For centuries, relations between the United States and the major powers of Asia have been in a constant state of change. Engagement with the region has become a hot-button topic in world affairs as the U.S. takes a renewed look at its relations with the many players vying for power in Asia. With trade and diplomacy between the U.S. and China in a state of flux, American relations with Japan strained after decades of close ties, and the ever-present threat of North Korean nuclear ambitions, now is a good time for a closer look at these and other complex topics in the region.
In an area that encompasses everything from manufacturing powerhouses to burgeoning superpowers and bitter rivalries, are there any common ties that bind these forces? In this series, retired Foreign Service officers with decades of experience in Asia offer insights on pivotal issues that are defining American foreign policy in the region today.
OCT 11 China
China has exploded onto the world stage in the past few decades and has quickly become a major player in Asia. Given China’s vital role in the world economy and growing geopolitical ambitions, how will the U.S. deal with China’s challenge to American influence? Ambassador (ret.) J. Stapleton Roy.
OCT 18 Japan
Japan’s long history and culture, and its complicated ties to the U.S., make for a complex examination. Since its defeat by the U.S. in World War II, Japan has become one of our greatest allies. How will Japan continue to evolve to face challenges from other regional actors such as China and North Korea? Senior FSO (ret.) James Pierce.
OCT 25 Vietnam
One of the last remaining Communist states, Vietnam’s history and importance in the region neither begin nor end with the Vietnam War. With a powerful economy, often understated importance, and a questionable human rights record, Vietnam is a vital part of any regional dialogue. Ambassador (ret.) Charles Ray traces Vietnam’s path to its current state and where it might be headed.
NOV 1 The Korean Peninsula
Recent developments on the Korean Peninsula have brought this turbulent area storming back onto the world stage. With the North’s growing nuclear capabilities, and a tumultuous change of leadership in the South, the two Koreas have quickly refocused the world’s attention on this long-time flashpoint. How can the U.S. navigate these issues to advance its interests while maintaining stability and security in Asia? Senior FSO (ret.) Mark Tokola.
As part of the first program, Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Stephenson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, offers an overview of the work of the Foreign Service to provide a context for the issues of diplomacy examined in the series.
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