Asia

Squaring Idealism and Realism
December 14, 2009

PARIS -- Europeans are coming to terms with the fact that President Obama is not a miracle worker, and with the reality that everything he does is not magic. Oh, yes, most Europeans are still happy Obama is president.

A Courthouse, Two Colleges, a Mosque, and a Bank: The Battlefield of Islam Yesterday. 121 Dead, More Than 400 Injured.
December 09, 2009

This was in Baghdad. I am sure that it does not please Allah. Yet it goes on without hesitation. Of course, it pleases his servants. Also yesterday, but in one of the busiest markets in Lahore, Pakistan, two bombs, 54 murdered, at least 150 maimed. And don't think these are just occasional skirmishes. News from another front, this time east Asia: An article by Duncan McCargo, alas, also yesterday, in the Beirut Daily Star: "Thailand's Muslim separatists wage a much ignored war." Keep your eye on the ball, which, of course, is Palestine.

Does Dubai Matter? Ask Ireland.
November 30, 2009

Presumably the rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are currently locked in negotiations regarding the exact terms that will be attached to a “bailout” for Dubai World. We’ll never know the details but if, as seems likely, the final deal involves creditors taking some sort of hit (perhaps getting 75 cents in the dollar, at the end of the day), does that matter? Dubai probably has around $100bn in total liabilities, if we include off-balance sheet transactions, so total credit losses of $30-50bn need to be assigned. The direct effects so far seem small. HSBC leads the pack, in terms of exposure, but

Palin Meets with the Grahams!
November 23, 2009

In news that is sure to warm the hearts of every American, the Charlotte Observer has a report today about Sarah Palin's meeting with Billy Graham and his son, Franklin. "He's followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith," said son Franklin Graham, who was present for the 2 1/2-hour get-together.

Shake up the Foreign Policy Team?
November 23, 2009

Les Gelb thinks Obama's trip to Asia was a flop, and that the time would have been better spent on a Hawaii vacation. He also wonders whether, after a couple of foreign trips with little to show for them, Obama's foreign policy team is serving him well: First, the trip’s limited value per day of presidential effort suggests a disturbing amateurishness in managing America’s power. On top of the inexcusably clumsy review of Afghan policy and the fumbling of Mideast negotiations, the message for Mr.

Worth Reading
November 20, 2009

CO2 emissions in East Asia are growing faster than GDP. Why have gold prices soared despite low demand? Krugman and Delong on whether Obama should worry about the carry trade. Our continuing housing problems. 40% of gov't debt will be refinanced in the next year.

Today At TNR (November 20, 2009)
November 20, 2009

Democrats Think They Can Win the Climate Debate by Playing up National Security Concerns. They’re Wrong. by Bradford Plumer A Suggestion for Obama in 2014: End the Drug War, by John McWhorter Werner Herzog’s ‘Bad Lieutenant’: Making a Schlocky Movie This Good Is Harder Than it Looks, by Christopher Orr How Can We Start Rebuilding America? Let’s Start With This Program. by William Galston Did We Expect Too Much From Obama’s Trip to Asia?

Global Warring
November 20, 2009

For years, advocates of climate-change legislation have struggled to find a sales pitch that will sway even the most hardened of skeptics. Polar bears, green jobs, urgent pleas to think of the grandkids … none of them have quite done the trick. But recently, a new argument has come to the fore: the national security case for cutting carbon emissions. At a hearing in October, Senate Democrats invited military leaders and strategists to speak about both the dangers of America’s oil dependency and the potential for rising temperatures to create new security threats around the globe.

Barack Obama and Foreign Policy by Biography
November 19, 2009

The Washington Post writes today about the limits of Obama's biography in foreign policy. The paper's story notes that Obama talked extensively about his biography and personal experiences in Asia, then asks: But is his biography-as-diplomacy approach beginning to show its limits? Obama does not fly home with any big breakthroughs or any evidence that he has forged stronger personal ties with regional leaders.

Obama in Seoul: My Problem with Foreign News
November 19, 2009

I used to be the foreign editor of In These Times in Chicago. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, because I have never been fascinated with the world outside of the United States. I am not sure whether I could find Honduras or Liberia on a map, and I have never mastered the current spelling of Chinese names.

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