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  • Author: Luis Rubio
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Mexico's President Vicente Fox chose a rather awkward time to take a stand supporting a multilateralist approach in foreign policy. Even though a multilateral approach matches neatly—almost naturally—with the country's history, taking such a visible stand after the events of September 11 entailed huge risks that nobody in Fox's cabinet could ignore, even if, in retrospect, few truly understood what the actual risks were. Yet, oblivious to that fact, the government pushed ahead. Even after President George W. Bush had decided not to pursue a vote in the UN Security Council on a follow-up resolution that would have de facto authorized the use of force in Iraq, the Mexican government found it necessary to state that it would have voted “no.” The critical question is less whether this constitutes an approach to foreign policy that is new for Mexico than whether the administration truly understands the implications of its newfound ways.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Sergio Sarmiento
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For a long time, it seemed impossible for any issue to forge an alliance between the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000—and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). This issue, however, has clearly emerged now with the attempt to force President Vicente Fox, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to offer special protection to Mexico's agriculture.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, George W. Grayson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On March 9, 2003, the citizens of Mexico state (Edomex) will elect 124 municipal government officials and 75 members of the state legislature. Although local contests, these elections have attracted national attention for several reasons. First, with 13 million inhabitants Edomex is the most populous of Mexico 31 states–with approximately 4.5 million more citizens than Mexico City. Second, Mexico state also boasts more than 8 million voters, the most of any state and 12.55 percent of the nationwide total. Third, Mexico state is a microcosm of the country–with (1) a vibrant manufacturing sector, (2) one-third of its income arising from agriculture, (3) a small indigenous population, (4) a plethora of middle-class residents who work for the government, own small businesses, or practice professions such as medicine, dentistry, accounting, and teaching, and (5) poor people who eke out a living in Chalco, Texcoco, and other sprawling slums contiguous to Mexico City. Fourth, Edomex is an arena of intense political activism, involving the country's three major parties: the once-hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the center-right National Action Party (PAN), and the nationalist-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). In addition, the Mexican Green Ecological Party (PVEM) boasts its largest support base in the state, while several new or small parties will also compete in the upcoming election. These include the centrist Convergencia, the leftist Workers' Party (PT), the right-wing Social Alliance (PAS), the conservative Party of the Nationalist Society (PSN), the reform-oriented México Posible (MP), the Mexican Liberal Party (PLM), Citizens' Force (FC), and the Citizens' Parliament (PC). Fifth, the importance of the state means that any major Edomex politician who distinguishes himself will wind up on the short list of contenders for the presidency in 2006. Finally, the outcome of the Mexico state balloting will provide an insight into the relative strength of contending parties as they prepare for the July 6 election of 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and six governors (Campeche, Colima, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, and Sonora).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the Chinese language, the character "wen" means moderation and modesty. This happens to capture the personality and policies of China's new premier, Wen Jiabao. In his first trip to the United States as premier, Wen will try to present the image of a rising China that is liberalizing at home, is confident abroad, and willing and able to work with the world's sole superpower. The U.S. side will also have a closeup look at the man who may well administer China for the next 10 years.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: TAIPEI – Is President Chen Shui-bian trying to provoke a crisis with the PRC in the run up to the March 2004 presidential elections in Taiwan? Taiwan government spokesmen say no, but there is a growing perception among cross-Strait watchers that Taipei is purposefully baiting Beijing in hopes of provoking a hostile response (a la the 1996 missile “tests”) that will cause the island's public to rally around the flag (and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party) in the name of Taiwanese nationalism.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Bush's recent offer to provide Pyongyang with written assurances that the U.S. does not intend to attack North Korea and the North's willingness “to consider” this offer provide the basis, however tentative and contentious, for a negotiated solution to the current nuclear stand-off on the Korean Peninsula. But even if the North really does return to the bargaining table – and this is by no means assured – a long and difficult road lies ahead in the search for common ground between the two primary antagonists in this six-party drama. The key to a successful outcome remains the willingness of the other four actors – China, Japan, Russia, and especially South Korea – to stand firmly behind Washington's central demand: that Pyongyang “fully, verifiably, and irreversibly” abandon its nuclear weapons programs.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tokyo – In the end, the weather just wasn't bad enough. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has dominated politics since 1955, claimed victory in Sunday's national election as it and its coalition partners took a comfortable majority in the Diet. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's celebrations have been muted, however: The LDP's failure to win an outright majority in the lower house will embolden obstructionists within his own party who oppose his reform agenda.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: James J. Przystup, William M. Drennan
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Fifty years ago, the United States and South Korea signed a mutual defense treaty designed to meet the "common danger" posed by North Korea to the survival of the South and to vital U.S. interests. The golden anniversary should be cause for celebration, but hold the applause. The alliance is in serious trouble, and possibly terminal decline, unless urgent steps are taken to revitalize it.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Takao Toshikawa, Richard Katz
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a series of newspaper advertisements, a few of Japan's more cosmopolitan business leaders, including Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera, pointed to what's really at stake in the November 9 elections for the Lower House of Japan's Diet. "We support a nation where a change of government is possible," they wrote.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Hidden away in President Bush's trip to Asia, especially his short stopover in Bali, are clues that the administration may be finally broadening and deepening its counter terror strategy. Unveiled during the president's trip is an investment of $157 million over the next six years to improve the quality of secular basic education and moderate the influence of extremist views in Islamic day and boarding schools –madrasahs and pesantren, respectively. The president's trip to the world's largest Muslim-majority country may not be remembered for education, but it should be.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Dean Cheng
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, there has been mounting attention paid to the Chinese space program, as China prepares to join the United States and Russia in launching one of its citizens into outer space. This has been a long-standing goal of the Chinese space program, since at least the founding of the Space Flight Medical Research Center by Qian Xuesen, in 1968 (two years before China's first satellite was orbited). Indeed, it has become clear in recent years that the Chinese seriously considered trying to put a man in orbit early in the 1970s. an array of satellites that fulfill a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, meteorology, and communications. The addition of a manned program does not provide significant additional advantage.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: James J. Przystup
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, much of U.S. strategic thinking focused on China's emergence as a great power in East Asia – on the process of its becoming a great power. That thinking is now passé. Today, China is East Asia's great power.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Ah-Young Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Security relationships in Northeast Asia have remained largely unchanged since the end of the Cold War. In this year's Special Annual Issue of Comparative Connections [http://www.csis.org/pacfor/annual/2003annual.html], we argue that cracks are appearing in the Cold War façade. In the 21stcentury, China-ROK-U.S. relations will shape the future direction of Northeast Asia, the Korean Peninsula, and the prospects for cooperation, conflict, and competition.
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Pramit Mitra
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The July 2003 state visit to China by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India, the first by an Indian prime minister in a decade, represented a major step forward in New Delhi's relations with its giant neighbor and competitor. Dramatic increases in bilateral trade set the stage for nine bilateral agreements covering trade, education, easing of visa regulations, and development projects. The artful language of the agreements suggested progress on the long-standing Sino-Indian border dispute. More substantial relations between India and China are good news for regional stability, although this relationship will remain wary, and China's strong interest in Pakistan will continue to be a constraint.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Pramit Mitra, Navin Vij
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With five states scheduled to go to polls this fall, political activity is moving into high gear in India. The state elections will provide a good barometer of popular sentiment toward the government and are being treated as a 'test run' for the national elections due in 2004. The state elections will largely determine how the major contenders deal with the volatile issue of Hindu nationalism. How relations with Pakistan figure in the election depends largely on the outcome of current India-Pakistan peace efforts. But the key issue to watch is the ability of the current ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Congress party, its principal opponent, to hold together a coalition. This will not only be central to their electoral strategies, it will also determine the next government's freedom of action in making national policy.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Teresita Schaffer, Paul A. Longo
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Two months after Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's offer to extend “the hand of friendship” to neighboring Pakistan, the two countries are exchanging ambassadors and have begun restoring transport links, but discussions on their underlying dispute have yet to take shape. The next few months provide a crucial opportunity to begin a serious peace effort. Should this window of time pass by without progress, however, internal politics in both countries may rule out another try for a year or two.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Kavita Sangani, Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is broadening its relations with South Asia, as illustrated in the recent visits by Pakistan's President Musharraf to Russia and Russia's President Putin to India. Russia's long-standing ties with India are still driven by important defense links and shared hopes to create a multipolar world. Both countries are trying to breathe new life into their much-diminished economic relationship. Russia's new interest in Pakistan is driven largely by concerns about Islamic extremism and Central Asia. At a time when Russia's priorities are to a large extent internal, South Asia is a relatively accessible area for engaging in global geopolitics, but Russia is unlikely to become a major player in India- Pakistan diplomacy in the next few years.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Mandavi Mehta
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: India is poised on the verge of a sharp escalation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with profound consequences for the state's society, economy and polity. This crisis will not affect India alone. In an increasingly interconnected world, the effects of such an epidemic will be globally felt, both directly in terms of the spread of infection, and indirectly in terms of the overall security and economic and political health of the region.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia
  • Author: Amir Ahmad, Teresita C. Schaffer
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: India's budget for fiscal year 2003–2004 will make some contribution to short-term growth but continues the piecemeal approach to economic policy apparent in the last two budgets. With four key state elections during the first half of 2003 and national elections due in 2004, we can expect India's economic policy to muddle through rather than taking bold initiatives. India's growth, under these circumstances, will depend largely on the weather and on a few major investment decisions, and it is not likely to surge ahead in the immediate future.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • Author: Kavita Sangani
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is extraordinarily low—less than 1 percent of their global trade. Their volatile political relationship has overwhelmed attempts to encourage trade between the two countries, and has also impacted economic integration in the South Asian region as a whole. There are both political and economic obstacles to expanding trade between the two countries. Greater economic co-operation could, however, provide mutual economic benefits, such as lower prices for consumers, much-needed revenue for the governments, and cost-effective gas import to India via Pakistan. Perhaps most importantly, it could generate new linkages between the two business communities, thereby nurturing constituencies for peace in the region.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Middle East, India