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.

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.

Backgrounder: Agriculture 4.0 in Vietnam

cc Vietnam News Agency (VNA), modified, Vụ mùa năm 2018, toàn huyện Ðiện Biên (Điện Biên) gieo cấy gần 6.400ha lúa nước và hơn 2.200ha lúa nương chủ yếu là các giống lúa: Bắc thơm số 7, IR64, Nếp 97, 98... Năng suất lúa trung bình toàn huyện ước đạt gần 60 tạ/ha, sản lượng ước đạt trên 37.800 tấn. Ảnh: Phan Tuấn Anh - TTXVN

In Vietnam we can see many of the challenges, and solutions, to farming in the era of climate change.

Washington Slow to Connect Its Blue Dot Network

cc xiquinhosilva, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_Bridge_Da-Nang.jpg

If it is ever to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Blue Dot Network has a lot of catching up to do.

South China Sea Fishermen Caught between COVID-19 and China

South China Sea fishing fleet in Vietnam, cc Marco Verch, Flickr, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

COVID-19 has now been added to the long list of difficulties faced by those who rely on fishing the South China Sea to make a living.

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