6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia

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Join the Wilson Center's Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy and Asia Program as Georgetown University professor and CSIS Korea Chair Dr. Victor Cha discusses his newest book, Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia. Dr. Cha investigates the origin of American alliances in Asia, how the system has changed over time, and what must be done to navigate a complex new era of international security.   Looking from the time of Truman and Eisenhower, through the Cold War, and into today, he offers a compelling perspective on U.S.-China relations that pays heed to historical and contemporary contexts alike, and argues that the U.S. must maximize stability and economic progress amid Asia's increasingly complex political landscape. Joining the conversation are Ambassador Stapleton Roy, Founding Director Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, and Dr. Andrew Yeo, Associate Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America. 

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 next book is Powerplay: Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton University Press, forthcoming). 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.


  • Victor Cha

    D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • J. Stapleton Roy

    Founding Director and Distinguished Scholar
    Founding Director Emeritus, Kissinger Institute on China and the United States
  • Andrew Yeo

    Associate Professor of Politics, Catholic University
  • James Person

    Global Fellow
    Professor of Korean Studies and Asia Programs, JHU SAIS; Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS