New Opportunities for the United States-Kingdom of Thailand Alliance in the Indo-Pacific

In this special APB series, the East West Center in Washington and Royal Thai Embassy, Washington, D.C. bring together eminent scholars and experts to discuss opportunities to enhance US-Thailand relations and cooperationin the Indo-Pacific.   Revitalize the Thai-US Alliance by Tackling 21st Century Challenges: Let’s Start by Working Together to Address Marine Plastic Debris  Ambassador (retired) Piper Anne Wind Campbell, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University and former Chargé US Mission to ASEAN, explains that “In both countries, it seems, our younger populations are not aware of interesting joint initiatives that could inspire a greater sen..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

New Caledonia Prepares for Third and Final Referendum on Independence from France

Ashley Westerman, Freelance Journalist and Producer, explains that a turnover in government, along with changing demographics, are what analysts believe could edge New Caledonia towards voting for independence in the December 12 referendum.   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series On December 12, a small cluster of islands in the South Pacific will face a big decision: Should they remain part of France? Or will they vote to become an independent country? The upcoming vote is not the first time New Caledonia, an archipelago in Melanesia some 750 miles off the eastern coast of Australia, has been faced with this crucial question. In both 2018 and 2020, the French terri..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Economic Diplomacy and Genocide in Xinjiang

The government of China is engaged in a systematic campaign to eradicate culturally, if not physically, the Uyghur Muslim minority of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The US State Department characterizes this policy as “genocide,” documenting an extensive list of continuing abuses against Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups. Having made this assessment, the issue is how best to respond. How can economic diplomacy be brought to bear to ensure foreign consumers are not unwitting accomplices to these abuses, including the use of forced labor, and how can those same policy tools be used to name, shame, and try to change behavior of the world’s largest exporter? A ..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Anti-Corruption Courts in Indonesia after 2009: Between Expectation and Reality

In 2019, the East-West Center-based Partnership for Human Rights collaborated with the Indonesian Institute for Independent Judiciary, or LeIP, to begin a four-year project funded by the Siemens Integrity Initiative to address three of the most pressing issues in the ongoing efforts to combat endemic corruption in Indonesia: The uneven performance of the country’s regional Anti-Corruption Courts that were created to replace a single centralized court;
 A confused and inadequate legal framework for the protection of whistleblowers in corruption cases, and;
 Ineffective measures and compliance regimes to address widespread corruption in the private sector. 
 This report represents the ..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

A Changing Climate and Its Implications for Health and Migration in the Pacific: Examples from the Marshall Islands

Climate change impacts--temperature and rainfall changes, extreme events, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification--are amplifying health risks in vulnerable populations throughout the Pacific Islands, and also influence their mobility. This nexus of climate change, health, and migration is evident in the experience of the Marshall Islands. The nation and its population are dispersed over almost two million square kilometers of ocean, with sizeable diasporas in the United States. Climate impacts in the Marshall Islands exacerbate ongoing health threats, such as limited drinking water supplies, inadequate nutrition, and poor infrastructure. The out-migration of Marshallese is largely motivated..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN

Additional titles in theAsia Matters for America series The 5th edition of ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN covers US relations with the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Topics include: diplomatic and defense ties, trade and investment (with spotlights on the health, agriculture, infrastructure, and digital sectors), job creation, travel and tourism, student exchanges (including YSEALI and Fulbright), ASEAN Americans, and sister relationships. This publication was produced in partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council and the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Middle Powers Navigate U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific

Authors discuss how middle powers navigate various aspects of U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific as well as U.S. engagement with middle powers on Indo-Pacific issues.   Three Dilemmas Facing the Indo-Pacific's Regional Order  Arzan Tarapore, South Asia research scholar at Stanford University's Asia-Pacific Research Center, and a Senior Nonresident Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research, explains that states must resolve three overarching dilemmas as they endeavor to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and formulate policy responses to China’s economic rise and strategic revisionism.    Covid’s Impact on India’s Soft Power in the Indo-P..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Climate Change in American Sāmoa: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors

Human health risks, stronger cyclones, coral reef death, and coastal flooding are among the major challenges detailed in a new report on climate change in American Sāmoa. Threatened resources include high-value coastal infrastructure and the millions of dollars that ocean ecosystems add to American Sāmoa's economy annually, according to the report by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA), a consortium of several government, NGO, and research entities.  Climate Change in American Sāmoa: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is one in a series of new PIRCA reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicator..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Regional Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal

The East-West Center in Washington partners with Asian Confluence to tap regional perspectives on ongoing and planned efforts to connect the Bay of Bengal.   Forging a Bay of Bengal Community is the Need of the Hour Sabyasachi Dutta, executive director of Asian Confluence, explains that “Historically the Bay has been a connector for the diverse peoples of South and Southeast Asia via trade and cultural interactions.”   Importance of the Bay of Bengal as a Causeway between the Indian and Pacific Oceans Tariq Karim, Director of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University, Bangladesh, explains that “Countries understand better now the stark reality and nee..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Hun Sen’s Mistake? The Domestic Political Ramifications of His Chinese Shelter

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s close relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has led scholars and policymakers alike to suggest that Beijing’s backing will keep him in power. While Hun Sen himself seems to believe this to be true, his reliance on China is actually enflaming Cambodian discontent to such an extent that his planned patrimonial succession is at risk. Given the fragility of regimes mid-succession, Hun Sen’s Chinese shelter is augmenting the potential of his clan’s fall. Yet as Hun Sen faces increased domestic opposition, he will only further deepen ties with China in hopes of remaining in power, thereby creating a vicious cycle from which escaping wil..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

COVID-19 Crisis Response Offers Insight into Evolving U.S.-Cambodia Relations

Peter Valente and Matthew Sullivan, Programs Coordinator and Projects Coordinator at the East-West Center in Washington, respectively, explain that “In any government where an executive or leader has an outsized function in that political system’s decision-making calculus, such as Cambodia, leaders often form personality cults or demonstrate that they are the primary if not singular source of national power.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series Last year’s MS Westerdam cruise ship fiasco - in which 1,455 passengers and 802 crew were turned away from five different ports before being welcomed by Cambodia - raised many questions regarding how governments and th..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Landscape Conservation in a Changing Climate: Lessons from the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative

“Landscape conservation,” a now common term in conservation biology, emphasizes the importance of planning at scales that encompass ecological processes and species migrations, and addresses large-scale environmental threats. Formal frameworks for evaluating the effectiveness of these efforts are rare, however, and made difficult because these multi-scalar efforts involve many actors over multiple jurisdictions and long timescales. Recognizing the need for collaborative responses to large-scale environmental stressors such as climate change, the Department of the Interior supported a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) from 2009 until 2018. As one of these twenty-two LC..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Navigating the Rift Between Micronesia and the Pacific Islands Forum

Richard Pruett, Senior Consultant at The Stevenson Group, explains that “A Micronesian has held the leadership of the PIF only once in its 50-year history.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series While the U.S. presidential election was garnering much of the world's attention, another acrimonious election was roiling the Pacific, causing the entire Micronesian bloc of nations to exit the region's leading policy-making body, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). This is an opportune time to re-think the PIF and possibly realign Pacific regional architecture in preparation for future challenges. The Republic of Palau left the Forum on February 5, followed three days later ..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Enduring and New Frontiers in U.S.-Japan Relations

The East-West Center in Washington, in collaboration with the Tokyo Review, explores the possibilities for continuing and creating new pathways of cooperation between the United States and Japan under the Biden and Suga administrations.   Partisan Biases in U.S.-Japan Relations Paul Nadeau, cofounder and editor of Tokyo Review, explains that “History shapes many Japanese decision-makers apprehensions of working with a Democratic administration.”   Biden Must Assist Japan and South Korea with the History Issue Tom Le, Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College, explains that “Public American neutrality allows China to exploit weaknesses within U.S. regional allianc..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers Report

The Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers was a half-day, virtual conference organized by the East-West Center and hosted by the U.S. Department of State on October 15-16. The virtual conference convened partners and stakeholders from across the Indo-Pacific region to share best practices and lessons learned related to the cooperative development and management of transboundary rivers. The engaging and constructive discussion with leading experts, institutions, and opinion leaders drew lessons from experiences of other partners beyond the Indo-Pacific, including from the European Union, to address rising environmental, economic, development, and politica..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

A U.S.-Japan Dual-Citizen Arrangement Can Benefit Both Countries

Rei Coleman, government affairs professional, explains that “Bi-national Americans currently on the ground in multinational corporations and other entities in Japan are playing a part in economic and cultural synergy, while contributing to a more well-informed U.S. stance on a number of important bilateral issues.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series Although Japan does not recognize dual citizenship, the United States and Japan would both benefit from such an arrangement. A combination of on-the-ground realities of dual citizens in Japan, the emerging needs and capabilities of the Japanese state (namely digitalization of public services and taxation), and the in..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Climate Change in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors

Climate Change in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is a report developed by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA). It is one in a series of reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian archipelago. Authors from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Office of Planning and Development, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the East-West Center—along with technical contributors from government and nongovernmental organizations, research, and..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Legal Identity and Statelessness in Southeast Asia

Millions of people worldwide are stateless or do not have proof of their legal identity. As a result, they face daily obstacles from lack of access to a range of social, political, and economic rights. Around 40 percent of the identified stateless population live in the Asia Pacific region, with the majority of them residing in the countries of Southeast Asia. While some of these people are refugees or migrants, most belong to minorities living in the country where they were born. Their lack of proof of nationality or other forms of legal identity poses significant challenges to human rights, governance, and development. International conventions aim at improving their status, but have been ..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Timor-Leste’s ASEAN Membership Prospects in a Time of Geopolitical Ambiguity

Hanna Foreman, East-West Center in Washington Young Professionals Program alumna, explains that “Timor Leste’s bid [to join ASEAN] is still being held up because of a lack of consensus among members’ perceptions of Timorese economic and political fitness.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series Timor-Leste is a small democratic country in an increasingly strategic region. Since gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has made remarkable progress as Asia’s youngest democracy, but it has a long way to go in improving its economic and political situation. ASEAN membership for the Timorese is viewed as a way to reconcile economic, security, and geopolitical inte..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Geopolitics of the Philippines and the U.S.-Philippine Alliance

The Geopolitics of the Philippines and the U.S.-Philippine Alliance series comprises five Filipino perspectives on foreign policy under Duterte, and the balancing act of maintaining relations with the United States and China, as well as with other regional powers and domestic forces. This series was published in cooperation with Ateneo School of Government, Ateneo University de Manila.   The New Normal of President Duterte’s Independent Foreign Policy Julio Amador and Deryk Baladjay, Senior Research Fellow and Research Assistant, respectively, at the Ateneo School of Government in the Philippines, explain that: “The Filipino public is not supportive of the Duterte adm..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Philippines

Jonina O. Fernando, Master’s student in Public Management at the Ateneo School of Government in the Philippines, explains that: “Despite its maritime dispute with China… the Philippines signed on as the last founding member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series President Xi Jinping envisioned the so-called “Chinese Dream”, to rejuvenate the Chinese state increasing both domestic and international power. The concept of the Chinese Dream is embodied by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which adopts economic statecraft in the pursuit of security goals. In 2013, Chairman Xi launched a two-pronged plan ..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Can ASEAN Expand Vocational Training to Help Workers Survive Automation and AI?

Additional titles in theAsiaPacific Issues series The countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have cumulatively vaulted from the world’s seventh-largest economy to the fifth, in 2019, in only three years. But several challenges threaten future economic growth. Chief among them is demographic change: populations across ASEAN are aging and birthrates are declining. One outcome will be labor shortages. The shrinking labor pool could serve as a strong driver for automation. But while automation may reduce input costs and boost growth, it could change the skills employers desire, resulting in the obsolescence of many low-skilled jobs, leaving current workers without..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

U.S. Policy Toward Cambodia Requires Nuance

Charles Dunst, Visiting Scholar at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that: “Ultimately, U.S. lawmakers must realize that Cambodia will not become a democracy anytime soon.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series On November 16, a number of U.S. lawmakers, including Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to “address the alarming deterioration in human rights protection and democratic rule in Cambodia” by imposing sanctions on senior government and security officials. This was only the most recent congressional request for action. The Gardner-Markey Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 imposed hum..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Small Grants Guide

Many organizations that have been successful in securing external financing for projects find that developing successful proposals becomes easier over time. But what about organizations and community groups that have little experience in developing projects? This guide is designed to walk you through the process of compiling your information and know-how into a successful small grants proposal. Although this guide focuses primarily on climate change adaptation projects, much of it is applicable to other types of projects as well. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of developing a proposal. Throughout, you will see example questions and criteria that have been taken from actual small grants a..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Strengthening US-Japan-Southeast Asia Cooperation on Connectivity in the Indo-Pacific

Kensuke Yanagida, former Visiting Fellow with the East-West Center in Washington, explains that: “Securing economic development in the emerging Indo-Pacific countries is imperative to achieve peace and stability in the region.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series Connectivity is a bold economic pillar of the Indo-Pacific visions of both the United States and Japan. It presents a great opportunity and also a challenge for U.S.-Japan-Southeast Asia cooperation to shape the future of Indo-Pacific connectivity and economic governance. Japan`s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) initially focused more on security cooperation, and has now become a comprehensive cooperati..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

A Hardening US-China Competition: Asia Policy in America’s 2020 Elections and Regional Responses

The US presidential election campaign debates focused by mid-2020 on the enormous and immediate domestic consequences of the worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 and economic crisis impacting the United States and concurrent widespread protests and counterarguments on police brutality and racial prejudice. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph Biden, were deeply divided on how the US government should respond to these domestic challenges. Against this background, foreign policy was a secondary consideration with one notable exception—relations with China.

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

New Delhi’s Quest for Quantum Technologies

Vibhanshu Shekhar, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University, explains that: “The three principal areas in which India is likely to concentrate are quantum communications and quantum satellite, quantum computing, and quantum cryptography.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series India joined the ‘global quantum race’ in February 2020 when it launched the National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Application (NM-QTA) and declared that the country would invest $1.2 billion over the next five years in the development of quantum technologies. Though the allocated funding for the initiative is not at par with the depth and scale of investment in quantu..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Climate Change in Palau: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors

Climate Change in Palau: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is a report developed by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA). It is one in a series of reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian archipelago. Authors from the Republic of Palau’s Office of Climate Change, the Coral Reef Research Foundation, the Palau International Coral Reef Center, and the East-West Center—along with 30 technical contributors from government and nongovernmental organizations, research, and community groups—collaboratively developed the Palau PIRCA re..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Measuring Shinzo Abe’s Impact on the Indo-Pacific

Dr. John Hemmings, Associate Professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, explains that: “Suga – and, indeed, the next generation of future prime ministers – will continue Abe’s legacy in one form or another.”   Additional titles in the Asia Pacific Bulletin series Last month’s news that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was stepping down came like a thunderbolt from the blue. Once again, a health condition that had compelled him to step down in 2007, resurfaced. Whatever else one might say about Abe ‘the politician’ or Abe ‘the nationalist’, one cannot refute the fact that Abe the ‘grand strategist’ has had the most impact on Jap..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications

Climate Change in Guam: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors

Climate Change in Guam: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is a report developed by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA). It is one in a series of reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian archipelago. PIRCA is a collaborative effort engaging federal, state, and local government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academia, businesses, and community groups to inform and prioritize their activities in the face of a changing climate.  Key climate change issues affecting Guam include threats to human health, risks to freshwate..

East-West Center > Analysis and Publications