Vietnam–US relations balancing ideology and geopolitics

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear, second right, and Vietnam's Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh, third left, cut ribbon during a ceremony marking the start of a project to clean up dioxin left over from the Vietnam War, at a former U.S. military base in Danang, Vietnam Thursday Aug. 9, 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Cuong T. Nguyen, University of Chicago

On 7 July 2015, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office, marking a historic milestone in advancing US–Vietnam relations. But the trip was largely symbolic as Trong returned to Hanoi with only modest progress on comprehensive US–Vietnam relations. So, when eloquent rhetoric collides with hard logistics, what was the main roadblock in furthering US–Vietnam relations?

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The Sino–American co-dependency trap

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange toasts during a state dinner at the White House, 25 September 2015, during Xi's weeklong official visit. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stephen S. Roach, Yale University

Increasingly reliant on each other for sustainable economic growth, the United States and China have fallen into a classic co-dependency trap, bristling at changes in the rules of engagement. The symptoms of this insidious pathology were on clear display during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to America. Little was accomplished, and the path ahead remains treacherous. Read more…

No easy solutions in US–China cyber security

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 13 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Greg Austin, University of New South Wales

In late September 2015, the Presidents of China and the United States reached a number of agreements on cyber security, cyber espionage and cyber crime. They provide for a new high-level contact group as well as assurances to investigate and resolve complaints from each other. The agreements are important diplomatic breakthroughs, but they are relatively piecemeal when seen against the bigger picture. Read more…

What’s displacing Air Sea Battle in US military planning?

Russian President Valdimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry talk to each other after negotiations of Russian and US leaders at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, USA, 28 September 2015. Russia is changing the security landscape and US defence planners are adapting. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Greg Raymond, ANU

In a slow moving transition underway since late 2014, there are strong signs that the often-criticised US Air Sea Battle operational concept is being quietly — albeit not officially — sidelined as a focus of US military strategy. The likelihood is that a new program, the so-called Third Offset Strategy, is displacing it. This suggests that since the unsettling return of 19th century-style territorial annexation to 21st century Europe, Russia is looming as a serious threat in the minds of US defence planners — possibly even more than China. Read more…

The importance of Xi’s US visit

President Barack Obama toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a lunch banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 12 November 2014. China will get its second state dinner under Barack Obama when Xi Jinping arrives at the White House on 25 September 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Wang Yong, Peking University, and Yves Tiberghien, UBC

The results of the China–US summit between Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama, held at a critical turning point in the relationship, will reshape the direction of the Asia Pacific region and even global politics.In the interests of both countries and the world, the two leaders must find ways to neutralise security tensions and build cooperative momentum with core initiatives, such as climate change talks, a potential investment treaty and mutual work around the forthcoming Chinese G20 presidency. Read more…

Should the US patrol around China’s artificial islands?


Author: Andrew Chubb, UWA

The US defence establishment’s provocative plan to assert freedom of navigation by patrolling near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea appears to have stalled. But if the United States abandons the policy it will forego an important opportunity to help stabilise Asia’s contested waters. Read more…

US presidential campaign mustn’t undermine Xi’s state visit

US Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio, who wrote an op'ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing his tough stance on China, speaks at a town hall Ohio, 21 August 2015. There tends to be a difference between campaign-trail rhetoric and the realities of political office. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Elizabeth Ingleson, United States Studies Centre

Another year of presidential campaigns, another round of China bashing. In the wake of China’s stock market crash in August 2015, Republican presidential candidates have turned their attention towards China. Citing China’s ‘active manipulation’ of its economy as contributing to its own ‘Black Monday’, candidate Scott Walker demanded US President Barack Obama cancel Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit. Read more…