Asia

With Friends Like Us
June 08, 2010

Japan has a new prime minister, Naoto Kan, but he comes from the same party—the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)—as Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned last Wednesday. He will almost surely want to continue Hatoyama's policies of strengthening Japan’s political democracy and forging an independent foreign policy that is allied with the United States, but not subordinate to it. If Kan follows that course, he will undoubtedly displease much of Japan’s establishment, which still identifies with the defeated Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that Hatoyama's party trounced in last year's election.

Clean Energy COMPETES: Strengthening Clean Energy Competitiveness through the America COMPETES Reauthorization

Having passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 28th, the America COMPETES Act, America’s flagship competitiveness legislation, will soon be debated in the U.S. Senate. The Act was originally passed in 2007 in response to mounting concern that the United States was failing to effectively compete economically with other nations, imperiling the nation’s future prosperity.  Now, a new outbreak of anxiety has engulfed the nation’s competitive standing particularly as regards the nation’s fledgling clean energy industry.

China Journal: Where The Green Jobs Are
May 26, 2010

Xi'an, China—In the United States, climate-policy advocates often hold up China as a boogeyman of sorts. Last fall, Jeffrey Immelt and John Doerr penned a Washington Post op-ed lamenting the fact that the United States is "clearly not in the lead today" on clean energy. "That position is held by China." Tom Friedman has gone even further, making analogies to America's space race with the USSR.

What Do Immigrants Owe America? Apparently Nothing!
May 11, 2010

A dazzling essay by Fouad Ajami in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal made the point, apropos Faisal Shahzad, that the bestowal of citizenship “gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.” It also allowed him to travel 13 times to Pakistan and back over the last seven years—just one exemplar of the hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of youngish men who have both domicile and liberties in the West but burn with fire for the perilous fevers of the Old Country.

The Case for Economic Doom and Gloom
May 11, 2010

The American economy added 290,000 jobs in April, the biggest monthly increase in four years. Clearly, a recovery has taken hold. But how strong and buoyant will it be? Will we eventually get back to growth rates above 4 percent and to an unemployment rate of less than 5 percent? Or will this recovery sputter like the last one that began in 2002? The strongest case for gloom that I’ve read has been made by UCLA economic historian Robert Brenner in a new introduction that he wrote to the Spanish edition of his 2006 book, The Economics of Global Turbulence.

Forget About “The New Middle East.” Israel Belongs To The First World, And Its Neighbors To The Third.
May 11, 2010

Everybody actually knows that. “The new Middle East” is a psychedelic fantasy of the perennially intoxicated peace processors. The dream will go on forever. And maybe it will be punctuated positively a tiny bit by practical arrangements on the ground.

Gone South
April 29, 2010

These are obviously dark days for the Roman Catholic Church. For over a decade, the U.S. church has been assailed by abuse charges and devastated by the resulting litigation. The Vatican used to console itself with the belief that this was a peculiarly American crisis, but, this year, similar abuse cases have arisen all over Europe—most agonizingly in Ireland, one of the world's most faithfully Catholic countries. Across the continent, bishops are facing demands to resign, while critics are urging Pope Benedict himself to consider standing down.

Planet Doom
April 28, 2010

For most of the 2.5 million years that humans and their predecessors have been around, the Earth has been a volatile place. Subtle shifts in the planet’s orbit have triggered large temperature swings; glaciers have marched across North America and Europe and then retreated. But, about 10,000 years ago, something unusual happened: The Earth’s climate settled into a relatively stable state, global temperatures started hovering within a narrow band, and sea levels stopped rising and falling so drastically.

The Iranian Calamity And The President’s Obsession With A Little Street In Jerusalem
April 24, 2010

Frankly, I do not think that Barack Obama ever really believed that an accommodation with Iran over its nuclear designs was possible. What follows is that he prevaricated about this promising turn in diplomacy and that one, all the while knowing he was going straight down a dead-end street. And going down that street in a quite cavalier fashion so as to keep his critics at bay. Some Americans were even persuaded by the seemingly confident president that he must have something up his sleeve.

Kaboom!
April 21, 2010

The words most often used by the heads of oil companies to describe the boom are “revolution” and “game changer.” Industry historian Daniel Yergin calls it “the shale gale.” Admittedly, serious questions remain as to whether shale gas will pass the ecological test—critics say it can’t be extracted safely in proximity to groundwater, and the EPA is engaged in a two-year study of extraction techniques.

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