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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Elizabeth C. Economy"

Podcast: The End of the Asian Century?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang October 10, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Observers frequently characterize Asia as “emerging”, “ascendant”, or headed for an “inexorable rise”. But what if demographic, economic, and security trends are instead propelling the continent in a different direction? On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, lays out the provocative arguments at the heart of his new book The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region. He suggests that while Asian countries have previously reaped demographic dividends from their large youth populations, governments now confront new challenges. Read more »

Podcast: The Future of China’s Civil Society

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Jack-Ma-climate-conference Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma delivers his speech during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 5, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Andreas Fulda charts the shifting dynamics that are transforming how Chinese NGOs and their foreign partners operate. Fulda, assistant professor at the University of Nottingham and editor of Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovation in the PR China, argues that because of increasing domestic pressures—such as that from China’s new foreign NGO management law—international actors face a challenging dilemma: ride out the political waves or pull out of China completely? Read more »

Podcast: China’s Unlikely Partners on the Road to Reform

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Unlikely-Partners-edit Cover: Harvard University Press

Over the past forty years, the Chinese economy has undergone a striking transformation. In 1976, in the wake of Mao’s death and the Cultural Revolution, planned production and fixed pricing stifled market forces. Today, thriving capitalism vies for dominance with the socialist tenets of China’s past. What forces, and which individuals, brought about such a dramatic evolution? Read more »

When the United States Abdicates the Throne, Who Will Lead?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to reporters as he waits to speak by phone with the Saudi Arabia's King Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to reporters as he waits to speak by phone with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in the Oval Office on January 29, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Donald J. Trump’s initial forays into foreign policy suggest a desire to abdicate the throne. Not his own position as president of course, but rather the United States’ position as the world’s preeminent power—both as a driver of a globalized world and a defender of the traditional liberal order. He has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asia-Pacific trade pact that would have cemented U.S. leadership among the economies that make up 40 percent of the world’s GDP. Read more »

Podcast: A Great Place to Have a War

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A Buddhist monk poses next to unexploded bombs dropped by the U.S. Air Force planes during the Vietnam War, in Xieng Khouang in Laos September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva A Buddhist monk poses on September 3, 2016, next to unexploded bombs dropped by the U.S. Air Force planes during the Vietnam War in Xieng Khouang in Laos. The United States dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos in the course of the war. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

While Vietnam and Cambodia loom large in American memories of the Vietnam War, neighboring Laos recedes into the background. But during the 1960s and 1970s, the tiny, landlocked nation was the site of the CIA’s transformation from a loosely organized spy agency to a powerful paramilitary organization. Read more »

Podcast: North Korea’s Information Underground

by Elizabeth C. Economy
north-korea-balloon-leaflets Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector and leader of an anti-North Korea civic group, prepares to release a balloon containing leaflets denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un near the demilitarized zone in Paju, South Korea, April 29, 2016. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Jieun Baek, author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society, tells the story of the outlawed political and social information that is penetrating North Korea’s hermetic borders. Through dozens of interviews with North Korean defectors, Baek finds that everyday North Koreans crave news and entertainment from the outside world—from romantic television dramas to basic weather reports. Most of all, the foreign knowledge they seek helps to dismantle the façade of total information control the North Korean government has tried to erect around its citizens. Read more »

Podcast: In China, What’s New and What’s Old?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
confucius-umbrellas Students holding umbrellas walk past a statue of Confucius after the morning session on the second day of the National College Entrance Exams in Wuhan, Hubei province, on June 8, 2009. (Stringer/Reuters)

According to Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and editor of the recently published Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, China is a place that lends itself to misconceptions. With shifting borders, crisscrossing cultural traditions, and a winding history of more than 5,000 years, it is easy for outside observers to oversimplify the country’s ongoing evolution. Read more »

Podcast: A Chinese Perspective on the U.S. Election

by Elizabeth C. Economy
chinese-consulate-election-watch Chinese visitors look at a screen showing live results of the U.S. presidential election at an event held at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, on November 9, 2016. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

It has been a busy few weeks for foreign policy analysts in Beijing as they struggle to determine how China should best approach relations with the incoming U.S. president. On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Chen Dingding, professor of international relations at Jinan University and the founding director of the newly established Intellisia Institute, offers his advice on how Chinese leaders should approach a Trump administration. Read more »

Reading Between the Tweets: Trump, Taiwan, and China

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour event at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, on December 8, 2016. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

As the Trump-Taiwan-China saga continues to unfold, I thought it might be useful to look at the sequence of events and report on how Chinese scholars are looking at President-Elect Trump’s first foreign policy musings and how we in the United States might understand his statements and actions to date. Here is a brief rundown: Read more »

Podcast: Xi Jinping’s Team of Rivals

by Elizabeth C. Economy
xi-jinping-li-keqiang-team-of-rivals Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Premier Li Keqiang attend a medal ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, for World War II veterans, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 2, 2015. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

“Sometimes if you want to purge a leader, start with his mishu [secretary].” Cheng Li, director of the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, is one of the last true practitioners of “Pekingology”—the careful study of the inner workings of China’s top leadership. Li’s new book, Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership, explores the intricate connections between Xi Jinping and Xi’s former classmates, close advisors, and political rivals. Read more »