Elliot Waldman, WorldPoliticsReview

Elliot Waldman


Washington, DC, United States

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Past articles by Elliot:

Facing a Mutual Threat, Japan and Taiwan Look to Deepen Ties

Building on close historical ties and motivated by shared concern over China’s aggressive behavior in the region of late, Japan and Taiwan have stepped up their coordination on a range of economic and security issues. All indications are that this trend is set to continue under new Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. → Read More

A Refreshingly Competitive Leadership Race for Japan’s Ruling Party

Leadership elections in Japan’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party are generally predictable, even dull affairs. In a refreshing change of pace, however, the current campaign to head the LDP—and serve as prime minister, given the party’s control of parliament—has several viable candidates. → Read More

South Korea’s Conservatives, Long in the Wilderness, Plot a Comeback

South Korea’s conservative opposition People Power Party recently chose a 36-year-old entrepreneur with no experience in public office as its new leader. Lee Jun-seok takes the PPP’s helm as the party gears up for the March 2022 election, when it will seek to retake the presidency from the ruling Democratic Party. → Read More

Don’t Forget Beijing’s Role in America’s Hawkish Turn on China

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum are backing bills in Congress to forcefully confront China’s rise, but some experts argue for a more restrained approach to Beijing. Amid the debate, it is important to recognize that America’s hawkish consensus on China did not emerge from a vacuum. → Read More

Seeing a Shared Threat in China, Japan-US Relations Flourish Anew

President Joe Biden’s summit with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide last week was an opportunity for the U.S. to refocus its attention eastward. Washington’s allies in Europe are also increasingly devoting military and diplomatic resources to the Asia-Pacific, with Japan as their anchor. → Read More

Fears of an Imminent Chinese Invasion of Taiwan Are Overblown

The outgoing and incoming commanders of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command raised eyebrows recently when they said at separate Senate hearings that China could invade Taiwan in the coming years. At first glance, such concerns might seem justified, but there are many good reasons to be skeptical. → Read More

A Decade on, the Fukushima Disaster’s Painful Reverberations in Japan

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan a decade ago was a tragic and literally world-changing event. Much of the Western media coverage of the disaster and its aftermath revealed just how poorly understood Japan is in Western eyes. Ten years later, the picture is little changed. → Read More

In South Korea, President Moon Fights to Secure His Legacy

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began the year in dire need of a pick-me-up. Seeking to boost his sagging approval ratings, he laid out an ambitious agenda for the remainder of his term, which expires in spring 2022. But none of the far-reaching promises that Moon articulated will be easy to fulfill. → Read More

Will a More Integrated Asia Be a Less Stable Asia?

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a huge new free trade agreement covering 15 countries across the Asia-Pacific, has been heralded as a triumph of multilateral cooperation. Yet given the history of economic integration in Asia, RCEP’s geopolitical implications may not all be positive. → Read More

Japan’s Suga Aims to Build on Abe’s Diplomatic Legacy. But Will That Be Enough?

Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s ambitious foreign policy agenda often missed its mark, but he still left behind some important accomplishments and a reservoir of goodwill among world leaders. No one is better-positioned to benefit from that track record than Abe’s successor, Suga Yoshihide. → Read More

At a Huge Military Parade, North Korea Flaunts New Weapons but Leaves Room for Dialogue

North Korea’s massive military parade last weekend was an opportunity for the regime to project strength as it copes with crises on multiple fronts. Numerous military advances were on display, including a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that experts believe is the largest of its kind in the world. → Read More

After His Victory in the Japanese Election, Can Suga Deliver on High Expectations?

When Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party held a leadership race to decide who would succeed Abe Shinzo as prime minister, it had all the trappings of a normal election. Yet the result was a foregone conclusion. Suga Yoshihide, Abe’s longtime right-hand man, had a virtual lock on the votes needed to win. → Read More

A COVID-19 Surge Could Drag Down the South Korea Economy—and Moon With It

South Korea, deservedly well-known for one of the world’s most successful initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic, is now seeing a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases. President Moon Jae-in has so far resisted imposing a severe lockdown, fearing “immense economic damage,” but he may find he has no choice. → Read More

For Japan’s Abe, Womenomics Is Not Enough to Achieve Gender Equality

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has repeatedly pledged that by 2020, 30 percent of leadership positions in the country would be held by women. But as one government official acknowledged to the Mainichi newspaper in June, achieving that target this year is “impossible, realistically speaking.” → Read More

Why North Korea Blew Up Its Détente With the South

In 2018, North and South Korea held a series of meetings and agreed to a number of confidence-building measures, including an inter-Korean liaison office near the border, in North Korean territory. But much of that progress came crashing down this week when Pyongyang demolished the liaison building. → Read More

Are Tools of Repression Helping or Hindering the Response to COVID-19?

Some observers have argued that Vietnam’s success against COVID-19 relied on mechanisms of repression. China used similar tools to apparently contain its outbreak, leading Beijing to argue that its authoritarian system responded better to the pandemic than Western democracies. But is that really the case? → Read More

History Foretold the Halting Global Response to COVID-19

Throughout the 20th century, new pathogens emerged and spread globally like the novel coronavirus is now. Each time, those outbreaks offered lessons for how to prepare for the next pandemic, but they were often overshadowed by great-power tensions that hampered responses. That history appears to be repeating itself. → Read More

COVID-19 Is Wrecking Japan’s Economy. Tokyo’s Postponed Olympics Are in Danger

A fresh wave of coronavirus cases is inflicting severe pain on Japan’s economy, and threatens to put a damper on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s legacy. The pandemic could also imperil what Abe hopes will be his crowning achievement before he leaves office: successfully holding the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. → Read More

After a Landslide Win Amid COVID-19, South Korea’s Moon Looks to His Legacy

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s effective response to the coronavirus pandemic led his party to a historic landslide victory in legislative elections last week. How Moon uses his newfound political capital will have major repercussions for the future of progressive politics in the country. → Read More

Taiwan’s COVID-19 Response Shows the Need for a More Inclusive WHO

In the fight against the coronavirus, the odds were never in Taiwan’s favor. But it still has managed to effectively limit the spread of COVID-19, recording only 382 confirmed cases and six deaths so far. It did this with no help from the World Health Organization, which does not count Taiwan as a member. → Read More