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The Project 2049 Institute publishes research papers, policy briefs, monographs and other materials on critical security issues in Asia.


Occasional Papers | Futuregrams |Other Publications |AsiaEye Blog

  Occasional Papers ^Back

White Warships and Little Blue Men: The Looming "Short, Sharp War" in the East China Sea over the Senkakus

China claims Japan’s Senkaku Islands and vows to seize them in a “short, sharp war,” if necessary. China’s successful seizure of the islands would shatter the Japan-America security alliance and severely undermine U.S. credibility. This study examines China’s attack campaign by tracing its territorial claims to the East China Sea and by addressing its Senkakus campaign doctrine, the military and paramilitary forces it will employ, how the campaign will unfold, the timing of the attack, how China might counter U.S. intervention, and steps the United States and Japan should take to deter it.

James E. Fanell and Kerry K. Gershaneck (03/30/2018)

U.S.-Taiwan Relations in a Sea of Change

Concerned about a potential drift in the relationship, The Project 2049 Institute conducted a series of working-level dialogues, resulting in the production of a study addressing the medium to long-term challenges that appear likely in Taiwan and across the Taiwan Strait. The objective of this report is to make detailed policy recommendations for Washington as it endeavors to strengthen relations with Taiwan, while at the same time mitigating tensions that are emerging in relations across the Strait.

Richard L. Armitage, Ian Easton, and Mark Stokes (03/16/2018)

Risk and Resiliency: China’s Emerging Air Base Strike Threat

Given the centrality of air power for U.S. power projection in the Western Pacific, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has focused on prioritizing the development of asymmetric capabilities to target American air superiority where it is weakest―on the ground. China’s military modernization program is closely associated with a number of maturing precision strike capabilities designed for attacking air bases. This paper seeks to provide an overview of the evolving airpower challenge that the United States faces in the Western Pacific and beyond. It explores Chinese military writings on air base strike operations, evaluates the current trajectory of the PLA’s precision strike capabilities, and concludes with recommendations for how American airpower in Asia can be more resilient against threats.

Oriana Skylar Mastroand Ian Easton (11/08/2017)

The Framework for a U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement

The United States and Japan can create a bilateral free trade and investment agreement that both sides will sign and ratify. While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initially appeared to qualify as the new approach the U.S., Japan, and East Asia needed. It failed to sufficiently promote free markets and address concerns to generate enough support from traditional protectionist opponents in the United States. Nonetheless, the TPP did clarify the value of a directly relatied initiative: a U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement. This monograph serves to provide a framework for a U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and offers an outline for what such an agreement should look like in order to work both economically and in terms of domestic politics.

Derek M. Scissors and Daniel Blumenthal (9/29/2017)

Negotiating History: The Chinese Communist Party’s 1981

Over the decades, leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have used the control of history to bolster their own political standing, as well as the continued primacy of the CCP in ruling the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This paper illustrates one of the most important cases of CCP historical manipulation through analysis of the political process surrounding the 1981 "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China." From 1979-1981, Deng Xiaoping used his ability to control what would become the CCP’s official verdict on Mao Zedong’s legacy to supplant Mao’s appointed successor, Hua Guofeng. The ability to control history to maintain the CCP's political legitimacy has undeniably become a tool of power in the PRC. As the influence of the Chinese government and the CCP increasingly spreads abroad, it is important to understand how the CCP arrived at the “history” it exports.

Robert L. Suettinger (07/17/2017)

Dangerous Truths: The Panchen Lama's 1962 Report and China's Broken Promise of Tibetan Autonomy

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sustained a strategy to manipulate history and subjugate Tibet in order to maintain Party rule. As outlined in this paper, the CCP’s tactics against Tibet can be evidenced through its denial of a report critical of the Party's policies, authored by the 10th Panchen Lama in 1962. Through an analysis of the historical context surrounding the CCP's repudiation of this report, and the Party's resulting efforts to erase the grievances of the Tibetan people while imposing its own narrative, it is clear that the CCP views nationalist sentiment in Tibet as inimical to social stability. To counter that threat, the Party requires the active suppression and political compliance of the Tibetan people. Due to the CCP’s efforts, it is necessary to uncover the true historical record that proves the Party’s attempts to distort history and dominate Tibet for its own strategic ends.

Matthew Akester (07/10/2017)

The Logic of Historical Nihilism: Analyzing the PRC Orthodoxy on the Origins of the Korean War

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) utilizes its own narrative of the Korean War to fulfill the Party’s strategic interests. Historical evidence, illustrated in this paper, proves that the Korean War began on June 25, 1950 as a result of a long and arduous preparation and agreement among the three protagonists—Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Kim Il-sung. Today, significant research and historical documents prove the CCP's creation of a false record of the Korean War, which remains integral to Maoist historical nihilism and employed by the Party to ensure regime survival. Following the 67th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, it is necessary to examine the Korean War's historical legacy and the role of the manipulation of historical narratives in communist China.

Miles M. Yu (06/26/2017)

The Limits of CCP Liaison Work: Sino-Vietnamese Relations

The PRC has fully leveraged its relative receptiveness to communist liaison work, carried out through CCP Central Committee’s International Department (CCP/ID). With Sino-Vietnamese tensions in mind, party-to-party exchanges have provided a more subtle channel for rapprochement. This party-centric dimension of diplomacy between China and Vietnam has received relatively scarce analytical attention thus far but remains active and important elements of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) pursuit of its foreign policy interests. CCP diplomacy has focused on appealing to the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam's (CPV) shared revolutionary heritage and socialist ideology, emphasizing the need to protect the overall special relationship that both countries supposedly enjoy.

David Gitter and Elsa Kania (05/16/2017)

The People's Republic of China and Burma: Not Only Pauk-Phaw

Pauk-Phaw was a term coined in the 1950s to describe the supposedly friendly and close relationship between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Burma. But despite such diplomatic niceties, relations between China and Burma have not always been especially cordial. China, a vast, mainly inland, empire, has always looked for outlets to the sea for its land-locked western and southwestern provinces. China will not easily give up its hard-won access to the Indian Ocean and Burma’s strategic importance to Beijing cannot be overestimated. As China sees it, it cannot simply “hand over” Burma to the West. The country is far too important strategically and economically to the PRC for that to happen.

Bertil Lintner (05/09/2017)

Challenges Facing Taiwan in the South China Sea

In principle, Taiwan's sovereignty claims and territorial holdings in the South China Sea should be viewed by the U.S. as an asset. However, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been able to exploit the fundamentally flawed bilateral relationship between Washington and Taipei to convince many observers that Taiwan has no positive role to play in the dispute. This paper will examine the many challenges facing Taiwan in the South China Sea. It will first lay out some of the reasons why the South China Sea matters to Taiwan's interests. Next, it will assess the PRC threat to Taiwanese interests at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of analysis. Finally, the paper will conclude with an outline of areas where the U.S. and Taiwan could cooperate to impose costs on PRC expansionism and better ensure regional peace and stability.

Ian Easton (10/17/2016)

Reaching the Limits: China as a Responsible Stakeholder

Given the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's importance in Asia, America's temptation is to seek a comprehensive cooperative framework to perpetuate its leadership and "tame" a rising China in order to promote stability in the region. Increasing economic interdependence does create common interests, and structured dialogues can reduce misunderstanding. But as Asia's preeminent power and civilization for all but 200 of the past 3,000 years, China is too big, proud, and independently minded for America to "tame" or "manage." Washington cannot hope to decisively determine the endgame for an authoritarian China-in which the CCP, leading a country of 1.4 billion people, will choose to become a "responsible stakeholder" within a U.S.-led order.

John Lee (7/5/2016)

Strategic Standoff: The U.S.-China Rivalry and Taiwan

The CCP views Taiwan as a grave threat to its grip on power. Consequently, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is the armed wing of the CCP, considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission. Getting the strategic competition with China right will ultimately help America secure unprecedented levels of prosperity, freedom, and stability for all Pacific nations by the century's midpoint.

Ian Easton (3/30/2016)

The United States and Future Policy Options in the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan is a core interest in U.S. foreign policy. Its values, technological prowess, and geostrategic position align with foundational American values and priorities for the region, making it a crucial U.S. partner in the Asia Pacific. As such, ensuring a stable and positive future for Taiwan as a democracy and a primary contributor to the global economy and international community is a high priority. This monograph concludes that a more objective representation of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait may better serve long-term U.S. interests.

Mark Stokes and Sabrina Tsai (2/1/2016)

Extending Domestic Governance Over the Seas: China’s State Oceanic Administration

In 1982, General Liu Huaqing of China proposed the strategy of 'offshore defense' and drew a line through the Kurile Islands, Japan and the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, and Natuna Besar. He set the year 2000 as the goal for establishing Chinese control inside this 'First Island Chain.' China has been trying to expand its area of actual control by extending domestic governance over the seas. Over the last decade, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) under the State Council has assumed more responsibility in the oceanic administration and developed a clearer division of labor within PLAN.

Chisako T. Masuo (8/6/2015)

The PLA General Staff Department Third Department Second Bureau: An Organizational Overview of Unit 61398

In May 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments against five Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers on charges of cyber espionage directed against U.S. firms. According to the indictments, the five officers were assigned to the Third Office of the PLA General Staff Department (GSD) Technical Reconnaissance Department (alternatively known as the Third Department) Second Bureau. While assigned personnel may well engage in cyber espionage, a survey of Second Bureau infrastructure indicates a much broader communications intelligence mission.

Mark Stokes (7/27/2015)

TPP From Taiwan's Vantage Point:
Political, Trade, and Strategic Considerations

Established in 2008, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been closely followed by the major trading nations in the Asia-Pacific. Taiwan, or the Republic of China (ROC), and other non-members have been observing the developments in the negotiation process of this "21st Century Agreement" and preparing their respective country's strategies and policies in response to the agreement. As a member of the Asia-Pacific region, it is critical for Taiwan to join the TPP in the near future.

Sara Yi-ying Lin(7/14/2015)

Rebuilding Deterrence:
Post-2015 Defense Guidelines Challenges Facing the U.S.-Japan Alliance

On 27 April 2015, Japan and the U.S. concluded the new Guidelines for the Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. This paper will explore the challenges facing the alliance after the revision of the Defense Guidelines. It will examine the evolution of Japanese thought on deterrence as outlined in the 2010 and 2013 National Defense Program Guidelines. It will also assess the strategic implications of China’s military modernization. This paper will conclude by offering possible policy solutions to the challenges facing the U.S.-Japan alliance in maintaining deterrence.

Sugio Takahashi (5/21/2015)

Chinese Activities in the South China Sea: Implications for the American Pivot to Asia

This paper analyzes the background of the South China Sea dispute and the extent to which the American rebalance has influenced China's actions in the Sea. Following an assessment of the legal definitions found in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and a look at China's military developments, the paper concludes with a discussion on how the rebalance has failed to prevent China from unilaterally changing the status quo in the South China Sea and looks at ways the rebalance can become more effective in the future.

Kelsey Broderick (5/12/2015)

China's Military Developments and the U.S.-Japan Alliance

In 2015, the Project 2049 Institute launched a program to focus on trends in China’s military advancements and how the U.S. and Japan can coordinate closely to maintain the peace and stability that has anchored the Asia-Pacific region’s economic dynamism and growth over the past 60 years. The discussions drew upon perspectives from U.S. and Japanese experts who work in a variety of government and non-governmental positions. This paper serves as a capstone for the various discussions held over the course of the program in both Washington, D.C. and San Diego.

Project 2049 Institute (4/21/2015)

Standing Watch: Taiwan and Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Pacific

This paper provides a preliminary assessment of Taiwan’s naval intelligence capabilities and evaluates its role in a future U.S.-led architecture for joint Western Pacific maritime domain awareness. The study examines Taiwan’s capabilities for monitoring its surrounding waters and the potential role of Taiwan in assisting the United States improve its situational awareness during maritime operations. The paper concludes that it is in the American interest to integrate Taiwan’s capabilities into a joint infrastructure for shared indications and warning (I&W) and regional situational awareness.

Ian Easton and Randall Schriver (12/16/2014)

Able Archers: Taiwan Defense Strategy in an Age of Precision Strike

This study describes efforts currently underway in the People’s Liberation Army for conducting precision strike operations against Taiwan, and explores Chinese military-technical writings to better understand related plans and capabilities. It assesses Taiwan’s military modernization program, in particular, its efforts to deny the PLA air superiority. This paper concludes with a brief discussion on Taiwan’s future defense strategy and offers recommendations for policymakers.

Ian Easton (9/22/2014)

The Alliance: Toward a Stronger U.S.-Japan Partnership

For the first time in the history of our nation, the Asia-Pacific is more important for the United States than any other region of the world. That is today. Tomorrow it will be even more vital. Indeed, the Asia-Pacific is the new epicenter of global affairs, and it is here that profound strategic changes are unfolding that will transform the international system. As one of the region’s most prosperous, powerful and pivotally located countries, Japan will play a key role in steering the trajectory of future developments in the region.

This report is the capstone paper for the U.S.-Japan Exchange Program (2012 - 2014).

The Project 2049 Institute (7/18/2014)

China’s Evolving Reconnaissance-Strike Capabilities: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is investing considerable resources into a military architecture that has the potential to alter the strategic fabric of the Western Pacific region. This includes the development of multiple redundant sensor capabilities for monitoring a vast maritime domain extending off of China’s coastline and deep into the Pacific. China’s expanding reconnaissance infrastructure is designed to support an array of precision strike capabilities for targeting ships at sea, command and control nodes, air bases, ports, and other critical facilities. The purpose of these reconnaissance-strike capabilities is to undermine the Unites States military’s ability to project power into the region during periods of crisis or conflict to meet its security commitments to its allies and coalition partners.

Ian Easton (2/19/2014)

The People’s Liberation Army General Political Department: Political Warfare with Chinese Characteristics

Political warfare is a critical component of Chinese security strategy and foreign policy. All nation-states seek to influence policies of others to varying degrees in order to secure their respective national interests. Political warfare seeks to influence emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to one’s own political-military objectives. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rely on political warfare as a means to shape and define the discourse of international relations.

Mark Stokes and Russell Hsiao (10/14/2013)

China's Military Strategy in the Asia-Pacific: Implications for Regional Stability

The military modernization program being undertaken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is changing the security environment in the Asia-Pacific. Driven by a strategy to achieve the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership’s goals through the exploitation of advantageous conditions, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is investing in capabilities that are aimed at eroding the conventional military superiority of the United States and its allies in the region. Should the PLA’s modernization campaign succeed the likelihood of conflict and regional instability can be expected to increase as China’s authoritarian leadership is empowered with greater coercive leverage over its neighbors.

Ian Easton (09/27/2013)

Obama’s Second Term in the Asia-Pacific Region: Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future

The Asia-Pacific region proved to be one of the top priorities of U.S. foreign policy during President Obama’s first term. The East China Sea and South China Sea territorial disputes; Kim Jong-un’s succession to the North Korean leadership and subsequent provocations; and China’s rapid military modernization over the last two decades were and continue to be among some of the top security issues for the Obama Administration. This paper outlines Obama’s Asia policy in the first term and assesses the trajectory of the U.S. “rebalance” strategy in the second term, taking into account the numerous personnel changes in Obama's senior-level foreign policy team.

Sabrina Tsai (09/09/2013)

Half Lives: A Preliminary Assessment of China's Nuclear Warhead Life Extension and Safety Program

Nuclear warheads and their associated delivery vehicles (ballistic and cruise missiles) represent the most powerful and potentially destabilizing weapons in the world today. While rapid advances in information and communications technology have endowed conventional weapons systems with the “intelligence” and precision to take on a greater number of strategic missions–for example targeting aircraft carrier groups and critical command nodes–nuclear weapons remain the sine qua non of deterrence. Indeed, while every nation’s leadership fears war to some degree, the threat of war is only truly horrific for a leader who faces an enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

Ian Easton and Mark Stokes (07/29/2013)

The Changing Strategic Landscape in the Asia-Pacific: The Future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and Japan’s Global Engagement

The U.S. “pivot” to Asia has been the defining feature of American foreign policy in President Barack Obama’s first term (2008-2012). Essentially, the pivot is meant to be a strategic "re-balancing" of U.S. interests and resources from Europe and the Middle East toward East Asia. As the United States pulls together its resources from within and afar to bring to bear on the Asia-Pacific region, it will be shaping a new regional order in the process. With the pivot policy already laid out under President Obama’s first administration, the key challenge in his second term (2012-2016) will be contending with how the pivot is sustained.

Project 2049 Institute (07/06/2013)

Managing Expectations in the U.S.-Japan Alliance: U.S. and Japanese Perspectives

As a participant in the Armitage-Nye process, I am associated with a set of policy recommendations that have been remarkably consistent over the course of twelve years and three reports (Armitage-Nye reports were produced in 2000, 2007, and 2012 respectively). Some common themes run across all three reports: We are unapologetic about promoting high aspirations for the U.S.-Japan alliance. We attempt to outline an ambitious bilateral agenda in great specificity. We believe that those aspirations and the ambitious agenda can only be met through the intentional and dedicated efforts of senior political leaders on both sides.

Randall Schriver and Sugio Takahashi (07/06/2013)

Securing U.S. Interests and Values in the Asia-Pacific

In late 2011, the President announced his “deliberate and strategic decision” that “as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends.” Obstacles to America’s “rebalance” toward the Asia-Pacific will include Chinese opposition to U.S. leadership in the region, as well as concerns among our allies about Washington’s commitment to the effort. There is also concern throughout Asia that America’s fiscal crisis and likely defense cuts, as well as the ongoing crises in the Middle East and North Africa, will forestall U.S. efforts to play a greater role in the region.

The Asia-Pacific Strategy Working Group (06/04/2013)

Assessing Japan's National Defense: Toward a New Security Paradigm in the Asia-Pacific

Profound strategic changes are unfolding that have the potential to transform the fabric of the international system. It is unknown whether or not the positive forces of globalization and democracy or the darker forces of mercantilism and authoritarianism will ultimately prevail. What is known is that the struggle between these forces will take foremost place in the Asia-Pacific region, the new epicenter of global affairs. As one of the region’s most prosperous and powerful – and pivotally located – countries, Japan will play a major role in steering the trajectory of future developments in the Asia-Pacific.

Ian Easton and Randall Schriver (06/03/2013)

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Project: Organizational Capacities and Operational Capabilities

Revolutionary advances in unmanned technologies and the prospects offered by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in surveillance, targeting and attack appear to have captured the attention of senior civilian and defense officials in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Given the PRC’s expanding strategic interests, and the associated requirement for an improved command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) infrastructure, UAVs represent a transformational capability for the Chinese military.

Ian Easton and L.C. Russell Hsiao (03/11/2013)


Countering Chinese Cyber Operations: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Interests

Chinese cyber espionage poses an advanced persistent threat to U.S. national and economic security. Groups operating from PRC territory are believed to be waging a coordinated cyber espionage campaign targeting U.S. government, industrial, and think tank computer networks. A dozen of these groups have been identified and linked with the PLA, and others connected with universities and information security enterprises. The largest and most active of these groups may operate from Beijing and Shanghai.

Mark Stokes and L.C. Russell Hsiao (10/29/2012)


China's Evolving Space Capabilities: Implications for U.S. Interests

Over the next 10-15 years, China is likely to develop more advanced precision strike assets, integrated with persistent space-based surveillance, a single integrated air and space picture, and survivable communications architecture, which could enable greater confidence in contesting a broader range of sovereignty and territorial claims around China’s periphery. Such capabilities enable the PLA to conduct military operations at increasingly greater distances from Chinese shores, which may complicate U.S. freedom of action in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mark Stokes with Dean Cheng (4/26/2012) prepared for the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Chinese Reactions to Taiwan Arms Sales

Past behavior indicates that China is unlikely to challenge any fundamental U.S. interests in response to any future releases of significant military articles or services to Taiwan. The U.S. therefore retains considerable freedom of action in abiding by the Taiwan Relations Act. Barring a substantive reduction in the Chinese military posture opposite Taiwan, the U.S. will likely continue to provide Taiwan with weapons of a defensive character for the foreseeable future.

U.S.-Taiwan Business Council and Project 2049 Institute (4/16/2012)


Burma in the Balance: The Role of Foreign Assistance in Burma's Democratic Transition

The historic constraints on donor interventions in Burma—whether self-imposed sanctions or regime-imposed barriers—are increasingly giving way to a sense of heightened optimism about the possibilities of working on issues across the development spectrum. But while the terrain appears to be improving, there remain substantial barriers to effective programming beyond the overall pace and scope of political reform.

Kelley Currie (3/22/2012)

[Executive Summary]



Japan's Global Engagement

In the aftermath of 11 March 2011, Japan’s frequent political turnovers, and the country’s soaring government debt, the conventional wisdom is that the nation is turning inward. This mapping study seeks to highlight Japan’s continued international contributions in international organizations and official development assistance as well as Japan’s efforts in multiple simultaneous peace-keeping operations and anti-piracy missions. It presents a literature review on Japan’s evolving foreign policy from the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity to present-day and offers recommendations for Japan’s continued global role.

Randall Schriver and Isabella Mroczkowski (4/20/2012)


Spinning the Wheel: Policy Implications of the Dalai Lama's Reincarnation

This study examines the long-running dispute between the Chinese Communist Party and the current Dalai Lama over the issue of his reincarnation. The paper provides a multifaceted analysis of some of the challenges facing the Tibetan spiritual leader and his people. It highlights important historical, political, and cultural aspects of his relationship with regional players as well as his emerging strategic vision for the future. Spinning the Wheel also offers insight into the recent self-immolations and protests that have occurred in ethnographic Tibet.


Julia Famularo(1/30/12)



The Chinese People's Liberation Army Signals Intelligence and Cyber Reconnaissance Infrastructure

This study offers a tentative baseline for assessing the GSD Third Department, affiliated Technical Reconnaissance Bureaus (TRBs), and supporting research and development organizations. An examination of this organization, its role and function would provide a mosaic with which to better evaluate China‘s signal intelligence and cyber-infrastructure. The data points assembled by this monograph points to an expansive yet stovepiped organization responsible for various facets of technical reconnaissance, including collection of wireless line of sight communications, satellite communications, cyber surveillance, network traffic analysis, network security, encryption and decryption, translation, and political, military, and economic analysis.

Mark A. Stokes, Jenny Lin and L.C. Russell Hsiao (11/11/11)


Asian Alliances in the 21st Century

Washington’s policy since the Nixon administration has been to welcome China into the international system. Beijing has accepted the invitation but, unfortunately, has also chosen to engage in a military competition with the United States that is undermining the post-World War II system from which China itself has greatly benefited. Competition need not lead to conflict. There are alternative futures that Washington has the power and influence to create for its own and its allies’ common interests. Washington’s greatest advantage is a set of highly capable allies. Now is the time to help these alliances become greater than the sum of their parts.

Dan Blumenthal with Randall Schriver, Mark A. Stokes, L.C. Russell Hsiao and Michael Mazza (08/30/11)


Air Power Trends in Northeast Asia: Implications for Japan and the U.S.-Japan Alliance

The shifting balance of aerospace power in Northeast Asia is creating an increasingly uncertain strategic environment for Japan. Japan is warily eyeing China’s growing military might while also vigilantly watching Russia’s airpower modernization efforts and North Korea’s bellicose actions to the north. The weight of these developments—how newfound and resurging military power will be employed in particular—are tilting and tipping the scale of regional aerospace power. Among these, China is drawing the most attention from Japanese long-term strategic planners as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rapidly advances its capacity to apply aerospace power for defense against perceived threats to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Oriana Skylar Mastro and Mark A. Stokes (08/29/11)

The Police Challenge: Advancing Afghan National Police Training

Afghanistan continues to be roiled by conflict after nearly a decade of U.S. involvement. Approaching a transition point, the importance of a functional police force for long-term security and promoting rule of law is more critical than ever. This report examines the breadth of challenges for the Afghan National Civil Order Police and Afghan Uniformed Police, including the human capital deficit, the inadequacy of police partnership programs, the ever-shifting ‘roles and missions’ changes affecting the force, and the institution failures of the Afghan government to set the conditions for police success. This report offer new recommendations for strengthening the training efforts to build a more effective and cohesive police force in Afghanistan.

Afghan National Police Working Group & the Project 2049 Institute (06/13/11)


Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army, and the Struggle with Nature

Taiwan must manage some of the world’s most severe and complex security challenges. A vision for national security preparedness beyond military contingencies will help address critical non-traditional security threats, such as natural disasters. Both natural and manmade challenges share commonalities that would benefit from an integrated “all hazards” approach to threat mitigation.

Mark A. Stokes and Tiffany Ma (05/23/11)

China and Pakistan: Emerging Strains in the Entente Cordiale

China and Pakistan

Despite perceptions in Washington and New Delhi that China enjoys unique privileges and exercises inordinate influence in Pakistan, Beijing has shown little inclination to directly shape Pakistani behavior. As China’s global portfolio of economic and security interests expands, it is increasingly sensitive to new opportunity costs entailed in sustaining the Sino-Pakistani partnership.

Isaac B. Kardon (03/25/11)

China's Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) Satellite Developments: Implications for U.S. Air and Naval Operations

A review of authoritative Chinese writings indicate that the People’s Republic of China is researching, developing, testing, and deploying a number of electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellites for the tracking and targeting of mobile air defense systems and ships at sea. This program has potentially serious and immediate implications U.S. and allied air and naval operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ian Easton and Mark A. Stokes (02/23/11)

Strengthening Fragile Partnerships: An Agenda for the Future of U.S.-Central Asia Relations

Central AsiaA comprehensive new report from the Central Asia Study Group and the Project 2049 Institute calls on American and Central Asian leaders to rise to the challenges and opportunities in the region. The report proposes an action agenda on economics, energy, governance, security, social development, and regional cooperation, and places particular emphasis on the importance of reconnecting Central Asian countries to the global economy. The United States needs to reassess its strategies and policies and reaffirm its commitment to remain engaged with the nations of Central Asia even as the U.S. draws down forces from Afghanistan.

Authored by Evan A. Feigenbaum for the Central Asia Study Group and the Project 2049 Institute (02/17/11)

Mirage or Reality? Asia's Emerging Human Rights and Democracy Architecture

The report examines the history, current status and future trends of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), and the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP). The report also looks at the role that key countries in and around the region are playing in the development of these mechanisms, as well as in shaping the broader context for improved human rights and democratic governance.

Kelley Currie (12/09/10)

The Next Steps in Japan-NATO Cooperation


The Japan-NATO relationship holds greater potential than has been realized to date. A more ambitious, more formal, and more active program for Japan’s involvement with NATO could include enhanced intelligence and information sharing, planning and exercising, defense technical cooperation programs, consultations on strategic deterrence, and a joint Arctic security initiative. While obstacles to closer cooperation are foreseeable, a stronger and closer Japan-NATO relationship will have strategic benefits that resonate beyond the trans-Atlantic region.

Randall Schriver and Tiffany Ma (11/23/10)

Evolving Aerospace Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region: Implications for Stability in the Taiwan Strait and Beyond

Aerospace power is unquestionably defining the future strategic environment in a region whose vast distances place a premium on speed and agility that defy the laws of gravity.

This monograph addresses trends in China's force modernization, strategy, and doctrine; development of conventional air force, air and missile defense, and long range precision strike modernization in Taiwan, Japan, India, and the United States; and options for countering the coercive utility of evolving PRC aerospace power, including cooperative threat reduction initiatives.

Mark A. Stokes and Ian Easton (05/27/10)

Strengthening ASEAN-India Relations in the 21st Century


One of the most overlooked yet promising relationships in Asia is that between Southeast Asia and India. The Asia-Pacific region as a whole would benefit from a closer partnership between ASEAN and India, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, climate change, and natural disaster relief. While the impetus for mutual cooperation is strong, forging a strong partnership in the 21st century will require ASEAN and India to overcome several formidable challenges and seize key opportunities with courage, vision and deftness.

Prashanth Parameswaran (05/27/10)

China's Nuclear Warhead Storage and Handling System


China maintains its operational nuclear warhead stockpile through a centralized storage and handling system managed by the People’s Liberation Army’s Second Artillery.  A preliminary examination indicates that Beijing adopts a responsible and serious attitude with regards to nuclear security and safety.  Yet, an expanding ballistic missile infrastructure in the absence of significant growth in their nuclear warhead stockpile could indicate an extension of Second Artillery’s conventional strike mission. 

Mark A. Stokes (03/12/10)

Revolutionizing Taiwan's Security: Leveraging C4ISR for traditional and non-traditional challenges


As a global leader in technology, Taiwan is yet to leverage the information revolution for its C4ISR needs. Faced with an array of security challenges, from China's conventional and electronic attack to the risk of natural disasters, Taiwan's defense and disaster management capabilities can be fortified with advanced sensor, communications and satellite technology. In doing so, Taiwan can significantly improve its security outlook.

Mark A. Stokes (02/19/10)

China's Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: the anti-ship ballistic missile challenge to U.S. maritime opera tions in the Western Pacific and beyond


China's anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) challenge could alter the strategic landscape in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. An effective ASBM and supporting maritime surveillance network would diminish the effectiveness of carrier-based assets, such as the F/A-18 E/F.

Mark A. Stokes (09/14/09)

The Great Game in Space: China's Evolving ASAT Weapons Programs and Their Implications for Future U.S. Strategy

If there is a great power war in this century, it will not begin with the sound of explosions on the ground and in the sky, but rather with the bursting of kinetic energy and the flashing of laser light in the silence of outer space. China is engaged in an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons drive that has profound implications for future U.S. military strategy in the Pacific.

Ian Easton (06/24/09)

The Taiwan Quadrennial Defense Review: Implications for U.S. - Taiwan Relations

Although the recent cross-Strait political climate has improved, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has steadfastly refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan while shifting the cross-Strait military balance in its favor. Faced with such challenges, the Taiwan Quadrennial Defense Review is meant to increase military transparency while convincing Taiwanese legislators, the Chinese PLA, and U.S. policy makers and analysts alike that the Ministry of National Defense is firmly dedicated to creating new strategies and engaging in reforms that will prepare the military for future challenges.

Julia M. Famularo (06.22.09)

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: President Obama’s First 100 Days

Befitting for a prominent ally, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton waited only a day to establish communication with her counterpart in Japan. While the gesture is surely appreciated in Tokyo, and the symbolism was not lost
in Washington, the messages revealed little about the Administration’s intentions (if any) to take concrete steps to enhance the alliance.

Randall Schriver and Mark A. Stokes (01.29.09)

Evolving Capabilities of the People's Liberation Army: Consequences of Coercive Aerospace Power for U.S. Conventional Deterrence

How the PRC could apply force as an instrument of national power may be more significant than specific technical capabilities it develops and fields. An increasingly sophisticated arsenal of advanced weapon systems serves as an enabler for the PRC to expand its range of options for exercising coercive uses of force to resolve differences with democracies in the region.

Randall Schriver and Mark A. Stokes (08.20.08)

Memo to the Next President: The Inheritance in Asia and the Challenges and Opportunities for Your Presidency

It is very likely that events in the Asia-Pacific region – more than any other region will have the greatest impact on your Presidency for good or for ill during your tenure as President. While your predecessor’s time and attention was dominated by the Middle East and the “global war on terror,” it is now imperative that the United States give due attention to Asia as we look to the future.

Randall Schriver and Mark A. Stokes (07.31.08)



  Futuregrams ^Back

Project 2049 Institute is posting a series of short memos on topics that are future-oriented, strategic, and on issues that often go unnoticed.

Addressing China's Coercion in the Taiwan Strait
Futuregram 18-001

By Congressman Ted Yoho
February 14, 2018

The Project 2049 Institute is pleased to announce the publication of remarks made by Congressman Ted Yoho [R-FL] at our most recent event, "Addressing China's Coercive Air Power in the Taiwan Strait." Congressman Yoho, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Asia and the Pacific, asserts his commitment to protecting the interests of Taiwan despite the recent growing aggressive actions and coercive language of Beijing, directed under General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. In addition, Congressman Yoho addressed the fact that China's declaration of the new M503 flight path is just one part of their larger strategic plan to quell Taiwan, which motivates him to continue to push the U.S. administration and Congress to prioritize Taiwan and to work to meet the mounting challenges with which China presents us.

Taiwan's All-Volunteer Force and Military Transformation
Futuregram 17-003

By Dee Wu
December 20, 2017

This publication makes the case for a Taiwanese All-Volunteer Force (AVF) military in order to transform it into a more capable combat force. Wu analyzes the Tsai administrations' defense strategy and concludes that the implementation of an all-volunteer force is in line with Taiwan's interests to enhance its projection capabilities to attack, disrupt, and even defeat the People's Liberation Army (PLA) far outside of the island.

Red Drones Over Disputed Seas: A Field Guide to Chinese UAVs/UCAVs Operating in the Disputed East and South China Seas
Futuregram 17-002

By Ian McCaslin
August 28, 2017

This publication lays out a field guide for the sailors and pilots operating in the disputed areas of the East and South China Seas. The guide examines four Chinese aerial drone models: S-100, ASN-209, BZK-005, and GJ-1, including tips on how to identify them, and where they could be seen operating in the East and South China Seas. The intent is to jumpstart a conversation on how militaries and law enforcement agencies should prepare their personnel to deal with potentially hostile aerial drones, armed or otherwise, operating in disputed areas in their maritime neighborhood.

Getting the U.S.-China Relationship Right
Futuregram 17-001

By Senator Cory Gardner
April 19, 2017

The Project 2049 Institute is pleased to announce the publication of our latest Futuregram, "Getting the U.S.-China Relationship Right." Senator Cory Gardner [R-CO], Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, assesses the need for a long-term strategy in regards to the U.S.-China relationship. In addition, he details new legislation called the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), an approach that will put American interests first by reassuring our allies, deterring our adversaries, and securing U.S. leadership in the region for future generations.

Taiwan, Submarines, and Competitive Strategies for U.S.-China Competition
Futuregram 16-002

By Henry Holst
May 16, 2016

Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program has spurred a small but fierce debate over the merits of Taiwan’s submarine aspirations. This study argues that the discussion surrounding Taiwan's IDS program fails to consider the potential long-run strategic benefits for the United States. Taiwan’s IDS program could spur greater PLA budgetary allocation in an area of favorable U.S.-China technological asymmetry: anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Given the high probability of greater PLA investment in high-end war fighting capabilities, larger PLA spending on ASW is comparatively less threatening to U.S. regional interests than other capabilities within high-technology confines. This study concludes by recommending a reevaluation of the long-run strategic merits of assisting Taiwan’s pursuit of a submarine program.

The Nature of China's Rise and Why It Matters to the U.S. and Japan: A Japanese Perspective
Futuregram 16-001

By Hiroko Maeda
January 14, 2016

China's military buildup has shaken regional stability and poses a challenge to the U.S.-Japan alliance. This study examines China's security challenges, as well as Japan's response in a series of national security policy reforms. In light of China's increasing assertiveness, the U.S. and Japan need more consultations and should share a strategy for maintaining peace and stability in the region. In particular, the study identifies cybersecurity and maritime capacity building in ASEAN as key areas where the U.S. and Japan can cooperate to establish a rules based order in the Asia-Pacific region.

Developments in China’s Conventional Precision Strike Capabilities
Futuregram 15-006

By Akira Marusaki
November 23, 2015

Among the range of PLA capabilities undergoing modernization, this study focuses on conventional precision strike capability. In order to address the questions of how and why the PRC has been striving to improve this capability, this study will first illustrate the development of three weapon systems: the conventional ballistic missile, the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), and the land attack cruise missile (LACM). It will then analyze the reason why the PRC has developed these capabilities, casting a spotlight on historical and strategic backgrounds, in particular the end of Cold War, the 1990 Gulf War, and the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995 to 1996. This study concludes by pointing to future developments in China’s conventional precision strike capabilities, drawing attention to reconnaissance capabilities.

Of Monarchs and Military Men: The Political Pathologies that Undermine Democracy in Burma and Thailand
Futuregram 15-005

By Kelley Currie
July 22, 2015

Since a 2012 outbreak of communal violence targeting Rohingyas in Burma, the trafficking business had been booming. Subsequent official persecution intended to make Burma as inhospitable to the Rohingya as possible was working as planned: more than 120,000 Rohingyas have fled Burma since December 2012. For years, migration and human rights NGOs have warned regional and donor governments of the deteriorating situation facing the growing flood of Rohingya refugees. This humanitarian and political disaster also again laid bare the pathologies currently impeding Burma and Thailand on their paths toward stability and democracy.

The Intersection of HADR and the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Futuregram 15-004

By Kelsey Broderick
June 23, 2015

HADR exercises have traditionally been aimed at responding to and preparing for natural disasters. But ultimately, the purpose of HADR is to provide assistance to those in dire need of help after a crisis, whether it is natural or manmade. More than 6,000 trafficked people floating in the ocean without access to food and water arguably constitutes just such a crisis. ASEAN, with support from the U.S. Navy, would have been well positioned to put their HADR exercises into practice to assist the victims, as they were required to under international law.

Challenges for the PLAN in the Western Pacific: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance
Futuregram 15-003

By Tetsuo Kotani
May 14, 2015

China is further developing its anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities, particularly its submarine fleet and cruise missiles launched from land-based aircraft, to defeat an approaching enemy fleet. In addition to developing A2/AD capabilities, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is making concerted efforts to become a blue water navy. However, the PLAN faces some difficult challenges—both geographical and operational—in becoming an ocean-going navy. This paper considers the challenges the PLAN faces in the open ocean and the implications of these challenges for U.S.-Japan alliance cooperation.

Chinese Religious Regulations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: A Veiled Threat to Turkic Muslims?
Futuregram 15-002

By Julia Famularo
April 8, 2015

Radical Islam constitutes a growing challenge in the immediate periphery of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and beyond. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders are placing emphasis on “managing religion according to the rule of law,” and the Xinjiang People’s Congress has promulgated comprehensive new religious affairs regulations. Yet, are these regulations more likely to reduce or heighten ethno-religious tensions in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)? This article examines the most important aspects of these new regulations, and how they will affect how the CCP manages religious affairs.

Taiwan's Naval Role in the Rebalance to Asia
Futuregram 15-001

By Ian Easton
March 3, 2015

A comprehensive strategy for Asia begins with a careful assessment of the region’s geography and politics, which directly influence the trends we see unfolding today. Once the geostrategic contours of the region are mapped out, it quickly becomes clear that Taiwan may be the single most under- appreciated asset that the United States has for the rebalance to Asia. This article provides a brief assessment of Taiwan’s defense capabilities and potential role in the United States rebalance to Asia. In particular, it will focus on what Taiwan can contribute in the maritime domain and what Washington should do to improve naval coordination with Taipei.

China’s Air Defense Identification System: The Role of PLA Air Surveillance
Futuregram 14-003

By Mark Stokes
May 9, 2014

In the wake of the 18th Central Committee's Third Plenum in November 2013, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced the establishment of its first air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Assessments of the ADIZ to date have focused in large part on implications for territorial and maritime disputes in region. However, other potential drivers may offer additional context for the decision. Among these include coercion of Taiwan, unprecedented changes in China's national airspace management system, and technical advances that have enhanced interoperability between the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Navy (PLAN).

America’s Allies and Nuclear Arms: Assessing the Geopolitics of Nonproliferation in Asia
Futuregram 14-002

By Robert Zarate
May 6, 2014

While U.S. policymakers and lawmakers sometimes deeply disagree on precisely how to stop hostile states from getting nuclear weapons, they generally agree on the overall goal of nuclear nonproliferation with regard to adversaries. But what about the goal of nonproliferation with regard to treaty allies? If Japan, South Korea, or other U.S. treaty allies in Asia who are threatened by China’s and North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats, were someday to insist on getting independent nuclear arsenals, should Washington welcome or oppose them?

“Destined to Cooperate”: Japan-ROK Naval Cooperation and its Implications for U.S. Strategic Interests in Northeast Asia
Futuregram 14-001

By Samuel J. Mun
March 4, 2014

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) are “destined to cooperate” in an increasingly competitive security environment in Northeast Asia. Both parties share bilateral security treaties with the United States, prioritize protection of shared sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and face the challenge of addressing the threat of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.

Upgrading the Japan-U.S. Defense Guidelines: Toward a New Phase of Operational Coordination
Futuregram 13-005

By Sugio Takahashi
June 7, 2013

The Japan-U.S. alliance has unique organizational characteristics compared to other major U.S. military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea) alliance. While these two alliances have a single integrated command and control (C2) structure for wartime coalition operation, the Japan-U.S. alliance lacks a permanent institution for combined operation. In the event of a military contingency, Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) and U.S. military forces must operate separately. In the absence of a C2 structure, the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (hereafter “Defense Guidelines”) in effect embody procedures for operational coordination for the Japan-U.S. alliance.


A ‘New Era’ for Japan’s Global Engagement and the U.S.-Japan Alliance
Futuregram 13-004

By Yukio Tada
May 30, 2013

There have been already “many ‘firsts’” in the Abe 2.0 administration. With continued political leadership and bold economic initiatives on both sides, there is now a historic opportunity to help get the U.S.-Japan alliance back on the right track.

Clarifying U.S. - Japan Mine Warfare Roles, Missions, and Capabilities in the Persian Gulf: An Examination of International Legal Issues
Futuregram 13-003

By Sean Henseler
March 18, 2013

The “Armitage/Nye Report” suggests that one area for potential increased alliance defense cooperation is minesweeping in the Persian Gulf. There is no question that Japan has the capability to deploy minesweepers to the Gulf and that doing so might have a deterrent effect were Iran to announce once again that it was planning to close the SOH. The real question for policymakers revolves around Japanese willingness to do so.


The Senkaku Islands and the U.S.-Japan Alliance: Future Implications for the Asia-Pacific
Futuregram 13-002

By Tetsuo Kotani
March 14, 2013

By challenging Japan’s control of the Senkaku Islands, China is testing the resolve of Tokyo and the strategic position of Washington. In other words, China is testing the credibility of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Casual observers tend to overlook or underestimate the confront-ation that ensued between Tokyo and Beijing after the Japanese government formally purchased three Senkaku islets in September 2012.


Coastal Defense in Japan’s Southwestern Islands: Force Posture Options for Securing Japan’s Southern Flank
Futuregram 13-001

By Eric Sayers
January 7, 2013

How Japan chooses to adapt its forces in the Ryukyus and East China Sea to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) actions in these waters is a central question for defense planners in Tokyo in the decade ahead. While the defense investments called for in the Mid-Term Defense Program (2011-2015) budget have initiated this process, the specific defense posture Japan will choose to adopt for this task remains unresolved.


The Arctic and Natural Gas in Northeast Asia’s Energy Future
Futuregram 12-005

By Isabella Mroczkowski and L.C. Russell Hsiao
July 6, 2012

The International Energy Outlook 2011 published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that world energy consumption will grow by 53 percent from 2008 to 2035. Asia’s rapidly growing economies will be the primary drivers of increasing global energy demand. By 2035, China’s and India’s combined energy use are projected to account for 31 percent of total world energy consumption. If current projections hold, by some estimates natural gas may make up to 60 percent of the region’s energy mix by 2035. New shipping routes and energy supplies in the Arctic have the potential to multiply the utility of gas in the region’s future energy mix.


Iran's Nuclear Program: A Case Study in Successful U.S.-Japan Alliance Management
Futuregram 12-004

By Vance Serchuk
April 30, 2012

Speaking at Suntory Hall in Tokyo during his inaugural visit to the Asia-Pacific region as President of the United States, Barack Obama in November 2009 affirmed his Administration’s commitment to “an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States and Japan.” Noting the impending 60th anniversary of the alliance, President Obama pledged to “deepen” the ties between Washington and Tokyo as a cornerstone of a broader strategy of reengagement with the region. At the same time, Obama cast the U.S.-Japan alliance in global terms, noting Japan’s “important contributions to stability around the world—from reconstruction to Iraq, to combating piracy off the Horn of Africa, to assistance for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”


Counter A2/AD in Japan – U.S. Defense Cooperation: Toward 'Allied Air-Sea Battle'
Futuregram 12-003

By Sugio Takahashi
April 18, 2012

The balance of power in the Asia – Pacific is rapidly shifting. The U.S. and Japan share concerns over China’s increasing military spending and lack of military transparency. This report analyzes the implications of Japan’s National Defense Policy Guidelines 2010 for Japan’s role in the Pacific and for the future of U.S. – Japan defense cooperation.


A New Narrative for the U.S.-Japan Alliance
Futuregram 12-002

By Dana White
March 16, 2012

Former Congressional staff, Dana White, presents a new narrative for the U.S. – Japan alliance. The report addresses the Futenma issue and reallocation of U.S. forces in Japan as well as new areas for non-traditional security cooperation. In the Asian century, the fates of Japan and the United States are inextricably linked. Tokyo and Washington collaboration must adopt a whole of government approach to fare well in this century.


China's Energy Security Dilemma
Futuregram 12-001

By Jenny Lin
February 13, 2012

China’s “economic miracle” and its energy dilemma stem from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 30 year old policy to achieve “wealth for country first.” Beijing has bundled economic development, energy, science & technology-related policies as matters of national security. As a result, China’s current sense of energy and economic insecurity may be analyzed as a product of its decades-long off-balanced policies towards development.


Scaling Japan’s Defense Needs: Airpower in Asia and the FX Program
Futuregram 11-002

By Dan Blumenthal
November 19, 2011

The widespread modernization of Asian air forces is changing the strategic landscape in the Asia-Pacific. The United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, and India are all engaged in upgrading their military’s fighter fleets as security competition in the region is on the rise. Among Asia’s burgeoning air force modernization programs, the most important to U.S. security (apart from America’s own) is that of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) — Tokyo is the United States’ closest Asian ally and U.S.-Japan alliance is the lynchpin of America’s alliance structure in the region.


Asia's Electric Grid: The Future of Nuclear Power in the Region's Energy Mix
Futuregram 11-001

By Isabella Mroczkowski
October 31, 2011

The confluence of a growing economy and increasing standard of living are causing energy demands to increase throughout Asia. Accordingly, Asia is projected to have the world's highest growth in nuclear power through 2035. In the aftermath of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster there has been a great deal of uncertainty in the outlook for nuclear energy and by extension the future energy-mix of the region.


Averting Crisis on the Mekong River
Futuregram 10-001

By Prashanth Parameswaran
July 20, 2010

The Mekong River faces challenges from hydropower, demographic and development pressures to climate change that threaten to alter the river. These trends have the potential to trigger a serious crisis characterized by water shortages, forced migration, food insecurity, and prolonged floods and droughts. Concerted efforts will be necessary to avert serious crisis along the Mekong.


Southeast Asia's Nuclear Energy Future: Promises and Perils
Futuregram 09-006

By Prashanth Parameswaran
December 23, 2009

Southeast Asian nations are embarking on a pursuit for nuclear energy. While this promises to help satisfy the region’s growing energy thirst in a more cost-efficient and climate-friendly way, nuclear power also has its perils. The specter of proliferation looms large and the potential for nuclear accidents remains high in a region prone to natural disasters and averse to strong institutional safeguards and export controls.


The Assassin Under the Radar: China's DH-10 Cruise Missile Program
Futuregram 09-005

By Ian Easton
October 1, 2009

Of all the asymmetric weapons or “assassin maces"?China has been developing and deploying across the Taiwan Strait, perhaps none has been as poorly understood and as chronically underreported as China’s rapidly emerging DH-10 (DongHai-10), “East Sea-10"? cruise missile program.


Vietnam's Port Potential: The Economic and Political Implications of Vietnam's Port Renovation
Futuregram 09-004

By Amanda C. Morrow Jensen
July 31, 2009

Vietnam has an infrastructure problem in almost all sectors. It has an airport problem. It has a road problem. And Vietnam has a port problem. The real potential for Vietnam to benefit from China's massive economy - or to benefit from any regional economic activity - lies on the water, and in the ports, which are currently too small and too shallow to effectively realize their economic potential.


China and Congo's Coltan Connection
Futuregram 09-003

By Tiffany Ma
June 22, 2009

For almost 10 years, conflict minerals have sustained a devastating war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has led to over 5.4 million deaths. During these years, the world, particularly China, has continued to consume strategic minerals such as coltan which are used to produce cell phones and computers.

China's Commercial Aviation Sector Looks to the Future
Futuregram 09-002

By Mark Stokes
May 8, 2009

Gleaming with confidence in the wake of its success in space, China is emerging as a global commercial aviation player. Its ambitions in commercial aviation are one facet of a broader vision to develop a modern, world-class, and integrated national air and surface transportation system.


Solar Flair: Taiwan’s Photovoltaic Industry Aspires to Lead the Clean Energy Revolution
Futuregram 09-001

By Julia M. Famularo
April 23, 2009

Taiwan’s photovoltaic (solar) industry is rapidly establishing itself as a major international player. Currently ranked fifth in global production, it has tremendous long-term growth prospects.



  Other Publications ^Back


Bound to Fail
Op-ed in the Washington Times

By Randall Schriver
July 25, 2011

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then surely it’s time for a serious examination of the costs and benefits of U.S. government efforts to build a more robust military relationship with China.

Rebuilding a United Front on China Rights
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
May 18, 2011

An effective U.S.-led partnership with Europe stands a better chance of promoting human rights in China. But the EU will only follow the U.S. into the breach if they are confident the U.S. won't leave them hanging when Beijing dangles some much-desired deliverable. The U.S. may be able to "lead from behind" on Libya, but it can't afford to do so in Asia.

Indonesia's Seven-Year Itch
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
March 30, 2011

Indonesians voted for Mr. Yudhoyono because they wanted a leader who could take their democracy to the next level. He has three years left, which is enough time to make an indelible mark on Indonesia and put the country on a positive trajectory, but only if he has the requisite political will to forge ahead.


An American Message for the Chinese President
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
January 12, 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington presents the White House with a unique opportunity to contrast the weaknesses of the Chinese political system with the strengths of the American one. That's why aspects of the visit involving freedom of expression should be non-negotiable.


Why China's Missiles Should Be Our Focus
Op-ed in the Washington Post

By Mark Stokes and Dan Blumenthal
January 2, 2011

With the New START treaty ratified, the Obama administration can turn its attention to the real source of nuclear instability among the great powers: China's buildup of conventional ballistic missiles. Defending against sophisticated ballistic and ground-launched cruise missiles is extremely difficult, and, unlike the United States and Russia, China is not a signatory to the 1987 INF treaty and its buildup could result in the INF's demise.


Beijing's Unlikely Ally in Burma?
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
November 24, 2010

The Nov. 13 release of Aung San Suu Kyi has set off a predictable deluge of commentary about the significance of her return to the fore of Burma's pro-democracy movement. But there has been little commentary on how China factors into Ms. Suu Kyi's future. Beijing's reaction to this event, and how Ms. Suu Kyi fits into China's strategic calculus in Burma, may be one of the most important yet poorly understood aspects of this unfolding morality play.

Commissioning Justice for Burma
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
August 24, 2010

The US has indicated it will support a UN-backed Commission of Inquiry into Burmese war crimes, which could potentially send Junta members to the In...ternational Criminal Court and single out its top leaders. The challenge for the US, however, will be getting the Commission up and running, as it will likely face many of the institutional and political challenges international justice-seeking efforts so frequently encounter.


Taiwan Faces Two Chinas
Op-ed in the Washington Times

By Randall Schriver
July 9, 2010

It is important that the Obama administration understand what is driving China's military buildup and why there is strong rationale for the PLA's threatening posture opposite Taiwan to grow more provocative. It also is important that the Obama administration understand the U.S. role in supporting long-term peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Even after ECFA, a strong and capable Taiwan remains a key ingredient to security in the region.


Keeping Burma Out of the Nuclear Silo
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
June 10, 2010

The lessons the Burmese junta seem to be studying most closely these days are those being taught by North Korea. While opportunities to undermine North Korea's regime have narrowed as its nuclear program has advanced, in Burma there are still viable options beyond the nuclear non-proliferation policy silo. Most importantly, U.S. policymakers should not focus on the nuclear issue at the expense of addressing the underlying political situation in Burma.

Prick the China Policy Bubble
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
May 24, 2010

The U.S. should use the Strategic and Economic Dialogue as an opportunity to have a less comfortable, but ultimately more honest, dialogue with Beijing about the differences in political cultures and systems that will necessarily impact this important and complex relationship.


Time for New Dialogue for China Human Rights
The Daily Caller

By Kelley Currie
May 13, 2010

The latest session of the U.S.-China bilateral human rights dialogue is taking place in Washington this week, the first such meeting since May 2008. These sporadic, formulaic meetings long ceased to be useful in addressing China’s most serious human rights offenses.


Administration Must Sharpen Message on Burma
The Daily Caller

By Kelley Currie
May 3, 2010

The Obama administration’s well-intentioned efforts at engagement have largely played into the junta’s hands. In order to change this dynamic, the administration should refocus on moving engagement from the generals�? playing field onto areas of relative U.S. strength: legitimacy, international influence, interconnectedness, institutional strength, and diplomatic heft.


Burma's North Korea Gambit
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
March 16, 2010

The growing trade in conventional weapons—including reports of Burmese purchases of North Korean-made short-range ballistic missiles—and increasing evidence of nuclear cooperation is deeply troubling. These are clear violations of United Nations sanctions on North Korea, and the U.S. should be clear about the costs of continuing this cooperation with Pyongyang.

Obama - Dalai Lama Meeting Mishandled
The Daily Caller

By Kelley Currie
February 22, 2010

With the U.S.-China relationship hitting the skids in recent months, last week’s meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama became symbolic of the current tensions in the U.S.-China relationship and a focal point for speculation about whether the Obama administration is taking a tougher line on China.


The Tibetan Agenda
Op-ed in the Weekly Standard Blog

By Kelley Currie
February 17, 2010

Given the circumstances surrounding the upcoming meeting with the U.S. President and the urgency of the overall situation, the Dalai Lama is well positioned to push President Obama to do more than his predecessors.


Fixing Obama's Tibet Bungle
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
February 16, 2010

This week's meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama is generating an unusually vocal uproar from Beijing. That uproar, for those who listen carefully, is a sign that Mr. Obama's policies on Tibet and China are not working. The question is whether Mr. Obama will realize in time to fix it.


Nothing new about China's 'new' assertiveness
The Daily Caller

By Kelley Currie
February 4, 2010

Recent events, such as the Chinese government’s extreme reaction to the Obama administration’s recent announcement of a modest arms deal for Taiwan, as well as Beijing’s hyperventilating response to a range of other recent U.S. “provocations,�?have sparked a new set of questions over how the U.S. should respond.


India Can Move the Needle on Burma
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
January 18, 2010

India faces an increasingly untenable balancing act in maintaining its current accommodation of the junta, and will be under growing pressure this year to move toward a policy that better aligns its values and interests. Such a shift would be a boon to those supporting democratic reforms in Burma, as well as to India's own interests and its regional leadership aspirations.


Japan's Risky Rapprochement with China
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
December 21, 2009

The new Japanese government has wasted no time in "rebalancing" the country's foreign-policy stance toward China. But Japan's growing friendship with the authoritarian regime in Beijing has inherent limits that the new government is starting to push up against.


The Copenhagen Kowtow
The Weekly Standard Online

By Kelley Currie
December 18, 2009

While the U.S.-China tiff at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was grabbing headlines last week, the conference hosts quietly issued a diplomatic note stating that Denmark "attaches great importance to the view of the Chinese government" on Tibet-related issues and"takes seriously the Chinese opposition" to government meetings with the Dalai Lama.


The Doctrine of 'Strategic Reassurance'
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
October 22, 2009

When President Barack Obama lands in China next month, he'll come carrying a new catchphrase for the U.S.-China relationship: "strategic reassurance." The phrase is presumably meant to indicate a new approach but what does the Obama formula for U.S.-China relations really mean?


Negotiating Wild Cards
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
September 30, 2009

The Obama administration recently clarified its intentions to expand direct contact with the Burmese junta, starting with a meeting with junta officials in New York this week. Offering to talk to the junta can work, but only under certain conditions.

Also see Sen. Jim Webb (D., VA)'s response "A Step-by-Step Approach to Burma," October 6, 2009.


The Thrill Is Gone: Australia falls out of love with China
The Weekly Standard

By Andrew Shearer
August 24, 2009

China-boosters like to laud the Middle Kingdom's soft power, contrasting it with barely disguised glee with America's supposed loss of "moral authority" and fading influence. But what China is exercising vis-à-vis Australia looks much more like old-fashioned authoritarian hard power.


People's Army not standing still
Op-ed in the Washington Times

By Randall Schriver
August 12, 2009

China has already reached a position of influence in our world that demands a more sophisticated understanding of both the challenges and opportunities being presented by an evolving defense institution. Unfortunately, current discussions of China's military development often miss the mark.


Deter, Defend, Repel, and Partner: A Defense Strategy for Taiwan
The report of the American Enterprise Institute & Project 2049 Institute Taiwan Policy Working Group

By Dan Blumenthal, Michael Mazza, Gary J. Schmitt, Randall Schriver & Mark Stokes
August 03, 2009

The Taiwan Policy Working Group, under the leadership of AEI's Dan Blumenthal and the Project 2049 Institute's Randall Schriver and Mark Stokes, issues a new report to augment existing reviews, examine alternative competitive defense and security strategies, and offer possible ways to broaden and deepen unofficial U.S.-ROC defense and security relations.


Media Savvy In Xinjiang
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

By Kelley Currie
July 9, 2009

The recent protests in China's Xinjiang region may provoke a sense of déjà vu after last year's protests in Tibet. But a closer look shows that the Chinese government is learning from past crises and incorporating these lessons into an increasingly sophisticated, multifaceted public relations strategy.


What America's Done Right in Burma
Op-ed in the Far Eastern Economic Review

By Kelley Currie
May 14, 2009

Non-Resident Fellow Kelley Currie argues in the Far Eastern Economic Review that the Obama administration needs to examine the facts rather than the mythology about U.S. policy on Burma

Tibet Lessons
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Asia

By Kelley Currie
March 9, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's dismissive comments about the limits of diplomacy in advancing human rights last month will likely be seen in Beijing as tacit permission to do what it feels necessary to maintain "stability" on the Tibetan plateau.


The U.S. - ROK Alliance: regional challenges for an evolving alliance
Going Global: The Future of the U.S. - South Korea Alliance, Center for a New American Security

By Randall Schriver
Februrary 23, 2009

The alliance appears poised to play a key role in U.S. efforts to manage some of the region’s most critical security challenges, including those linked to proliferation and to the management of China’s rising power.�?lt;/p>


Cleaning the U.S. Arms Sales Deck
Peace Forum

By Mark Stokes
October 20, 2008

With formal requests such as the one for F-16s going unheeded, it may be time to bring back the annual Arms Sales Talks forum, so as to make sure that ROC requests for significant military equipment, technology, and defense services are given due consideration.


Taiwan's Liberation of China
Current History

By Randall Schriver and Mark Stokes
September 1, 2008

There is reason for guarded optimism that -- as long as Taiwan's process of democratic consolidation continues -- the island will continue to exert influence over China's peaceful transformation.


Bush Should Keep His Word on Taiwan
The Wall Street Journal

By Dan Blumenthal, Aaron Friedberg, Randall Schriver and Ashley J. Tellis
July 19, 2008

In 2001, President Bush made a bold and principled decision to offer Taiwan a range of military equipment for its security. In 2008, as he prepares to leave office, the president seems to have reneged on that commitment.


Taiwan and its Future: Reason for Guarded Optimism
Formosa Foundation newsletter, vol. vii, Summer 2008

By Mark Stokes
June 23, 2008

In the wake of Taiwan’s second democratic transfer of power in history, Americans and Taiwanese alike have reason for guarded optimism regarding the island’s future. President Ma Ying-jeou has
an opportunity to achieve greatness and improve the lives of the people on Taiwan who have entrusted him with the responsibility to lead the nation.


Taiwan Must Review Security Risks
Taipei Times

By Mark Stokes
March 12, 2008

The recent US Department of Defense report on PRC military modernization is a useful reminder of the challenges posed by China's rise as a major regional power. This year's report is the most detailed and insightful to date and a number of issues are worthy of consideration for Taiwan.


Strengthening Freedom in Asia: A Twenty-First Century Agenda for the U.S.-Taiwan Partnership
The report of the American Enterprise Institute & Armitage International Taiwan Policy Working Group

By Dan Blumenthal and Randall Schriver
February 22, 2008

A U.S.-Taiwan common agenda is needed now more than ever. The relationship is dangerously drifting, which carries the potential for harming U.S. interests. Beijing is using diplomatic isolation and the threat of military force to pressure Taiwan into an unfavorable settlement, and Taiwan is reacting by forcing intractable disputes to the front of the debate.



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