The “Asia Chessboard” features in-depth conversations with the most prominent strategic thinkers on Asia. Co-hosts Jude Blanchette, Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS, and Michael Green, Henry A. Kissinger Chair at CSIS and CEO of the United States Studies Centre, take the debate beyond the headlines of the day to explore the historical context and inside decision-making process on major geopolitical developments from the Himalayas to the South China Sea. Experience the hard calls and consequential debates that drive US policy towards this critical region of the world.
Japan Steps Up
This week, Mike and Jude are joined by Christopher B. Johnstone, former National Security Council director for Asia under President Biden and director for Japan and Oceanian affairs under President Obama who now serves as senior adviser and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). They begin with a look at what Japan’s new national security strategy means for its role in the region and the U.S.-Japan alliance. Next, they turn to China-Japan relations, examining how Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration is navigating declining Japanese public sentiment toward his country’s largest trading partner. They then discuss how conversations in Tokyo are unfolding about what type of role Japan might play in a potential conflict in and around Taiwan. The conversation concludes by examining how crisis management and crisis communications mechanisms between Taiwan, Japan, and China are evolving.
Balance of Power in Southeast Asia
This week, Mike and Jude are joined by Bilahari Kausikan, Chairman of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, and former Ambassador-at-Large and former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore. They start off the discussion with a look into Singapore’s history and how it has shaped its foreign policy outlook. Next, they discuss the effectiveness of ASEAN in maintaining balance of power in Southeast Asia. They then discuss China’s foreign policy trajectory, Southeast Asia’s position amidst heightened U.S.-China competition, and the performances of other Southeast Asian partnerships. Finally, they wrap up the discussion with a conversation on the future of the Sino-Russian relationship.
Chinese Statecraft in the Pacific Islands
This week, Mike and Jude sit down with Pete Connolly, a retired officer in the Australian Defence Force and Adjunct Fellow with the Asia Program at CSIS, to discuss Chinese statecraft in the Pacific Islands. They start by unpacking China’s strategic interests in Melanesia and the Pacific Islands more broadly, and what its involvement in the region means for the U.S., Australia, and other allies and partners. Next, they dive into the military implications of increasing Chinese activity in the region. They then unpack allied interests in the Pacific Islands and local perceptions of China, the U.S., and Australia.
Unpacking the U.S. National Security Strategy
In this episode of the Asia Chessboard, Mike and Jude are joined by Dr. Gorana Grgic, a jointly appointed Senior Lecturer at the Department of Government and International Relations and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, to discuss the recently released U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS). They start off the discussion by highlighting the key takeaways, and what was missing, from the National Security Strategy. They then discuss how U.S. priorities and resource allocations are reflected in the NSS, and what these signal for U.S. allies. To close out the discussion, they discuss how the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy fit together to create a broader picture of U.S. strategic priorities.
India’s Evolving Partnerships
This week, Mike and Jude are joined by Manjari Chatterjee Miller, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), to take a deep look into India’s evolving partnerships and its position in the global system. They start by discussing India’s role in the Quad and how it has shifted in recent years. They then unpack India’s broader cooperative efforts within the Indo-Pacific. Finally, they assess the impact of the war in Ukraine on the India-Russia relationship, and what public perception of the war has been in India.
Xi's Rule and Risks
This week, Mike and Jude sit down with Bates Gill, Head of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University, to discuss his recent book, Daring to Struggle: China's Global Ambitions Under Xi Jinping. They begin by discussing Gill’s career trajectory and key themes that emerge from the book. They then dive deeper into China’s trajectory under Xi Jinping’s leadership, focusing on Xi’s risk tolerance and China’s near-term ambitions. Finally, they outline near-term actions the U.S. and its allies could take to bolster strategic deterrence against China.