Security

FSI scholars produce research aimed at creating a safer world and examing the consequences of security policies on institutions and society. They look at longstanding issues including nuclear nonproliferation and the conflicts between countries like North and South Korea. But their research also examines new and emerging areas that transcend traditional borders – the drug war in Mexico and expanding terrorism networks. FSI researchers look at the changing methods of warfare with a focus on biosecurity and nuclear risk. They tackle cybersecurity with an eye toward privacy concerns and explore the implications of new actors like hackers.

Along with the changing face of conflict, terrorism and crime, FSI researchers study food security. They tackle the global problems of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation by generating knowledge and policy-relevant solutions. 

Authors
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) is pleased to announce a suite of training, fellowship, and funding opportunities to support Stanford students interested in the area of contemporary Asia. APARC invites highly motivated and dedicated undergraduate- and graduate-level students to apply for these offerings:

APARC Summer 2023 Research Assistant Internships

APARC seeks current Stanford students to join our team as paid research assistant interns for the duration of the summer 2023 quarter. Research assistants work with assigned APARC faculty members on varied issues related to the politics, economies, populations, security, foreign policies, and international relations of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. This summer's projects include:

  • The Biopolitics of Cigarette Smoking and Production
  • The Bureaucratic State: A Personnel Management Lens
  • China’s Largest Corporations
  • Healthy Aging in Asia
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: How China Became A Great Power
  • Nationalism and Racism in Asia
  • U.S. Rivals: Construct or Reality?
     

All summer research assistant positions will be on campus for eight weeks. The hourly pay rate is $17.25 for undergraduate students, $25 for graduate students.

The deadline for submitting applications and letters of recommendation is March 1, 2023.

Please follow these application guidelines:

I. Prepare the following materials:


II. Fill out the online application form for summer 2023, including the above two attachments, and submit the complete form.

III. Arrange for a letter of recommendation from a faculty to be sent directly to Shorenstein APARC. Please note: the faculty members should email their letters directly to Kristen Lee at kllee@stanford.edu. We will consider only applications that include all supporting documents.

For more information and details about each summer research project, visit the Summer Research Assistant Internships Page >


 

APARC 2023-24 Predoctoral Fellowship

APARC supports Stanford Ph.D. candidates who specialize in contemporary Asia topics. The Center offers a stipend of $37,230 for the 2023-24 academic year, plus Stanford's Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) fee for three quarters. We expect fellows to remain in residence at the Center throughout the year and to participate in Center activities.

Applications for the 2023-24 fellowship cycle of the APARC Predoctoral Fellowship are due March 1, 2023.

Please follow these application guidelines:

I. Prepare the following materials:

  • A current CV;
  • A cover letter including a brief description of your dissertation (up to 5 double-spaced pages);
  • A copy of your transcripts. Transcripts should cover all graduate work and include evidence of recently-completed work.

II. Fill out the following online application form, including the above three attachments, and submit the complete application form.

III. Arrange for two (2) letters of recommendation from members of your dissertation committee to be sent directly to Shorenstein APARC.
Please note: the faculty/advisors should email their letters directly to Kristen Lee at kllee@stanford.edu.

We will consider only applications that include all supporting documents. The Center will give priority to candidates who are prepared to finish their degree by the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

For more information, visit the APARC Predoctoral Fellowship Page >


 

APARC Diversity Grant

APARC's diversity grant supports Stanford undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented minorities who are interested in contemporary Asia. The Center will award a maximum of $10,000 per grant to support a wide range of research expenses.

The Center is reviewing grant applications on a rolling basis.
To be considered for the grant, please follow these application guidelines:

I. Prepare the following materials:

  • A statement describing the proposed research activity or project (no more than three pages);
  • A current CV;
  • An itemized budget request explaining research expense needs.

II. Fill out the following online application form, including the above three attachments, and submit the complete application form.

III. Arrange for a letter of recommendation from a faculty to be sent directly to APARC.

Please note: the faculty members should email their letters directly to Kristen Lee at kllee@stanford.edu.

For more information, visit the APARC Diversity Grant page >

Read More

Tongtong Zhang
Q&As

Predoctoral Fellow Spotlight: Tongtong Zhang Examines Channels for Public Deliberation in China

Political Scientist and APARC Predoctoral Fellow Tongtong Zhang explores how the Chinese Communist Party maintains control through various forms of political communication.
Predoctoral Fellow Spotlight: Tongtong Zhang Examines Channels for Public Deliberation in China
Portrait of Ma'ili Yee, 2020-21 APARC Diversity Fellow
News

Student Spotlight: Ma’ili Yee Illuminates a Vision for Building the Blue Pacific Continent

With support from Shorenstein APARC’s Diversity Grant, coterminal student Ma’ili Yee (BA ’20, MA ’21) reveals how Pacific island nations are responding to the U.S.-China rivalry by developing a collective strategy for their region.
Student Spotlight: Ma’ili Yee Illuminates a Vision for Building the Blue Pacific Continent
Stanford main quad at night and text calling for nominations for APARC's 2023 Shorenstein Journalism Award.
News

Nominations Open for 2023 Shorenstein Journalism Award

Sponsored by Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the annual award recognizes outstanding journalists and journalism organizations for excellence in coverage of the Asia-Pacific region. News editors, publishers, scholars, and organizations focused on Asia research and analysis are invited to submit nominations for the 2023 award through February 15.
Nominations Open for 2023 Shorenstein Journalism Award
Hero Image
All News button
1
Subtitle

To support Stanford students working in the area of contemporary Asia, the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Center is offering research assistant positions for the duration of the 2023 summer quarter, a predoctoral fellowship for the duration of the 2023-24 academic year, and a Diversity Grant that funds research activities by students from underrepresented minorities.

Authors
Noa Ronkin
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

After U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping recently met face-to-face for the first time since Biden took office on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, Biden said he absolutely believed “there need not be a new Cold War” between the two powers. International politics scholar and expert on U.S.-China relations Jia Qingguo, however, is not as certain about this assessment. “If a Cold War between the two countries has not arrived quite yet, it no longer appears far away,” said Jia, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University.

Jia, the Fall 2022 Payne Distinguished Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and a visiting scholar at APARC, headlined this quarter’s Payne Lecture, speaking to a packed audience that gathered on December 6 for a timely discussion titled Avoiding Disaster in U.S.-China Relations, co-hosted by APARC and FSI.

The Payne Lectureship at FSI, named for Frank E. Payne and Arthur W. Payne, aims to raise public understanding of the complex policy issues facing the global community and advance international cooperation. The lectureship brings to Stanford internationally esteemed leaders from academia and the policy world who combine visionary thinking and a broad, practical grasp of their fields with the capacity to provide insights into pressing challenges of global concern. Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the Payne Lectureship hosts experts from Asia who examine crucial questions in U.S.-China relations.

Professor Jia is uniquely qualified to assess the prospects of U.S.-China relations and offer perspectives from both inside and outside of China, said Jean Oi, director of APARC’s China Program and a senior fellow at FSI. Jia has published widely in both Chinese and English, taught at multiple international institutions, and earned a doctorate from Cornell University. He is engaged both with China’s academic and policymaking circles in his roles as vice president of the China American Studies Association, vice president of the Chinese Association for International Studies, and a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference.

Jia’s address was followed by a panel discussion with Shorenstein APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar, an expert on China and U.S. foreign policy, and FSI Director Michael McFaul, the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies at Stanford’s Department of Political Science.


Sign up for APARC newsletters to receive analysis from our experts and guest speakers.


 

Under the influence of the Thucydides Trap argument, almost any action by the United States and China is perceived and interpreted as an effort to prepare for an eventual showdown.
Jia Qingguo

Intensifying Rivalry

The use of the Cold War analogy in the context of the U.S.-China competition has gained currency in recent years among politicians and policymakers. Until recently, however, explained Jia, the U.S.-China relationship did not manifest the three prominent features that characterized the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union: ideological competition, military confrontation, and economic separation. This reality is changing. “Now, between the two countries, ideological competition is taking shape, military confrontation is emerging, and although economic relations remain close, efforts to delink the two economies, especially in the hi-tech sectors, are increasing,” Jia said, noting the Biden administration’s ban on semiconductor exports to China, China’s increasing efforts to develop indigenous technologies, and the intensifying military tensions over Taiwan.

Why has the relationship frayed in this way? Jia enumerated several factors of particular relevance. The first is the influence of the Thucydides Trap argument, popularized by Harvard political scientist Graham T. Allison to describe a potential conflict between the United States and China. The idea draws from the Greek historian’s metaphor of the concomitant dangers when a rising power challenges a ruling power, as when Athens challenged Sparta. Under the influence of this line of argument, said Jia, almost any action by the United States and China is perceived and interpreted as an effort to prepare for an eventual showdown.

For example, Americans who subscribe to the Thucydides Trap argument interpret China's growing defense spending as military buildup aimed at challenging American military supremacy, and its Belt and Road Initiative and aid programs as schemes designed to facilitate its grand geopolitical ambitions. Similarly, for Chinese who subscribe to this line of argument, the central objective of U.S. diplomacy is to contain China, Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea are designed to undermine China's territorial sovereignty, and U.S. criticism of China's human rights practices is intended to create political instability in the country. “People who subscribe to the Thucydides Trap argument in both countries cite each other’s views to support their argument and push for more confrontational policies in both countries,” argued Jia. “Such efforts have a significant impact on the bilateral relationship.”

The second factor elevating tensions between the two world powers is their different political value systems, Jia explained. For a long time, China’s Communist system was no hindrance to the development of the U.S. China policy framework of engagement. Perhaps this was the case because China was weaker and many U.S. policymakers believed that political liberalization in the country would follow its integration into the international system, Jia theorized. In recent years, however, Americans have come to recognize that China did not change in the direction they had anticipated. Now, said Jia, former supporters of engagement as the foundation of U.S. China policy feel disappointed and see China as a threat to the U.S.-led liberal international order. Against this backdrop, the Chinese leadership also feels the need to elevate ideology at home. The emphasis on the contrasting ideologies between the two countries “is bad news for the bilateral relationship," Jia stated. “If the relationship is about interests, then we can always negotiate and compromise, but if it’s about values, then it becomes a conflict of good versus evil” which leaves no room for pragmatic solutions.

Jia sees the role of Donald Trump as a third significant factor in leading U.S.-China relations to a collision course. Unlike previous U.S. presidents, he noted, Trump was willing to get tough on China and push the limit of the bilateral relationship regardless of the cost to the United States. Jia enumerated Trump administration policies and actions such as setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China, restricting people-too-people exchanges between the two countries, launching what some perceive as technological warfare against China, blaming China for the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and raising suspicions against Chinese nationals in the United States. With this approach, said Jia, the Trump administration “pushed the relationship between the two countries to the brink of total breakdown.”

To China, the issue of Taiwan is like a way of life, so no leader can compromise on it and stay in power.
Jia Qingguo

But the U.S.-China relationship is no better under President Joe Biden than it was under his predecessor, largely due to domestic politics, Jia said. Legislation aimed at countering China's growing influence is one of the rare topics that gets bipartisan support in the polarized U.S. Congress, he noted. On the Chinese side, many people are frustrated by what they perceive as negatively skewed China coverage in U.S. news media. Chinese officials have become increasingly confident to adopt a more strident, assertive approach, a turn in Chinese foreign policy that has been branded “wolf warrior diplomacy.”

Altogether, these elements have exacerbated negative interactions and heated exchanges between the two countries. To avoid a disastrous conflict, the two countries should focus on shared interests and remember that international stability is one such common interest, Jia believes. “We are all stakeholders of the existing international system,” he said, “so we need to take a more balanced view of the nature of our relationship.” Areas of potential cooperation, such as climate change or non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, offer a glimpse of hope for improved bilateral engagement.

Additionally, he noted, the two countries should build consultation mechanisms to manage conflicts of interest in areas such as trade disputes, the right to conduct military and reconnaissance activities along the coasts of other countries, human rights issues, and more.

Yet Jia admitted that the United States and China should build guardrails for the relationship to avoid military accidents and confrontations. Here, however, a potential conflict over Taiwan is a thorn in the side of both countries. “To China, the issue of Taiwan is like a way of life,” Jia noted, “so no leader can compromise on it and stay in power.” Guardrails in U.S.-China relations should therefore go beyond agreement on protocols to encompass U.S. assurance on Taiwan, he said.

By 2016, every constituency that had been thought of as a pillar of maintaining stability in the U.S.-China relationship had been alienated.
Thomas Fingar

Alienated Constituencies

In his comments, Thomas Fingar pointed out that Jia’s main argument ultimately means that blame for the difficulties in the U.S.-China relationship rests more or less entirely with the United States and that “everything that China does, and has done recently, is in response to American actions.” In reality, however, the relationship is affected by a complicated mix in which both countries respond to each other’s actions and changes in the global environment, he said.

Fingar also challenged the importance Jia assigned to the role of the Trump administration in deteriorating the bilateral relationship. “By the time the Trump administration took office,” Fingar said, “virtually every constituency that had been built over previous decades had been alienated by Chinese actions.” These actions, he stated, include, among others, imposing intellectual property pressures to transfer technology; refusing to open segments of the Chinese economy as had been committed in advance of its WTO membership; restrictions on American journalists and access to American news media; and passing the Overseas Non-Governmental Organization law, which aims primarily at reducing the influence of foreign actors on Chinese domestic affairs by requiring foreign organizations to register with the Ministry of Public Security and have an official Chinese sponsor.

As a result, by 2016, said Fingar, “every constituency that had been thought of as a pillar of maintaining stability in the relationship had been alienated.” Thus, although one can debate Trump's approach to China, the approach was not simply a matter of his personality and the underlying issues it set out to address were real. According to Fingar, this dynamic also explains why the Biden administration has kept a tough stance on China.

On one point Fingar agreed with Jia: the strains in the U.S.-China relationship are here to stay in the near term. There is currently not much pressure in the United States to improve the relationship, Fingar said, and it is probably easier for the United States to get along with the strained relationship than for China. “For domestic economic and stability reasons, China needs improvement in the relationship more than the United States does,” he concluded. “China should, therefore, have more incentive than Washington to try and improve the relationship.”

We can never allow a disagreement based on bad information and misperceptions. And I worry that there's too much of that going on in U.S.-China relations.
Michael McFaul

Misperceptions and Non-Events

Michael McFaul reminded the audience of the limits to framing the U.S.-China relationship through a Cold War lens. The most fundamental difference between the present situation and the Cold War era, he noted, is the U.S.-China economic interdependence and China's integration into the global economy. Most Americans now see China’s stake in the global economy as a threat, McFaul said, but the situation may also hold opportunities for relationship management that we did not have with the Soviet Union. Certainly, there are opportunities to learn from significant mistakes both the United States and the Soviets made during the Cold War era.

The three biggest mistakes of the United States during that period, according to McFaul, were overestimating the Soviet ideological threat globally, and therefore overreacting to it; at times, overestimating Soviet military power; and partnering with autocratic entities that, in retrospect, "we did not need to do to win the Cold War." These offer important lessons for the United States, said McFaul, as we think about competing with China in ways that protect U.S. interests, values, and well-being. “We don't have to do another round of McCarthyism. We don't have to fight another Vietnam war to be successful in managing the competition with China today.”

The Soviets, too, made several big mistakes, McFaul explained. First, they feared Communist reformers so much that they launched three invasions: of Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1981. Moreover, in the late Cold War period, the Soviets gave up on reform at home to focus on investing resources in projecting power abroad. “I see this mistake happening right now,” McFaul said, “when I look at China’s 20th Party Congress.” Finally, Brezhnev’s overreach in Afghanistan was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Overreach, McFaul noted, is an important lesson for China’s current leaders.

McFaul closed his remarks with reflections on perceptions and misperceptions. The Thucydides Trap in U.S.-China relations is real, he said, and so is the ideological competition between the two powers. To argue otherwise would be naïveté and misperception. The challenge for academics and policymakers is twofold, he stated. First, there is the daunting question of what can be done to stabilize the relationship and what evidence or signaling either side could use to determine whether the other’s actions pose a real threat or are merely being misperceived as an ideological threat. “We can never allow a disagreement based on bad information and misperceptions. And I worry that there's too much of that going on in U.S.-China relations,” he said.

Another compounding question is whether China is indeed a status quo power that has a shared interest in the international order. Either side should be worried about the revisionist actions the other is initiating in the international system, McFaul noted. “There is, however, one issue on which both sides must be status quo powers, namely, Taiwan — and I think this is the challenge to avoiding disaster.” The greatest achievement of American and Chinese diplomacy today, in McFaul’s view, is the absence of war over Taiwan. “We should think more about the conditions that lead to non-events,” he said. “You cannot be a status quo power and invade Taiwan. That's a contradiction. I want to believe that we both have an interest in avoiding war in Taiwan. I want to know how we can make, on both sides, a more credible commitment to that non-event,” he concluded.

It remains to be seen whether a sufficient sense of urgency and high stakes can avert the downward spiral in U.S.-China relations. Jia’s somber assessment is that tensions will continue to define the bilateral relationship in the coming years. A potential conflict over Taiwan in particular remains a stumbling block, and if the current trend continues, he said, then “there is a chance that the two countries may have to downgrade diplomatic relations.”


The Payne Lectureship will return in 2023, continuing with the theme of Asian perspectives on the U.S.-China relationship. In the winter quarter, we will host Shin Jung-Seung, former ambassador for the Republic of Korea to China and currently chair professor and managing director of the East Asia Institute at Dongseo University. And in the spring, we will be joined by Kokubun Ryosei, professor emeritus at Keio University and adjunct adviser at the Fujitsu Future Studies Center. We invite you to join us at the next installments of the Payne Lecture series featuring these two distinguished Payne fellows.

Read More

Portrait of Xueguang Zhou and 3D mockup cover of his book, 'The Logic of Governance in China'
News

Stanford Sociologist Unveils How China Is Governed

In a new book, Stanford sociologist and APARC faculty Xueguang Zhou offers a unified theoretical framework to explain how China's centralized political system maintains governance and how this process produces obstacles to professionalism, bureaucratic rationalism, and the rule of law.
Stanford Sociologist Unveils How China Is Governed
Speaker portraits superimposed on an image of the flags of China and the United States
News

Caught in the Middle: How Asian Nations Are Navigating the U.S.-China Competition

This fall, APARC brought together scholars and policy experts to examine the security competition that has come to define an era from the perspectives of Asian nations.
Caught in the Middle: How Asian Nations Are Navigating the U.S.-China Competition
Emily Feng speaking at the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award.
News

Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting

The challenges facing foreign correspondents in China are forcing the West to reconfigure its understanding of the country, creating opacity that breeds suspicion and mistrust, says Emily Feng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent and recipient of the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award. But China seems to want the appearance of foreign media coverage without getting to the heart of what happens in the country.
Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting
All News button
1
Subtitle

Fall 2022 Payne Distinguished Fellow Jia Qingguo, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University, examines the drivers behind the frayed U.S.-China relationship and conditions for avoiding a disastrous conflict between the two world powers. Cold War-style confrontation will continue to define the bilateral relationship in the coming years, he predicts.

Shorenstein APARC Encina Hall E301 Stanford University
0
Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow

Former President of Mongolia Elbegdorj joins the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) in 2023 as Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow, after a career in public service to Mongolia as a Member of Parliament, Prime Minister, and President. Currently, Mr. Elbegdorj is continuing his work to improve public policy, governance, and democracy through the Elbegdorj Institute, a think tank he founded in 2008. Mr. Elbegdorj holds a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government (2002) and Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Land Forces Military Academy of Lviv of former USSR (1988).

While at Stanford, his focus will include democracy, disarmament, and governance across Asia.

Authors
Noa Ronkin
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), Stanford University’s hub for interdisciplinary research, education, and engagement on contemporary Asia, invites nominations for the 2023 Shorenstein Journalism Award. The award recognizes outstanding journalists and journalism organizations with outstanding track records of helping audiences worldwide understand the complexities of the Asia-Pacific region. The 2023 award will honor a recipient whose work has primarily appeared in Asian news media. APARC invites 2023 award nomination submissions from news editors, publishers, scholars, journalism associations, and entities focused on researching and interpreting the Asia-Pacific region. Submissions are due by Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

Sponsored by APARC, the award carries a cash prize of US $10,000. It alternates between recipients whose work has primarily appeared in Asian news media and those whose work has primarily appeared in American news media. The 2023 award will recognize a recipient from the former category.

For the purpose of the award, the Asia-Pacific region is defined broadly to include Northeast, Southeast, South, and Central Asia and Australasia. Both individual journalists with a considerable body of work and journalism organizations are eligible for the award. Nominees’ work may be in traditional forms of print or broadcast journalism and/or in new forms of multimedia journalism. The Award Selection Committee, whose members are experts in journalism and Asia research and policy, presides over the judging of nominees and is responsible for the selection of honorees.

An annual tradition since 2002, the award honors the legacy of APARC benefactor, Mr. Walter H. Shorenstein, and his twin passions for promoting excellence in journalism and understanding of Asia. Over the course of its history, the award has recognized world-class journalists who push the boundaries of coverage of the Asia-Pacific region and help advance mutual understanding between audiences in the United States and their Asian counterparts.

Recent honorees include NPR's Beijing Correspondent Emily Feng; Burmese journalist and human rights defender Swe Win; former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Tom Wright; and the internationally esteemed champion of press freedom Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor of the Philippine news platform Rappler and winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Award nominations are accepted electronically through Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 11:59 PM PST. For information about the nomination procedures and to submit a nomination please visit the award nomination entry page. The Center will announce the winner by April 2023 and present the award at a public ceremony at Stanford in the autumn quarter of 2023.

Please direct all inquiries to aparc-communications@stanford.edu.

Read More

Emily Feng speaking at the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award.
News

Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting

The challenges facing foreign correspondents in China are forcing the West to reconfigure its understanding of the country, creating opacity that breeds suspicion and mistrust, says Emily Feng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent and recipient of the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award. But China seems to want the appearance of foreign media coverage without getting to the heart of what happens in the country.
Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting
Kiyoteru Tsutsui and book, Human Rights and the State
News

Stanford Sociologist Kiyoteru Tsutsui Wins the 44th Suntory Prize for Arts and Sciences

The Suntory Foundation recognizes Tsutsui, the Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor and Senior Fellow in Japanese Studies at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, for his book 'Human Rights and the State.'
Stanford Sociologist Kiyoteru Tsutsui Wins the 44th Suntory Prize for Arts and Sciences
Portrait of Oriana Skylar Mastro with text "Recipeint of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada 2022-23 John H. McArthur Research Fellowship"
News

Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro Awarded 2022-23 John H. McArthur Research Fellowship

The fellowship, established by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, recognizes Mastro’s exceptional scholarly contributions in the fields of Chinese military, Asia-Pacific security, war termination, and coercive diplomacy.
Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro Awarded 2022-23 John H. McArthur Research Fellowship
All News button
1
Subtitle

Sponsored by Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the annual award recognizes outstanding journalists and journalism organizations for excellence in coverage of the Asia-Pacific region. News editors, publishers, scholars, and organizations focused on Asia research and analysis are invited to submit nominations for the 2023 award through February 15.

Paragraphs

US defense strategy has long been predicated on the view that military activities, maneuvers, and deployments are credible conveyers of information to both adversaries and partners about US willingness to fight in specific circumstances. Brian Blankenship and Erik Lin-Greenberg’s article, “Trivial Tripwires? Military Capabilities and Alliance Reassurance,” makes an important contribution by demonstrating that not all military activities are created equal when it comes to reassuring allies and partners. Blankenship and Lin-Greenberg rightfully capture reassurance as a product of resolve and capability—thus a “reassuring” state can provide differing acts of reassurance depending on the degree of resolve it wishes to demonstrate and the capabilities it possesses. The authors evaluate four types of reassurance, which vary according to their strength of signaling resolve and capability: (1) tripwires; (2) fighting forces; (3) transient demonstrations; and (4) offshore presences. Relying largely on surveys of defense experts in the Baltics and Central Europe, they argue that a commitment of fighting forces—such as a permanent overseas base or a large in-country ground deployment—makes countries feel safest.

The big question that comes to mind is whether these findings are valid in other theaters, such as the Indo-Pacific. The rise of China presents the greatest challenge to the security and interests of the United States and its allies since the Cold War. As China’s military capabilities have grown, so too has its aggressiveness in pushing territorial issues in the South China Sea, East China Sea, along the Sino-Indian border, and regarding Taiwan. In response, the United States has undertaken numerous military efforts designed to enhance deterrence and reassure allies, including freedom-of-navigation operations (FONOPS), a continuous presence of strategic bombers at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and an expanded Marine Air Ground Task Force deployed to Darwin, Australia. America’s behavior reflects an ingrained conventional wisdom: increased military presence and activities will signal US resolve, thereby will enhancing deterrence against an adversary and reassuring allies.

Whether these policy decisions in Asia will indeed contribute to a peaceful and stable Asia directly concern the central claims made in Blankenship and Lin-Greenberg’s study. In this response, Mastro argues that although their research is a step in the right direction, their conclusions do not tell us much about how the United States can reassure Asian allies and partners. Indeed, the article is one more example of the broader problematic tendency to overly rely on Europe to build understanding in the security-studies field.

Mastro makes three main points in this response. First, whether a force deployment serves as a tripwire depends on the risk to forces, not the number of forces deployed (as Blankenship and Lin-Greenberg argue). Second, how capable a country’s deployment is cannot be evaluated in isolation; the enemy’s military capabilities greatly determine the relative capabilities of different posture decisions. Third, Blankenship and Lin-Greenberg’s assumption that transient military operations are low risk (and thus signal lower resolve) is not valid in the Asian theater.

All Publications button
1
Publication Type
Journal Articles
Publication Date
Journal Publisher
Security Studies
Authors
Oriana Skylar Mastro
Authors
News Type
Commentary
Date
Paragraphs

In October 2022, the Chinese Communist Party elected Xi Jinping for a third term as general secretary, setting Xi on a path to be the longest-serving leader since Mao Zedong’s rule ended in 1976.

The extension of Xi’s rule carries significant implications not only for China, but for the broader Indo-Pacific region and global geopolitical order. No country is more aware of this than Taiwan, which has carefully walked the line between its own autonomy and Beijing’s desire for reunification since the 1940s.

After a summer of rising tensions, many experts believe that Beijing’s timeline for an attempt at reunification is much shorter than conventional thinking has assumed. On the World Class podcast, Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, discusses the prognosis for Taiwan with Oriana Skylar Mastro, an expert on the Chinese military and security, and Larry Diamond, a scholar of China’s sharp power and the role of Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific region.

Listen to the full episode and read highlights from their conversation below.

Click the link for a full transcript of “What We Need To Talk About When We Talk About Taiwan.“

The Likelihood of Invasion


In stark terms, Oriana Skylar Mastro, a center fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, believes there’s a 100% chance China will use some sort of force against Taiwan in the next five years. For the last twenty years, China has been making concerted efforts to modernize its military and increase its capabilities not only to assert force against Taiwan, but to deter intervention from the United States.

In the majority of scenarios, the United States wins in a conflict with China over Taiwan. But the United States also carries a distinct geographic disadvantage. The distance across the Taiwan Strait between the island and mainland China is approximately 100 miles, which is roughly the distance between Richmond, Virginia and Washington D.C. If China moves quickly, PRC forces could take Taiwan before U.S. forces have time to move into position.

When considering possible outcomes in Taiwan, it is equally important to consider the motivations driving Beijing’s ambitions. The leadership on the mainland has been planning and thinking about how to retake Taiwan since 1949. With the modernized capabilities coming online, the balance of power has shifted in China’s military favor, and the cost-benefit calculus favors Beijing’s ambitions. The long-term planning stage is now reaching its end, and the prospects of direct action are increasing.

The clock is ticking. The problem is we don’t know how fast it’s ticking. But we need to move faster than we're moving.
Larry Diamond
Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at FSI

The View from Taipei


Political leaders in Taiwan recognize the growing danger they face across the Strait. In Larry Diamond’s assessment, the end of Hong Kong's autonomy and the suppression of the “one country, two systems” model, the rising military incursions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone and coastal waters, and the whole rising pace of Chinese military intimidation has sobered Taiwan and visibly impacted Taiwanese public opinion.

Concerningly though, while the political elite recognize the real and present danger of the situation, polling of the general Taiwan public suggests that the vast majority of citizens still feel like an attack or an invasion by China is unlikely. Similar majorities suggest that they would be willing to fight in Taiwan’s defense, but volunteering for military service remains at a minimum.

To maximize safety, Taiwan needs to find ways to strengthen itself in its ability to defend, resist, and deter China, while still avoiding any appearance of moving toward permanent independence or any other action that could be deemed by Beijing as a provocation, says Diamond.

There are things that can completely change Beijing's calculus, but it takes a lot of work, and I just don't see us doing the work yet.
Oriana Skylar Mastro
FSI Center Fellow

What the United States Can Do


When it comes to the defense of Taiwan, the strategic crutch hobbling the United States is geography. Most of the U.S. Pacific forces are not in Asia. The majority are in Hawaii and California, as well as a few bases and airfields in Japan. To be able to effectively deter China, the U.S. needs far greater forward deployed military capability in order to be able to either stop or stall the movement of Chinese troops into Taiwan, says Mastro.

Taiwan needs greater onshore military deterrence capabilities as well. One such strategy is the “porcupine approach,” which increases the number of smaller mobile lethal weapons. By Larry Diamond’s assessment, increased citizen participation in military training is also crucial, with an emphasis on weapons training and urban defense tactics. The U.S. could support these aims by overhauling the current system for weapons procurement to speed up the production and delivery of weapons systems not just for Taiwan, but to the benefit of U.S. defense and other contingencies as well. Working with leadership to create strategic stockpiles of food, and energy should also be a priority, says Diamond.

The U.S. also needs to put much more effort into its diplomatic efforts on behalf of Taiwan. Many U.S. allies and partners are reluctant to ostracize China because of economic ties and concerns over sparking their own conflict with China in the future. A key ally in all of this is Japan. If Japan fights with the United States on behalf of Taiwan, it is a guaranteed win and enough to effectively deter China. But much more needs to be done much more quickly in order to secure those guarantees and present them in a convincing way to Beijing.

“The clock is ticking,” Larry Diamond says. “And the problem is we don’t know how fast it’s ticking. “Taiwan is moving in the right direction. But we need to move faster than we're moving.”

Read More

A Taiwanese F-5 fighter jet is seen after taking off from Chihhang Air Base on August 06, 2022 in Taitung, Taiwan.
Commentary

China’s Huge Exercises Around Taiwan Were a Rehearsal, Not a Signal, Says Oriana Skylar Mastro

Nancy Pelosi’s visit was more pretext than provocation.
China’s Huge Exercises Around Taiwan Were a Rehearsal, Not a Signal, Says Oriana Skylar Mastro
All News button
1
Subtitle

Larry Diamond and Oriana Skylar Mastro join Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast to discuss China’s ambitions against Taiwan, and how the U.S. and its allies can deter Beijing.

Authors
Noa Ronkin
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

The Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) is delighted to share that Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro is the recipient of the John H. McArthur Research Fellowship for 2022-23 in recognition of her outstanding scholarship.

Awarded by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada), the fellowship provides opportunities for exceptional mid-career scholars working on programs and research areas directly relevant to Canada and Canada’s interests in Asia. It honors the memory of John H. McArthur, a world-renowned Canadian business educator who, among other roles, was dean at Harvard Business School and chair of the APF Canada Board of Directors.

Mastro’s current research projects focus on the U.S.-China great power competition, deterrence in the Taiwan Strait, China’s maritime ambitions, and the China-Russia military relationship.

Prior to her appointment at Stanford in August 2020, Mastro was an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University.

Photo of Oriana Skylar Mastro

Oriana Skylar Mastro

Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Full biography

Read More

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during a meeting.
News

China’s Xi Expands Power at Party Congress: Commentary Roundup

With Xi at the helm for a third term, we should expect to see a more assertive China and more turbulence in the regional and global order, say APARC Director Gi-Wook Shin and Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro. They offer their assessments of the outcomes of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and its implications for China’s trajectory and U.S.-China relations.
China’s Xi Expands Power at Party Congress: Commentary Roundup
South Korean soldiers participate in a river crossing exercise with U.S. soldiers.
News

Striking the Right Balance: What South Korea Can Do to Enhance Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait

Despite obstacles and risks, there are good reasons why South Korea should want to increase deterrence against China. In a new article, Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro and co-author Sungmin Cho chart an optimal strategy for Seoul to navigate the U.S.-China rivalry and support efforts to defend Taiwan.
Striking the Right Balance: What South Korea Can Do to Enhance Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait
U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a Quad Leaders Summit at the White House.
News

New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

A new Asia Policy roundtable considers whether and how minilateral groupings, such as the Quad and AUKUS, can deter coercion and aggression in the Indo-Pacific. The roundtable co-editor is APARC South Asia Research Scholar Arzan Tarapore, and it opens with an essay by Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro.
New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific
All News button
1
Subtitle

The fellowship, established by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, recognizes Mastro’s exceptional scholarly contributions in the fields of Chinese military, Asia-Pacific security, war termination, and coercive diplomacy.

Authors
Noa Ronkin
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

China's ruling Communist Party concluded its 20th National Congress on October 22, cementing Xi Jinping's status as the country’s most powerful leader in decades by awarding him an unprecedented third five-year term as party general secretary. The CCP also revealed the new lineup of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s most powerful political body, made up entirely of Xi loyalists. APARC scholars outline the key takeaways from the Congress and consider its implications for China and the world.  

Xi's “Work Report” address to the party congress indicates continuity in policy direction. Xi’s long-term ambitions, driven by the grand “Chinese dream” of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” have not changed, but now he can be more assertive than before in pursuing them, writes APARC and Korea Program Director Gi-Wook Shin in a co-authored Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Xi has demonstrated that he does not shy away from conflict with the United States, and China will likely strengthen ties with Russia, North Korea, and other like-minded authoritarian nations, says Shin. With Xi at the helm for a third term, “we should expect a more aggressive China and increasing turbulence in the regional and global order."

Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro, an expert in Chinese military and Asia security, agrees that the next five years under Xi’s leadership look set to get more confrontational between the world’s two great powers. In coverage by multiple media outlets, Mastro explains the implications of the Party Congress for the United States and its partners.


Subscribe to APARC newsletters to receive our scholars' latest updates.

We will probably continue to see, in [Chinese people's] minds progress, and in our minds disruptions and harassment.
Oriana Skylar Mastro

In Xi's report to the Party Congress, he called for further investments in the military and reaffirmed that China will not rule out using force to bring Taiwan under its control. His address indicates that, despite recent challenges, such as economic slowdown and the rippling effects of the COVID pandemic, the Chinese think their country is on track with its trajectory, whether it be toward reunification with Taiwan or having a world-class military, Mastro tells the Christian Science Monitor. “We will probably continue to see, in their minds progress, and in our minds disruptions and harassment.”

Along with securing a third term in office, Xi also named two top generals as vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission, the top body overseeing the armed forces, as he looks to modernize China’s military and keep up pressure on Taiwan. One vice chair role went to He Weidong, who led the military command responsible for Taiwan. There is speculation He played a role in planning China’s unprecedented military drills around the island following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in August 2022, Mastro says via Bloomberg. “The promotion of He Weidong is generally considered within China as a sign that Beijing is strengthening military preparations, or in the words of some Chinese military commentators, ‘strengthening combat preparations for military struggles against Taiwan,’” she notes.

China wants to reach the point where its predominant power allows its actions to go uncriticized and countries in its periphery accommodate Chinese preferences, Mastro explains in another interview with Bloomberg.

Under Xi’s watch, China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, has undergone a tremendous modernization, with the goal of becoming a “world-class force” by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. One area in which the PLA appears to be making progress is in bringing forces together for more complex joint exercises, helped by interaction with other militaries, especially Russia’s. “We are observing an increasing complexity and sophistication in how they are performing in exercises,” Mastro tells the Wall Street Journal.

With regards to the Taiwan flashpoint, it is almost guaranteed we will see lower-level conflicts and disruptions, Mastro predicts. China does not have to impose a complete blockade over the island, and could do something like a blockade for a week or two “just to teach Taiwan a lesson if they don’t like what happens in the next election, for example,” she says in an interview with the Hindustan Times.

China’s consistent trajectory of improving its military capabilities means a heavier reliance on those capabilities to achieve its goals over time, Mastro explains via Radio Free Asia. “The bottom line is, the next five years are undoubtedly going to be rockier for U.S.-China relations and for other countries with security concerns in the region,” she concludes.

The scenes from the 20th Party Congress reinforce the idea in the Biden administration’s new National Security Strategy, which recognizes that “the PRC presents America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge.” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking hours after the strategy’s release, singled out China and did not mention Russia in his opening remarks to reporters, underscoring an intention to not allow Moscow’s war against Ukraine to distract from the Biden administration’s assessment that Beijing is a more crucial challenge to U.S. national security, Mastro tells the South China Morning Post. “I think the administration correctly assessed that in order to compete with China we have to stay focused, and we couldn’t be distracted by other challenges which are absolutely important but are not of the same severity or calibre as what China presents.”


More media coverage:

Read More

South Korean soldiers participate in a river crossing exercise with U.S. soldiers.
News

Striking the Right Balance: What South Korea Can Do to Enhance Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait

Despite obstacles and risks, there are good reasons why South Korea should want to increase deterrence against China. In a new article, Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro and co-author Sungmin Cho chart an optimal strategy for Seoul to navigate the U.S.-China rivalry and support efforts to defend Taiwan.
Striking the Right Balance: What South Korea Can Do to Enhance Deterrence in the Taiwan Strait
U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a Quad Leaders Summit at the White House.
News

New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

A new Asia Policy roundtable considers whether and how minilateral groupings, such as the Quad and AUKUS, can deter coercion and aggression in the Indo-Pacific. The roundtable co-editor is APARC South Asia Research Scholar Arzan Tarapore, and it opens with an essay by Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro.
New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific
Emily Feng speaking at the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award.
News

Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting

The challenges facing foreign correspondents in China are forcing the West to reconfigure its understanding of the country, creating opacity that breeds suspicion and mistrust, says Emily Feng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent and recipient of the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award. But China seems to want the appearance of foreign media coverage without getting to the heart of what happens in the country.
Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting
All News button
1
Subtitle

With Xi at the helm for a third term, we should expect to see a more assertive China and more turbulence in the regional and global order, say APARC Director Gi-Wook Shin and Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro. They offer their assessments of the outcomes of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and its implications for China’s trajectory and U.S.-China relations.

Authors
Noa Ronkin
News Type
News
Date
Paragraphs

Taiwan is currently the single biggest point of contention in U.S.-China relations, and U.S. allies have a crucial role to play in efforts to prevent a great-power war over the island. South Korea, however, has remained relatively ambiguous about its willingness to support U.S. efforts to push back against China’s growing influence in the region, including in the Taiwan Strait. As the Yoon administration is now creating an opening for a more proactive approach, what can South Korea do in a Taiwan contingency?

A new article in The Washington Quarterly provides a framework for analyzing South Korea’s potential role in this era of strategic competition through the lens of war over Taiwan. The authors — Oriana Skylar Mastro, a Center Fellow at APARC, and Sungmin Cho, a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies — build upon traditional concepts of balancing to create a nuanced, operationally relevant strategy for South Korea to contribute to the defense of Taiwan.

They explain South Korea’s approach to the Taiwan issue to date; evaluate South Korea’s strategic importance and what it can do to support U.S.-led efforts to compete with China; explore how China and North Korea may respond to increased South Korean cooperation with the United States, along with the potential obstacles this cooperation could create; and recommend ways to leverage the US-ROK alliance to enhance deterrence against China with respect to Taiwan.


Subscribe to APARC newsletters to receive our scholars’ updates.

There are politically feasible options for South Korea to greatly contribute to US-integrated deterrence in the Taiwan Strait.
Oriana Skylar Mastro and Sungmin Cho

Mastro and Cho recognize that it is operationally and politically infeasible for South Korea to fight side-by-side with U.S. forces against China in a Taiwan scenario or to build its military sufficiently to deter Chinese aggression against Taipei. South Korean strategists must also consider the costs of China’s and North Korea’s potential responses to greater South Korean involvement in defending Taiwan. Still, Seoul can play a significant role in deterring Chinese aggression.

According to Mastro and Cho, South Korea’s optimal strategy to navigate the U.S.-China rivalry should meet two conditions. First, it should contribute to the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, including deterring Chinese aggression against Taiwan. Second, it should be able to make China hesitate to take punitive actions against South Korea. Thus, South Korea can provide rear-area support to the United States, such as intelligence gathering, ammunition supplies, or noncombatant evacuation. It can also support the strategic flexibility of US Forces Korea (USFK) and be more proactive in deterring North Korean aggression and provocation to free up U.S. resources to focus on China in a contingency scenario.

Moreover, South Korea could contribute toward forms of “collective resilience” against China’s economic statecraft, such as collective economic sanctions, and leverage its position as one of the world’s leading producers of advanced semiconductors to complicate China’s calculus. Finally, Seoul’s diplomatic support of U.S.-led efforts to defend Taiwan can influence Beijing to take seriously the international community’s potential united response against any attempt to invade Taiwan.

“Given the heightened urgency over tensions in the Taiwan Strait, Washington and Seoul should pursue these options immediately to maintain peace and stability in the region before it is too late,” the authors conclude.

Get The Washington Quarterly article

Read More

U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a Quad Leaders Summit at the White House.
News

New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

A new Asia Policy roundtable considers whether and how minilateral groupings, such as the Quad and AUKUS, can deter coercion and aggression in the Indo-Pacific. The roundtable co-editor is APARC South Asia Research Scholar Arzan Tarapore, and it opens with an essay by Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro.
New Essay Collection Examines Minilateral Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific
Chinese President Xi Jinping is applauded by senior members of the government and delegates.
Commentary

In China, Xi Jinping Is Getting an Unprecedented Third Term. What Should the World Expect?

Xi's plans are long term and unlikely to shift, but he can now be more aggressive than before in their pursuit.
In China, Xi Jinping Is Getting an Unprecedented Third Term. What Should the World Expect?
Emily Feng speaking at the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award.
News

Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting

The challenges facing foreign correspondents in China are forcing the West to reconfigure its understanding of the country, creating opacity that breeds suspicion and mistrust, says Emily Feng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent and recipient of the 2022 Shorenstein Journalism Award. But China seems to want the appearance of foreign media coverage without getting to the heart of what happens in the country.
Shorenstein Journalism Award Winner Emily Feng Examines the Consequences of China’s Information Void and the Future of China Reporting
All News button
1
Subtitle

Despite obstacles and risks, there are good reasons why South Korea should want to increase deterrence against China. In a new article, Center Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro and co-author Sungmin Cho chart an optimal strategy for Seoul to navigate the U.S.-China rivalry and support efforts to defend Taiwan.

Paragraphs

Image
Aerial view of Taiwan and text "The Washington Quarterly, Vol 45 Issue 3, Fall 2022"
Compared to alliances like Japan and Australia, which seek to counter potential Chinese aggression, the role of South Korea is often secondary. Particularly with President Yoon’s new government in place, what can South Korea do to support U.S.-led efforts to compete with China, and what are the major hurdles in attaining deeper bilateral cooperation to enhance deterrence over Taiwan? 

To answer this question, the authors build upon traditional concepts of balancing to create a more granular, operationally relevant set of strategies for South Korea. They argue that, while it is politically infeasible for South Korea to fight side-by-side with US forces against China in a Taiwan scenario or to attempt to build its military sufficiently to deter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from aggression against Taipei, these classic external and internal balancing strategies are not South Korea’s only options.

In this article, they provide background on South Korea’s approach to the Taiwan issue to date; evaluate South Korea’s strategic importance and what it can theoretically bring to the table; and explore how China and North Korea may respond to increased South Korean cooperation with the US, along with the potential obstacles this cooperation could create. Lastly, they recommend ways to leverage the US–South Korean alliance to enhance deterrence against China with respect to Taiwan.

All Publications button
1
Publication Type
Journal Articles
Publication Date
Journal Publisher
The Washington Quarterly
Authors
Oriana Skylar Mastro
Sungmin Cho
Number
3
Subscribe to Security
Top