Currently the program manager for AEI's annual Executive Program on National Security Policy and Strategy, Michael Mazza has studied and lived in China. At AEI, Mr. Mazza studies defense policy in the Asia-Pacific, as well as Chinese military modernization, cross-Strait relations, and security on the Korean peninsula. He also writes regularly for AEI's Center for Defense Studies blog. In his previous capacity as a research assistant in AEI's Foreign and Defense Policy Studies department, Mr. Mazza contributed to studies on American strategy in Asia and on Taiwanese defense strategy. He is a 2010-2011 Foreign Policy Initiative Future Leader.
Program Manager, Executive Program on National Security Policy and Strategy, 2010-present; Research Assistant, 2008-2010, American Enterprise Institute
Security concerns in the Asia-Pacific are on the rise. Tensions over territorial disputes have spiked across the region. China is menacing its neighbors. North Korea continues to pursue a dangerous nuclear weapons capability. The United States has announced a pivot to Asia, but defense budget cuts and challenges elsewhere in the world may undermine the president's promises to America's allies.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recognized that the environment in which Japan lives is changing. Japan must change along with it or live at the mercy of others less hesitant to shape the world to their own desires.
If we need a new label for this era, let's call it the "Age of Contempt." Presidential words and speeches are met with collective eye-rolling, new U.S. policy initiatives are not carried out, and in the absence of a U.S. security blanket, chaos reigns as aggrieved citizens turn to violent acts against innocents.
The cross–Taiwan Strait military balance has over the past decade shifted in favor of the Chinese military, and Taiwan's efforts to meet this challenge have been slowed by a number of factors including insufficient defense budgets. The United States has a statutory interest in and obligation to help Taiwan maintain an adequate defense posture, but has fallen short of this in recent years.
In recent weeks, all eyes have been on a revisionist regime dissatisfied with the post-Cold War status quo, convinced of the geopolitical necessity of and historical right to a hegemonic self-centric regional order, dedicated to the long-term job security of its political leaders, and driven by enduring, geographically-imposed security concerns. What country does this describe?