Counter-Insurgency in Afghanistan: Whose Violence is it Anyway?

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students

Memo #305

By Dur-e-Aden – dur-e-aden [at]

Aden_photoWhile fighting an insurgency, it is important never to harm civilians. Doing so will increase recruitment for insurgent groups and result in fuelling the conflict. This is known as the “population-centric” counter-insurgency doctrine. By this logic, it also follows… Continue reading

Afghanistan Elections: Why Should We Care?

Memo #284

By Dur-e-Aden – dur-e-aden [at]

This week Afghans headed to the polls to help usher in a transfer of power from one democratic government to the next. While some observers hail this as a major achievement, others worry what lingering issues of rampant Taliban violence, ethnic politics, widespread corruption and fraud during the… Continue reading

Resolving the Senkaku/Diaoyu Island Dispute: The Limitations of International Law

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #272

By  Keshav Kelkar – keshav.kelkar [at]

Among the many issues causing friction in Sino-Japanese relations, none has as great a potential for generating armed conflict as the dispute over the Senkaku, or Diaoyu Islands. And in attempts to resolve the impasse, international law has if… Continue reading

Fragmentation vs. Integration in Asia in 2014: A Year for the History Books

Memo #259

By Yves Tiberghien – yves.tiberghien [at]

Dr. Tiberghien at the G-20 in St. Petersburg, Russia (September 2013).

In the wake of major leadership change around East Asia, what will be the major trends in the Asia/Pacific region in 2014? Did the battle over the Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone… Continue reading

Keeping Neighbours Closer: Beijing’s Geopolitical Pitch

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #249

By Jargalsaikhan Mendee – mendee [at]

Lately, Chinese leaders have been busy bolstering relations with their immediate neighbours.  As evidence, the Prime Ministers of India, Mongolia, and Russia arrived in Beijing for bilateral meetings with China’s President Xin Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on the… Continue reading

Security or Nationalism? Making Sense of Tibetan Resistance against China

Memo #247

By Tsering Topgyal – t.topgyal [at]

Scholarship on the Sino-Tibetan conflict maintains a primarily binary representation of the Chinese as security-driven and the Tibetans as ethno-nationalistic. In reality, for Tibetans it is the sense of identity security or insecurity (that is, the relative prospects for the survival and reproduction of their identity) that informs and explains… Continue reading

Reflections on Japan (Video Interview with Sir David Warren)

Recent territorial disputes point to tensions in the relationship between Japan and China. Competition extends beyond issues of history and territorial assertions to competition for resources and influence. Yet it is increasingly recognized that Japan and China are crucial to each other. Continue reading

Mongolia Remains Key To US Strategy in Asia

Memo #173 – Mongolia continues its rapid ascent in the strategic playbook of the United States and the West. The US views Mongolia through an integrated lens balancing its economic interests with strategic concerns. As the world’s fastest growing economy (GDP growth at 17.3 per cent in 2011), Mongolia is an appealing target for foreign investors in sectors such as mining, nuclear power, and technology. For Washington though, security still trumps in Mongolia. The US continues to view Mongolia as a credible partner in an uncertain area filled with truculent neighbours. Continue reading

China and the SCO – Influence and ‘Soft Power’

Memo #169 – The 12th annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which includes China, Russia, and four Central Asian states, concluded in Beijing on June 7th. Growing Chinese influence and “soft power,” emphasizing persuasion over force, were much on display. Continue reading