war on the rocks

Conspiracy Theories, Devil’s Bargains, and Asian Security

August 30, 2017

In this episode, we talk about the various ways conspiratorial thinking has encroached on the Asia-Pacific and U.S. foreign policy. We explore a number of recent developments ripe for competing explanations, including the surprising centrality of East Asia in Steve Bannon’s nativist worldview and why Singapore recently expelled political scientist Huang Jing. In our history segment, we introduce the greatest conspiracy in the history of East Asia — a memorandum between William Howard Taft and Japan’s Katsura Taro in 1905. We also discuss a tandem pair of recommended readings; one about the “paranoid style” in American politics, and the other a leaked memo from the National Security Council that embodies such paranoia.

Music: Carl Ranson Vorpahl. Producer: Tre Hester. Image: U.S. Navy