Derek Grossman

Photo of Derek Grossman
Senior Defense Analyst
Santa Monica Office

Education

B.A. in Political Science and Asian Studies, University of Michigan; M.A. in U.S. National Security Policy, Georgetown University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Derek Grossman is a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation focused on a range of national security policy and Indo-Pacific security issues. He closely tracks intensifying U.S.-China competition throughout the region, to include in Northeast, Southeast, South, and Central Asia as well as Oceania. He has led or participated in numerous RAND studies assessing regional responses to competition, with a particular emphasis on Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pacific Island states, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.    

Grossman is widely quoted regionally and globally. He has interviewed with Australian Broadcasting Corp, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, LA Times, New York Times, NPR, Sydney Morning Herald, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and others. Grossman has published dozens of commentaries and journal articles, including for Asia Policy, Foreign Policy, International Security, Nikkei Asia, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Studies in Intelligence, The Diplomat, The Hill, War on the Rocks, and World Politics Review.

Before RAND, Grossman served over a decade in the Intelligence Community, where he served as the daily intelligence briefer to the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and to the assistant secretary of defense for Asian & Pacific Security Affairs. He also served at the National Security Agency and worked at the CIA on the President's Daily Brief staff. 

Grossman is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California and an Indo-Pacific Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre. He holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in U.S. national security policy and a B.A. from the University of Michigan in political science and Asian studies.

Recent Projects

  • Conflict with China Revisited

Selected Publications

Derek Grossman, Michael Chase, "Why Xi is Purging the Chinese Military," The National Interest, 2016

Derek Grossman, "Book Review - Asia's Next Contest," The Journal of International Security Affairs, (26), 2014

Derek Grossman, "Despite Promising Signs, China's North Korea Policy Unchanged," The Cipher Brief, 2017

Derek Grossman, "Can Vietnam's Military Stand Up to China in the South China Sea?" Asia Policy, 13(1), 2018

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC News Australia, The World Today; BBC Radio; Channel News Asia; CNBC; Here and There, Santa Fe Public Radio; International Daily News; Monocle; Radio Free Asia; The Red Line; Republic World, India; VOV News Online; Voice of America; WFED; VOA Indonesia

Commentary

  • Taiwan

    Xi Likely Won't Be Attacking Taiwan Anytime Soon

    Rather than start a war, Xi Jinping is more likely to intensify China's use of coercive measures against Taiwan, including diplomatic, economic, and military pressure coupled with cyber and psychological operations. If coercion fails, Beijing might turn to force as a last resort, but this still seems unlikely given the many complicating factors.

    Nov 15, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • International Diplomacy

    America's Pacific Island Summit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    The United States hosted its first Pacific Islands Summit in September. Pacific Island leaders and observers from over a dozen states participated in the event and pledged to jointly tackle various challenges. But this historic summit was hardly an absolute success, and should be put within its proper context.

    Nov 7, 2022

    Perth USAsia Centre

  • International Diplomacy

    India-Pakistan Ties Are Warming—but Don't Get Excited Just Yet

    While the warming trend in India-Pakistan ties is encouraging, it makes sense to keep a healthy check on expectations. Events could easily derail progress. Ultimately, it will take trust for India and Pakistan to normalize their relationship, and developing trust takes time.

    Sep 27, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Indonesia

    Indonesia Is Looking for More Than Security Support from the United States

    Rather than remain aloof from the new great power competition between the United States and China, Indonesia has quietly, albeit determinedly, favored relations with Washington, though in reality, it does not have much of a choice.

    Sep 14, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • Taiwan

    The Indo-Pacific Mostly Backs 'One China,' but Taiwan Gets Some Love, Too

    Almost the entire Indo-Pacific region backs China over Taiwan. But U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan made it clear that key U.S. allies strongly support Taiwan's cause, particularly in the face of a potential war over the island. This suggests that Beijing's assertive behavior is steadily alienating nations that otherwise may have minded their own business.

    Aug 22, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Oceania

    China's Pacific Push Is Backfiring

    Beijing has had only limited success in spreading its influence in the Pacific, with the notable exceptions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. To be sure, other victories should be expected to follow. The overall picture, however, is far more challenging for China.

    Jul 26, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • International Diplomacy

    Yoon Suk-yeol Is Biden's Perfect South Korea Partner

    Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea's conservative new president, has shown that he is in lockstep with U.S. President Joe Biden on foreign policy. During Biden's Indo-Pacific trip in May, their conversations in the security domain suggest Yoon's overlapping tenure with Biden heralds a golden era in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

    Jul 5, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • India

    Modi's Multipolar Moment Has Arrived

    Russia's war in Ukraine has benefited India as great powers are competing more vigorously for New Delhi's affection, particularly the United States and China. India has also prevented its Russia policy from spoiling partnerships with key European and Indo-Pacific partners. These trends, if sustained, will contribute to India's rise to great-power status and in turn, shift the global system toward even greater multipolarity.

    Jun 6, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    Ukraine War Is Motivating Taiwan to Better Secure Its Own Future

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine is probably motivating Taiwan to better secure its own future versus China. But many of the challenges currently facing Taiwan, such as shortcomings in reservist training or lingering confusion over its military strategy, are difficult to fix, assuming they are even fixable.

    May 13, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • Philippines

    New Philippine President Marcos Jr. Likely Won't Repeat Duterte's Foreign Policy Mistakes

    The May 2022 election of Bongbong Marcos as the next president of the Philippines will hold significant implications for Manila's foreign policy. He is likely to be influenced by the policies of both his father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, yielding a new government interested in engaging China while keeping the United States close by.

    May 10, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Russia

    Why Most of the Indo-Pacific Tiptoes Around Russia

    Since the start of Russia's increasingly brutal war in Ukraine, the West has ramped up pressure on the rest of the world to condemn Moscow's belligerence and join sanctions against Russia and its regime. In the vast Indo-Pacific region, however, the West's message has fallen flat.

    Apr 7, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Vietnam

    Taiwan Isn't the Ukraine of the Indo-Pacific. Try Vietnam Instead

    Russia's war in Eastern Europe has prompted Indo-Pacific security watchers to draw comparisons between Ukraine's plight and that of Taiwan with regard to China. But the more-applicable analogy is a different Indo-Pacific country: Vietnam.

    Mar 21, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • India

    Russia Looks Less and Less Like India's Friend

    India has strong ties with Russia dating back to the Cold War. But the geostrategic winds have shifted significantly in recent years, suggesting that India might want to reconsider the benefits of close Russia ties.

    Mar 4, 2022

    Times of India

  • Taiwan

    Why China Is Intensifying Its Military Flights Against Taiwan

    On January 23, China repeated its familiar pattern of sending warplanes into Taiwan's airspace. This activity, which has continued in February, rarely has a clear single driver. Instead, there are several factors that should always be considered.

    Feb 21, 2022

    Nikkei Asia

  • India

    Modi's Foreign-Policy Juggling Act

    India lives in a difficult neighborhood, and there are no easy, straightforward solutions. But thus far—and especially under Modi—India has managed its foreign-policy challenges with remarkable effectiveness. With new partners and by making some tough decisions, there is a very good chance that it will continue to do so.

    Feb 7, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • International Diplomacy

    Could the U.S. Play Offense in China's Back Yard?

    Relations with Cambodia and Laos have fallen victim to the U.S. administration's foreign policy priority of shared values over shared interests. This approach has failed to make headway in Cambodia and Laos, isolates the United States in a region where few countries are true democracies, and unnecessarily cedes ground to Beijing.

    Jan 13, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    Taiwan Would Be Better Off Alone

    Relinquishing diplomatic partners could free Taiwan from an unwinnable competition with China and refocus attention on what really matters: reducing China's coercive power by strengthening relationships with powers that can truly help.

    Dec 23, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • International Diplomacy

    Biden's Southeast Asia Policy Still Has Much to Prove

    As the Biden administration's first year comes to a close, how is the United States faring in Southeast Asia? Washington got a lot right, but it could do better to optimize competition against China and work on a more sensitive understanding of the delicate and at times precarious position Southeast Asian states are in.

    Dec 17, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    Taiwan Is Safe Until at Least 2027, but with One Big Caveat

    Although Chinese President Xi Jinping clearly seeks to bring Taiwan to heel, and by force if necessary, he also continues to promote “peaceful reunification” as Beijing's preferred means. Xi likely would have toughened up his language by now if he thought war was a real possibility.

    Nov 10, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Philippines

    Duterte's Dalliance with China Is Over

    When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, he pledged to shift his country's foreign policy away from the United States in favor of China and Russia. His China-friendly policy is now effectively over, and he's doing his best to align the Philippines with the United States once more.

    Nov 2, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    Biden Administration Shows Unwavering Support for Taiwan

    Ten months into the Biden administration, it is abundantly clear that the United States will continue to strengthen ties with Taiwan and defend the island if ever attacked by China. Through both word and deed, the United States has continued to demonstrate that Taipei should have no worries about Washington's commitment to the island.

    Oct 20, 2021

    Prospects & Perspectives

  • Afghanistan

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Afghanistan

    Chinese Recognition of the Taliban Is All but Inevitable

    China is likely to recognize and legitimize the new leadership in Afghanistan within the coming weeks or months. Even if China has real concerns about the Taliban's willingness to keep its promises, the potential benefits are simply too great for Beijing to ignore.

    Aug 27, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Security Cooperation

    Biden's Indo-Pacific Policy Blueprint Emerges

    The Biden administration has yet to detail its goals in the Indo-Pacific region and how it plans to achieve them. But following recent virtual engagements and U.S. visits to the region, at least three key points have crystallized.

    Aug 23, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Afghanistan

    Collapse in Afghanistan: Early Insights from RAND Researchers

    The sudden end to America's longest war came as the Taliban rolled into Kabul and the government collapsed. RAND researchers share their thoughts on how to help displaced Afghans, whether the country could again become a safe haven for terrorists, and the geopolitical implications of the collapse.

    Aug 17, 2021

  • Afghanistan

    China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

    China is set to benefit significantly from a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. It's worth following this dynamic closely in the coming weeks and months.

    Jul 22, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • International Diplomacy

    Biden's Troubled Southeast Asia Policy Needs a Reboot

    Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.

    Jul 6, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Indonesia

    Indonesia Is Quietly Warming Up to China

    Improving China-Indonesia relations could have profound geostrategic significance for the United States. Washington may want to focus on assistance that would benefit Indonesia itself, not just the United States in its competition with China.

    Jun 7, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • India

    India's Brittle Confidence in America

    Democracies are supposed to get along. But that has not always been the case for the United States and India. From New Delhi's perspective, there are significant irritants in U.S.-India ties. Any of these could derail an otherwise positive relationship.

    May 21, 2021

    Times of India

  • Philippines

    China Has Lost the Philippines Despite Duterte's Best Efforts

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has time and again underscored his anti-U.S. and pro-Chinese orientation. Duterte now recognizes, in spite of his continued rhetoric to the contrary, that China is no friend.

    May 6, 2021

    Foreign Policy

  • Security Cooperation

    Biden Should Consider Downsides of Stressing National Values in Indo-Pacific

    The Biden administration has argued that the United States must strengthen its Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to compete more successfully with China. Will Washington prioritize national interests or national values?

    May 3, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam Must Be Pleased with the Biden Administration—for the Most Part

    After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.

    Mar 16, 2021

    The Diplomat

  • China

    Biden's China Reset Is Already on the Ropes

    The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.

    Mar 15, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Taiwan

    Biden Doubles Down on Trump's Taiwan Policy, but Will It Last?

    It's an open secret that Taiwan welcomed the Trump administration's policy to significantly strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations, and it was jittery about the transition to the Biden administration. Early indications, however, are that the Biden team appears poised to opt for a stronger relationship with Taiwan as set forth under the Trump administration.

    Feb 5, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Vietnam

    How U.S.-Vietnam Ties Might Go Off the Rails

    Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.

    Feb 1, 2021

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    Biden Will Inherit Healthy Indo-Pacific Alliances

    Certainly there is much work ahead as the United States embarks on the next chapter of competition against China throughout the Indo-Pacific. But U.S. alliances and partnerships are in good shape—the result of a growing Indo-Pacific consensus on the existential economic and security threat China poses.

    Jan 11, 2021

    Nikkei Asia

  • Vietnam

    What Does Vietnam Want from the United States in the South China Sea?

    Over the last few years, tensions between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea have remained high. While the Biden administration is likely to continue positive momentum in bilateral ties, it is less clear what specifically Hanoi seeks from Washington to help it effectively deter Beijing.

    Jan 4, 2021

    The Diplomat

  • India

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

    Observer Research Foundation

  • Taiwan

    Why Taiwan Can Feel at Ease with Joe Biden as U.S. President

    Joe Biden's win in the U.S. presidential election is causing thinly veiled heartburn in Taipei. But concerns that the incoming Biden administration might rethink Taiwan policy in favor of better relations with China are probably misguided.

    Dec 15, 2020

    South China Morning Post

  • Philippines

    The Philippines Is Sticking Right by America's Side

    The election of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 raised concerns around Washington that he would undermine and perhaps even undo the U.S.-Philippines alliance in favor of closer ties with China. More than four years on, however, Manila continues to prioritize Washington over Beijing.

    Dec 2, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    Biden Administration Could Benefit from Keeping an Indo-Pacific Focus

    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may be poised to reverse many of President Donald Trump's policies, but one that is very likely to remain is the Indo-Pacific strategy. Any changes will probably be stylistic rather than substantive.

    Nov 30, 2020

    Nikkei Asia

  • International Diplomacy

    U.S. Election Won't Dramatically Change the Indo-Pacific Strategy

    No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, the outcome is unlikely to impact the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy in any significant way. Bipartisan agreement in Washington to counter and compete with China makes clear that the United States will continue to push back against Beijing.

    Nov 2, 2020

    Nikkei Asia

  • International Diplomacy

    Vietnam Is Losing Its Best Friends to China

    The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.

    Nov 2, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Oceania

    PIF Fragmentation May Alter U.S.-China Competition in the Pacific

    The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) may be on the verge of fragmentation, and if it happens, the consequences for U.S.-China geostrategic competition could be significant. A divided PIF would likely present several opportunities and challenges for China and the United States as their competition ramps up in Oceania.

    Oct 14, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • China

    China's Friends Are Few and Unreliable

    Amid escalating competition, China and the United States are actively shoring up their diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Compared to the United States, China's friends are certainly not as numerous, nor are they as reliable. That is a major challenge for Beijing.

    Oct 12, 2020

    Nikkei Asia

  • Taiwan

    Taiwan’s KMT May Have a Serious '1992 Consensus' Problem

    The 1992 Consensus is an agreement between the Kuomintang opposition party in Taiwan and mainland Chinese authorities on the existence of only “One China.” Maintaining the 1992 Consensus as the cornerstone of the Kuomintang's platform has not helped the party's cause, and more importantly, has probably done the opposite.

    Sep 25, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    America's Indo-Pacific Vision Is Becoming a Reality—Because of China

    The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy has received a significant boost in recent months toward achieving its goal of keeping the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. Ironically, China itself has been doing the boosting.

    Sep 14, 2020

    Nikkei Asian Review

  • Security Cooperation

    America Is Betting Big on the Second Island Chain

    The United States has deep and abiding interests in the Second Island Chain. But China's growing influence in the region could complicate U.S. plans. Washington will almost certainly seek to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific Island states in the Second Island Chain and bolster defensive positions on U.S. territories in the region.

    Sep 8, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Taiwan

    Secretary Azar's Taiwan Visit Should Be Celebrated—for the Right Reasons

    HHS Secretary Alex Azar's August 9th visit to Taiwan should be celebrated by Taipei and Washington as it presents the latest evidence that bilateral relations are significantly strengthening. But Taiwan should view the United States' moves to bolster bilateral ties with some measure of trepidation. U.S. objectives with Taiwan over the past few years remain unclear.

    Aug 21, 2020

    South China Morning Post

  • Vietnam

    What Does Vietnam Think About America's Indo-Pacific Strategy?

    The South China Sea is where the rubber meets the road for U.S.-Vietnam security ties, and in this regard, Hanoi has gone as far as it is comfortable. Washington should expect Vietnam to continue seeking balance between China, which has economic and military superiority over it, and the United States, which can help offset Chinese power.

    Aug 5, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    The Quad Is Poised to Become Openly Anti-China Soon

    What has been striking about the Quad thus far is that it has resisted openly identifying China as the primary target it seeks to rein in. If the Quad is to be sustained, then it will likely have to come to grips with a forward-leaning approach to opposing Chinese activities.

    Jul 28, 2020

    The Wire

  • Philippines

    China Refuses to Quit on the Philippines

    When the Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to become their next president in May 2016, China saw a distinct opportunity to pull the longtime U.S. ally away from Washington and into Beijing's strategic orbit. But it remains to be seen how the long-term geopolitical competition between the United States and China over the Philippines will play out.

    Jul 22, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • China

    Chinese Border Aggression Against India Likely Unrelated to Pandemic

    Some argue that Beijing's aggression at the China-India border is part of an attempt to exploit the pandemic. But it may simply be a continuation of China's threatening behavior in the Indo-Pacific, which began before COVID-19 started to spread.

    Jul 6, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    China Just Botched a Monumental Opportunity with the Philippines

    China hailed Philippines President Duterte's announcement in February of an end to the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in six months as evidence the United States was losing the great power competition with China in the Indo-Pacific. But on June 2, Duterte decided to postpone the VFA termination, breathing new life into the decades-long agreement.

    Jun 18, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Taiwan

    Is the '1992 Consensus' Fading Away in the Taiwan Strait?

    For nearly 30 years, China has routinely touted Taiwan's recognition of the 1992 Consensus as the sole basis for maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. However, the consensus may hold less relevance for both sides today than in the past.

    Jun 3, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • China

    China's Aggression Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Little to Do with COVID-19

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to monopolize the attention of leaders around the world, some international observers of China have concluded that Beijing is attempting to exploit the crisis for geopolitical gain. The reality is that China has been engaging in the same types of pressure tactics for years and will likely continue once the pandemic passes.

    May 20, 2020

    World Politics Review

  • International Diplomacy

    Reviewing Vietnam's 'Struggle' Options in the South China Sea

    Once again, Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise. Vietnam has publicly protested each Chinese move, but these statements have yet to alter Beijing's bad behavior. Among its many options, Hanoi could look to Washington for further assistance.

    May 4, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    There's Still Life in the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Washington and Manila have until August 9 to save it or negotiate a new VFA to avert any further alliance crisis.

    May 4, 2020

    Foreign Policy

  • Security Cooperation

    Don't Get Too Excited, 'Quad Plus' Meetings Won't Cover China

    The “Quad” countries met with several non-Quad countries to help each other amid the coronavirus pandemic. For all the good that can come of these countries working together, the Quad Plus, if sustained, may eventually jeopardize the Quad's primary mission: to counter China's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

    Apr 9, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • China

    A Short History of China's Fishing Militia and What It May Tell Us

    China's armed fishing militia plays an instrumental role in Beijing's strategy to enforce its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Why did Beijing create a maritime militia to begin with and how has it evolved over time? What does this history suggest about its future?

    Apr 6, 2020

    Maritime Issues

  • Vietnam

    China Remains Unfazed by Warming U.S.-Vietnam Security Ties

    In early March, the United States sent an aircraft carrier to Da Nang, Vietnam, in a display of goodwill and deepening security ties between the former adversaries. China is well aware of U.S.–Vietnam moves, and yet its public reaction to the USS Theodore Roosevelt can be summed up in one word: unfazed.

    Mar 19, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    Delayed Chuuk Secession Vote a Win for U.S. Policy in Oceania

    In February, the island of Chuuk postponed a referendum vote on secession from the Federated States of Micronesia. At least for the time being, Chuuk's decision is a significant victory in the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security competition with China in the Pacific Islands.

    Mar 6, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • International Diplomacy

    Where Does China's 'One Country, Two Systems' Stand in 2020?

    Hong Kong and Macau live under “one country, two systems,” and China aspires to include Taiwan in the future as well. But President Tsai Ing-wen's landslide re-election in Taiwan on January 11 resoundingly demonstrates that the arrangement is dead on arrival there.

    Feb 13, 2020

    The Diplomat

  • Indonesia

    Why Is China Pressing Indonesia Again Over Its Maritime Claims?

    China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea in December when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands. What drove Beijing to stake out its sovereignty claims against Indonesia at this particular time? And what can Indonesia and other regional neighbors expect of Chinese behavior going forward?

    Jan 16, 2020

    World Politics Review

  • Vietnam

    How to Read Vietnam’s Latest Defense White Paper: A Message to Great Powers

    Vietnam's latest defense white paper is full of warnings to China and opportunities for the United States. Washington needs to reassure Vietnam that the United States is committed to the relationship by deepening existing military exchanges, which will give Vietnam greater confidence to stand up to China when the time comes.

    Dec 31, 2019

    War on the Rocks

  • China

    What Taiwan and Vietnam Could Tell Us in 2020

    While many issues warrant attention in 2020, two that should be near the top of Asia-watchers' lists are Taiwan and Vietnam. Both are on the front lines of Chinese coercion, and their ability to respond, either with or without American support, will set the tone in the Indo-Pacific well beyond 2020.

    Dec 30, 2019

    South China Morning Post

  • China

    What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

    China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.

    Dec 9, 2019

    ChinaFile

  • Hong Kong

    Hong Kong's Historic Election Probably Won't Reverse Current Trends

    Whatever fate awaits Hong Kong, recent trends leave little reason for optimism. It is becoming an increasingly violent and polarized place that might prompt Chinese military action, and the crisis has opened a new wound in U.S.–China relations. The best hope is that the recent election reminds all sides why Hong Kong is worth saving.

    Nov 27, 2019

    The Hill

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam Needs to 'Struggle' More in the South China Sea

    With the standoff between China and Vietnam at the disputed Vanguard Bank ended, it makes sense to take stock of how Hanoi's security strategy fared in countering Chinese coercion. It may be time for Vietnam to consider a careful recalibration to allow for more “struggle” and less “cooperation.”

    Nov 15, 2019

    The Diplomat

  • Hong Kong

    How to Resolve the Hong Kong Crisis

    Rebuilding trust between the residents of Hong Kong and their government will be an extremely difficult task. But with some reasonable compromises on both sides, Hong Kong has the opportunity to step back from the brink of disaster.

    Oct 23, 2019

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    China Will Struggle to Shut Taiwan Out of the Pacific

    With the decisions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to recognize Beijing over Taipei, the list of Taiwan's official diplomatic partners has decreased to 15. But China is likely to have a difficult time eliminating Taiwan's presence diplomatically in the Pacific.

    Oct 3, 2019

    The Hill

  • Taiwan

    A Tale of Two Cities China Ignores at Its Peril

    Beijing may believe that, eventually, Taiwanese politics will turn in its favor. But it should consider experiences from the other two territories currently living under the formula—Hong Kong and Macau—to better understand why “one country, two systems” will never work in Taiwan, regardless of politics.

    Sep 12, 2019

    South China Morning Post

  • International Economic Relations

    Maintaining the U.S. Edge in the Freely Associated States

    In the geo-strategically vital region of the Freely Associated States (FAS), China is increasingly competing with the United States for influence. The United States and its allies and partners will need to engage not only with economic aid, but also with other issues including health, economic development, natural disasters, climate change and illegal fishing to sustain a strong partnership with the FAS.

    Sep 3, 2019

    East Asia Forum

  • Law of the Sea

    Why Vanguard Bank and Why Now? Explaining Chinese Behavior in the South China Sea

    What can Vietnam do now to make Chinese assertiveness against it less likely going forward? Although deepening the U.S.-Vietnam defense partnership in the short-term may be contributing to trouble with China, closer cooperation in the long-run could serve to deter China. Enhancing cooperation with Vietnam's other defense partners—namely Australia, Japan, and India—could help to deter Beijing as well.

    Aug 19, 2019

    Maritime Issues

  • North Korea

    Searching for Signs of Doi Moi in North Korea

    President Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Un prompted voluminous commentary about whether Pyongyang might adopt the “Vietnam model” of economic reform and opening up, known as doi moi. Some version of doi moi is not impossible in North Korea, but it will likely be more difficult than it was in Vietnam and made all the more so by Kim's reluctance to risk losing absolute control.

    Aug 12, 2019

    38 North

  • Hong Kong

    Beijing Won't Allow Its Hong Kong Integration Experiment to Fail

    Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.

    Jul 3, 2019

    The Hill

  • One Country, Two Systems, Lots of Problems

    The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's “one country, two systems” policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.

    Jun 21, 2019

    Foreign Policy

  • China

    Vietnam Is the Chinese Military's Preferred Warm-Up Fight

    China's last major war experience gave it virtually zero lessons to apply to future armed conflict. At some point the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA's crosshairs.

    May 15, 2019

    The Diplomat

  • Taiwan

    A Taiwan Diplomatic Victory Over China Could Be Inevitable

    It is likely that Taipei will lose diplomatic allies unless a cross-Strait agreement is reached on the 1992 Consensus. But it is perhaps equally inevitable that Taiwan will convince at least one or more states to recognize Taiwan over China. Such a development would help counter the narrative that Taiwan sovereignty is doomed.

    Mar 21, 2019

    The National Interest

  • Security Cooperation

    How the U.S. Is Thinking About the Quad

    The United States has been consistent in discussing the security objectives it seeks to promote through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. But U.S. interactions with other Quad partners have likely convinced Washington to repackage public presentation of the dialogue proceedings and manage its expectations of what the Quad can realistically achieve.

    Feb 7, 2019

    Australian Strategic Policy Institute

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam's Defense Policy of 'No' Quietly Saves Room for 'Yes'

    U.S.-China tensions are rising in the South China Sea. Washington should take solace in the fact that Vietnam's “Three Nos” policy actually offers significant breathing room for defense cooperation.

    Jan 21, 2019

    The Diplomat

  • Military Intelligence

    Explaining the Defense Intelligence Agency's Critical Role in National Security

    Despite its varied roles and responsibilities, the DIA can be boiled down to just two core missions: intelligence analysis and intelligence collection. Having a better understanding of these core missions could help to properly frame the agency’s value to the intelligence, military, and policymaking communities.

    Jan 11, 2019

    War on the Rocks

  • Taiwan

    Is a Sustainable Peace Possible in the Taiwan Strait?

    Between now and the next Taiwanese presidential election in 2020, the prospects of forging a sustainable peace between Taiwan and China are exceptionally low. Both Chinese President Xi and Taiwanese President Tsai are dug into their respective positions.

    Jan 7, 2019

    Foreign Policy

  • Law of the Sea

    The Quad Needs Broadening to Balance China—and Now's the Time to Do It

    Even in its resurrected form, the Quad could be in danger of failing to achieve its mission. The Quad might consider getting its house in order by extending dialogue partnerships to ASEAN maritime counterclaimant states.

    Oct 22, 2018

    Foreign Policy

  • International Diplomacy

    Making Sense of South Korea's Cautious Optimism on North Korea

    South Korea is cautiously optimistic that North Korea will denuclearize, and it hopes that this will lead to the normalization of relations. The vast majority of U.S. observers believe that the North is bluffing. Seoul and Washington should continue to strive for transparency about the future of the peninsula.

    Jul 24, 2018

    Pacific Council on International Policy

  • Security Cooperation

    Is India the Weakest Link in the Quad?

    India's sustained membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue would fit with the goal of balancing against China to deter it from further militarizing the Indo-Pacific. But New Dehli may be getting cold feet.

    Jul 23, 2018

    Foreign Policy

  • Taiwan

    Beijing's Threats Against Taiwan Are Deadly Serious

    China's perception of the political status of Taiwan and how close Taipei and Washington have become has come to dominate cross-strait relations. Taiwan and the United States should prepare for greater hostility in the coming years, almost certainly lasting until the next Taiwan presidential election in 2020.

    May 22, 2018

    Foreign Policy

  • Vietnam

    Deciphering Vietnam's Evolving Military Doctrine in the South China Sea

    Vietnam has sought to balance China's expanding presence in the South China Sea through diplomacy and military modernization. The Vietnam People's Army has acquired many useful weapons, but unfamiliarity with combat in the sea and air will test its evolving military doctrine.

    May 11, 2018

    Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam's Remarkable Month of Balancing Against China in the South China Sea

    Vietnam in March very publicly engaged in a string of activities to strengthen deterrence against China in the South China Sea. But Hanoi's push to deepen external defense ties with states that can help its cause will not necessarily translate into greater risk-taking in the region.

    Mar 26, 2018

    The Diplomat

  • What Next for China-Pakistan Relations?

    The recent downgrade in U.S.-Pakistan relations will present both opportunities and challenges for China. Beijing can use the recent strain to promote a new model of international development, but must be wary of becoming the sole external power responsible for maintaining stability in the region.

    Feb 26, 2018

    South China Morning Post

  • Presidential Intelligence Briefings: The Process Is Working. But Is Trump Listening?

    President Trump receives intelligence briefings on a fairly regular basis and he appears engaged in discussions with senior staff and the intelligence community about content. Ideally, this process is informing his national security decisionmaking.

    Feb 15, 2018

    Lawfare

  • Taiwan

    Why China Should (Still) Feel Good About Taiwan… but Maybe Not for Long

    Chinese leaders have ample reason to feel good about Taiwan, namely because Taiwanese President Tsai had been focusing her energy on stabilizing cross-Strait relations based on the status quo rather than moving toward independence. But because of its pressure tactics, Beijing may inadvertently push Taiwan in a more extreme direction.

    Jan 24, 2018

    Global Taiwan Brief

  • International Diplomacy

    China's Reluctance on Sanctions Enforcement in North Korea

    It's fair to question whether Beijing intends to fully enforce sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime because such actions tend to undermine China's approach in North Korea. Beijing likely seeks to prevent the collapse of the North Korean regime to ensure that neither a spillover of refugees nor a reunified pro-U.S. Korea emerges on its doorstep.

    Jan 4, 2018

    The Hill

  • Military Strategy

    Xi's Consolidation of Power at the 19th Party Congress: Implications for PLA Aerospace Forces

    Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.

    Dec 11, 2017

    Jamestown Foundation's China Brief

  • Vietnam

    U.S. Striking Just the Right Balance with Vietnam in South China Sea

    The Trump administration has seized upon positive momentum from the Obama administration to elevate U.S.-Vietnam defense cooperation to new heights.

    Nov 23, 2017

    The Diplomat

  • Security Cooperation

    General Robert Brown on the U.S. Army's Role in Asia

    Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), offers his perspective of key defense and security issues facing USARPAC in the Indo-Pacific region today. He discusses what the Army's role would be in any potential application of U.S. military power, as well as its peacetime role in strengthening U.S. alliances.

    Oct 25, 2017

    Pacific Council on International Policy

  • Military Aircraft

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.

    Sep 13, 2017

    War on the Rocks

  • International Organizations

    China Will Regret India's Entry Into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

    Russia first proposed India as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization likely in part to complement bilateral economic and security engagement, but mainly to constrain China's growing influence in the organization.

    Jul 24, 2017

    The Diplomat

  • International Diplomacy

    How China Could Truly Rein in North Korea

    China has key pressure points at its disposal to help deter North Korea from nuclear activities. It could cut off oil supplies or limit other trade, or crack down on illicit finance networks as many of the banks laundering money for the regime are in China. It could also stop shielding Pyongyang at the UN.

    Jun 20, 2017

    The Cipher Brief

  • Taiwan

    Taiwan's 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review in Context

    Taiwan's 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review is consistent with past reviews on defense strategy, reform of the military service system, and defense budget constraints. It also emphasizes the importance to President Tsai of Taiwan's domestic defense industry and shows uncertainty about U.S. Asia policy.

    Jun 14, 2017

    Global Taiwan Brief

  • Taiwan

    Correspondence: Stability or Volatility Across the Taiwan Strait?

    Prolonged tensions — even possibly amounting to a cross-strait cold peace — are likely if China's President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen cannot reach basic agreement on Taiwan's sovereignty.

    May 10, 2017

    International Security

  • International Diplomacy

    Despite Promising Signs, China's North Korea Policy Unchanged

    Recent U.S. statements and public discussions on China's willingness to punish or otherwise influence North Korea in a direction favorable to U.S. interests have been optimistic. But China's continued support of the North should temper U.S. expectations.

    Apr 24, 2017

    The Cipher Brief

  • International Diplomacy

    China Tolerating Vietnam's South China Sea Activities, for Now

    China has probably tolerated Vietnam's South China Sea construction activities because it feels confident in its military position in the region. Chinese leaders might change their stance if they believe Vietnam is trying to enlist the support of the U.S. or other partners to settle bilateral disputes.

    Mar 3, 2017

    Jamestown Foundation's China Brief

  • Taiwan

    Why China Should Feel Good About Taiwan

    Chinese leaders should seek to engage in good-faith discussions with Taiwanese counterparts. Beijing should also recognize that Tsai's tentativeness about the new U.S. administration could change if cross-Strait military tensions escalate.

    Feb 22, 2017

    Global Taiwan Brief

  • Intelligence Community

    Adapting the President's Daily Brief to Trump

    President-elect Trump is receiving President Obama's version of the daily briefing; it has yet to be tailored to his preferences, to which every president is entitled. The intelligence community should seek to adapt the briefing to maximize its interest and relevance to the president-elect.

    Jan 6, 2017

    War on the Rocks

  • International Diplomacy

    Walking Away from One-China Policy Imperils Taiwan

    The U.S. One-China policy has helped keep the peace for decades. Abandoning it now could result in stiffer Chinese resolve. Such a strategy may even backfire by triggering an otherwise avoidable crisis.

    Dec 22, 2016

    The National Interest

  • International Diplomacy

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

    The National Interest

  • Intelligence Analysis

    Giving Intelligence Analysts Their Voices Back: The Case for Analyst Perspectives

    The intelligence community should give analysts a channel to convey their individual insights. This would give policymakers well-reasoned alternative views.

    Oct 20, 2016

    War on the Rocks

  • Taiwan

    Taiwan Should Not Worry About the Vatican

    Concerns are growing in Taipei over whether the Holy See intends to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Beijing could be entertaining Vatican requests not out of genuine interest in reestablishing relations, but to put Taiwan on edge.

    Oct 5, 2016

    PacNet, CSIS

  • International Diplomacy

    A Bumpy Road Ahead for China-Taiwan Relations

    Taiwanese President Tsai has issued numerous political overtures to Beijing, yet Chinese President Xi has demonstrated a clear reluctance to accept her as a credible partner. Instead, he has turned up the heat on Tsai in an attempt to undermine her administration.

    Sep 22, 2016

    Defense Dossier

  • Intelligence Community

    Keeping Up with the Policymakers: The Unclassified Tearline

    Unclassified tearlines could convey the bottom line and potential implications of a classified story in unclassified terms, while obscuring sensitive sources and methods. There are good reasons to build them into the business process and culture of intelligence agencies.

    Jul 28, 2016

    War on the Rocks

  • Military Transformation

    Xi's Purge of the Military Prepares the Chinese Army for Confrontation

    Xi Jinping is relying on an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, echoing Mao Zedong's dictum that “the party commands the gun,” and implementing a sweeping reorganization of the PLA to ensure his personal dominance over the military and to strengthen its ability to deter or win future wars.

    Apr 21, 2016

    Newsweek

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