Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Japan

Trident: How Important is an Independent Nuclear Deterrent?

Britain’s leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has declared his opposition to the use and possession of nuclear weapons:

Specifically, he wants to discontinue Britain’s Trident nuclear program. Trident consists of four submarines, 58 Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, and 160 thermonuclear warheads. All together, Britain has the 5th largest nuclear program in the world:

How important is this program to Britain’s security? On this issue, I think both Corbyn and his critics have oversimplified matters a bit. The role nuclear weapons play is more complicated than both hawks and doves typically acknowledge.

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Who is Right about Free Trade? Barack Obama vs. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

In recent weeks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is back in the news. TPP aims to lower barriers to trade among the United States and a variety of other nations including rich countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia and developing countries like Chile, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has come out strongly against TPP, as has senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT). President Barack Obama continues to support TPP–he recently succeeded in having the agreement fast-tracked by the senate and will likely replicate that success in the house. Once TPP is fast-tracked, congress cannot debate the treaty’s contents or make amendments to it. Is TPP good for the United States? Who is right?

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Great Power Graphapalooza

In the course of doing my MA at the University of Chicago, I’ve had the opportunity to take a class from John Mearsheimer. Mearsheimer is one of the most widely renowned structural realists in the international relations game today. He disagrees with much of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, lamenting the US’s decision to expend its energies maintaining large military presences in regions of the world that contain no threats to the United States. Mearsheimer calls for a strategy of offshore balancing, in which the United States only intervenes in critical regions in order to prevent those regions from being dominated completely by another state. Otherwise, he recommends the US save its strength. I found myself curious today about what many of the world’s region’s power relationships might look like if the United States were to withdraw militarily and allow the powers in those regions to engage in security competition with one another, and I have taken some time to run the figures and make a vast plethora of charts to share with you.

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The US has 5 Years to Deal With China

There continues to be much talk of a “rising China”. While I have written in the past that China is not presently a serious military or economic threat to the United States, many still argue, both in the United States and around the world, that China will at some point come to surpass the United States in economic and eventually even military might. How should the United States, or any leading great power for that matter, defend a lead from a country that, while not yet a threat, is a threat to become a threat? That’s the subject of today’s post.

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Thank a Local Immigrant for Your Public Services

Regular readers may recall that I wrote about Japan’s poor birth rate earlier in the week. I engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine about the subject (here’s his view on Japan) during which I observed that Germany’s birth rate is actually slightly worse than Japan’s, yet there’s we’re all writing about Japanese birth rates rather than the German ones. I wondered why that is, and he pointed to the immigration figures–Germany gets many more move-ins than Japan does, so the birth rate crisis in Germany has not translated into a population crisis on the same scale. This has made me want to investigate to what extent the EU and US have mitigated the effects of a birth rate slowdown with immigrants, so that’s what I’m on about today.

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