Can the U.S. and India Play Nice on Climate Change?
November 22, 2009

A number of unresolved issues—China, Kashmir, etc.—will be swirling around Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first state visit this Monday, but on none are the two hesitant allies more at odds than the conditions for a global climate treaty. Much of the news in the lead up to Copenhagen has centered on the possibility of some sort of deal between the two largest emitters, the U.S. and China. India, however, could very well be a more important (and elusive) partner in those talks.

Can't Get A Flu Shot? Don't Blame Obama
November 20, 2009

Conservatives have been quick to blame the administration for the slow delivery of H1N1 vaccine. Not long after Obama declared the swine flu pandemic a national emergency last month--a measure that cleared the way for hospitals to make special preparations for infected patients--Missouri Representative Roy Blunt pounced on the administration’s “onerous regulatory and legal environment” as a cause for the vaccine delays. In the Weekly Standard last week, Bill Kristol held up the swine flu response as an example of the coming “big government health care” boondoggle.

A Post-China Trip Surprise?
November 19, 2009

Interesting point about the China trip from expert Minxin Pie, via Mike Allen: What was accomplished: There may be a silver lining. Because the press coverage of his trip is quite bad, it may have caused some heartburn in Beijing. At the end of the day, Chinese leaders know that a good relationship with Obama (and a weakened Obama cannot manage U.S.-China ties effectively) will be in China's interest. So there is a chance that China will do something after the trip is over to show that Obama's visit is not fruitless after all. Sounds plausible.

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.

Today at TNR (November 19, 2009)
November 19, 2009

Washington Diarist: Obama Has No ‘Magic’ Overseas by Leon Wieseltier Why We Need a Federal Agency That Actually Protects Consumers by Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren Five Ways the Recession Has Turned Immigration Upside-Down (#1: Mexicans Are Sending Money to Relatives in the U.S.) by Jill Wilson and Audrey Singer The Virtue of Shutting up About Sarah Palin by Damon Linker How Republicans Have Changed the Senate (and How Democrats Have Let Them) by E. J. Dionne Jr. Freaking out About Breasts.

Washington Diarist: Unmending Wall
November 19, 2009

The absence of Barack Obama from Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall may be explained in many ways, and one of the explanations may be his view of the world. He is kein Berliner. No, he is not soft on communism, not least because there is no longer any communism, at least of the classical kind, to be soft on. In the video message that was broadcast to the commemoration--it allowed him once again to have the stage to himself, and to describe his own election as a climactic event in “human destiny”--Obama spoke all the right words for all the right sentiments.

Obama's China Quandary
November 18, 2009

I haven't said much about Obama's China visit trip, in part because I'm no expert on Sino-American policy. But what Peter Beinart says here rings quite true for me: So it’s all well and good for the Obama administration to pay more attention to China. But the more attention the activist left and right pays, the harder it will be for Team Obama to come to terms with the new limits of American power. Try convincing the tea-bag crowd that the U.S. should cut its greenhouse gasses more than China does.

How the Recession’s Affecting Immigration
November 18, 2009

With U.S. unemployment at a 26-year high Americans will be feeling the economic downturn for some time. Immigration experts are seeing global signs of the recession in major shifts in U.S. immigration trends, especially at the high and low ends of the skills spectrum. Here are the most significant changes.  You know the U.S. is in a recession when…  Mexicans are sending money to relatives in the United States. In 2007, Mexicans living in the U.S. sent about $26 billion to relatives living in Mexico.

Obama Takes Baby Steps In Beijing
November 17, 2009

With the global talks over a climate treaty decelerating, Obama's trying to see if there are side deals to strike with China—something that could ease the worldwide talks along. So far, progress has been pretty modest. Earlier today, Obama met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the two announced several key energy issues on which the countries would work together. There's $150 million over five years to start a joint "clean energy research center." There's cooperation on electric-vehicle standards and on sharing knowledge about energy efficiency.