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The Asia Chessboard
31 minutes | Dec 13, 2021
The Asia Shogi-board: Strategic Insights with Yoichi Funabashi
This week, Dr. Green is joined by Dr. Yoichi Funabashi, chairman of the Tokyo-based think tank Asia Pacific Initiative, to discuss geopolitical and economic trends in the Indo-Pacific and Japanese grand strategy. Dr. Funabashi talks about the evolution of Japan’s foreign policy strategy, from the Abe administration to the new Kishida administration, as well as the role of the U.S.-Japan alliance in Japan’s strategic thinking. The two also touch on Japan’s relationship with South Korea, economic security, and Japan’s prospects for acquiring strike capabilities.
32 minutes | Nov 29, 2021
AUKUS and Changing Dynamics in the Indo-Pacific
This week, Mike unpacks recent developments in the U.S.-Australia alliance, including the AUKUS agreement, with Rory Medcalf, professor and head of the National Security College at Australia National University. The two discuss the second edition to Rory’s book, Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the contest for the world's pivotal region, and how regional dynamics and geopolitics have changed over the past two years. What were the conditions that lead to the AUKUS agreement, and what is its strategic significance in the context of U.S.-China competition? What are the major “hotspots” in the Indo-Pacific that the United States and Australia should be concerned about?
39 minutes | Nov 15, 2021
Moving Pieces on the Chessboard: Strategy and Logistics in the Indo-Pacific
For the 50th episode of the Asia Chessboard, Mike is joined by David Berteau, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Material Readiness, to discuss the intersection of strategy and logistics in the Indo-Pacific. How do we get U.S. forces into the region, and once they are there, how do we sustain them? How should the U.S. incorporate allies and partners into logistics planning? How do logistics impact U.S. extended deterrence? These questions of how to implement U.S. Asia strategy are important to consider given the current security environment and China challenge.
32 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
From the Archives: Conversations with Richard Armitage, Kurt Tong, and Senator Jack Reed
Ahead of the 50th episode of the Asia Chessboard, we thought we would take a look back at some of our favorite conversations with key players from the past two and a half years. The first conversation is with Ambassador Richard Armitage, in which he and Mike grade the U.S., Japanese, and Chinese grand strategies in Asia. The second conversation features a discussion with Ambassador Kurt Tong on how the United States can rebuild its trade strategy in Asia. The last conversation is from our episode with Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed on the bipartisan nature of U.S. Asia strategy and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
43 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Nuclear Pieces on the Asia Chessboard: U.S., China, and Extended Deterrence
This week, Mike discusses the nuclear pieces on the Asia Chessboard with Caitlin Talmadge, professor at Georgetown University, as they explore the multipolar nuclear deterrence environment in the Indo-Pacific region. Mike and Caitlin analyze U.S. and Chinese nuclear capabilities, including China’s recent military build-up, the potential for nuclear arms races in the region, and the relationship between nuclear and conventional forces. They also touch on the debate surrounding a “no first use” nuclear policy and the upcoming U.S. nuclear posture review.
41 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
Antipodean Knight: Australia on the Chessboard
This week, Mike is celebrating 70 years of U.S.-Australia relations with Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The two discuss the history and evolution of the ANZUS treaty and how alliance dynamics play out in both Washington and Canberra. They also contemplate the future of the alliance, including deepened U.S.-Australia security cooperation, the role of New Zealand in the alliance, Australian military capabilities, and trilateral cooperation with Japan.
40 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
Material Advantage: FOIP and U.S. Alliances in Asia
This week, Mike is back in the studio with Heino Klinck, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, to unpack the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and how it relates to U.S. allies and partners. Heino and Mike begin by exploring Chinese strategy towards the U.S. alliance network in Asia. They then discuss how U.S. allies and partners like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia should think about their roles, missions, and capabilities in response to Chinese aggressive behavior in the region.
40 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
Pivotal Player: Marty Natalegawa and U.S.-Indonesia Relations
This week, Mike sits down with Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa, former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, to explore current U.S.-Indonesia relations and U.S. foreign policy towards Southeast Asia. The two discuss Marty's time in government, and how the bilateral relationship should deal with issues like Myanmar, Covid-19, Chinese assertiveness, and climate change. Mike and Marty also talk about the importance of collaboration on democracy support in the region, and touch on the current situation in Afghanistan.
38 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
Key Square Part II: A Discussion on Taiwan with Jim Moriarty
This week, Mike is joined by Ambassador James Moriarty, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, to discuss his perspectives on political and security dynamics in the Taiwan Strait. Ambassador Moriarty considers how U.S. policy towards Taiwan has changed over his professional career, and examines Beijing’s intentions towards Taiwan. Finally, Mike and Ambassador Moriarty debate what Washington, Taipei, Tokyo and others need to do to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait, emphasizing the need for increased deterrence and defense in depth.
36 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Key Square: Taiwan on the Chessboard with Bonny Lin
This week, Mike sits down with Bonny Lin, senior fellow for Asian security and the new director of the China Power Project at CSIS, to talk about one of the hottest topics on the Chessboard: the Taiwan Strait. Bonny and Mike assess if China and Taiwan are truly on the brink of war and dive into China's overall strategy towards Taiwan, including gray zone coercion and disinformation campaigns. They also discuss what U.S. commitment to Taiwan's security means for the region, and how U.S. allies in Asia and Europe fit into U.S. and Chinese strategic planning regarding the Taiwan Strait.
41 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Pawn or Queen? ASEAN on the Chessboard
This week, Mike sits down with Amitav Acharya, UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Distinguished Professor at American University, to unpack Amitav’s new book, ASEAN and Regional Order: Revisiting Security Community in Southeast Asia. Amitav and Mike assess the current state of ASEAN, its durability, and the meaning of ASEAN centrality. They also discuss the role of the QUAD, the impact of U.S.-China competition on Southeast Asia, and how the U.S. can improve its engagement with Southeast Asia.
40 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
The Indian Ocean and the Asia Chessboard
This week, Mike is joined by Darshana Baruah, associate fellow with the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to discuss the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean to the United States and our allies and partners in the region. Darshana provides historical context for the new focus on the Indo-Pacific, and dives into the politics of the Indian Ocean region. Mike and Darshana also tackle the rise of Chinese influence and how the Indian Ocean fits in with U.S.-China strategic competition. Overall, the two agree that there needs to be more focus in the United States on building a presence in the Indian Ocean, and in dealing with the Indian Ocean as a whole, rather than dividing it into geographical silos.
34 minutes | May 24, 2021
Rethinking U.S. Strategy on the Chessboard with Mike O’Hanlon
This week, Mike is joined by Mike O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, to discuss his new book, “The Art of War in an Age of Peace,” and how his new vision for U.S. grand strategy relates to the Asia-Pacific. The two begin by defining what “resolute restraint” means for U.S. Asia policy, especially regarding the rise of China, as they explore issue areas like the South China Sea. O’Hanlon makes a distinction between restraint and retrenchment, and argues for prioritizing existing commitments in Asia to our treaty allies, rather than creating new security obligations.
40 minutes | May 10, 2021
Europe and the Asia Chessboard
This week, Mike is joined by Eva Pejsova, Senior Japan Fellow at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and Luis Simon, Director of the CSDS at the Brussels School of Governance and Director of the Brussels Office of the Elcano Royal Institute, to discuss how the Indo-Pacific factors into European foreign policy and strategic thinking. Eva and Luis analyze the recently released "EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific," as well as the individual strategies of France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and argue that Europe cannot address the rise of China without considering the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region. The three then dive deeper into potential cooperation between the EU, U.S., and other partners in the region like Japan, Australia, and India.
36 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
King of the Chessboard? Xi Jinping and the Future of China’s Grand Strategy
This week, Mike is joined by Elizabeth Economy, senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and senior fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, to explore the evolution of Xi Jinping’s leadership and China’s current foreign policy strategy. Liz argues that there is continuity between Xi’s strategy and that of his predecessors, but Xi’s vision of reforming the global governance system and his increased risk tolerance are new phenomena. As Liz and Mike unravel China’s foreign policy and its relationship with Russia, they ask if the United States could have predicted the rise of Xi Jinping and if the United States should change course in its strategy towards China.
37 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Dead Draw or Winning Position? Reassessing U.S. China Strategy on the Chessboard
This week, Mike is joined by Ashley Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to re-evaluate U.S. China strategy and determine what makes a successful theory of victory. The two start by going back in time to when Ashley was working on the rise of China in the 90s, when he argued that China’s rise was not a fluke and would impact Asia dramatically in the future. Given that competition is inevitable, the United States must maintain multipolarity in Asia, create constraints on Chinese action in the region, and work with likeminded allies and partners like Japan and India. How can the United States integrate India and the QUAD into its strategy? What does success look like in five years, ten years, and beyond?
41 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Trading Places: America, Japan and Regional Trade on the Chessboard
This week Mike is joined by Mireya Solis, director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, to discuss the regional trade architecture of the Asia-Pacific. The two start off by analyzing the geopolitical significance of RCEP and CPTPP, and what the lack of U.S. participation in both trade agreements means for U.S. trade strategy under the Biden Administration. Mireya also dives deeper into Japan’s economic strategy in Asia, and argues that Japanese leadership in the region is likely to continue given its status as the third largest economy in the world, its role as a rule-maker in the region, and its ability to fill the U.S. vacuum. How have the Asia-Pacific countries stitched the region together over the past few years, and what can the U.S. do to improve its credibility in the region?
31 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
A Game Winning Piece? The Dalai Lama and Geopolitics of Tibet
This week, Mike is joined by Asia and human rights expert Ellen Bork, contributing editor at American Purpose, to discuss the geopolitics of Tibet and what it means for the Asia Chessboard. The two begin by discussing Tibet’s strategic significance in the region, including the influence of Tibetan Buddhism and China’s strategic approach to its “core interests.” Bork also dives deeper into Tibet’s relationships with its neighbors, like India, and the transnational impact of the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. How should the U.S. factor Tibet into its Asia Strategy? How can the U.S. and its allies stand up to China when it comes to human rights abuses in Tibet?
40 minutes | Jan 25, 2021
Public Opinion and the Asia Chessboard: Views from the U.S. and Abroad
This week Mike is joined by Bruce Stokes, fellow at the German Marshall Fund, to discuss U.S. public attitudes about the world, and how the world sees the U.S. leadership role abroad, especially after January 6th. Stokes differentiates between public opinion about the United States, faith in the U.S. public, and faith in U.S ideas about democracy. How does waning U.S. soft power impact our strategy in Asia? How can the incoming administration implement a “Foreign Policy for the Middle Class” while dealing with trade and security issues in Asia?
40 minutes | Jan 11, 2021
The Great Power Gambit: U.S. and China in Southeast Asia
This week, Mike is joined by David Shambaugh, the Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies at George Washington University, to discuss his new book, “Where Great Powers Meet: America and China in Southeast Asia.” The two start with a discussion about how U.S.-China relations have gotten to their lowest point since normalization, and how Southeast Asia has become an open field for competition. Perception matters, but Shambaugh argues that it has become out of touch with reality. Is China’s inevitable rise in the region a false narrative? Why is U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia underappreciated, and how can we increase U.S. diplomatic efforts in the region?
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