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  • Author: William Varettoni
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It was, perhaps unfortunately, a picture broadcast round the world. Ditching decorum, Ukraine's protesting parliamentarians hurled eggs, set off smoke-belching flares, poured glue in voting machines, and duked it out (literally) within their legislative chamber on April 27, 2010. At issue was the parliament's ratification of a lease extension for Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, Crimea. The lease was due to expire in 2017, but will now (most likely, although nothing is ever set in stone in Ukrainian politics) continue through 2042. In exchange, Ukraine will receive a roughly 30 percent discount on natural gas imports from Russia, worth up to $40 billion over 10 years. If it works as advertised, Kyiv sold some of its sovereignty for a stronger economy. Given the current economic environment, few dispassionate observers would begrudge Ukraine this singular tradeoff.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Juan C. Zarate, David A. Gordon
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the summer of 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, then-Osama bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, began a direct debate with the United States about the nature of reform of the Middle East. With an assault rifle in the background, al-Qaeda's number two argued that reform must be based on Shari'a and was impossible so long as “our countries are occupied by the Crusader forces” and “our governments are controlled by the American embassies.” The only alternative was “fighting for the sake of God.” Zawahiri concluded that “demonstrations and speaking out in the streets” would not be sufficient.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Daniel Byman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Americans took heart as they watched Egyptian demonstrators rally in Tahrir Square and topple the regime of Hosni Mubarak in a peaceful revolution. Next door in Israel, however, the mood was somber: “When some people in the West see what's happening in Egypt, they see Europe 1989,” an Israeli official remarked. “We see it as Tehran 1979.” Political leaders vied to see who could be the most pessimistic, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly warning that it was even possible that “Egypt will go in the direction of Iran,” with the new Cairo government becoming even more dictatorial and lashing out abroad. As he pointed out in remarks to the Knesset, “They too had demonstrations; multitudes filled the town squares. But, of course it progressed in a different way.” As unrest spread from Egypt to Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen, the gloom seemed to deepen.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Yemen, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain
  • Author: Bruce W. Jentleson
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In explaining why the United States was scheming to overthrow the government of Guatemala—democratically elected but allegedly with communist leanings during the Cold War—the U.S. ambassador proposed the “duck test”: “Many times it is impossible to prove legally that a certain individual is a communist; but for cases of this sort I recommend a practical method of detection—the 'duck test'….[If a] bird certainly looks like a duck. Also, he goes to the pond and you notice he swims like a duck. Well, by this time you've probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he's wearing a label or not.”
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mina Al-Oraibi, Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “We are in an information war...and we are losing” declared U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, describing U.S. efforts to counter extremists and engage Arab publics during this year's unprecedented and historic change in the Middle East. She is right. In the decade since 9/11, thousands of American lives and more than a trillion dollars have been spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while millions of dollars have been spent on public diplomacy programs aimed at the Arab world. In 2009, President Barack Obama delivered a landmark speech in Cairo designed to seek “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Two years on, according to the latest polling data in Egypt, unfavorable views of the United States outnumber favorable ones by nearly four to one. With some exceptions, the United States likewise remains unpopular in most majority-Muslim countries from Morocco to Pakistan. Why? And what can be done about it?
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A few dim rays of light pierced what has been the darkness of the Six-Party Talks since their suspension in December 2008, raising hopes that we would see a resumption of dialogue in the next few months (even though prospects for actual Korean Peninsula denuclearization remain low). US-China relations continued to mend at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) gatherings amid ever-so-slight progress toward the creation of a South China Sea Code of Conduct. Vice President Biden's first official trip to China added to the light.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Korea
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Kan Naoto resigned as prime minister on Aug. 26 after promising to step aside almost three months earlier amid dissension within his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and dwindling public support after a clumsy response to the tragedies of March 11. He was succeeded by Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko, who prevailed in the DPJ presidential race despite little evidence of support in the polls, but strong backing within the party. The US and Japan convened the first Security Consultative Committee or “2+2” in four years to outline common strategic objectives and strengthen alliance cooperation in a regional and global setting. The two governments also consulted on the margins of international events to discuss cooperation on various issues. Vice President Joseph Biden visited Japan in late August to reiterate US support for the recovery effort and met victims of the disaster in Tohoku. Public opinion polls in Japan and the United States revealed a solid foundation of support for the US-Japan alliance.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In pursuit of agreements reached between Presidents Hu and Obama in January, the US and China worked to strengthen their relationship, while managing friction on a number of issues. Renewed tensions in the South China Sea put maritime security at the top of the agenda in many bilateral and multilateral interactions, including the inaugural US-China Consultations on Asia-Pacific Affairs, at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bali, and in a bilateral meeting between Secretary Clinton and State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Shenzhen. In early May, the third annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S) convened in Washington, DC. Despite protests from Beijing, President Obama met the Dalai Lama. In May and July, PLA Chief of the General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen exchanged visits. In August, Joe Biden made his first visit to China as vice president.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer months saw a potentially new cycle of US-DPRK dialogue. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's invitation to DPRK Vice-Minister Kim Kye Gwan to visit New York for two days of official talks raised the specter that the North may be ready for re-engagement. Meanwhile, South Korea named a new unification minister, which some perceive to be the harbinger of a shift in its North Korea policy. But reliable sources say that President Lee Myung-bak will not cave so easily on his principles. Elsewhere, the Korea-US free trade agreement remains in limbo as it remains caught in partisan strife within the legislatures of both countries and the US received another lesson in Korea's preferred terminology for Asian geography.
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Diplomacy related to the South China Sea disputes dominated US actions at the May ASEAN Summit, the June Shangri-La Dialogue, and the July ARF meeting. Washington endorsed ASEAN consultations before the Association's meetings with China on the territorial disputes as well as an independent ASEAN role in the South China Sea negotiations separate from the bilateral negotiations preferred by the PRC. Related to US support for ASEAN is Washington's assistance to the Philippines in gradually building its archipelagic security capability by funding Coast Watch South radars and promising more military hardware to the ill-equipped and underfunded Philippine armed forces. Manila also maintained its efforts to obtain a specific defense commitment from the US in the event of a military conflict with China over South China Sea islands. The Cambodia-Thai border dispute continues to flare periodically. ASEAN mediation efforts have established a timetable for military disengagement but, as yet, no implementation. Washington has endorsed the ASEAN efforts. In Indonesia, radical Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda-affiliated cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was sentenced to 15 years in jail for aiding the formation of a new terrorist affiliate in Aceh. As in his previous trials, Bashir blamed his arrest and sentence on US and Jewish machinations. Although the Obama administration has appointed a new envoy, Derek Mitchell, as special ambassador to coordinate international approaches to Burma, this enhanced engagement runs parallel to increased US economic sanctions, suggesting little has changed with the new “civilianized” government.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, South China
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The moderation and reassurance seen in the public posture of top-level Chinese civilian leaders in their attentive interaction with Southeast Asian countries in the first third of the year gave way to rising tensions and widely publicized disputes centered on differing claims in the South China Sea. Senior Chinese officials portrayed China as reactive and defensive in the face of increasing encroachment on the part of Vietnam and the Philippines in particular, and what they saw as self-serving meddling by the US. Despite often reassuring words, the pattern of Chinese behavior in disputed areas in recent months undermined regional and broader international sympathy for China's position. Vietnamese and Philippine oil exploration vessels met with intimidation by Chinese patrol vessels, and in the case of Vietnam, repeated damage to underwater survey gear. Some Vietnamese fishermen were beaten by Chinese authorities, and Philippine fishermen were shot at by Chinese patrol vessels. Based on available reporting, the various incidents followed a common practice of China using superior power and coercion to pressure and force perceived intruders to retreat.
  • Political Geography: China, Vietnam, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: David G. Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There has been some progress in implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and other existing pacts, but differences continue to prevent finalization of the long-pending investment protection agreement. Beijing has criticized opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen's cross-strait policy platform, saying it would lead to a breakdown in dialogue and cooperation. Sea trials of Beijing's first aircraft carrier were symbolic of PLA capabilities that increasingly threaten Taiwan. Reports indicate that Taipei and Washington have agreed on the program to upgrade Taiwan's existing F-16A/B fighters with congressional notification expected in September.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Just for once, Comparative Connections' deadline chimed neatly with events on the Korean Peninsula. Late on the evening of Aug. 30, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as part of a mini-reshuffle affecting four Cabinet positions, finally replaced his long-term hard-line unification minister, former academic Hyun In-taek. With Lee's characteristic cronyism, the man nominated to replace Hyun was another of his close advisers – geography professor Yu Woo-ik, once Lee's chief of staff in the Blue House and latterly ROK ambassador to China.
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level exchanges between China and South Korea's foreign and defense ministries appeared to recover momentum as the two countries marked their 19th anniversary of diplomatic relations on Aug. 24. The first China-ROK “strategic defense dialogue” was held in Seoul on July 27 following talks between Defense Ministers Liang Guanglie and Kim Kwan-jin in Beijing on July 15 and in Singapore on June 4 on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue. Foreign Ministers Yang Jiechi and Kim Sung-hwan met June 6 ahead of the Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting in Budapest and held another round of talks July 21 in Bali on the sidelines of ASEAN regional meetings. But efforts to consolidate the China-ROK strategic partnership have exposed policy differences over North Korea and the ROK alliance relationship with the US.
  • Topic: Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Private-sector contacts kept the bilateral relationship afloat while high-level official contact began to re-engage. Defense ministers met in June in Singapore and foreign ministers met in July in Beijing. In each instance, they agreed on the importance of advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship. In early August, Japan's Ministry of Defense released its 2011 Defense White Paper, which expressed concerns over China's military modernization, its increasing activities in waters off Japan, and its “overbearing” conduct in the South China Sea. Eight days later, the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag left port for initial sea trails. Meanwhile, activities in the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands area continued to generate political friction in both Tokyo and Beijing.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Tokyo, Island, South China
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea and Japan are neighbors that are advanced, technologically sophisticated capitalist economies with capable and well-educated populations, and are fully consolidated liberal democracies. They share an alliance with the US, and generally view themselves as stalwart regional allies. As has been the case for many years, relations between them during the past four months were relatively stable, with increasingly deep economic relations, voluminous cultural flows, and general agreement on a strategy of isolation toward North Korea. They also share a tendency to provoke each other over their shared history and the ownership of several islets that sit between them. When this happens, the media goes into a frenzy, breathlessly reporting the latest incident. But which is reality? Do the historical disputes meaningfully affect their bilateral relations? On the one hand, yes: they could cooperate more closely on issues such as military coordination and a free-trade agreement. On the other hand, no: it's not at all clear that historical issues are holding up cooperation and relations are deeper across a range of issues.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The summer of 2011 marked two anniversaries for China and Russia. In June, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) celebrated its 10th anniversary at the annual SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Over the past 10 years, the regional security group has grown fed by its “twin engines” of Russia and China. Immediately following the SCO Summit, President Hu Jintao traveled to Moscow, marking the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Friendship Treaty between Russia and China. There was much to celebrate as Moscow, Beijing, and the SCO have achieved stability, security, and sustained economic development in a world riddled with revolutions, chaos, crises, and another major economic downturn. The two anniversaries were also a time to pause and think about “next steps.” While the SCO is having “growing pains,” China and Russia have elevated their “strategic partnership relations” to a “comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership.”
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Moscow
  • Author: Graeme Dobell
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Australia has a close alliance with the US and deep emotional and cultural ties, but the new reality is that the two economies have decoupled. Twice in the past decade the US has gone into recession, but Australia has kept growing; that is a huge change from the 20th-century experience when Australia's fortunes were closely tied to the health of the US economy. Asia now sets Australia's economic temperature, even as the Australian military draws closer to the US through parallel reviews of the posture of their defense forces.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Ray Takeyh, Kenneth M. Pollack
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is natural for monumental events to drown out all other issues, and what has transpired in the Middle East these past months has been nothing short of stunning. The region's dramatic, wonderful, dangerous upheaval has fixed the attention of the world. As such, it is easy to have missed the recent developments both in Iran as well as between Iran and the international community. Although far less dramatic and far less hopeful they have the potential to be no less meaningful for the Middle East and the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Bruce J. Dickson
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China's development model is undergoing dramatic change. No longer relying solely on cheap labor to manufacture exports, the Chinese Communist Party is updating its approach in three distinct but interrelated ways. First, it is actively trying to create "national champions" so that Chinese brands-not just Chinese goods-can compete in the global market. Second, it is moving away from its reliance on low-wage, low-skilled labor and encouraging the growth of a middle class and increased domestic consumption to spur economic growth. Third, long accustomed to investing vast amounts of capital on infrastructure projects, it is now devoting more resources toward other types of public goods in order to improve the quality of local governance. Each of these endeavors presents major challenges as well as opportunities for China, its neighbors, and other countries, including the United States. Collectively, they represent a significant updating of the now familiar China model based on export-led growth and a strong state.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andrew Bast
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Immediately following the assault that killed Osama bin Laden in May, Pakistanis were furious that an array of specially-equipped U.S. Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters was able to penetrate their sovereign territory so deeply and inconspicuously. That Pakistani authorities may have been providing cover to the world's most - wanted terrorist was, at best, a secondary concern. Pakistan's Army, unquestionably the country's most powerful institution, had been caught shockingly off guard, and the population was furious. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Chief of Army Staff, conceded that the raid constituted a significant intelligence failure, and ordered an investigation. At the same time, many Pakistanis were asking: what else might be at risk? The Army's Corps Commanders the top of the military brass hustled out an ominous statement: ''Unlike an undefended civilian compound, our strategic assets are well protected and an elaborate defensive mechanism is in place.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Is it time for the United States to rethink its Taiwan policy and walk away from Taiwan? Prominent Americans in influential publications insist that it is. The argument is not unprecedented. In a long and often discordant history of dealings between Washington and Taipei, there have been repeated calls for severing this uncomfortable and dangerous relationship. Taiwan has been characterized as a strategic liability, an expensive diversion, and most often, an obstacle to more important U.S.—China relations. In the past, a prosperous, strong, and self-confident United States chose to ignore such calls. Today, however, China is rapidly becoming more powerful, and many fear the United States teeters on the brink of decline. Is U.S. support for Taiwan about to end? Would it be a good idea?
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan
  • Author: David M. Abshire, Ryan Browne
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Within hours of President Obama's announcement of Osama bin Laden's May 2 death, pundits and politicians from both the right and left were calling for a speedier withdrawal from Afghanistan. The discovery and targeted killing of bin Laden in a compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad, Pakistan, located less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy, dramatically amplified concerns about elements of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence service (ISI) maintaining links with al-Qaeda and other violent extremist organizations. Many argued that the death of al-Qaeda's leader meant that our post-9/11 mission had been accomplished, and our expensive presence in Afghanistan was no longer needed amidst an era of mounting debt and budget fights.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Liviu Horovitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Arms control supporters are impatient with the Obama administration as it completes its third year in office. Neither the strength nor the pace of nuclear policy reform has been to their liking. In retrospect, the credit they gave the administration for the New START treaty with Russia appears somewhat tarnished. Once the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in December 2010, the obvious next step on the agenda was to push for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But in spite of the promises made by the White House, the prospects for a swift CTBT approval process are grim. The administration traded away all its chips in exchange for New START support, and the political landscape for the rest of President Obama's term appears anything but promising. The road to success requires a new approach.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India
  • Author: Jon B. Alterman
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Tarek Masoud
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: If hope was the dominant psychology of the protests that unseated Hosni Mubarak, then fear is proving to be that of their aftermath. The unity of the disparate forces that made history during those 18 days in Tahrir Square has given way to discord. Optimism about Egypt's future and belief in the imminence of the country's return to glory appears to have yielded to a season of grim pessimism, as erstwhile allies impute dark plans to each other. And given that Egypt's revolution is decidedly not over, this dissension in the ranks of its revolutionaries bodes ill for the country's democratic future.
  • Topic: Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab countries straddle the lifelines of world trade. They link Europe to Asia and, with Iran, surround the Persian Gulf home to some 54 percent of global oil reserves. The region's many international and domestic disputes, as well as restraints on political expression and human rights, have spawned extremism. In turn, the region's endemic instability or perceived risk of instability has provided cover for some of the world's most authoritarian and corrupt regimes. Until the turn of this year, the Arab countries had almost uniformly resisted the process of democratization that swept up other regions in recent decade.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Iran, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Ralph Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Rays of hope were seen in several areas across the region. Dim rays of light pierced what has been the darkness of the Six-Party Talks since their suspension in December 2008, even though prospects for actual Korean Peninsula denuclearization remain low. US-China relations continued to mend at the Shangri-La Dialogue and the ARF; Vice President Biden's trip to China added to the light. Hopes have also been raised for an end to political turmoil in Japan and Thailand with the election of new prime ministers. Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest provides a ray of hope for progress in moving Burma/Myanmar toward democracy. Meanwhile, the self-inflicted debt crisis in the US has further dimmed hopes for US leadership in Asia and globally. Looking forward, there are flickering hopes that this year's APEC Leaders Meeting in Honolulu will shine a new spotlight on this increasingly overshadowed institution. Finally, the death of Osama bin Laden has raised the hope that this signals the beginning of the end for al Qaeda; others hope it will hasten the US exit from Afghanistan as well.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Japan, China, Asia, Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Michael J. Green, Nicholas Szechenyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Noda accomplished important steps including the selection of the F-35 as Japan's next-generation fighter, relaxing the three arms export principles, and announcing a decision to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – all of which demonstrated the current Japanese government's readiness to revive the economy and strengthen security ties and capabilities. At the same time, the government's support rate began to collapse in a pattern eerily similar to Noda's five predecessors, raising questions about the ability of the government to follow through on the more challenging political commitments related to TPP. President Obama met Noda at the United Nations in New York and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Hawaii in an active season of bilateral diplomacy. Public opinion surveys revealed generally positive views of the US-Japan relationship in both countries but the impasse over relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma fueled negative perceptions in Japan.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, New York, Asia, Hawaii
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Brittany Billingsley
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of measures taken by the Obama administration to bolster US presence and influence in the Asia-Pacific was met with a variety of responses from China. Official reaction was largely muted and restrained; media responses were often strident and accused the US of seeking to contain and encircle China. President Obama met President Hu Jintao on the margins of the APEC meeting in Honolulu and Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. Tension in bilateral economic relations increased as the US stepped up criticism of China's currency and trade practices, and tit-for-tat trade measures took place with greater frequency. Amid growing bilateral friction and discontent, the 22nd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) convened in Chengdu, China. An announcement by the US of a major arms sale to Taiwan in September prompted China to postpone a series of planned exchanges, but the Defense Consultative Talks nevertheless proceeded as planned in December.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's state visit to the US was a big event that attested to the strength of the two countries' relationship and the personal ties between Presidents Obama and Lee. The timely passage of the KORUS FTA in the US was the big deliverable for the summit. Final ratification of the FTA in both countries clears one longstanding issue and lays the foundation for greater economic integration and a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, the most shocking news for the final third of the year was the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in late December. His death disrupted US-DPRK bilateral talks as North Korea observed a mourning period for its late leader. The US and South Korea spent the last two weeks of December quietly watching developments in North Korea as the reclusive country accelerated its succession process to swiftly transfer power to the anointed successor, Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With visits to Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Burma, President Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Panetta demonstrated a renewed US commitment to Southeast Asia despite concern over a projected steep decline in the US defense budget. Southeast Asian reactions to the announcement of an increased rotation of US military assets to Australia range from ambivalence in Indonesia to enthusiastic endorsement in the Philippines and Singapore. Generally, the additional US forces are seen as evidence of Washington's decision to remain involved in regional security. At the East Asia Summit (EAS), Obama outlined his hope that it could serve as a high-level security conclave whose agreements would be implemented through other multilateral organizations. In visits to the Philippines and Indonesia, Clinton and Obama promised naval and air force upgrades to each, including two squadrons (24 aircraft) of refurbished F-16C/Ds for Jakarta. Hoping for a breakthrough in US-Burma relations, Obama sent Clinton to see whether the situation warranted the easing of US economic sanctions and if Naypyidaw was moving to meet US conditions for the restoration of full diplomatic relations.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Hawaii
  • Author: Robert Sutter, Chin-Hao Huang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: China endeavored to win regional influence and goodwill by emphasizing reassurance and mutually beneficial relations with Southeast Asian counterparts. Nevertheless, it failed to keep the issue of the South China Sea off the agenda at the East Asia Summit as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was placed on the defensive and compelled to defend China's approach to resolving territorial and maritime security issues related to China's broad claims and sometimes assertive actions. Official Chinese commentaries reacted to the setback in Bali with criticism directed at the US, but they tended to avoid hyperbole sometimes seen in unofficial Chinese media. Official commentaries were measured as they depicted various economic, political, and security initiatives during President Obama's trip to the region as challenges to Chinese interests. They also registered opposition to initiatives by Japan and India regarding Southeast Asia and the South China Sea that were seen as at odds with Chinese interests. Myanmar's decision to stop a major hydroelectric dam project being built by Chinese firms added to China's challenges and complications as it raised questions about China's influence in the country while Myanmar's new civilian government tried to improve relations with the US and other powers.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar, South China
  • Author: David Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The campaign leading to the Taiwan's Jan. 14 presidential election has dominated cross-strait developments. Opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen has continued her rejection of the “1992 consensus” and criticized President Ma Ying-jeou for suggesting he might consider negotiating a peace accord with Beijing. Meanwhile, Beijing has emphasized its wish to further develop relations on the basis of the “1992 consensus,” without which relations will regress. Therefore, the outcome of the upcoming elections will have a decisive impact. Ma's re-election would permit further gradual progress; Tsai's election will likely lead Beijing to suspend dialogue and domestic pressures would probably produce a tougher policy toward Tsai's administration.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No reader of Comparative Connections needs telling that Kim Jong Il, North Korea's leader since 1994, died of a heart attack on Dec. 17. (The wider public is something else. The young woman who looks after this writer's baby had never heard of Korea, much less North Korea, or that anything had happened there. We specialists should never assume too much.)
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Chicago
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Beijing underscored maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula following Kim Jong Il's death. DPRK leadership succession raises questions about the future direction of China's Korea policy, which was most recently reaffirmed during an October visit to the two Koreas by Vice Premier Li Keqiang, the presumed successor of Premier Wen Jiabao. Prior to Kim's death, China and North Korea maintained regular contacts with senior national, party, and military officials. There have also been mutual efforts to stabilize Sino-South Korean relations despite many differences that have risen in the aftermath of North Korea's 2010 provocations. The fourth China-ROK high-level strategic dialogue was held on Dec. 27 in Seoul.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Noda Yoshiko succeeded Kan Naoto as prime minister of Japan in early September and met President Hu Jintao at the G20 Summit in Cannes and the APEC meeting in Honolulu. On both occasions, they agreed to take steps to strengthen the mutually beneficial strategic relationship. They reiterated that commitment during Noda's visit to China at the end of December. Meanwhile, maritime safety and security issues in the East China Sea and the South China Sea continued as a source of friction. In both areas, Tokyo worked to create a maritime crisis management mechanism while Chinese ships continued to intrude into the Japan's EEZ extending from the Senkaku Islands, keeping alive contentious sovereignty issues. Tokyo and Beijing were able to resolve a November incident involving a Chinese fishing boat operating in Japanese waters. Repeated high-level efforts by Tokyo to resume negotiations on joint development in the East China Sea failed to yield any progress.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, East China
  • Author: David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last four months of 2011 were dominated by two leadership changes – the mid-December death of Kim Jong Il and the election of Noda Yoshihiko in September. Kim's death is a watershed event that could mean changes in DPRK policies with repercussions around the region. South Korea and Japan reacted cautiously to the news of Kim's death and the rise of his son, Kim Jong Un, as the new leader of North Korea. Beyond this event, however, Korea-Japan relations showed little change. Economic relations between South Korea and Japan continue to move slowly forward, even as they remain firmly stuck arguing the same issues that have aggravated diplomatic relations for decades. North Korea-Japan relations also showed little change as both sides repeated the usual accusations, but neither showed any inclination to change. Meanwhile, there were three main trends in relations. First, external forces drove state behavior as evidenced by the almost domino-like efforts at free trade agreements. Second, there was growing recognition of the high domestic political costs associated with non-pliable issues such as the comfort women/sex slaves. Third, there was a realization that change could mean opportunity as Seoul and Tokyo contemplate the post-Kim Jong Il landscape in North Korea.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Tokyo, Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last four months of 2011 were both ordinary and extraordinary for Beijing and Moscow. There was certainly business as usual as top leaders and bureaucrats frequented each other's countries for scheduled meetings. The world around them, however, was riddled with crises and conflicts. Some (Libya and Syria) had seriously undermined their respective interests; others (Iran and North Korea) were potentially more volatile, and even dangerous, for the region and the world. Regardless, 2011 was a year full of anniversaries with symbolic and substantive implications for not only China and Russia, but also much of the rest of the world.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Beijing, North Korea, Libya, Moscow, Syria
  • Author: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over a decade into the “normalization” of US-India relations and nearly 20 years into India's “Look East” policy, the US-India-East Asia nexus is regularly articulated by the US and India, generally accepted in the region, and shows some signs of gaining traction including a regular US-India dialogue on East Asia and the launch of the first-ever US-India-Japan trilateral dialogue. More broadly, US views of India as part of Asia now encompass mental as well as policy maps (though not yet bureaucratic and all geographical ones) and transcend party politics. Meanwhile, US-India bilateral relations move steadily if sometimes frustratingly forward, and India-East Asia ties continue to deepen and widen though to neither side's full satisfaction. One thing is clear: triangulation depends above all on India's own commitment and actions to build a closer relationship with the wider Asia-Pacific region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an echo of comments made by regional leaders over the years, told an Indian audience in Chennai in July that “India's leadership will help to shape positively the future of the Asia Pacific. That's why … we encourage India not just to look east, but to engage east and act east as well [emphasis added].”
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, India, East Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Author: Bonnie Glases
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Obama's first-ever trip to China was the main attraction of the fourth quarter. In addition to meeting Chinese leaders, Obama held a town hall-style assembly with Chinese students in Shanghai. The two sides signed a joint statement, the first in 12 years, which highlighted the depth and breadth of the relationship and promised greater cooperation. Nevertheless, the US media mostly faulted the president for not making sufficiently concrete progress on a number of problems. The Copenhagen climate talks garnered much attention in December. As the two largest emitters of CO2, negotiations between China and the US not only occupied the meeting's spotlight, but also ultimately decided its outcome. Trade friction continued to intensify with both countries launching new investigations and imposing duties on several products. The bilateral military relationship took a step forward with the visit to the US by Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ross Matzkin-Bridger
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The final quarter of 2009 included a number of significant developments in US-Korea ties. President Barack Obama made his first trip to Seoul in November, and Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth traveled to Pyongyang in December. The summit between Presidents Obama and Lee Myung-bak marked the continuation of an historical high in relations between the two countries. On issues affecting the alliance, Obama and Lee found common ground on North Korea, while they inched forward with the Korea-US free trade agreement. Meanwhile, Bosworth's three days of talks with North Korean officials brought the most encouraging signs of a return to the six-party process since talks broke down at the end of 2008. The Obama administration is faring well on the Korean Peninsula, even as relations with other major powers of the region become more complicated. Those accompanying Obama on his trip to Asia informally acknowledged that Korea was the “best stop” on the trip and sensed a personal connection between the two leaders.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Korea
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Joseph Ferguson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The last quarter of 2009 proved to be a quiet one for US-Russia relations. Although there were no major bilateral rifts, several issues continue to fester, including the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program. The biggest disappointment, however, may have been the failure to reach an agreement on the replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that expired on Dec. 5. Negotiations are set to resume in January, but end-of-year remarks by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about the dangers of the US ballistic missile defense system threaten to throw a wrench into the discussions. Meanwhile, the long-awaited East Siberian oil pipeline destined for Asian markets has finally come on line.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Sheldon W. Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level US efforts to convince Burma's military government to open its political system to the democratic opposition and release political prisoners prior to scheduled 2010 elections accelerated this quarter. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Campbell all weighed in during meetings in Burma and at the first ASEAN-US summit in Singapore after the annual APEC leaders meeting. The ASEAN states welcomed the first US summit with all 10 members. Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan noted that President Obama's praise for ASEAN's key role in Asian international organizations debunked claims by some that ASEAN is no longer the centerpiece of the region's architecture. Singapore's prime minister insisted that the US continues to be Asia's “indispensable” player despite the rise of China and India. In the Philippines, the Visiting Forces Agreement continues to be a political football in domestic Philippine politics as President Arroyo's political opponents claim that the US military violates the Philippine constitution by engaging in combat – an allegation denied by both the US embassy and the Philippine government. On a tip from the US, Thai authorities detained a cargo aircraft coming from North Korea with a load of sophisticated weapons in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast Asia