Just a quick post on some interesting articles coming from Defense News recently…
First, this article from a few days ago discusses the budding military relationship between the US and Vietnam. Particularly interesting is the fact that these ties are supposedly based on medical research.
Second, another article about Vietnam. This one pertains to the construction of Vietnam's submarine fleet. Naturally a top government official insisted that these purchases were not meant to serve as a threat to other states in the region, but were merely for self-defense.
Finally, Japan and China are apparently having another annual spat. Japanese officials recently expressed concerns regarding China's growing military capabilities. This, in turn, apparently made some Chinese officials upset. This lack of hapiness subsequently led to an expression of this unhappiness. The point is, tensions are mounting again.
All of this is interesting because it points to some growing resistence to China's rising power in the region. This notion that it is only the United States that has to worry about China tends to prevail in most discussions of the issue, but it doesn't paint a really accurate picture of the regional dynamics. It will be particularly interesting to see what the next 10–15 years bring with respect to deepending ties between the US and other states in the region. Whether it be the reaffirmation of existing political and military ties, or the creation of new ones, it seems clear that the US' involvement in the region is only going to increase. And given the current situation that the US finds itself in with respect to its economy, it will be interesting to see how this impacts this process. Although many policymakers may wish it, I suspect the US will have to insist on other regional states picking up some of the slack, whereas the US would be more likely to bear a greater share of the burden under different circumstances.
As an extension of this, I'm wondering how North Korea will play into this process. Does it help China to have a slightly unreliable ally in its corner, given that other states in the region seem to be expressing more and more discontent with an increasingly assertive China? Or will North Korea act as more of a destabalizing and distracting force for the Chinese leadership?
Finally, I'd like to make note of the fact that Michael Allen and Julie have left the Binghamton area to get "real" academic jobs. I'm told a "job" is something good, but I've become increasingly scared to leave the windowless basement office that I've dwelt in the past four years. Anywho, they will continue contributing, but said contributions may be lite in the next few months as they adjust to their new positions. Official QP congratulations to them in their academic pursuits!