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  • Author: Jack Chow, Shenglan Tang, Enis Baris
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Yanzhong Huang (“The Sick Man of Asia,” November/December 2011) paints a troubling picture of a China that has rapidly industrialized yet lags in modernizing its health-care system. Yet in his cogent history of China's health policy, much of which centers on self-reliance, Huang puzzlingly omits China's success in winning nearly $1 billion in recent years from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. That the country's health officials have had to resort to tapping a fund ostensibly dedicated to helping the world's poorest countries speaks to their inability to persuade the government to pay for public health with its national coªers. Only when the incongruity of a financial giant getting grants at the expense of impoverished African countries was illuminated did China choose to stop taking Global Fund awards.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Aaron L. Friedberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: United States worries about China's rise, but Washington rarely considers how the world looks through Beijing's eyes. Even when U.S. officials speak sweetly and softly, their Chinese counterparts hear sugarcoated threats and focus on the big stick in the background. America should not shrink from setting out its expectations of Asia's rising superpower -- but it should do so calmly, coolly, and professionally.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Tim W. Ferguson, Charles B. Heck, Mitchell W. Hedstrom
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ESSAY American Profligacy and American Power Roger C. Altman and Richard N. Haass The U.S. government is incurring debt at an unprecedented rate. If U.S. leaders do not act to curb their debt addiction, then the global capital markets will do so for them, forcing a sharp and punitive adjustment in fiscal policy. The result will be an age of American austerity. Would you like to leave a comment? 1CommentsJoin To the Editor: Roger Altman and Richard Haass ("American Profligacy and American Power," November/December 2010) persuasively argue that continued American profligacy promises to undermine American power. But the situation is even more urgent than they suggest. Although Altman and Haass expect markets to remain calm "possibly for two or three years," the rising price of gold suggests otherwise. Gold has risen from $460 per ounce to $1,400 per ounce in the last five years -- representing a 67 percent devaluation of the U.S. dollar per unit of gold. As former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan has said, gold is "the ultimate means of payment." Moreover, on top of new government debt over the next several years, maturing existing debt will need to be refinanced. At 4.6 years, the average maturity of the U.S. federal debt held by the public (debt that now totals $9.1 trillion) is tight relative to, for instance, the average maturity of 13.5 years for British government debt. According to the International Monetary Fund, the maturing debt of the U.S. government will equal 18.1 percent of U.S. GDP during 2011 alone. Altman and Haass rightly note that the U.S. government's annual interest expense will rise dramatically as its stock of debt increases and interest rates inevitably rise. Further debt increases would substantially darken the fiscal outlook for the federal government. And even a relatively small rise in interest rates would have a significant impact. TIM W. FERGUSON Editor, Forbes Asia CHARLES B. HECK Former North American Director, Trilateral Commission MITCHELL W. HEDSTROM Managing Director, TIAA-CREF
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Asia
  • Author: Michael Walzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Humanitarianism is probably the most important "ism" in the world today, given the collapse of communism, the discrediting of neoliberalism, and the general distrust of large-scale political ideologies. Its activists often claim to escape or transcend partisan politics. We think of humanitarian aid, for example, first of all as a form of philanthropy -- a response to an earthquake in Haiti or a tsunami in Asia, which is obviously a good thing, an effort to relieve human suffering and save lives, an act of international benevolence. But there is a puzzle here, for helping people in desperate need is something that we ought to do; it would be wrong not to do it -- in which case it is more like justice than benevolence. Words such as "charity" and "philanthropy" describe a voluntary act, a matter of kindness rather than duty. But international humanitarianism seems more like duty than kindness, or maybe it is a combination: two in one, a gift that we have to give. Individuals send contributions to charitable organizations when there is a humanitarian crisis, and then these organizations rush trained aid workers into the zone of danger and desperate need. But governments also send help, spending tax money that is coercively collected rather than freely given. Are individual citizens free not to give? Are governments free not to act? Does it matter whether the money is a gift or a tax?
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Park Geun-hye
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On August 15, 1974, South Korea's Independence Day, I lost my mother, then the country's first lady, to an assassin acting under orders from North Korea. That day was a tragedy not only for me but also for all Koreans. Despite the unbearable pain of that event, I have wished and worked for enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula ever since. But 37 years later, the conflict on the peninsula persists. The long-simmering tensions between North and South Korea resulted in an acute crisis in November 2010. For the first time since the Korean War, North Korea shelled South Korean territory, killing soldiers and civilians on the island of Yeonpyeong. Only two weeks earlier, South Korea had become the first country outside the G-8 to chair and host a G-20 summit, welcoming world leaders to its capital, Seoul. These events starkly illustrated the dual reality of the Korean Peninsula and of East Asia more broadly. On the one hand, the Korean Peninsula remains volatile. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea, the modernization of conventional forces across the region, and nascent great-power rivalries highlight the endemic security dilemmas that plague this part of Asia. On the other hand, South Korea's extraordinary development, sometimes called the Miracle on the Han River, has, alongside China's rise, become a major driver of the global economy over the past decade. These two contrasting trends exist side by side in Asia, the information revolution, globalization, and democratization clashing with the competitive instincts of the region's major powers. To ensure that the first set of forces triumphs, policymakers in Asia and in the international community must not only take advantage of existing initiatives but also adopt a bolder and more creative approach to achieving security. Without such an effort, military brinkmanship may only increase -- with repercussions well beyond Asia. For this reason, forging trust and sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula represents one of the most urgent and crucial tasks on Asia's list of outstanding security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • 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: Derek Byerlee, Alain de Janvry, Joan VanWassenhove, Donna Barry
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor:Paul Collier ("The Politics of Hunger," November/December 2008) sets out three priorities for overcoming the world food crisis: replacing peasant and smallholder farming with large-scale commercial farms, promoting genetically modified crops, and reducing subsidies to biofuels in the United States. Collier got two of these right but missed the boat with his anti-smallholder bias when it comes to modernizing agriculture, especially in Africa. A focus on smallholder farming is a proven strategy for accelerating growth, reducing poverty, and overcoming hunger.
  • Topic: Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, India, Asia