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This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.

This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.
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This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.




Conspiracy Theories, Devil's Bargains, and Asian Security

In this episode, we talk about the various ways conspiratorial thinking has encroached on the Asia-Pacific and US foreign policy. We explore a number of recent developments ripe for competing explanations, including the surprising centrality of East Asia in Steve Bannon's nativist worldview and why Singapore recently expelled political scientist Huang Jing. In our history segment, we introduce the greatest conspiracy in the history of East Asia--a memorandum between William Howard Taft and...


Bombs over Pyongyang? The Window's Already Closed

Don't call it a comeback! In this episode of "Pacific Pundit," we explain the many perils of preventive attacks against North Korea. Our history segment discusses the crazy options the U.S. considered to prevent China from going nuclear in the 1960s. In a satirical role play with Mira Rapp-Hooper (Yale's Paul Tsai China Center and the Center for a New American Security), we walk through every argument that war hawks might make in favor of bombing North Korea. We also discuss research that...


Signaling Ignorance: What the Pentagon Gets Wrong about Coercion

In this episode, we explain how the Pentagon gets coercion wrong, what hip-hop tells us about deterrence, and why it all matters. Our history segment recalls Operation Rolling Thunder, the failed bombing campaign of North Vietnam. And in an interview with Matt Fuhrmann (Stanford University, Texas A&M University), we discuss his new co-authored book (with Todd Sescher), Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy, and how unhelpful nuclear weapons are for coercion. Music: Carl Ranson...


Will Politics Trump Process? Debating Grand Strategy Today

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we debate whether grand strategy under Trump is possible, and the role that his new national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, will play. Our history segment recalls the national security policy processes Henry Kissinger ran during the Nixon administration. Next, in a wide ranging conversation with Hal Brands (of the School of Advanced International Studies), we talk about what grand strategy is good for, and why Trump’s “operational code” on foreign...


Isn’t One China Enough?

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we think through the implications of President Trump’s words and deeds for the US “One China” policy. Our historical segment explores Henry Kissinger’s negotiation with China’s Chou Enlai to establish the Shanghai Communique—the foundation of modern U.S. relations with China. In expert interviews, we get Mira Rapp Hooper (Center for a New American Security) and Dean Cheng (The Heritage Foundation) to weigh in with advice on how to navigate China-Taiwan...


Duterte, Dictatorships, and Southeast Asian Strategy

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we bring strategic sense to Southeast Asia and the rhetoric of Filipino strongman, Rodrigo Duterte. Our history segment considers how Cosimo de Medici used political communication to consolidate power in Florentine Italy during the 15th century. In a conversation with Joshua Kurlantzick (Council on Foreign Relations), we discuss how much power President Duterte really has, how unique he is compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, and how important...


Asia in the Age of Trump: Stability, China Victory, or Nuclear War?

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we explore the possibilities for US Asia policy under President-elect Trump, from continuity and stability to disaster and nuclear war. Our history segment recalls the campaign rhetoric and foreign policy promises of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential run. And in conversations with an eclectic group of experts--Hugh White (Australian National University), Michael Horowitz (University of Pennsylvania), and Ali Wyne (Atlantic Council)--we debate Donald...


Let's Talk About Great Power Competition with China

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we have the audacity to argue that great power competition exists between the United States and China. Our history segment reminisces about War Plan Orange and the importance of taking a long view of competition when faced with rising revisionist powers. In conversations with Oriana Mastro (Georgetown University) and Tai Ming Cheung (UC San Diego), we explore various causes and consequences of competition between the United States and China. We also turn...


Asia's Wicked Geometry: The Power and Problems of Trilateralism

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we explore the scope, causes and consequences of trilateral cooperation in Asia. In our history segment, we revisit how the Australia-New Zealand-US (ANZUS) alliance broke up in the 1980s. We discuss Japan-South Korea-US cooperation with Brad Glosserman (Pacific Forum CSIS); China-Japan-South Korea cooperation with Andrew Yeo (Catholic University of America); and EU-US cooperation in Asia with Sharon Stirling (German Marshall Fund of the United States)....


Sleepwalking into Nuclear War with North Korea

In this episode of Pacific Pundit, we put North Korea's fifth nuclear test in a historical, theoretical, and policy context. We review historical evidence revealing U.S. preferences for preventive nuclear war when America was a new nuclear power. Our guest is Dr. Vipin Narang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who talks about his book Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era (Princeton University Press) and what it means for North Korean nuclear doctrine. And at the end of the show, we...


Red Teaming the Rebalance: Is the US Good for Asia?

In this episode, we explain why William Seward is the OG of US Asia strategy, debate the origins of the rebalance to Asia under President Obama, and bring on two guests-- James Brown (University of Sydney), explaining how Asia and Australia are viewing the United States and China, and Evan Montgomery (Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments), discussing the importance of military superiority for any grand strategy. Evan also discusses what his new book, In the Hegemon’s Shadow...


Offshore Balancing is For Suckers

In this first episode of our new podcast, Pacific Pundit, we explain why offshore balancing strategies are a loser's bet, critique an article by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer advocating an offshore balancing grand strategy, and interview Dr. Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center and most recently author of the book Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security (Columbia University Press).We talk about how America became a wealthy great power--it wasn't through...