Liff's areas of specialty are international relations and security studies—with a particular focus on contemporary security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region. His main research interests include the foreign relations of Japan and China; U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy; the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the rise of China and its impact on its region and the world.
Liff’s academic scholarship has been published in International Security, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, The China Quarterly, and The Washington Quarterly, and has been cited widely in global media, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Tokyo Shimbun and The Economist. Other recent publications include several book chapters in edited volumes and shorter analytical pieces published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Asahi Shimbun, Asan Forum, The National Interest, The Diplomat, PacNet, and Asia-Pacific Bulletin.
Liff holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Politics from Princeton University, and a B.A. from Stanford University.