Kristi Govella, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Year of PhD: 2016

Country: United States (Hawaii)

About Me:

Kristi Govella is an Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her work deals with the intersection of economics, politics, and security in Asia, with a particular focus on Asian regionalism and Japanese politics. She is currently working on a number of projects related to economics-security linkages, regional institutional architecture, trade agreements, multinational firms, recent Japanese security reforms, and the global commons. Her publications include Linking Trade and Security: Evolving Institutions and Strategies in Asia, Europe, and the United States (2013). Prior to joining the University of Hawaii, Dr. Govella was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and an Associate Professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. She has also been a visiting research fellow at the University of Tokyo and Waseda University. Dr. Govella regularly comments in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and BBC News. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Political Science and Japanese from the University of Washington.

Research Interests

Asian Politics

Foreign Policy

Political Economy

Conflict Processes & War

Regional Integration

Asia Trade Institutions

Trade Agreements

Economics-Security Nexus

China-Japan Relations

International Political Economy

Countries of Interest



South Korea

North Korea


Journal Articles:

(2019) Technology and Tensions in the Global Commons, Fletcher Security Review

This article examines how the rise of China and the relative decline of the United States have catalyzed greater engagement with three domains of the global commons—the high seas, outer space, and cyberspace—particularly among the countries in Asia that have found themselves most affected by this power transition. I argue that advances in and diffusion of technology have transformed the global commons into increasingly crowded domains characterized by interstate competition and heightened tensions. Whether these tensions prevail depends on the creation and strengthening of regimes to manage interactions and promote shared rules and norms.

(2008) Japan in 2007: A Divided Government, Asian Survey

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) suffered a stunning defeat in the July 2007 upper house elections, creating an unprecedented situation in which the LDP-led coalition lost its majority in the upper house while retaining a two-thirds majority in the lower house. In this new environment of "divided government" Japanese style, the LDP and the opposition jockeyed for advantage in foreign and domestic policy debates while preparing for a critical confrontation in the next lower house election.

Books Written:

(2012) Linking Trade and Security: Evolving Institutions and Strategies in Asia, Europe, and the United States, Springer

Despite the tendency of some contemporary scholarship to deal with economics and security as separate spheres, the linkages between these two areas are vital in determining the nature of international politics. This edited volume addresses linkages between trade and security by examining the influence of security factors in driving trade policy measures and the corresponding implications of different types of trade arrangements for international security. Ultimately, the project shows that several elements—traditional economic factors, traditional security factors, and human security factors—can affect the development of trade agreements and unilateral policies, and that trade policies may have both a direct and an indirect effect on traditional and human security. The project focuses on Asia, a region where economics is increasingly important but many security issues still linger unresolved, as a primary setting to test trade linkage theories. It also provides a comparative perspective through examination of how the EU and US have used their trade policies to achieve non-economic goals and how these policies have influenced their security environment. Case studies in this project cover key trade institutions and agreements including the World Trade Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN Plus Three, the East Asia Summit, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and bilateral preferential trade agreements.​

(2011) Responding to a Resurgent Russia: Russian Policy and Responses from the European Union and the United States, Springer

In this volume, a set of issue and country experts tackle the questions surrounding the challenges of a resurgent Russia for the world order as well as for relations between the European Union and the United States. My co-editor and I begin the volume with a brief introduction laying out the circumstances of Russia’s rise, after which the book proceeds in three sections. In the first, Russian scholars tackle the topic of how a newly resurgent Russia sees the world. The second section examines Russia’s role in the contemporary global political economy in terms of trade and financial flows and nuclear energy. The third section looks at American and European responses to Russia. In the conclusion, Aggarwal and I draw together the findings from each of the chapters and present some broad propositions regarding Russia’s rise and the challenges that it presents for the US, EU and the international order in the years to come. The implications of this collection are very broad and far-reaching, with ramifications for each of the players involved as well as for the development and refinement of general international relations theories concerning global conflict and cooperation, making the book relevant for both policy-makers and scholars of international relations, Russian studies, and international political economy.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2017) BBC World News

Interview about President Trump's visit to Asia, November 11, 2017.

Radio Appearances:

(2018) Marketplace

Marketplace (radio), “Pompeo travels to boost US interests in South Asia,” July 31, 2018, by Kimberly Adams.

Newspaper Quotes:

(2020) The New York Times

The New York Times, “As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Anti-Chinese Sentiment,” January 30, 2020, by Motoko Rich.

(2020) The New York Times

The New York Times, “Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today,” March 31, 2020, by Patrick Lyons.

(2020) The New York Times

The New York Times, “Why Asia’s New Coronavirus Controls Should Worry the World,” March 31, 2020, by Motoko Rich.

(2019) The Japan Times

The Japan Times, “More in Japan see U.S. as ‘major threat,’ while cyberattacks and climate change top concerns, survey shows,” February 12, 2019, by Jesse Johnson.

(2019) The New York Times

The New York Times, “One Image of Japan’s Royals Tells a Story of Demographic Crisis,” May 1, 2019, by Motoko Rich, Hisako Ueno and Makiko Inoue

(2019) The New York Times

The New York Times, “Shinzo Abe Declares Victory in Japan Election but Without Mandate to Revise Constitution,” July 21, 2019, by Motoko Rich.

(2019) The New York Times

The New York Times,”North Korean Missile Delivers a Message: There’s Little Japan Can Do,” October 2, 2019, by Motoko Rich.

(2018) Financial Review

Financial Review, “Donald Trump’s Snap Decision to Meet With Kim Jong-un,” March 10, 2018, by Peter Baker and Choe Sang-hun.

(2018) The New York Times

The New York Times, “Trump’s Unpredictability on Trade and North Korea Opens a Door for China,” March 10, 2018, by Motoko Rich.

(2018) The New York Times

The New York Times, “As Scandal-Tarred Abe Meets Trump, ‘the Situation is Getting Dangerous’,” April 16, 2018, by Motoko Rich.

(2018) USA Today

USA Today, “Trump backs North-South Korea Peace Talks in Summit with Japan’s Leader at Mar-a-Lago,” April 17, 2018, by David Jackson.

(2018) Agencia EFE

Agencia EFE, “Trump descubre los límites de su apuesta diplomática con Corea del Norte,” May 26, 2018, by Lucia Leal.

(2018) NBC News

NBC News, “Japan’s scandal-plagued Shinzo Abe eyes his place in history books,” August 19, 2018, by Daniel Hurst.

(2018) The New York Times

The New York Times, “With a Submarine, Japan Sends a Message in the South China Sea,” September 18, 2018, by Motoko Rich and Makiko Inoue.

(2018) The Times of London

The Times of London, “How Shinzo Abe became Japan’s Supreme Political Survivor,” September 21, 2018, by Daniel Hurst.

(2018) The New York Times

Motoko Rich, "In Japan, a Liberal Maverick Is Seeking to Lead a Conservative Party," February 17, 2018.

(2018) The Diplomat

The Diplomat, “3 More Years of Abe: Japan’s Foreign Policy Future,” September 22, 2018, by Daniel Hurst.

(2018) The New York Times

The New York Times, “Shinzo Abe Says Japan Is China’s ‘Partner,’ and No Longer Its Aid Donor,” October 26, 2018, by Steven Lee Myers and Motoko Rich.

(2018) The Japan Times

The Japan Times, “With GOP’s loss of House, should Japan anticipate a more hard-line Trump?” November 7, 2018, by Tomohiro Osaki and Sakura Murakami.

(2018) South China Morning Post

South China Morning Post, “‘Last adult’ James Mattis leaves the room: what next for Asia?” December 21, 2018, by Meaghan Tobin.

(2017) The Washington Post

Anna Fifield and Adam Taylor, "As Japan buddies up to Trump, South Korea frets it’s being disrespected," November 3, 2017.

(2017) The New York Times

Motoko Rich and Jane Perlez, "Seeing U.S. in Retreat Under Trump, Japan and China Move to Mend Ties," November 6, 2017.

Blog Posts:

(2019) The Washington Post

“Trump’s trip to Japan reveals some mixed signals.” The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, May 29, 2019.

(2017) Asia Dialogue

“Japan’s Quest to Preserve the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Asia Dialogue, October 26, 2017.