When it comes to nuclear arms control, China is great at playing hard to get. Beijing is the elusive beauty, a difficult but attractive target for those who seek nuclear disarmament. Powerful yet mysterious, shrouding its nuclear program in a haze of opacity, the Chinese government never actually gives its pursuers what they want. And China knows that only makes them more interested. Indeed, Beijing leads on its suitors with seductive promises of reducing its arsenal of nuclear weapons, only to demand more in return from other states before taking any steps. And then the cycle begins anew, with no fewer nuclear weapons in China.
Jessica Chen Weiss, a professor of government at Cornell University, explores how hawkish the Chinese public is in a new and important article in the Journal of Contemporary China. The article, titled “How Hawkish Is the Chinese Public? Another Look at ‘Rising Nationalism’ and Chinese Foreign Policy,” finds that the Chinese public is quite hawkish—in fact, perhaps more so than its leaders.
February 2019 is turning out to be a critical month in the presidency of Donald Trump. It may be the critical month. The midterm elections and record-long government shutdown are behind him. By delivering an optimistic and inspiring State of the Union address, Trump effectively reset his presidency and framed his opposition as beyond the American mainstream. But three tests await him: on Congress, on North Korea, and on China. How he handles these challenges will say a lot about his chances of reelection.
OKINAWA—I’ve had to wait on the tarmac for planes ahead of mine to take off before, but never F-15s. Naha airport here shares a runway with Japan’s Air Self Defense Forces, leading to delays whenever Japanese fighters scramble to counter Chinese incursions into the airspace above the Senkaku Island Chain in the East China Sea. The pace of such incursions has accelerated over the last half decade. The Japanese scrambled a high of 1,168 times in 2016, mostly in response to Chinese activity. The sight of active afterburners on a U.S. commercial runway would be shocking. In Okinawa, it’s everyday life.