Michael Auslin

Michael Auslin is the author of Asia’s New Geopolitics and the host of the Pacific Century podcast.

How Biden can help save Sunak

Spare a thought for Rishi Sunak. The Prime Minister must restore the UK’s fiscal stability, calm markets, and support the pound. He needs to unite a country facing increasing American-style social and political polarisation. He must also assure Britain’s allies and partners that it will remain a global actor, opposing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Why China has its eye on the Falklands

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has paradoxically heightened China’s global reputation, if only because it has not yet invaded a weaker neighbour. Yet China remains a far greater threat over the long run than Russia. And recent disruptive behaviour by Xi Jinping should remind London, Washington and their allies that Beijing poses not merely a

China and Russia are an alliance of disruptors

Four years ago, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping made pancakes together in Vladivostok while thousands of their military forces conducted joint exercises in Siberia. This month, as China hosted the Olympics, Putin and Xi announced that a ‘new era’ in international relations had begun, one in which the two great authoritarian powers of the 21st

The world puts an * next to China

When Donald Trump publicly called into question China’s Covid-19 death rate claims at a recent White House press conference, the chart he pointed to had an asterisk next to China’s name. Thanks to Beijing’s lack of transparency during the pandemic, and subsequent coverup, scepticism over its official statements is now the norm. While seemingly trivial,

The West can only blame itself for failing to prepare for Huawei

With Boris Johnson’s government deciding to allow Huawei into Britain’s ‘non-core’ 5G networks, London is charting a new path for Western nations dealing with Huawei. The UK is not the first European nation to accept Huawei as part of their national 5G systems, but it is perhaps the most significant. London’s success in limiting Huawei’s

Modern Japan is a model of stability, thanks to its ancient imperial family

Japanese Emperor Naruhito was formally enthroned this week, in the second of three major ceremonies marking his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne. As Brexit chaos continues to paralyse Britain, impeachment roils American politics, and months of anti-China protests rock Hong Kong and flummox Beijing, Japan again offers an example of political and social stability regularly

Britain’s Huawei gamble is sure to anger Donald Trump

Just hours after Donald Trump’s long-delayed state visit to Britain was finally confirmed, reports surfaced that Theresa May and her National Security Council have decided to let Chinese telecommunications company Huawei participate in building Britain’s 5G network. The decision is a direct slap in the face to Washington’s attempts to isolate Huawei, which itself is part

Could Huawei destroy the special relationship?

Last week, the Trump administration warned the German government that if it uses 5G wireless technology built by China’s Huawei, Washington will curtail intelligence sharing with its Nato ally. American officials are concerned that Berlin’s willingness to host Chinese technology threatens Nato security, and will give cover to other countries considering letting Huawei into their telecommunications systems.

Britain is right to send its navy to the South China Sea 

The Royal Navy and US Navy held joint exercises in the South China Sea last week, for the first time since China began building new military bases in those waters. The exercises sent a message to Beijing that it faces an evolving united front of nations committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in some of

China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang is sure to backfire

After repeated denials, Chinese officials finally admitted last month that they have set up internment camps in the far-western province of Xinjiang, where up to one million ethnic Uighurs, almost all of whom are Muslim, are being held. Under China’s anti-terrorism law and ‘religious affairs regulation,’ the government in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region publicly introduced

Making China great again

Most reporting on Jeremy Hunt’s visit to China this week went little further than his slip of the tongue in describing his wife as Japanese rather than Chinese. Preoccupied by that trivial matter and any offence it might have given the new foreign secretary’s hosts (which seemed to be none), commentators missed the somewhat more

President Xi’s power grab will have global repercussions

President Xi Jinping’s second term was meant to come to an end in 2023. However, the news that the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee has moved to eliminate the constitution’s two-term limit for presidents suggests he plans on staying in power longer than this – and perhaps indefinitely.  The rest of the world will now have to

Technology theft goes both ways – as China is discovering

Beijing is starting to worry that the rest of the world will steal its advanced technology. The Chinese military is calling for stronger protection of the country’s intellectual property, particularly in sensitive defence areas. Supercomputers, drones, rocket launchers and the like, were singled out as areas where ‘generations’ of Chinese research cannot be allowed to

China vs America: the espionage story of our time

Why aren’t spy stories sexy anymore? The revelations last year that Beijing destroyed America’s espionage ring inside China a few years ago, including executing a number of US informants, got a brief flurry of attention and then subsided beneath the waves. News reports of American bureaucrats arrested for passing information to the Chinese have also barely raised

The war in the shadows

I once spent an evening, back in the mid-1980s, with William Colby, the legendary spy and director of the CIA. I was an undergraduate at the time, and the CIA’s Iran–Contra debacle was in the news. Lured by the agency’s mystique, I was eager to ask him about the fabled Phoenix programme he directed —