Keeping Secrets, Even From Wikileaks
November 29, 2010
The Wikileaks cables are certainly important: They make public the sort of first-hand, original-source information that, until now, it has taken historians and journalists years or decades to obtain. But does this mean that the days of secret diplomacy are over? Not even close. The reason is that the foreign policy bureaucracy will adjust, as it has before. True, Wikileaks has taken us well beyond the types of disclosures that the Freedom of Information Act, for the past several decades, has provided to journalists and historians.
How Barack Obama Became a China Hawk
November 10, 2010
As seen from Beijing, President Obama no doubt appears to be embarked on a “2010 Containment Tour” of Asia. While he is making stops in India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan, China is conspicuously absent from the president’s itinerary. The reason is obvious: When it took office in January 2009, the Obama administration declared its intention to broaden and deepen all aspects of America’s longstanding policy of “engagement” with China.
Does China Have Any Friends Left in the Obama Administration?
August 26, 2010
Over the last few months, China has had several fairly nasty public rows with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Robert M.
LONDON—Glimmers of hope, rumored concessions, and anticipated de-escalations of rhetoric are the almost daily fare of those of us who cover Iran and its tense relations with the West. But in the year since Iran's disputed election—and the brutal crackdown that has followed—those brief shining moments have almost always faded away.
China's Bus of the Future
August 04, 2010
Annie Lee at China Hush relays the future of public transportation in China: the "straddling bus," which glides over other cars on the road. (Okay, it's technically called the "3D fast bus," but straddling bus is more apt.) Apart from looking cool, the idea makes practical sense. Many Chinese cities have severe congestion problems and need more public transit options. Buses can get bogged down amid the slow crawl of cars unless they have their own lanes, and if they do get their own lanes, they're hogging up road capacity. Not a problem for the straddling bus.
China's Push to Master the Seas
July 27, 2010
This past week saw a marked escalation in the ongoing struggle for geopolitical preponderance in East Asia between the United States and China. Twenty years ago, at the close of the Cold War, U.S. forces in the region had enormous advantages over their Chinese counterparts. Using ships, aircraft and troops forward-deployed at facilities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore, supported by others dispatched from Hawaii and the West Coast, the United States could defend its friends, deter its enemies and move its forces freely throughout the western Pacific.
Rest Assured, Ladies. Protecting Rights in Afghanistan, Mrs. Clinton Assures, "Is A Personal Commitment of Mine."
July 22, 2010
The Kabul conference has come and gone, a half day fest which put the finishing touches on the plans for Afghani security and how it can be helped by fully 70 governments, all in attendance, and, of course, with the United Nations represented by its secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. On Monday, Mrs. Clinton was in Pakistan; on Tuesday, Kabul; on Wednesday, South Korea, right onto the edge of its demilitarized zone with North Korea. Today, she is in Hanoi and, of course, she has reproached the government of Vietnam for its well-documented contempt for human rights. So we know she travels well.
A Moral Foreign Policy? Get Serious.
July 21, 2010
My last post, suggesting it might be morally problematic for a commander-in-chief to persist in waging a war to which he is less than fully committed, drew this response from Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security: Bacevich wants us to consider foreign policy decisions black-and-white moral affairs. Bush, he argues, reliably chose the wrong option out of two available but was at least guided by a flawed moral compass. Obama, Bacevich argues, is amoral. This is absurd. In matters of war, leaders at all levels make hard moral choices involving sin and virtue.
Corporate America Turns Against China
July 19, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, complained indignantly about China’s current and bitter hostility toward multinational corporations. According to the Financial Times, Immelt groused at a private dinner in Rome that the Chinese government was becoming ever more protectionist. “I am not sure that in the end, they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful,” he said. Immelt’s remarks point to a noteworthy shift in the dynamic that moves American policy toward China, one tinged with irony.
Krugman’s Tales from the Crypt
July 10, 2010
If repetition doesn’t improve the argument, try escalation. Paul Krugman, Princeton’s Nobel laureate-turned-columnist, has been haranguing the Europeans, and the Germans in particular, to drop their fiscal tightwad act: Don’t cut government spending, keep the deficits rolling.