Ted Galen Carpenter
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Mar 05 , 2018
South Korea may discover the inherent, potentially tragic, drawback of relying on the security protection that a distant great power provides. Crucial decisions about the ROK’s future will be made in Washington, not Seoul.
Dec 13 , 2017
Worries proliferated during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign that the election of Donald Trump would signal drastic changes in Washington’s foreign policy. Those fears proved mostly unfounded. However, Trump’s public affinity for several authoritarian regimes, regardless of their flagrant human rights abuses should concern all.
Sep 26 , 2017
It is inaccurate to accuse Trump of breaking with decades of U.S. deterrence policy for his threat to totally destroy North Korea. He may have been more blunt than any of his predecessors since Eisenhower left office, but his warning of total destruction was merely an updated version of Ike’s massive retaliation doctrine—this time applied to North Korea instead of the Soviet Union.
Aug 02 , 2017
The worsening relations between the mainland and Taiwan place the United States in an awkward and potentially dangerous position. Washington should retain the right to sell weapons to Taipei so the Taiwanese can deter an attack from the mainland, or if deterrence fails, have a decent chance of repelling such an attack. Conversely, the United States must make it clear to the Taiwanese leadership that, fond as we might be of democratic Taiwan, America will not risk war with China to protect the island and preserve its de facto independence.
May 15 , 2017
The nature of Washington’s alliance network was always based on the assumption that the United States was firmly in charge of policy decisions. The risk inherent to America’s allies from that arrangement is now becoming increasingly evident.
Mar 24 , 2017
Washington’s hawkish posturing is not likely to induce Beijing to incur the risks of greatly increasing its pressure on the North Korean regime. The first step would be to meet Beijing’s longstanding call for Washington to engage Pyongyang in serious, bilateral negotiations.
- Trump’s Testy Telephone Call with Australia’s Prime Minister: A Portent of Washington’s Treatment of
Feb 15 , 2017
Donald Trump’s contentious telephone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull caused worried reactions in the United States. Washington’s behavior will consist more of abrasive demands rather than requests and quiet diplomacy. Trump’s America First policy means giving highest priority to U.S. interests, not maintaining cordial alliance relations. That is a major change that Washington’s partners in East Asia and Europe will have to face.
Jan 13 , 2017
Neither China nor the United States should rationally wish to see a confrontation develop with a crucial economic partner. But we should also be aware of the limits of economic links as a restraining factor. For the first time since the rapprochement that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger orchestrated in the early 1970s, an incoming U.S. president seems to be considering translating the China-bashing rhetoric of a presidential campaign into actual policy.
Oct 12 , 2016
Ted Galen Carpenter discusses the tensions between the U.S., China, and other Asian nations involved in the South China Sea dispute. The U.S. military policy and support initiatives regarding the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam are outlined, and Carpenter explains the negative effect this may have with Chinese relations. While the regional activity does appear to be balancing behavior, it also indicates that littoral states are uneasy of Beijing’ conduct in the South China Seas.
Jul 26 , 2016
U.S. leaders have become complacent about Taiwan. Americans need to ask themselves what level of risk they are willing to take to defend Taiwan. The U.S. is obligated to assist the island under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, and as China grows stronger militarily, Taiwan deserves more attention than it is receiving in the U.S.