What Modi teaches us about populist foreign policy

Author: Johannes Plagemann, GIGA and Sandra Destradi, Helmut Schmidt University and GIGA From US President Donald Trump to the pan-populist ruling coalition in Italy, populist politicians are making an imprint on foreign policy around the world. But rather than ushering in something altogether new, populist approaches to foreign policy in the Global South reflect larger trends already underway in the transition to a multipolar and post-Western era. Indian foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a case in point. Grounded in anti-elitism and anti-pluralism, populism calls for a radical…

Hanoi Is Happy Cozying Up to Trump – Foreign Policy

As the world waits to see if U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un make any headway at next week’s summit in Hanoi, the hosts see a diplomatic coup of their own. Vietnam, among the world’s poorest pariah states only three decades ago, is a keen host of this most delicate of bilateral negotiations. Summits are not cheap, with Singapore estimating that the last one between Trump and Kim cost it around $12 million. They are also inconvenient, as roads close and security protocols interrupt daily…

Britannia Helps Rule the Waves – Foreign Policy

The freedom of the seas is facing its greatest threat in decades from authoritarian rulers who flout maritime law and the liberal “rules-based order” of seagoing trade, commerce, and martial endeavors it underwrites. Xi Jinping’s China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over some 80-90 percent of the South China Sea, meaning it intends to make the rules governing maritime activities and amass overpowering armed might to enforce them—including in waters apportioned to its neighbors by treaty. Meanwhile Vladimir Putin’s Russia has mounted a de facto blockade of Ukraine’s southeastern seacoast, seizing Ukrainian…

Shifting Foreign Policy: Britain To Deploy Aircraft Carrier Through Disputed South China Sea

Britain is deploying the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the heavily disputed South China Sea in a joint mission with the United States. The vessel will deploy following recently completed training near the Naval Air Station in Maryland. United Kingdom (UK) Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the mission earlier this week at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London. Williamson has shifted Britain’s international rhetoric, declaring that the UK should be prepared to show hard power to counter growing threats from China and Russia. This shift represents…

China may ditch its ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy as maritime arms race with US escalates

Since its first nuclear test in 1964, China has followed the ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy. However, with maritime arms race with the United States escalating, China may be forced to reconsider its long-standing stance, a report in South China Morning Post said. While China is making gains in weapons development, the US is trying to limit Beijing’s military build-up in the South China Sea. China had proved its might with the successful test of new submarine-launched ballistic missile JL-3 late last year giving jitters to the United States.…

Is there such a thing as a Trump Asia policy?

The American-led security infrastructure in Asia faces new challenges from without and within. President Donald Trump’s “America First” national-security strategy threatens to up-end 70 years of alliance- and partnership-making in the region, at the same time as a rising China threatens to upset the traditional modus vivendi that provided security and stability in the region. Making things worse, we do not possess much detail when it comes to Trump’s approach toward Asia. Just what is the essence of his “Asia policy”? If you don’t know, then you are not alone.…

China Couldn’t Dominate Asia if It Wanted to – Foreign Policy

It is now widely accepted that China aspires to displace the United States as the world’s sole superpower by 2049, the 100th anniversary of its modern founding. Amid a trade war and military escalations, an atmosphere many describe as “Cold War 2.0” has set in. But whatever happens between the United States and China, the outcome will not be a unipolar world, neither under American or Chinese tutelage. The United States neither wants nor can afford to re-extend itself globally—nor do most countries want a return to American hegemony. The…

Xi’s China Is Steamrolling Its Own History – Foreign Policy

Chinese President Xi Jinping is directing a vast ideological war across multiple theaters—politics, culture, ethics, economy, strategy, and foreign relations. Among its most intense flashpoints is historiography, particularly of China’s last empire, the Qing, which ruled from 1636 to 1912. Historians, whether foreign or domestic, who resist Xi’s determination to design a past that serves his ideology have been targeted repeatedly by state propaganda organs. A new editorial suggests that this attack on Qing specialists is escalating. Xi has a powerful weapon at his disposal. In 2003, 10 years before…

In Trump’s World, Nukes Are Self-Defense – Foreign Policy

Facing the reality of a nuclear North Korea, worsening relations with ostensible ally South Korea, and an unpredictable partner in Washington, Japan’s government is ramping up its military defenses, shedding many of its postwar taboos. Could the ban on nuclear weapons also be sent to the scrap heap at the same time as the country gets a real army? The idea seems far-fetched, but Japan is increasingly alone in a fast-changing Asian security environment. Since the advent of the atomic age, Japan has sat comfortably under the U.S. nuclear umbrella,…

Xi Jinping and China’s maritime policy

The ascension of Xi Jinping to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has often been posited as a turning point for China’s policy in the South and East China Sea maritime disputes. As early as 2013, You Ji of the University of New South Wales assessed that Xi had been “instrumental in changing China’s passivity” into an assertive strategy to defend China’s claims. More recently Xue Gong of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore has argued that “China has become more assertive in the South…