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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Reform Proves Difficult in Former Dictatorship Kazakhstan

June 19, 2021 11:05 PM
On October 9, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a presidential decree granting former president Nursultan Nazabayev power to veto appointees to a majority of government leadership positions (5). This decree forbade Tokayev from unilaterally appointing “cabinet ministers, heads of various security forces and regional governors.” Tokayev will still maintain control over cabinet minister appointments in the “defense, internal affairs and foreign affairs” departments (4). The decree granted Nazarbayev “a consultative role in the appointments in his capacity as chairman of the Security Council” (4). Tokayev will need to consult Nazarbayev on appointees for all subordinate bodies, including the Kazakh domestic intelligence agency (KNB), foreign intelligence agency, the central bank, and even the head of Tokayev’s own security detail (1).
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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Implications of Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill

June 19, 2021 04:26 PM
Western media has seen steady reports originating from Hong Kong in the last few months detailing the rising tension over the mainland-Chinese sponsored extradition bill, in which perpetrators of certain crimes can potentially be extradited to the mainland for prosecution. Hong Kong and China’s stark differences in government and right to free speech have exacerbated the issue, with claims from the former stating that China has seen fit to unfairly accuse and then prosecute their citizens for things as simple as professing their distrust of the latter’s oversight. Tensions hit a new high several months ago as Hong Kong’s citizens took to the streets in groups of up to a million people, protesting for their rights. Eventually this led to tear gassing from masses of riot police being introduced to the mix, who allegedly beat and injured thousands of people, even those not directly involved in the protest [1]. Just days ago, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, seen by many as a puppet figure controlled by Xi Jinping and the mainland government, came face to face with one of many angry groups of Hong Kong’s protesting citizens in a town hall meeting where she was insulted and frustratingly berated by a horde of people [2].
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Sino–Australian Relations; from Bad to Worse

June 19, 2021 04:13 PM
Ever since the year 2000, economic trade between China and Australia has grown exponentially. David Chau from Australian Broadcasting Station reports, “In 2017-18, China was by far Australia’s largest trading partner, contributing $194.6 billion worth of imports and exports. This was more than the combined value of trade with Japan and the United States ($147.8 billion).”[1] Most of these economic ties were forged within just the last ten years.[2] For a time, it seemed like Sino–Australian relations could not get any better. However, since 2017, Sino–Australian relations have shown significant signs of decline. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute even stated, “A new cold war with China is playing out in all but name.”[3]
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Thai Insurgents Threaten Regional Peace and Stability

June 19, 2021 04:03 PM
Analysis
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Monthly Archives: October 2019

“Go There and You Are Free to Kill Everybody”

June 19, 2021 03:48 PM
30 years ago, the Filipino city of Davao was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Between communist groups, Muslim separatists, and local corruption, Davao had a 3-digit crime rate per 10,000 people. Asia Week branded Davao as the “Murder City” in 1985. Today Davao has just landed in 5th spot on the safest city rankings behind Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, and Bursa. According to the Davao City official website:
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Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Six-Party Talks in Context

June 17, 2021 02:18 PM
Denuclearization talks have come to the forefront of the Trump administration’s foreign policy concerns and now even tops the list of international issues. Negotiations with North Korea have been pursued for many years and over numerous administrations with varying success. Some of the most in-depth and involved discussions took place during the Six-Party talks in China from 2003 to 2009. While the talks ended with no comprehensive denuclearization deal, recent calls from many countries to resume talks may indicate that there is an increased willingness internationally to resolve this issue[1].
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Mongolia and North Korea

June 17, 2021 01:46 PM
Mongolia, once the center of the largest contiguous land empire of all time, is now seldom seriously considered in terms of current global politics. In fact, when U.S. National Security advisor John Bolton was assigned to visit Mongolia during President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, it was reported as a “banishment”.1 To Mongolia, however, Bolton’s visit signaled a continued interest in expanding U.S. trade relations and military cooperation with a rare ally in Central Asia.2
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Monthly Archives: August 2019

JAD & Emerging International Threats from Indonesia

June 17, 2021 01:18 PM
With Indonesia being the fourth most populous nation on the planet, and with the largest Muslim majority of any country, the threat of Islamic extremism emanating from Indonesia cannot be overlooked. Malaysia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Australia, and the United States are all keenly aware of the threat of terrorism coming from Indonesia. These countries have been involved in investigating attacks that have happened within Indonesia as well as outside of the country. Recently, one of the most potent Indonesian terrorist group that has instigated much havoc in, and outside the country, is the terrorist group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
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Monthly Archives: January 2014

China’s Economic Woes

April 27, 2021 04:29 PM
Since the formation of the Chinese Communist party, the world has watched China evolve into the world power it is today. While it is clearly evident that China is continually increasing its soft power around the world, it is less evident that China is in the midst of serious economic woes. Many of China’s efforts to expand its soft power focus on utilizing its comparative economic might, others, however, focus on expanding China’s culture. Through its acclaimed Confucian Institutes, China is planting footholds throughout Africa. These footholds increase awareness and notoriety for China throughout the entire continent. In addition, China is pouring capital into Africa, Iceland, and the United States. These foreign investments indicate a weakening homeland where Chinese billionaires do not want to store their capital. China is playing a deceiving game of economic protectionism masked by a rise in soft power. Given China’s current track, competing world powers need not fear China’s total economic dominance.
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China's Human Rights Violations and its Consequences

April 27, 2021 11:13 AM
The Chinese government’s understanding of human rights is fundamentally different from that widely held by much of the West. Additionally, many human rights lawyers oppose the Chinese government’s views and practices. This dissonance poses a threat to the stability of the region, especially considering China’s common historical cycle of oppression, protest and revolution. While potential protests may indeed bring about change, possibly even a positive one, instability is a probable byproduct, as seen in China’s own revolutionary past. However, change will come slowly in the People’s Republic of China until the majority of its population is aware of the ruling party’s human rights violations. There are several groups fighting for this change and as a result, China is seeing new laws that can improve the human rights situation. A special group of lawyers, called human rights lawyers seek to enforce these laws within the government. While it may be an uphill battle, human rights lawyers need to continue to pressure the government within their rights, and they will need support from the international community. Stability in China is of top priority for U.S. national security. A new level of chaos in the region could translate to a decline in the Chinese economy, which is so vital to the world market, in particular the U.S. economy.
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North Korea: China's Ace in the Hole

April 27, 2021 10:08 AM
With the recent calming of North Korean rhetoric, it appears as if the skeptics were correct in assuming that North Korea would not actually attack the United States or South Korea. However, with long-term goals on the line for Chinese and North Korean policy makers, they were successful in causing a hiccup in the progress of regional stability, as well as weakening the image and message of American diplomacy. The last bout of North Korean rhetoric showed an important shift in power away from the United States and towards China.
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China and N Korea: A complicated Relationship

April 27, 2021 09:48 AM
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and North Korea have a complicated relationship built on similar ideology and mutual economic gain. In fact, Support began in the Korean war in the 50’s when china obviously supported other communist regimes. In 1961, the two countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, whereby China pledged to immediately render military and other assistance by all means to its ally against any outside attack. This treaty was prolonged twice, in 1981 and 2001, with a validity till 2021. The PRC in recent years has been the most powerful ally of the small pariah state. From this relationship, the PRC fills its need for raw materials, and its need for regional power. North Korea obviously stands to gain from having a large friend in the region, in addition to receiving its largest supply of food, arms, and fuel. However, China’s stance on UN sanctions against N Korea indicates that raw goods and ideology are not sufficient leverage for N Korea to hold so powerful an ally.
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China's New Leader

April 27, 2021 09:22 AM
China stands as a rising global power in an increasingly interconnected world. Therefore, the United States must adopt a foreign policy that maintains stability in East Asia. However, relations between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the US have undergone many changes in recent years, some for the worse. The most striking point in PRC-US relations is the fact that China views the independence of Taiwan as the continuation of civil war. Understandably, US support of Taiwan only furthers the tension within the region. Consequently, US-Taiwan relations are an ever-changing aspect of US foreign policy that attempts to balance its delicate relationship and maintain peace in the region.
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Cybersecurity: Closing the Back Door to America's Enemies

April 27, 2021 09:13 AM
On October 25, 2012, The New York Times published an eye-opening report on an extensive, billion-dollar business empire constructed by relatives of China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao. Three months later, the Times revealed it had been undergoing intense cyber attacks even before the report was publicly released. Cooperating with AT&T, the FBI, and a leading cybersecurity firm, the Times pinned the digital break-ins on Chinese hackers, adding that the Chinese military was likely involved.
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Failures of the New START

April 26, 2021 07:00 PM
On April 8th, 2010 President Barack Obama signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russian Federation Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The treaty is called “New START”: START for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and ‘New’ because this treaty is an updated version of previous nuclear arms reduction treaties between the United States and Russia. The United States Senate then ratified the treaty on December 22nd, 2010. The treaty needed 67 votes in order to be ratified and instead received 71. All 56 Democratic senators voted for ratification of the treaty, as well as both independent senators and 13 republican senators who crossed party lines to vote for ratification of the treaty. President Obama completed the ratification process of the treaty by signing the document on February 2nd, 2011.
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A South Asian Power Play

April 23, 2021 11:59 AM
Pakistan has been gambling for a long time with its use of militants as a strategic edge over India. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) created and utilized different groups that we generally label as “Taliban” in order to counter Indian power in the region. This has been a several decade-long endeavor but is now showing signs of failure as India is increasing its influence in Afghanistan. In this context, Indian-Pakistani relations will likely prove to be an even more critical national security issue as we scale back military efforts in the region.
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The Scarborough Scandal

April 23, 2021 11:47 AM
Over the past few months, China and the Philippines have been in a tense maritime quarrel over a controversial piece of land known as the Scarborough Shoal. The shoal is located just 124 nautical miles off the coast of the Philippines’ largest island, Luzon. Despite the shoal lying within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, China asserts claims that the shoal has been mapped as Chinese territory for centuries. The results of this stand-off could have significant implications for the United States.
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Afghanistan's Dual Supply Problem

April 23, 2021 11:36 AM
Afghanistan will face two major issues this year. The more publicized issue is Pakistan’s refusal to open up their supply routes into Afghanistan for NATO use. The lesser known issue is the devastatingly poor poppy harvest. Both of these problems will create unique challenges for NATO forces. A brief examination of the problems will show points of concern that need to be addressed.
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