North Korea launched its latest and largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on March 24th, 2022. This signals an alarming escalation of arms accumulation by North Korea since 2017. With the entire world focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine since February, this turbulent time could be the perfect opportunity for North Korea to resume its long-awaited missile pursuit. This would also mean that the Biden administration will be strained further as it now needs to anticipate and react to both the escalation of the missile crisis in the Korean Peninsula and the threats of the continued massive civilian casualties and nuclear war by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Category: East and South Asia
Chinese Nationalism at the Winter Olympics
The Olympics is widely regarded as the largest sports event in the world. As much as the Olympic motto advocates for pure sports spirits, the Olympics have always created political implications. Host countries are often incentivized by the opportunity to show the world its strength, to increase collective confidence in their people by winning medals, and to stimulate consumption during the game. During the Olympics, numerous audiences cheer in front of televisions not only because of adrenaline and love for sports but also for national pride. The recent Beijing Winter Olympics was no exception. Chinese nationalism was pushed to a peak whenever a Chinese athlete won a medal or broke a record. While the Chinese audience was generally encouraging to native athletes, their opinions on non-native Chinese athletes were more ambiguous. To boost the performance of the Chinese team in the Olympics, China recruited many foreign-born, ethnically Chinese athletes in its weak disciplines such as skiing, ice hockey, and figure skating. Responses from the Chinese audience to these athletes provide a unique perspective on understanding Chinese nationalism. Among the recruited athletes, the comparison between Eileen Gu, an 18-year-old freestyle skier, and Yi Zhu, a 19-year-old figure skater, is the most interesting.
Property Tax in Pursuit of Common Prosperity: A Shift in the Chinese Economic Model
China stands alone among developed economies for its lack of property tax, a status that it has maintained over the years despite being the second largest economy in the world. However, with the nation’s largest real estate giant Evergrande tipping on the edge of a default crisis, the government may finally be compelled to cast off this unique position and to finally impose one.
In early October this year, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body, decided to authorize a five-year property tax pilot program in selected cities such as Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Hainan. This economic move is of great significance in regulating China’s real estate sector, but the stakes are high.
The Implications of India’s Climate Promise at COP26
Over the past week, leaders from over 200 countries met in Glasgow for COP 26. This was the 26th meeting of the signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (referred to as the Conference of the Parties), and featured delegates from all around the world, representing nations, NGOs, and different industries. Meetings like these occur for two main reasons. Firstly, they provide a form of accountability: World leaders are expected to give highly public accounts of their efforts to mitigate climate change, exposing them to possible shaming if their efforts are not deemed substantial enough. Secondly, they provide a space where common goals and plans can be formulated: Nations can plan on future collaboration and push their peers to adopt more (or less) ambitious goals and plans. This combination of recapitulation and planning offers a centralized platform for more organized mitigation and increased accountability.
Undemocratic States: US-India Viewpoints on Religious Freedom
Religious freedom has been on attack within India for the past decade as rampant discrimination against religious minorities becomes increasingly enshrined within the legal language of the country. Despite the right to freedom of religion being clearly outlined within the 1949 Constitution of India and the country’s accession to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the plight of religious minorities within the country have only reached unparalleled levels.2 Importantly, the lack of geopolitical accountability against the Modi administration and those perpetuating religious violence condones and exacerbates the incredibly pervasive and longstanding religious persecution against Indian minority communities.
Caught in the Crossfire: the Costs of the United States’ Rivalry with China
With the United States clearly positioning itself to take a much more active role militarily in East Asia–a proposition that necessarily brings increased attention to Guam’s strategic advantage–it is critical to understand how the United States’ current relationship with Guam exemplifies an unequal framework that denies Guamanians influence over the United States’ military policy that consumes the island’s land and places it in far more direct danger of attack than any location on the mainland.
Squid Game, Parasite, and the Increasing Restlessness of Neoliberalism
Globally prominent pieces of South Korean media, such as Squid Game and Parasite, represent a growing discontent with the conditions which have been created and engendered by global neoliberalism. South Korea represents a particularly salient microcosm of this from its historical context as a strategic incubator for American capitalist development and the implications of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on its 21st-century socioeconomic landscape.
The Quad: An ‘Asian NATO?’
“I don’t think the overwhelming majority of countries in the world would recognize that the universal values advocated by the United States… would serve as the basis for the international order.” 
Expressed by Director Yang at the March 2021 US-China Alaska summit, it’s the latest verbal attack on the US-led world order and its liberal values. As China steamrolled into the 21st century, President Xi has abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s ‘bide and hide’ strategy for a more assertive approach.
Punjab’s Kisaan Under a Modi Government
Punjab’s kisaan movement is the largest general demonstration in human history. An estimated 250 million people took action, that is 1 in 4 working persons.  And the protests continue to this day.
In September 2020, Prime Minister Modi passed the Indian Agriculture Acts of 2020, or the Farm Bills, as an attempt to deregulate markets and “ensure a complete transformation” of India’s agriculture sector.  However, the impact of these policies is severe for small farm holders who control more than 86% of India’s farmland. By limiting the bargaining power of small farmers, the state puts them at risk of exploitation when negotiating their produce to larger companies. Currently, Indian farmers have the right to sell their products to the government at a ‘minimum support price’ which safeguards the farmer to a minimum profit if the open market sets a lower price than the cost incurred. New farm bills dismantle this MSP system, forcing millions of farmers to sell products to agribusiness corporations. 
Wolf Warrior Diplomats and the Need for a More Perfect Union
China is on the rise. So is its pride in itself, its culture, and its form of government. Nowhere is this more evident than China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy,” or zhanlang waijiao, the new diplomatic practice adopted by Chinese diplomats after President Xi Jinping took office.
It takes its name from the successful 2017 Chinese action movie Wolf Warrior 2 where the lead character, played by popular martial arts actor Wu Jing, takes down an American mercenary, Big Daddy. The movie is filled with waves of nationalism and is reflective of Xi’s governing ethos of the “Chinese Dream” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”