Perils of clashes with China over currency and rare-earth exports
Using trade as a tool for market advantage or as a substitute for war has its limits. China went too far in cutting exports of rare-earth minerals to Japan. Will the US go too far in punishing China on currency manipulation?
China wobbles in diplomatic test
Like in a failed stress test, China has cracked and extended its agony by introducing a request for reparations over the capture of a fishing vessel that rammed a Japanese patrol boat in disputed waters. Beijing is unlikely to be happy about how it handled the incident, but a fix will require deep soul-searching about its diplomatic strategies and tactics.
Why China Won’t Engage
Washington is abuzz with flummery purporting to explain why the Chinese are so damned obdurate as of late. For a representative, if credulous, account of this palaver, see Josh Rogin’s story, Has China Realized It Overplayed Its Foreign Policy Hand? Americans, it seems, are bewildered by China’s “increasingly aggressive and arrogant foreign policy.” The possibility that something else might be going on — you know, the sort of thing that might interest a competent policymaker — is left for others to ponder. Others, like Gregory Kulacki, who writes on the UCS blog All Things Nuclear, that his most recent trip to China’ reveals the importance of Beijing’s domestic dramas in shaping China’s recent foreign policy.
China, Russia Agree to Strengthen Strategic Partnership
The leaders of China and Russia have signed a statement to deepen their strategic partnership and cooperation. President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev inspected an honor guard at a welcoming ceremony Monday at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Following a closed-door meeting, the two leaders signed a statement calling for comprehensively deepening what was described as “the strategic partnership of cooperation.”
North Korea’s New Collective Leadership
With Tuesday’s military promotions, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il created a triumvirate to succeed him. But this “collective leadership” will not change relations with the United States anytime soon, says CFR expert Sue M. Terry.
Pakistani military pushing for civilian government shakeup
To officers in Pakistan’s military, the country’s most powerful institution, are increasingly disillusioned with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, in a meeting on Monday, reportedly took the president and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to task for corruption, and called on them to fire some of the most corrupt ministers in the 60-member cabinet.
1st Indo-Japanese Military Talks Begin in Tokyo
India is expanding its defense ties with Japan, a newfound strategic partner in the region, said a senior Defence Ministry official here.
Tehran set for a crash
Tehran’s stock market has had a tearaway autumn, gaining even as other markets fell away. Analysts attribute it to trading by supposedly private companies owned by organizations like the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, setting the stage for a crash that will have grave consequences for Iran’s political and social stability.
Obama’s moral dilemma in Vietnam
The United States’ recent overtures to Vietnam show that Washington needs its support to stiffen Southeast Asia’s spine against China’s rise. But they also expose a contradiction. While he burnishes support for liberal democracy, in pursuit of realpolitik aims US President Barack Obama is also turning a blind eye to Hanoi’s recent crackdown on dissent.
Japan Softens on Refugees
Japan, a country once essentially closed to outsiders, on Tuesday became the first Asian country to open its doors to refugees under a UN-promoted resettlement program. The first beneficiaries of the pilot scheme to resettle a total of 90 Burmese refugees here over the next 3 years are 3 ethnic Karen families that had been staying at the Mae La camp on the Burma-Thailand border.
What Nuclear Gaming Tells Us About New START
Gaming exercises allow policymakers to familiarize themselves with the difficult national security problems that they can expect to confront in a proliferated world. Three “nuclear games” were conducted by the Nuclear Stability Working Group in 2009.
Top 5 Most Food Insecure Countries: Is Food Crisis Around the Corner?
Following a devastating wildfire in August, Russia put a halt to its grain exports, driving up the price of wheat by 45 percent in five weeks and raising fears that another global food crisis was imminent. Those fears turned out to be unfounded, but food challenges remain acute, particularly for the developing world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization concluded last week that while there is no impending global “food crisis,” there is a serious danger in price volatility caused by speculation, panic buying and hoarding. Even if global supply and demand remain in balance, fluctuations in the price of food can have a devastating impact on those already struggling to pay for their food.
Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage.