Corridors of Power: the EU’s Asian Leverage, Bali is the New Kyoto and More

Corridors of Power: the EU’s Asian Leverage, Bali is the New Kyoto and More

THE EU TESTS ITS LEVERAGE -- Piero Fassino, the European Union's new special envoy for Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma, is likely to have an uphill battle to persuade that country's neighbors to go along with new EU sanctions against the Burmese regime. Last week, the European Union drew up a list of sanctions specifically targeting Burma's ruling junta, including blocking their exports of Burmese gems -- a key source of revenue for the leadership -- plus a Europe-wide travel ban, and curtailment of other trade. The aim is to pressure the junta to improve on the so far modest concessions made in response to the summer's opposition protests, which were violently crushed by the government. At the very least, Fassino hopes to persuade China, Japan, and the members of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations, consisting of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma) to bring pressure on the junta to start reconciliation talks with opposition leaders, and to release political prisoners.

In a way, Fassino's mission is a test of the European Union's political leverage in Asia. In May, the European Union signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN. EU trade with Asia as a whole -- including China and Japan -- accounts for one-fifth of the EU's world trade. But the Asians have been opposed to sanctions against Burma, and at their summit this week ASEAN leaders decided to steer clear of the Burmese situation. Nonetheless, Fassino said in Washington Monday, the European Union must make the effort. "It's a global world, and no conflict is local," he said. "Even something that happens 20,000 miles away can have an impact here. In a global world we are all responsible."

FRIENDS AND FOES -- The weekend editions of both the Washington Post and the New York Times carried stories about how President Bush's personal relationship with Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf had complicated the administration's handling of the Pakistan crisis. It's not the first time that Bush's penchant for putting his dealings with world leaders on a personal basis has led him astray. What happened to looking into the eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and finding him "very straightforward and trustworthy?"

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review