The Buzz

What Does the Pentagon Think about China's Rising Military Might?

It’s that time of year again. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has just released its annual report on Chinese military and security issues. It documents important trends in this area using information often publicly available nowhere else. Amid the usual dump of fascinating data, several broad themes stand out:

- The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues brisk, broad-based modernization.

- It has already achieved progress that the vast majority of militaries could only envy.

$2.1 Billion Spent & 9 Months In: How Goes the Air War Against ISIS?

We recently passed the nine-month anniversary since the start of the U.S.-led air campaign, later named Operation Inherent Resolve, against the self-declared Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The air war, which Secretary of State John Kerry then described as definitively not a war, but rather “a heightened level of counterterrorism operation,” shows no sign of ending. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen.

The Next South China Sea Disaster: Environmental Armageddon

China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea remain a matter of grave concern for reasons that are not solely political. The radical transformation of major coral atolls in the region’s marine ecosystem affects far more than the already huge area physically occupied by China’s new islands. The biophysical impacts extend well beyond their artificial foundations into the waters of surrounding littoral states.

The Gulf States: America's New Taiwan?

The upcoming Camp David Summit with nervous Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders has the Obama administration casting about for ways to enhance security assurances. Fearful that a probable nuclear accord with Iran would mark a strategic shift from the Arab Gulf toward Iran as regional guarantor (with the United States then ducking out to pivot to Asia), GCC countries are understandably speculating on a worst-case scenario.

UK Election 2015: Thatcher’s Britain Lives On

Thatcher’s Britain lives on—sort of.  The recent election was supposed to produce a hung parliament, with no single party able to command a majority in the House of Commons.  But despite months of opinion polls predicting the contrary, the Conservative party has managed to eke out a majority and should comfortably remain in control at Westminster for the next five years.  The result has shocked people in Britain but will probably serve to calm onlookers in the United States.

Taiwan: Asia's Next Mighty Military Power?

Geopolitical strategists see Taiwan as an ultimate test of Chinese and American resolve. But how strong is Taiwanese resolve?

Taiwan has been a relative oasis of Asian geopolitical calm in recent years, with cross-strait ties improving gradually. American observers like Kurt Campbell see Taiwan as a rare case of quiet Sino-American diplomacy (see video). In a relationship where, as Campbell says, competition far exceeds cooperation, an uneasy Taiwan consensus has been achieved. Still, circumstances can change quickly and unexpectedly, especially when Taiwanese elections loom.