This week has seen major talks on the biggest brewing conflict in Asia. At the annual Shangri-La Dialogue of Asia-Pacific defense officials and the high-level United States-China talks in Beijing, the dispute over the South China Sea has been front and center. Beijing’s unapologetic expansionist behavior in a group of previously uninhabited islands is making waves, raising tension, and fueling a regional arms race. You might think this would be fertile ground for some old-fashioned United Nations preventative diplomacy?
In June of 1775, when John Quincy Adams was almost 8 years old, his mother, the indomitable Abigail, took him by the hand up a peak in Braintree, Mass., to view from afar the battle of Bunker Hill. Over 70 years later, in February 1848, “Old Man Eloquent,” as he was then called, collapsed at his desk in the House of Representatives and an obscure one-term congressman named Abraham Lincoln was assigned to the committee making the funeral arrangements. Many of the eulogies to Adams identified him as the last remaining link to the founding generation.
New York University’s College of Arts and Science will hosted James Traub for “John Quincy Adams’ War on Slavery,” a public lecture, on Mon., April 18, 5:30 p.m. in NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center for Arts and Science.
The US presence in the Indo–Asia–Pacific is transforming, and Australia has a major interest in how it unfolds. That transformation is driven in large part by China’s rise, and has several important features.
First, US alliances with Australia, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea are being updated according to each ally’s changing strategic outlook. The US is helping to build up allied maritime, cyber and space resilience capability.
AMERICANS don’t have a vocabulary to describe the pernicious behavior of political crowds, but our forefathers did. John Adams favored a strong executive to guard against “the mob.” He thought that partisans of popular democracy like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ignored the dangers of populist passion. The people, he wrote, can be as tyrannical as any king. That division contributed to the formation of the first parties — Adams’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Democrats.
The Founding Fathers studied history a good deal more seriously than we do. Every day when he was 7 years old, John Quincy Adams read to his mother, Abigail, from Charles Rollin’s Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians, and Grecians, a best-seller of the day. Adams’s father, John Adams, and mother assigned their son passages from the great Latin historians and essayists — Cicero, Sallust, Tacitus, Plutarch.
The United States’ presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific is transforming from a traditional alliance network (of Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand) into a web of strengthened alliances, new partnerships and creative linkages.
Washington must manage this transformation carefully, so its alliance network maintains a deterrent function and reassures allies, but does not exacerbate USChina tensions.