Asia & Pacific

Assessing New U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

President George W. Bush decided April 23rd to offer Taiwan the largest arms package since his father sold various warships and F-16 fighters to Taiwan a decade ago. Bush did deny Taiwan the most expensive and controversial items on Taiwan’s shopping list: four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with advanced Aegis radar systems. Bush did approve two other weapons systems that mainland China strongly protests: eight submarines and twelve P-3C Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft (a different version of the same model involved in the recent spy plane incident with China). Also offered for sale are four older Kidd-class missile destroyers. Although these are not nearly as sophisticated as the Arleigh Burke-class, they are twice as big as any existing Taiwanese warship and much more capable than most Chinese destroyers. They would be a major addition to Taiwan’s navy.

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Bush Faces Challenges on the Korean Peninsula

The Bush administration faces challenges from allies and adversaries alike in East Asia. The recent submarine incident and rising anti-bases sentiment in Okinawa have put the U.S.-Japan “special relationship” on rocky ground. The war of words with Beijing about human rights and its relations with Iraq suggests that the Bush team’s downgrading of China to the status of a “strategic rival” has already accentuated lines of division in the region.

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Islamic Militancy in Central Asia: What Is To Be Done?

A new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) helps answer the question about what the appropriate responses are to Islamic militancy in Central Asia. The ICG is a highly respected, well connected, expert, private, multinational organization that describes itself as “committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand, and act to prevent and contain conflict.” In its new report titled “Central Asia: Islamist Mobilisation and Regional Stability,” ICG makes recommendations to Central Asian governments, external powers, and international organizations.

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The Trials and Tribulations of China’s First Democracy: The ROC One Year After the Victory of Chen Shui-bian

One year after Taiwan’s first democratic transfer of political power from the long-ruling KMT, the island’s political system has quickly taken on many of the most illustrious characteristics of American democracy: presidential victory by plurality, intra-party conflict, impeachment talk, sex scandal, and legislative gridlock. Yet, Taiwan is in a far different position than the United States; it exists in a precarious international limbo, and it has an exceedingly short democratic history. Consequently, although Taiwan’s prospects for democratic consolidation seem good, its new president faces special challenges in his quest to ensure Taiwan’s continued international security and domestic prosperity.

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Vietnam

As President Clinton goes to Vietnam this week, he carries with him a heavy weight of legacy from America’s longest war. Some, of course, is personal: like many men of his generation, Clinton opposed the war and sought to avoid fighting it, decisions that had political consequences he could not have anticipated. He bears a national legacy, too. The Vietnam War still clings to Americans—to those who fought it and resisted it, to those who came of age while it was fought, and even to those who now jam college courses on the war, wondering what it was that so provoked their parents. The war has been credited with, or blamed for, everything from heavy metal rock music to the neo-brutalist architecture of the 1970s. But parts of its legacy are indisputable.

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Progressive Unilateralism? U.S. Unilateralism, Progressive Internationalism, and Alternatives to Neoliberalism

In the recent debate on "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, some progressives argued that failure to ratify the bilateral deal would constitute a retreat into "unilateralism." They asserted that U.S. unilateralism is a bad thing–so bad, indeed, that they supported PNTR even though they agreed with opponents that China’s entry into the WTO, facilitated by PNTR, would likely be bad for most workers in both China and the USA. 2 I think this position rests on a false premise. The policies of the United States–whether acting alone or in concert with other states–have often been at odds
with progressive internationalist principles, but they need not be. This
paper aims to justify this conclusion and to identify the conditions under
which unilateral U.S. actions can serve progressive internationalism.

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Huntington Guides Vajpayee in Washington

Prime Minister Vajpayee has returned to India triumphantly after a visit to the United States, which was hailed as a success by President Clinton. A visit of this kind is a success if its objectives have been attained. Apparently what was achieved matched the objectives of both India and the United States. Three decades after President Nixon’s “tilt to Pakistan,” many now believe there is a tilt toward India.

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Nationalist Ideologies and Misperceptions in India-U.S. Relations

The most prominent story in U.S. coverage of President Clinton’s March 2000 visit to India was the public rebuke issued to him by India’s ceremonial head of state, President K. Narayanan. At an official banquet Narayanan broke with protocol to chide Clinton for describing South Asia as “the most dangerous place on earth,” charging that such remarks would encourage the very violence Clinton feared. Oddly, though, Indian reporting of the event focused more on the tenor of U.S. reporting than on the remarks themselves. The difference reflected a contrast between the tones of American and Indian coverage that, though the reverse of what one would expect, confirms the very different perspectives of the U.S. and India on this chronically troubled relationship. American coverage was somber, focusing on Clinton’s failure to convince India to give up nuclear weapons. In India, where this outcome was never in doubt, reporting was more upbeat, seeing a belated American acquiescence to India’s nuclear status and role in world affairs.

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Don’t Strengthen the WTO by Admitting China

The congressional debate over China’s trading status with the United States and its entry into the WTO has stirred a parallel debate among the directors and staff of Foreign Policy In Focus and within the two organizations—Institute for Policy Studies and Interhemispheric Resource Center—that sponsor the FPIF project. This essay is the second in a series of FPIF discussion papers examining the internationalist and nationalist tendencies within the fair trade movement in the United States. We invite readers to join the discussion by sending their comments to tom@irc-online.org for inclusion in the FPIF’s ezine, The Progressive Response.

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