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    Chinese Defense Spending Continues Rise as U.S. Budget Declines

    As China prepares for the final plenum of the 17th Party Congress, it has announced that the new defense budget would amount to 670 billion RMB (approximately $106 billion), which equates to a 11.2 percent increase. This is in sharp contrast to the United States, which, despite a so-called “pivot … More

    U.S.–Burma Policy Is About More Than a Successful By-Election

    As we inch closer to the April 1 by-elections in Burma, during which Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) will contest some 46 parliamentary seats, Western observers need to step back, assess the conditions on the ground, and determine whether the recent reforms in Burma—coupled … More

    Takeaways from Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's Visit to the U.S.

    Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States was extremely short on substance. It was really just a public relations exercise for both sides aimed at audiences back home. And as for building rapport between leaders, by nature, the visit was bound to come up short. President Obama … More

    Alliance at Work: Philippine Military Kills Southeast Asia Terrorist Leader

    According to Associated Press reports today, the Philippine military has killed Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorist on Thursday. With U.S. support, two OV-10 aircraft bombed a terrorist stronghold, comprising militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). When the dust settled, Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, known by … More

    NATO Report Indicates Taliban Plotting Power Grab

    In a secret NATO report recently leaked to the British media, Taliban insurgents told their interrogators that they are increasingly confident that the Taliban will retake power once NATO forces depart Afghanistan, and that Pakistan is positioning itself for such an outcome. NATO officials have sought to downplay the report’s … More

    Hasty Afghan Troop Drawdown Could Jeopardize Drone Campaign

    President Obama publicly admitted Monday for the first time that the U.S. is conducting an aggressive drone missile campaign against terrorists predominantly located in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. U.S. officials in the past have been tight-lipped about drones, partly out of deference to Pakistani officials, who are sensitive about … More

    The Good News of Taiwan's Election

    With the election of Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan has once again demonstrated the maturity of its political processes. The successful conduct of Taiwan’s democratic elections reminds us that Taiwan is part of the growing group of states capable of undertaking peaceful elections as the means of effecting political transition and change. … More

    Taliban Prisoner Release A Premature, Dangerously Naive Move

    The British newspaper The Guardian has reported that the U.S. has agreed in principle to release high-ranking Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay in return for the Afghan insurgents’ agreement to open a political office in Qatar. If true, this would demonstrate that the Obama Administration is dangerously naïve about the … More

    North vs. South: How Economic Freedom Impacts Korea

    Real life can never give social scientists the kind of laboratory-quality tests that natural scientists can create, but sometimes it comes close. Since the two Koreas–North and South–are virtually identical culturally, it would appear that the different political systems explain the outcome illustrated by the figure below, which comes from last … More

    China May Gain Base in Seychelles

    Chinese officials have recently been discussing the possibility of establishing a naval facility in the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. Unlike the comments made by Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo last year when he raised the prospect of China establishing overseas naval bases, however, these comments appear to be … More