The Korean War, fought from 1950-53, was a result of two earlier wars in the 1940s: the American-Japanese War, which ended with the destruction and occupation of Japan in 1945, and the Chinese Civil War, which ended in a Communist victory (and Nationalist retreat to Taiwan) in 1950.
With the Communists and Americans as the only powers in East Asia following these wars, the Korean Peninsula was split in two, each side taking a piece for itself. Read more
When you yearn for a caesar, you more often than not get it. Such now is the price being paid by the people of the Philippines, who swept to power a man whose harsh authoritarianism was clear as day. As the southern island of Mindanao slips into chaos, Rodrigo Duterte’s not-so-subtle desire for absolute power has become all too obvious. Read more
Trump Blunders by Withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership
Surely you know already the tripwire: Taiwan is a de facto country but a de jure province of mainland China. The people’s republic wants to bring it back under mainland China’s rule while the people of Taiwan want exactly the opposite.
Moreover, Taiwan’s military security is guaranteed by the United States via the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which stipulates the United States must respond militarily to a communist invasion.
So if the PRC tries to bring Taiwan back into the fold by military force, the United States must retaliate. Conventional battles turn to nuclear battles and then we all die in the irradiated glow of our own monstrous weapons. Read more
In Era of Trump, Australia Looks to China for Leadership on Trade
Australia isn’t waiting for Donald Trump to assume office in January before recalibrating its foreign relations.
The island nation — America’s most reliable ally in the Pacific — has thrown its support behind Chinese trade initiatives now that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears dead.
Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, told the Financial Times he would work to conclude new trade pacts with other countries in the region, including China’s proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. Read more
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej had a long run: from 1946 until today, his living memory involved Japanese occupation, cold warriors burning Vietnam, the self-immolation of Cambodia, the shunning and decades-later rehabilitation of Myanmar and the rise of China.
His death leaves many questions for Thai politics, not the least of which is what to do with the widely disliked crown prince, heir apparent to the throne.
But it also reveals the slow grind down of monarchy as a system, as Thais contemplate — quietly for now — whether they even need a king at all. Read more