Robert Kelly is Associate Professor for Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University. He obtained his PhD from The Ohio State University and focuses on international relations in East Asia. He is an avid blogger, runs the Asian Security Blog and writes regularly for The Diplomat. Professor Kelly has also written for Newsweek in Korea and Japan and contributes to the Lowy Institute for International Policy.
Against the backdrop of the American pivot to Asia we talked about the strategic involvement of the United States in the region, and about the ways in which nationalism and territorial disputes complicate international relations in Asia. As Professor Kelly argues, America cannot simultaneously dominate multiple regions on the planet and has to come to terms with its ambitions around the globe.
The American position here reassures all players against their bad behavior. And so Korean nationalists and Japanese nationalists can say any crazy stuff they want without consequences – because the Americans are here to make sure the South Korean and Japanese governments get along.
The interview was conducted on November 21st in Busan.