Writers

James Borton

James Borton is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Yale University. He is a freelance global journalist who writes for Asia Times, Asia Literary Review, Foreign Policy and The Washington Times. He recently edited Islands and Rocks in the South China Sea: Post Hague Ruling. He is also a nonresident fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington and a regular contributor to Geopolitical Monitor. James is now at work on a new book, Dispatches from the South China Sea.

US-Vietnam COVID Cooperation Hits a Snag

Citizens in Phu Yen Province wait for their turn to get COVID-19 vaccine injections (August 2, 2021). Photo: VNA

Washington and Beijing are actively competing to bolster soft power via vaccine deliveries to Southeast Asia. Yet countries like Vietnam are still lacking jabs.

Vietnam Faces Watershed Moment ahead of COP26

Many roads are flooded in Ho Chi Minh City because the high tide is at its peak. Credit: Hong Giang - Vietnam News Agency. / Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh: Nhiều tuyến đường ngập s

For a sense of the stakes involved at the upcoming COP26 climate conference, look no further than Ho Chi Minh City’s fight against rising seawaters.

Vietnam Calls for Vaccines and Climate Change Action at UN

Chủ tịch nước Nguyễn Xuân Phúc phát biểu tại Phi

Hanoi is using its time atop the UN institutional structure to draw attention to two colossal non-traditional security threats to international society.

VP Harris Visit: Poor Timing in Washington’s Courting of Vietnam as Strategic Partner

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang enter conduct bi-lateral discussions at the Vietnam Ministry of Defense, Hanoi, Vietnam, July 29, 2021. Austin is on a week-long trip to reaffirm defense relationships and conduct bilateral meetings with senior officials in Vietnam, Singapore and Manila, Philippines. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley), cc U.S. Secretary of Defense, modified, https://www.flickr.com/photos/secdef/51343158874/in/photostream/rg/licenses/by/2.0/

The Kabul-Saigon comparison touches a nerve in US-Vietnam reconciliation, and reinforces doubts over the level of US commitment to Southeast Asia.

UNCLOS Remains the Gold Standard in Maritime Security Cooperation

cc flickr sanjitbakshi, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

With mounting disputes around the world, the treaty is arguably more important than ever for maritime security.

Winds of Change: Vietnam’s Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewables

Overall view of Dau Tieng Solar Power Project, Vietnam, cc WikiCommons TammyLe, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DAU_TIENG_PROJECT_BIRDSIGHT.jpg

Vietnam is harnessing a grassroots desire for green energy to enact a slow but steady transition away from coal-based electricity generation.

White House Transition to Continue Trajectory of US-Vietnam Relations

Vice President Biden shakes hands with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at a luncheon at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on July 7, 2015. [State Department Photo/Public Domain], cc Flickr US Department of State, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vice_President_Biden_Shakes_Hands_With_General_Secretary_Nguyen_Phu_Trong_at_a_Luncheon_at_the_State_Department_(18883780193).jpg

A President Biden would be unlikely to hit the ‘reset’ button in US-China relations, which suggests progress in Washington’s partnership with Hanoi.

Allies in Limbo: The Pentagon and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative

public domain, modified, https://www.amphib7flt.navy.mil/Media/News/Article/2180588/montgomery-cesar-chavez-operate-near-west-capella/, SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 7, 2020) The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) conducts routine operations near Panamanian flagged drillship, West Capella, May 7. Montgomery is on a rotational deployment to USINDOPACOM, conducting operations, exercises and port visits throughout the region and working hull-to-hull with allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Naval Aircrewmen Helicopter 3rd Class Christopher Fred) (Photo by AWS3 Christopher Fred)

The COVID-19 pandemic has not made the world safer; old threats have not gone away and new ones remain on the horizon, especially in the South China Sea. Yet key tenets of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative remain bogged down in Congress.

US Raises the Flag, and Stakes, in South China Sea

cc Flickr Official U.S. Navy Page, modified, SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 13, 2020) The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) conducts routine operations in the South China Sea, May 13, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords, part of Destroyer Squadron Seven, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brenton Poyser/Released)200513-N-WP865-0237

Is Washington’s newfound assertiveness on the South China Sea dispute a matter of long-term statecraft, or short-term electioneering?

Vietnam Repels another Enemy at the Border: COVID-19

Courtesy of VNA; Translation:

This time Hanoi’s preferred weapons were science-based policy and epidemic planning.

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