Alexander Vuving

Dr. Alexander L. Vuving came to the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in 2008 from Tulane University, where he taught courses on International Relations, International Security, China and the World, and a field seminar in International Politics. Prior to Tulane, Dr. Vuving was a Post-doctoral Fellow and an Associate of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. He was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Dr. Vuving spent his formative years in Vietnam, Hungary, France, and Germany during times of dramatic changes—the wars in Indochina, the collapse of communism, and the European unification. These events have helped shape much of his professional curiosity.

Dr. Vuving’s research interests focus on the Evolution of Power Politics, including great power competition and the grand strategies of major powers; Soft Power, including its nature, mechanisms, and sources; and the longer History of Human Power, including its physical and biological roots, its coercive, structural, transactional, and attractive ways, and its game-changers—the state and the scientific revolution. With regard to contemporary issues, his major areas of research include the rise of China, Chinese strategy, regional security architecture, the struggle between a rules-based and a hierarchical international order, conflict resolution in the gray zone, Vietnamese politics and foreign policy, and the South China Sea. Dr. Vuving uses a multidisciplinary approach to his research, ranging from game theory and evolutionary biology to economics, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and political science. He has published in major academic journals and global affairs magazines and presented at leading universities and think tanks around the world. Numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg, among others, have featured and quoted his views.

Dr. Vuving serves on the Editorial Board of the academic journals Asian Politics and Policy and Global Discourse. He is a referee for Oxford University Press, International Security, and Asian Security, among others. He was the guest editor of a special issue on “How China’s Rise is Changing Asia’s Landscape and Seascape” for Asian Politics and Policy.

Dr. Vuving studied Political Science, Economics, Sociology, and Electronic Engineering at Cornell University, the Johannes Gutenberg University, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and the Hanoi University of Science and Technology. He received his MA (summa cum laude) in Political Science, Sociology, and Economics, and his PhD (magna cum laude) in Political Science from the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. He was a German National Merit Scholar (Studienstiftler) and a recipient of the prestigious Konrad Adenauer Foundation scholarship.

Dr. Vuving’s Publications:

  • Alexander L Vuving, “With or Without Xi Jinping, US-China Rivalry Is Here to Stay,” Nikkei Asia, November 10, 2022:
  • Alexander L. Vuving, “The Architecture and Evolution of Civil-Military Relations in Vietnam.” In Asian Military Evolutions: Civil-Military Relations in Asia, edited by Alan Chong and Nicole Jenne (Bristol University Press, 2023):
    The chapter argues that organized as a Leninist state, Vietnam keeps its armed forces loyal through political control. Unlike civilian control, which implies a zero-sum game between the state and its military, political control is a reciprocal mechanism based on the mutual embeddedness of the armed forces in the Communist Party and of the Party in the armed forces. This architecture characterizes the relationship between the state and the armed forces in Vietnam. It concludes that the Vietnam People’s Army is deeply politicized, and the political control of the military serves the interests of both the Party and the military leadership. Barring a major political reform in the VCP itself, the VPA will remain more political than professional and commercial.
  • Alexander L. Vuving, “Vietnam in 2022: Confronting the Post-Post-Cold War Era with Outdated Mental Maps.” In Southeast Asian Affairs 2023, eds. Hoang Thi Ha and Daljit Singh (Singapore: ISEAS, 2023).
    This chapter chronicles the key developments of Vietnam’s economy, domestic politics, and foreign relations during 2022 and sheds light on how Vietnam has navigated the end of the post-Cold War era. It argues that Vietnam’s leadership needs to shed certain assumptions of a bygone era, including those about the linear trajectory of globalization, world peace, development, and great power relations. The post-post-Cold War era, characterized by heightened geopolitical tensions, brought about different benefits and challenges to Vietnam, requiring its leaders to update their worldview when charting the country’s course forward.