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  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, many countries in Southeast Asia were viewed, by global democracy analysts and Southeast Asians themselves, as leading examples of democratization in the developing world. By the late 2000s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore all were ranked as "free" or "partly free" by the monitoring organization Freedom House, while Cambodia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Myanmar had both taken sizable steps toward democracy as well. Yet since the late 2000s, Southeast Asia's democratization has stalled and, in some of the region's most economically and strategically important nations, gone into reverse. Over the past ten years, Thailand has undergone a rapid and severe regression from democracy and is now ruled by a junta. Malaysia's democratic institutions and culture have regressed as well, with the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition cracking down on dissent and trying to destroy what had been an emerging, and increasingly stable, two-party system. Singapore's transition toward contested politics has stalled. In Cambodia and Myanmar, hopes for dramatic democratic change have fizzled. Only the Philippines and Indonesia have stayed on track, but even in these two countries democratic consolidation is threatened by the persistence of graft, public distrust of democratic institutions, and continued meddling in politics by militaries.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In a region largely bereft of regional organizations and long divided by the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the most significant multilateral group for the past forty-five years. Since the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has grown increasingly influential. While much of the West and most emerging markets continue to suffer because of the 2008 global recession, the leading ASEAN economies have recovered and are thriving. Perhaps most important, ASEAN has helped prevent interstate conflicts in Southeast Asia, despite several brewing territorial disputes in the region.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Yanzhong Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although China has made remarkable economic progress over the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much. Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth rate of ten percent and lifted 400–500 million people out of poverty. Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between 1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter -- Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example -- by 2009 life expectancy had increased by 7–14 years. According to the World Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those figures rose by 7–10 years during the same period.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Steven Radelet's accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa's recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia, Liberia
  • Author: William Drozdiak
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: These days, there is a great deal of talk about the dawn of an Asian century -- hastened by the rise of China and India. Meanwhile, the fractious Atlantic alliance, enfeebled by two wars and an economic crisis, is said to be fading away. But the West is not doomed to decline as a center of power and influence. A relatively simple strategic fix could reinvigorate the historic bonds between Europe and North America and reestablish the West's dominance: it is time to bring together the West's principal institutions, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When NATO's 28 leaders gather in Portugal later this year to draw up a new security strategy for the twenty-first century, they will consider a range of options, including military partnerships with distant allies such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Yet the most practical solution lies just down the road from the alliance's sprawling headquarters near the Brussels airport. Genuine cooperation between NATO and the 27-nation European Union would allow Western governments to meld hard power with soft, making both organizations better equipped to confront modern threats, such as climate change, failed states, and humanitarian disasters. A revitalized Atlantic alliance is by far the most effective way for the United States and Europe to shore up their global influence in the face of emerging Asian powers. NOT-SO-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORS Anybody who spends time in Brussels comes away mystified by the lack of dialogue between the West's two most important multinational organizations, even though they have been based in the same city for decades. Only a few years ago, it was considered a minor miracle when the EU's foreign policy czar and NATO's secretary-general decided that they should have breakfast together once a month. An EU planning cell is now ensconced at NATO military headquarters, but there is scarcely any other communication between the two institutions. With Europe and the United States facing common threats from North Africa to the Hindu Kush, it is imperative for Western nations to take advantage of these two organizations' resources in the fields of law enforcement, counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, drug interdiction, and even agricultural policy.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, Brussels
  • Author: Richard Rosecrance
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Throughout history, states have generally sought to get larger, usually through the use of force. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, countervailing trends briefly held sway. Smaller countries, such as Japan, West Germany, and the "Asian tigers," attained international prominence as they grew faster than giants such as the United States and the Soviet Union. These smaller countries -- what I have called "trading states" -- did not have expansionist territorial ambitions and did not try to project military power abroad. While the United States was tangled up in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, trading states concentrated on gaining economic access to foreign territories, rather than political control. And they were quite successful. But eventually the trading-state model ran into unexpected problems. Japanese growth stalled during the 1990s as U.S. growth and productivity surged. Many trading states were rocked by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, during which international investors took their money and went home. Because Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and other relatively small countries did not have enough foreign capital to withstand the shock, they had to go into receivership. As Alan Greenspan, then the U.S. Federal Reserve chair, put it in 1999, "East Asia had no spare tires." Governments there devalued their currencies and adopted high interest rates to survive, and they did not regain their former glory afterward. Russia, meanwhile, fell afoul of its creditors. And when Moscow could not pay back its loans, Russian government bonds went down the drain. Russia's problem was that although its territory was vast, its economy was small. China, India, and even Japan, on the other hand, had plenty of access to cash and so their economies remained steady. The U.S. market scarcely rippled.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, Asia, Vietnam, Germany
  • Author: Brad W. Setser, Arpana Pandey
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: China reported $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2008. This is by far the largest stockpile of foreign exchange in the world: China holds roughly two times more reserves than Japan, and four times more than either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Moreover, China's true foreign port- folio exceeds its disclosed foreign exchange reserves. At the end of December, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE)—part of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) managed close to $2.1 trillion: $1.95 trillion in formal reserves and between $108 and $158 billion in “other foreign assets.” China's state banks and the China Investment Corporation (CIC), China's sovereign wealth fund, together manage another $250 billion or so. This puts China's total holdings of foreign assets at over $2.3 trillion. That is over 50 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly $2,000 per Chinese inhabitant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Evan A. Feigenbaum
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama heads to Singapore in November for the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit. It will be his first foray into the arcane world of Asian multilateralism. And if his administration adopts a new approach, it could yet fashion a more sustainable role for the United States in a changing Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Brian P. Klein, Kenneth Neil Cukier
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For decades, Asian economies used exports to the West as a means of growth. Now, if they hope to weather the global recession, they will have to enact deep structural changes such as higher wages and increased domestic consumption.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Catherine E. Dalpino
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The outcome of national elections in the Philippines on May 10 is still to be determined. For the past three years, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has governed as an appointed head of state in the wake of President Joseph Estrada's forced resignation on corruption charges. Her administration inherited a country in crisis, and it began the critical process of economic stabilization and growth. Economic indicators in the past two years have shown modest progress. In this interim period, the Philippines has been a steadfast ally of the United States in the war against terrorism. These fragile gains could be imperiled if the Philippines does not complete the electoral process in an expeditious and credible manner. Whatever the outcome of the polls, the winner will have little time to lose in addressing a number of short- and long-term problems in the Philippines.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bruce Stokes
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The time is ripe for a bold new initiative to recast the U.S.-Japan economic partnership for the 21st century. A new Japan is emerging. Foreign investment is on the rise. Tokyo is deregulating and restructuring its economy. A new generation of Japanese entrepreneurs and venture capitalists has arrived on the stage.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia, Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Meredith Woo-Cumings
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 involved, among other things, a failure of regulation. Some believe this failure is endemic to global capitalism, and others believe it was profoundly local and idiosyncratic, emanating from regulatory flaws in the affected countries, stretching an arc from Thailand and Indonesia to Korea and Japan. There is also a debate about the nature of the regulation that failed. Some argue that the crisis emanated from a surfeit of nettlesome regulations and endemic industrial policy; others claim it happened for want of effective regulations and (even) industrial policy. Across the hypotenuse of these disagreements, however, stretches a universal recognition that regulatory infrastructure and institutions do matter and that they must play a major role in the way we think about economic development. After the miracle years in East Asia, “good governance” has become the Spirit of the Age.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Indonesia, Israel, East Asia, Asia, Korea, Thailand
  • Author: Nina Khrushcheva
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One goal of Russia's economic reforms during the last ten years has been to establish a new class of businessmen and owners of private property—people who could form the foundation for a new model post-Soviet citizen. However, the experience of this post-communist economic “revolution” has turned out to be very different from the original expectations. For as people became disillusioned with communism due to its broken promises, the words “democracy” and “reform” quickly became equally as unbearable to large sectors of the Russian public after 1991. Such disillusion was achieved in less than ten years—a record revolutionary burnout that would be the envy of any anti-Bolshevik.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Daniel K. Tarullo, John Lipsky, Arturo Porzecanski, Bruce Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mr. Daniel K. Tarullo (Linda J. Wachner Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Economic Policy, Council on Foreign Relations): ...(Joined in progress) In the past World Economic Update sessions, we have not paid quite as much attention to Latin America, and in light of recent developments, it seems in need of some attention. We are pleased to have with us this morning three distinguished panelists: to your far right, John Lipsky, the chief economist at Chase Manhattan; sitting next to me, Arturo Porzecanski, the managing director at ING Barings and the Americas chief economist; and then to your far left, Bruce Steinberg, chief economist at Merrill Lynch.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South America, Latin America, Central America, North America
  • Author: Thomas I. Palley
  • Publication Date: 04-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last nine months the global economy has been roiled by a financial crisis that has moved through Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea. Japan has also been affected by its wake, as has Russia. So too has Latin America, where Brazil has had to raise interest rates substantially to fend off an incipient currency crisis.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, Asia, Brazil
  • Author: Daniel K. Tarullo, John Lipsky, Bruce Steinberg, David Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Mr. Daniel K. Tarullo: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We'd like to get started promptly so that we can end promptly. Welcome to this morning's session on the update of world economic conditions. This is the first in what we anticipate to be a series of updates, perhaps quarterly, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, probably right here in this room, part of a continuing effort to focus on world economic conditions, both for themselves, and as they intersect with foreign policy concerns.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, South America, Latin America, North America