Ross Terrill Articles

Trudeau and the Chinese

A romance?
11:55 AM, Oct 28, 2015

After Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party defeated Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, a giddy New York Times assured Canadians, “Your long national nightmare is over.”  The Times scribe felt “like a broken human after almost 10 years of Harper rule.” Oh, the suffering!  Mr. Trudeau is different, she cheered herself up.

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The View from Across the Pacific

Washington gains a friend in Canberra.
Sep 23, 2013

Canberra has joined Tokyo and other U.S. allies in Asia by electing a conservative government vowing less tax on business, robust defense, support for the United States, and guarded cooperation with China. A big victory in Australia’s national election on September 7 for Tony Abbott’s Liberal-Nationals ends six years of political tumult under Labor.

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Sayonara, Asian Allies

Obama’s damaging diffidence.
Mar 11, 2013


The Senkaku Islands dispute is the first Japan-China security crisis in seven decades of peace. This puzzling contretemps between Asia’s two giants unnerves the region, whose waters host half of global trade, and President Barack Obama faces a test. American power anchors the China-Japan balance in a tripod that is the unsung secret of East Asia’s peace and progress.

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No Vote in China

A billion people disenfranchised.
Nov 12, 2012

China and the United States both launch leadership transitions this week. Earnest persons, in fear or hope, turn a raindrop of coincidence into a storm of meaning. In fact, November 6 here and November 8 in Beijing, when the Chinese Communist party (CCP) opens its 18th congress, have nothing in common except dual fascination to a jumpy world.

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The Case of the Shaky Ally

The U.S.-Australia Cold War of 1972-73.
Jun 25, 2012

A Washington tortured by Vietnam was flummoxed in 1972 when Australian voters made the Labor party’s antiwar Gough Whitlam prime minister after 23 years of conservative rule. Entering Henry Kissinger’s office at the White House on December 23 for a conversation about China relating to President Nixon’s new opening there, I found the national security adviser (and my former professor, to whom I acted as an informal adviser) waving Whitlam’s December 21 cable protesting the “Christmas bombing” of Hanoi. Angrily Kissinger said, “It’s unforgivable for this new Australian government to put Hanoi and Washington on the

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What’s Left, Who’s Right?

Why did the Chinese Communists purge Bo Xilai?
Apr 02, 2012

The crisis over Bo Xilai in huge Chongqing, a city-state double the size of Switzerland with 28 million people, proves the left lives on in China, despite 35 years of Communist party flight from Maoism—and despite U.S. China specialists’ calling leftists “conservatives.” A pro-free-market right is also intellectually strong, and the Beijing government seems hesitant to attack it.

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One Korea, After All

Time to undo the Kim family regime
Jan 16, 2012

With 28-year-old Kim Jong Eun propped up to handle Pyongyang’s succession crisis, three facts about North Korea are salient. Kim Jong Il, who died December 17, like his father was a tyrant whose damage makes Qaddafi seem a choirboy. After six decades of peaceful competition with the capitalist South, the socialist North’s per capita GDP is 5 percent of South Korea’s. Years of futile disarmament talks with North Korea compare with the worst peace-effort fiascoes of League of Nations days.


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