Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Links of Interest 03/03/2011

March 3, 2011
Sunset on the South China Sea off Mui Ne villa...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Asia: A sea of troubles | The EconomistMore on the South China Sea from The Economist (from December 2010; still worth a read if you missed it).

    tags: FC south_china_sea china US

    • Chinese naval influence is extending not just deeper, but farther from China’s shores. In 2010 Sri Lanka opened a Chinese-built port in the south, at Hambantota. Work proceeded on the port at Gwadar in Pakistan. And Chinese warships paid their first call on Myanmar. All of this fuelled Indian suspicions of a “string of pearls” strategy designed to choke its own maritime breathing-space. It is as part of this broader extension of influence that the South China Sea will be a focus of concern.

      Time to prepare for a rainy day

      That concern will be heightened by two particular aspects of China’s military modernisation. One is an unannounced aircraft-carrier programme. The other, of more immediate relevance in 2011, is China’s development of the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, which the Chinese and some foreign newspapers have touted as a “game-changing” carrier-buster.

  • The South China Sea: A sea of disputes | The EconomistWhy the South China Sea is such a thorny issue – nice overview.

    tags: FC south_china_sea china

tags: FC Taiwan China US

  • International Relations theorist Charles Glaser has joined a growing chorus calling for the abandonment of Taiwan. His take on why we should abandon the island is tucked into his “nuanced version of realism” argued on the pages of Foreign Affairs. As do most “abandon Taiwan” arguments, he begins with a “realist” argument for why war between the United States and China is unlikely. Why? Because besides Taiwan, Sino-U.S. interests are compatible.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Odds and Ends

February 27, 2011
National Sun Yat-sen University

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So the new academic semester is underway here in Taiwan – week two will begin on Tuesday after the 228 Memorial Day holiday. This will be my final semester studying in Taiwan, and should be quite different than my previous three semesters here, in that I have no classes this time around. I was able to complete all my course requirements during my first three semesters, so now I am free to focus on the final piece of the puzzle – my thesis.

I’ve been pretty satisfied with my progress on my thesis thus far. A month ago, I hadn’t even written the proposal, and now I’ve already got a pretty good first draft of the first two chapters done. My deadline is mid-May to turn the final product in to my advisor, and the defense should go in the first half of June. It’s going to be a lot of work, but already in the short time I have been working on it, I have enjoyed the fact that its production is truly my responsibility and that I can basically follow the research where it leads.

June will be our last month in Taiwan. Yes, nothing lasts forever, and I’ve already got orders to my next assignment. As luck may have it, I’m headed to Denver, Colorado to be a company commander. I am looking forward to that duty. I guess I will have to decide at some point whether or not I want to continue with exclusively Asia-Pacific focus for this blog after that, or if perhaps a transition to a more “general-purpose” military blog would be more in order (something like, I don’t know, maybe Wings Over Iraq? – by the way, I just noticed this blog made the blogroll there – thanks, Crispin!). Regardless, rest assured that Taiwan, China, and the Asia-Pacific will remain vital interests of mine and that material related to the same will appear here from time to time whether or not the overall focus shifts once I move from Taiwan.

But in the meantime, it’s nose to the grindstone for me! That, and a little traveling to indulge in a hobby, triathlons. I will head to Singapore next month for a race and then to the Beijing area in May for a final hurrah before heading back to the U.S.

Completely unrelated to all that, but of interest nonetheless, I commend your attention to a new blog written by one of my classmates at National Sun Yat-sen University. It’s only been around for a little over a month, but already Observations, Comments, and Whatnot is chock full of opinion and well, commentary on Taiwan, China, and more. Head on over and check it out: http://observerlhs-observations.blogspot.com/. The author, Nathan Novak, is averaging greater than a post a day so far in February, and they are not short ones, either. Finally, at least one of his posts has been picked up for publication by the Taipei Times after he posted it to his blog. Take a look.

Links of Interest 02/24/2011

February 24, 2011
Poppy ELINT Satellite (Type 2)

Image via Wikipedia

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Links of Interest 02/13/2011

February 13, 2011
Rumsfeld

Image via Wikipedia

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Review: Nothing to Envy

January 6, 2011

Nothing to EnvyNothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since North Korea has been acting so erratically in the last year, I decided it was high time to learn a bit more about people’s lives there. This book was a fantastic choice and a real eye-opener. Sure, many people in the West know peripherally about the great famine that struck North Korea in the 1990s, but this book really takes you inside what it was like to live through such times. Based largely on accounts taken from defectors, Nothing to Envy is a tour-de-force that can help people have a greater understanding of what life has been like in North Korea over the past several decades.

View all my reviews

On the 2010 China Military Power Report, Part I

August 18, 2010
National emblem of the People's Republic of China

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I spent part of my day today reading through the opening section of the new Pentagon report on China‘s military power.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t all that impressed by chapter 1, the “annual update”  where significant developments related to questions raised by Congress in the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act are discussed.  Perhaps it is because I have been studying China for the entire time frame this report covers (2009) – there really wasn’t much here that was new to me; or perhaps it was because when I read the previous version (2009) of the China Military Power report in the spring of 2009 I was a fairly new “China watcher”; now most of this seems like old hat.  Or maybe it was because every time I read the report talking about things happening in whatever month (say for instance, June), I had to remind myself that since the report is so late in being released this year, they aren’t talking about the month of June that recently ended, but instead the June that is nearly 15 months ago now.  So a lot of what is discussed seems a bit stale and out of date.  Note to DoD: release the report on time, and this last beef won’t be nearly such an issue.

There aren’t a lot of surprises in chapter 1.  That said, here are a few nuggets I found to be interesting.  The PRC continues its military buildup unabated, regardless of thawing relations across the Taiwan Strait.  (You don’t say.)  The PRC continues to add to its arsenal of short range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and cruise missiles aimed at Taiwan.  (It was nice to see that the DoD estimate of the number of SRBMs opposite Taiwan in December 2009 to be 1,050 to 1,150; many of the scare-mongering pieces I see currently talk about more like 1,500 SRBMs.)  China is developing a host of anti-access, area-denial weapons systems, one of which is the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), designed to be a U.S. “carrier killer.”  In conjunction with developing anti-access technologies, the PRC is also beefing up its over-the-horizon skywave and surface wave radars.  These radars are used to help target ships at sea that continue to move after a ballistic missile is launched in their general direction and are used to supplement surveillance satellites.  There is a (very) short section in chapter 1 (a single paragraph on page 7) that discusses the PRC’s cyberwarfare capabilities.  I hope there is more on this topic later in the report, for otherwise this is a pretty big topic of interest for me that was hardly mentioned in chapter 1.

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