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About TSR

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About TSR / Executive Editor: Dalton Kuen-Da Lin

[About] [Research] [Publications] [Teaching] [Curriculum Vitae] [Contact]

Dalton Kuen-Da Lin (林坤達) is a research associate at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He specializes in international relations theories of bargaining between major and lesser powers, with an area focus on China and East Asia. His current research theorizes how great powers distribute patronage on their periphery to maximize regional influence. His English and Chinese language publications have appeared in Ballots & Bullets, Taipei Perspective, Thought Leaders, and the United Daily News. His research has been supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, the Fulbright Scholar Program of the U.S. State Department, and the China Times Cultural Foundation, among others. He has held research affiliations at the Carter Center and the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Editor of the Taiwan Security Research (http://www.taiwansecurity.org), a nonpartisan website aggregating and disseminating information on current events related to regional security issues surrounding Taiwan. Dalton holds a B.A. from the National Taiwan University and a M.A. from Australian National University (with High Distinction). He receives his Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dissertation: Buying Your Way to Periphery Influence: Patronage Politics at Great Powers’ Peripheries
 

China’s rise to power in Asia has led to new interest in powerful countries’ regional policies. The existing literature, however, lacks a systematic explanation of great powers’ neighborhood endeavors. My dissertation project aims to fill in this knowledge gap. Using a formal model adapted from the probabilistic electoral competition literature, I argue that a neighbor’s alignment predisposition, together with the level of regional power rivalry, explains the variations in great powers’ patronage distribution towards their neighboring countries. Specifically, I demonstrate that when facing a potent but moderate outside competitor in its neighborhood, a local power will concentrate its resources on inducing neutral neighbors. In contrast, if great powers are locked in an uncompromising rivalry in the region, the local power will distribute benefits to neighbors with established allegiance. I test these predictions using quantitative analysis of time-series data and detailed process-tracing case studies using elite interviews and archival research. The results of this research offer rich policy implications for small states, which worry about being the trampled grass when big-power elephants fight. The policy advice of this project is simple: when big powers engage in moderate competition, a small country should strive to stay neutral and benefit from great powers’ jockeying for influence. However, contrary to the conventional wisdom, when great powers are locked in a zero-sum rivalry, a small country should pick a side and avoid suffering from both fronts.

Connotations of the Abandoning Taiwan Arguments: Rebalancing Taiwan’s Foreign Policies to WashingtonSome (with Chang-liao Nien-chung)

Prominent American pundits recently question the wisdom of the U.S. security commitment to Taiwan. Despite certain flaws in their arguments, these contentions have important connotations for the U.S.-Taiwan relations as well as the regional order in the Asia-Pacific unseen at any time in the past. Careful examination of the so-called “abandonist” arguments leads us to conclude that the real issue in the U.S.-Taiwan relations is how Taipei can breathe new life into its relations with Washington while improving its ties with Beijing. Taiwan should take initiatives to reform its economic structures, self-defense strategies, and political communications with Washington, in order to boost U.S. interests in the island and America’s confidence on the island’s fortune.

Nuclear Tiger with Paper Teeth: Putting China’s Stagnant Nuclear Deterrent in International and Domestic Context(with Dave Ohls)

We argue that China’s stagnated nuclear posture in the 1980s and 1990s was the combined product of domestic and international contextual factors. A reduced likelihood of great power war made a strong deterrent arsenal seem less pressing; an increased likelihood that any conflict which did happen would occur on China’s turf meant that China could supplement limited capabilities with high stakes and high levels of resolve that other powers would not be able to match. Meanwhile, economic reforms had empowered actors with priorities that might be damaged by aggressive nuclear modernization. The coincidence of these factors led China’s nuclear stance to begin falling behind in the early 1980s.
 

The Cross-Strait Diplomatic Truce in the Pacific Islands,” Thought Leaders, Pacific Islands Society, October 27, 2014.

How Should We Interpret China’s Assertive Diplomacy?” Taipei Perspective No. 115, Taipei Forum, January 8, 2014.

Taiwan’s 2012 Presidential Election, Evolving Sino-US Relations, and the Prospect of Taiwan’s Security,” Ballots & Bullets, University of Nottingham.

New Asia Pivot: Obama’s Double Balancing Strategy,” United Daily News, April 25, 2014. (with Philip Yang)

PS359: Problems in American Foreign Policy (Online course, Summer 2010 and 2011); Syllabus
PS346: China in World Politics (Spring 2011); Syllabus
PS103: Introduction to International Relations (Fall 2009, Spring 2010)

Foreign Policies of Imperial Japan, 1862-1945



Curriculum Vitae

Dalton Lin

2000 Monroe Place NE #2203
Atlanta, GA 30324

Email: dklin@princeton.edu
 

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New Publication Taiwan and China: Fitful Embrace by Lowell Dittmer (ed.) (University of California Press) 
New Publication Learning from Fukushima: Nuclear Power in East Asia by Peter Van Ness and Mel Gurtov (eds.) (Australian National University Press)
New Publication Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China Over Taiwan by John Copper (Praeger Security International Series)
Upcoming Conference China Defense & Security Conference 2017 (Jamestown Foundation)
New Publication Imagining Taiwan: The Nixon Administration, the Developmental States, and South Vietnam’s Search for Economic Viability, 1969–1975 by Simon Toner (Diplomatic History)
New Publication Religion and the Regime: Cooperation and Conflict in Contemporary Russia and China by Karrie J. Koesel (World Politics)
New Publication Primordialism, Instrumentalism, Constructivism: Factors Influencing Taiwanese People’s Regime Acceptance of Mainland China’s Government by Chia-Chou Wang (Journal of Contemporary China)
TSR received a favorable review by the Foreign Affairs (July/Aug 2000)
The Best of Asia-Pacific Web Award
TSR was honored with a Four-Star rating by the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library. 
 

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