The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs will host a Director's Lunch with Victor Cha in the Belfer Library (L369).
 
While the American alliance system in Asia has been fundamental to the region's security and prosperity for seven decades, today it encounters challenges from the growth of China-based regional organizations. How was the American alliance system originally established in Asia, and is it currently under threat? How are competing security designs being influenced by the United States and China? In Powerplay, Victor Cha draws from theories about alliances, unipolarity, and regime complexity to examine the evolution of the U.S. alliance system and the reasons for its continued importance in Asia and the world.

Cha delves into the fears, motivations, and aspirations of the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies as they contemplated alliances with the Republic of China, Republic of Korea, and Japan at the outset of the Cold War. Their choice of a bilateral "hub and spokes" security design for Asia was entirely different from the system created in Europe, but it was essential for its time. Cha argues that the alliance system’s innovations in the twenty-first century contribute to its resiliency in the face of China’s increasing prominence, and that the task for the world is not to choose between American and Chinese institutions, but to maximize stability and economic progress amid Asia’s increasingly complex political landscape.

Exploring U.S. bilateral relations in Asia after World War II, Powerplay takes an original look at how global alliances are achieved and maintained.

Victor Cha joined CSIS in May 2009 as a senior adviser and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair. He is also director of Asian studies and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. From 2004 to 2007, he served as director for Asian affairs at the White House on the National Security Council (NSC), where he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand, and Pacific Island nation affairs. Dr. Cha was also the deputy head of delegation for the United States at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing and received two Outstanding Service Commendations during his tenure at the NSC. He is the award-winning author of Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press, 1999), winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize; Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies, with Dave Kang (Columbia University Press, 2004); Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia University Press, 2009); and The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Ecco, 2012), selected by Foreign Affairs magazine as a 2012 “Best Book on Asia and the Pacific.” His newest book is Powerplay: Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton University Press, 2016). He has written articles on international relations and East Asia in journals including Foreign Affairs, International Security, Political Science Quarterly, Survival, International Studies Quarterly, and Asian Survey.

Dr. Cha is a former John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University, a two-time Fulbright Scholar, and a Hoover National Fellow, CISAC Fellow, and William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University. He holds Georgetown University’s Dean’s Teaching Award for 2010 and the Distinguished Research Award for 2011. He serves as an independent consultant and has testified before Congress on Asian security issues. He has been a guest analyst for various media including CNN, ABCNightline, NBC Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and National Public Radio. Dr. Cha holds a B.A., an M.I.A., and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, as well as an M.A. from Oxford University.

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