Presenting the Summer 2012 Issue of Orbis

  • July 4, 2012

Presenting the Summer 2012 Issue of Orbis

  • July 4, 2012

Mackubin “Mac” Owens is Editor of Orbis, FPRI’s quarterly journal of international affairs, and Senior Fellow at its Program on National Security. He is also Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He served as a Marine infantry platoon commander in Vietnam (1968-69) where he was twice wounded and awarded the Silver Star medal. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel in 1994. Dr. Owens earned his Ph.D. from the University of Dallas, his M.A. in economics from Oklahoma University and his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is co-editor of the textbook Strategy and Force Planning, now in its fourth edition, and author of Abraham Lincoln: Leadership and Democratic Statesmanship in Wartime (FPRI E-Book, 2009) and U.S. Civil-Military Relations After 9/11 (2011). The report below is taken from his introduction to the current issue of Orbis. To access articles from Orbis, visit: www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00304387

The Foreign Policy Research Institute is fortunate to have a very active and productive Asia Program, directed by University of Pennsylvania’s Jacques deLisle. The scholarship this program generates has always been of great quality but is of particular importance now given the Obama administration’s recently published strategy with its “Pacific pivot.” This issue of Orbis reflects this new strategic reality, featuring a cluster of articles based on papers delivered at an FPRI/Reserve Officers Association (ROA) conference on “Contested Terrain: China’s Periphery and International Relations in Asia” held in Washington D.C. in November of 2011.

However, the first article of the summer volume focuses on another security issue of great importance: cyber security. Here, Suzanne Nielsen provides a primer on the government’s role in enhancing America’s cyber security posture. She develops a risk management model that addresses threats, vulnerabilities, and potential consequences of failing to protect U.S. interests in the cyber realm and then offers suggestions concerning an appropriate government response. I intend this to be the first of many articles to address this important topic.

The first five articles of the Asia-Pacific cluster are based on presentations at the FPRI/ROA conference. In his offering, Michael Green examines the behavior of states on China’s periphery. Far from being merely passive actors buffeted by the great power competition between the United States and China, Green shows that these countries play an important role in both shaping Sino-American relations and the international order in Asia.

Next, Sheila Smith explores the dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea. Then John Garver discusses China’s diplomacy via-a-vis India, the goal of which is to persuade the latter to accept a significant Chinese role in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Much depends on whether China rises peacefully, accommodating itself to a liberal world order.

Allen Carlson and Michael Davis look at China’s policy regarding its frontiers and “national minorities” respectively. Carlson discusses the current China policy debate concerning how Beijing should govern its vast frontier regions that include Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Davis highlights China’s approach to Tibet, arguing on behalf of a more liberal policy than the one China has heretofore embraced.

Three additional articles flesh out the Asia-Pacific cluster. Arthur Waldron looks at the new geopolitical situation in East Asia arising from China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea. He suggests that, in accordance with international relations theory, China’s neighbors are unlikely to acquiesce in this claim, forming a countervailing coalition of some sort. The role of Taiwan in this scenario is determinative.

Sumit Ganguly and Manjeet S. Pardesi examine the parallel rise of China and India. They conclude that the particular circumstances that the two states face make a limited conventional war between them a distinct possibility, despite the supposedly moderating effect of economic interdependence and possession of nuclear weapons by both parties. Finally, Doug Bandow argues that the transformation of the security environment in East Asia will be smoother if the United States demonstrates strategic restraint in the region, accepting the reality that America’s ability to unilaterally reshape the international order is eroding. A peaceful East Asia, he contends, ultimately depends more on the actions of the states in the region than on the United States. And in a compelling review essay, Colin Dueck evaluates four books which address nuclear proliferation and nonproliferation.