worst case, could quickly become a cold war-style confrontation. Negotiation on the biggest economic sticking points could ease tensions, but only for the short to medium term. The emerging rivalry of the two powers is with us to stay.
Mounting tension in Asia
Pressure is building in relations between the U.S. and China, especially after the recent APEC summit. However, the heightened rhetoric used there could give both countries a chance to climb down and come to a deal. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will have a perfect opportunity to do so during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
U.S.-India ties are still strengthening
India imports oil from Iran and buys arms from Russia, while trying to mend fences with Beijing. All this seems anathema to American policy, and now President Donald Trump has turned down an invitation to visit India in January. But reports that the U.S.-India relationship is on the rocks are premature.
The burgeoning India-Japan partnership
Japan and India are fast becoming close partners. Small wonder: the two countries both want to counteract China's rise, especially in the Indian Ocean. The countries have strengthened economic and military ties, and together could challenge China at sea. As Beijing attempts to project its power ever further, the Indo-Japanese partnership will only grow.
Regional shifts are marginalizing ASEAN
In the huge geopolitical shifts happening in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been conspicuously absent. Split over Chinese activity in the South China Sea, the organization is unready to face these new challenges. If ASEAN becomes irrelevant, it will impact the big players, such as the U.S. and China, too – they will have lost a major facilitator of peace and stability in the region.
Duterte’s impact at the two-year mark
When President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in the Philippines, his plan to reorient the country’s geopolitics toward Beijing and away from Washington was a shock. But reality has set in – although Manila now takes a more neutral line, the U.S. still plays a crucial role in the Philippines’ security. The public is also wary of China, whose aggressive moves in the South China Sea could cause an uproar and force Mr. Duterte to realign with Washington.