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Paul J. Smith

The US ‘rebalance to Asia’ policy announced in 2012 reflects a steady deterioration in US–China relations and the growing reality of a ‘security dilemma’ dynamic between Washington and Beijing. To understand the current trajectory and evolution of US–China relations, it is helpful to view the overall relationship in terms of three key phases: (1) hostility phase (1949–69); (2) rapprochement and convergent interests phase (1970–89); and (3) bifurcation phase (1990–present), featuring warm and robust social and economic relations juxtaposed with cold and hostile security relations. The third phase is most dangerous because the achievements that are perceived in the two countries’ cooperative social and economic relations obscure the insidious deterioration of the two countries’ security relationship. Thus, the military and security realm remains the weakest link in the overall Beijing–Washington comprehensive relationship and, moreover, could be the source of major conflict in the years or decades ahead. In order to avoid any major bilateral rupture, the United States and China must find ways to build strategic trust and to focus on long-term security challenges in which both countries share common interests.

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Paul J. Smith

The ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States has led many to speculate about the future of U.S. strategy toward the Asia-Pacific. As a candidate, Mr. Trump made a number of statements suggesting a dramatic break with past policies. However, upon assuming office and notwithstanding his immediate rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Trump appeared to favor a more traditional and internationalist approach to foreign policy, particularly with his appointments of James Mattis and Rex Tillerson to head the Defense and State Departments respectively. However, it would be a mistake to assume that President Trump’s attitude toward international relations will automatically align with that of previous administrations. As an unconventional political leader, Trump will likely bring both continuities and discontinuities in his approach to the Asia-Pacific and to the alliance relationships that the U.S. has maintained for more than six decades.

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Kristina S. Dahmann, Lara B. Fowler and Paul M. Smith

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Adele Smith, Paul A. Ryan and Natasha Evers

The born global network for rapid internationalization represents a ‘black box’ as is reflected by the limited studies on the importance of intermediary actors and network nodes in their internationalization process. To address this research gap this study contributes to born global network theory in that it investigates the international network for a defined population of Irish indigenous born globals operating in the highly globalized digital animation industry. Given the small domestic market and breadth of global product sourcing within this industry, the indigenous Irish digital animation firms must, from inception, quickly access customers in the international arena if they wish to survive and prosper. This chapter addresses two research questions: (1) how do network intermediaries influence the internationalization of born globals in the digital animation industry? (2) How do network nodes influence the internationalization process of born globals in the digital animation industry? The study takes a ‘microscopic view’ into the network mechanics in the born global network, intermediary by intermediary, node by node, to open the black box of the born global network and identify the elements that compose the network and plug the structural holes between producer and buyer in the digital animation global marketplace. It finds that the principal intermediaries in the digital animators’ international network are institutional bodies such as the government enterprise agency and, even more so, the national industry trade association and the entrepreneurs’ personal social capital from prior training and work relationships. The foremost network nodes are the industry’s international tradeshows wherein firms pitch their produce and business is cemented or nurtured. Agents inside the industry play an important but fleeting role. Despite the burgeoning growth of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, physical venues continue to serve as the most important sites for interaction between buyers and sellers in this international network.