Although Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s historic rapprochement with China has ushered in a period of stability in cross-strait relations, the military imbalance between the two neighbors continues to grow. Beijing’s military modernization is rapidly dwarfing Taipei’s capabilities and blunting Washington’s ability to defend its ally in the event of conflict. Left unchecked, this growing imbalance will make it increasingly difficult for Taipei to maintain the necessary deterrent required to preserve its independence from the mainland, and for long-term stability to prevail in the Taiwan Strait. The calm that has pervaded the Taiwan Strait since Ma’s inauguration last year is certainly […]
Diplomacy & Politics Archive
Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation and national security reform expert Jim Locher discuss how the chain of command that is described in the Goldwater-Nichols Act could be expanded to include inter-agency systems. Locher says that the White House is currently lacking an integrated effort between agencies that would allow departments to share expertise.
The term “lawfare” is increasingly used to characterize the pervasive role of law in the conduct of war, but there is nothing new about the concept. Law has always played a role in war, requiring that a pragmatic balance be struck between the necessities of war and the need to protect the innocent. The significance of this balance between military necessity and humane treatment under the law has never been more central to the credibility of U.S. military operations than it is today. The real question raised today is whether “lawfare” will come to define a fundamental distortion of this […]
As China prepares to mark 60 years of communist rule, one of thegreatest challenges facing the country’s rulers remains uniting China’sdiverse ethnic groups, as recent unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang provincedemonstrates. Ninety-two percent of China’s 1.3 billion people areethnic Han Chinese,while the rest consists of a mix of 55 officially recognizedethnic minorities, from Mongols and Manchus, to Tibetans andMuslim Uighurs. Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan reports from Sichuan province.
TOKYO — Days after being formally elected Japan’s new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama hit the diplomatic ground running, traveling to New York last week to deliver a speech at the U.N. meet on climate change, before heading to Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit. The trip was widely viewed as a success, with Reuters saying Hatoyama handled his diplomatic debut with “aplomb.” The Japan Times praised his “strong” start, particularly his pledge to slash Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent on 1990 levels. The headline-grabbing promise on emissions is just the latest sign, according to veteran Japan commentator Karel van […]
In addition to potential effects on Germany’s economic, energy, and foreign policies, the results of the Sept. 27 national elections raise questions about the future of Germany’s longstanding practice of military conscription. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues to support compulsory military service more than any other major German party, her preferred new coalition partner, the quasi-libertarian Free Democratic Party (FDP), opposes it. Unlike most other NATO countries, Germany stubbornly adheres to the principle of compulsory military service. At present, all male German citizens are subject to nine months of conscription in the Bundeswehr (the German armed […]
September is the showcase month at the U.N. headquarters in New York. In 2009, in addition to rolling out the red carpet for newly elected leaders from the U.S. and Japan, the organization also made ambitious attempts to address climate change and nuclear nonproliferation. Compared to past years, expectations were sky high, as President Barack Obama delivered a speech detailing his administration’s commitment to multilateralism after years of U.S. neglect. With Washington’s full backing, the U.N. seems ripe for an image makeover to accompany the structural facelift currently in progress. However, despite the optimism, no one is forecasting any progress […]
Imagine a day, perhaps sometime in the next year and a half, when world leaders triumphantly proclaim that an agreement has at long last been reached in the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. Hosannas pour forth from editorial writers and commentators, all declaring that after so many disappointments and failures since the talks were first launched in 2001, the breakthrough accord heralds a giant leap forward for global commerce and international economic cooperation. Could it happen? Glimmers of hope have emerged from the World Trade Organization in recent months that a compromise may be in the offing, one loosely […]
The U.N. climate change negotiations currently underway and set to conclude in Copenhagen late in 2009 seek to establish new arrangements in anticipation of the termination of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. According to our current understanding of the science, a successful outcome to these negotiations is critical to maintaining a stable climate, even if the estimates of the costs of damage from inaction vary widely. The negotiations are currently beset by a series of obstacles. But if these are overcome, the resulting agreement will change the global landscape in terms of trade, politics and the entire international system. The […]
During the last five decades, Colombia’s foreign, defense and strategic priorities have been driven and determined by the country’s internal armed conflict, with the “War on Drugs” becoming the dominant paradigm from the 1980s onwards. This, in turn, has defined Colombia’s relations with Latin America — particularly, in recent years, with its Andean neighbors, Ecuador and Venezuela — as well as its relationship with the United States and Europe. Colombia’s struggle to stem cocaine production, its fight against the drug cartels that sprung up around the drug trade, and its war against the largest and longest-running guerrilla insurgency in Latin […]
In recent years, Brazil has put forward a more ambitious foreign policy with the aim of expanding the country’s presence in global economic negotiations, multilateral institutions and regimes, and regional affairs.  An active presidential diplomacy has spearheaded this approach, concerned with simultaneously deepening ties with the industrialized economies and the emergent South. Relations have been reshaped with the United States and the European Union, ties have been deepened with China and India, South-South multilateralism has been renewed and an unprecedented presence in South America has been asserted. A diversified set of “external fronts” has also led to an innovative […]
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting on Global Food Security Sept. 26 in New York, with leaders from 130 countries. Ban and Clinton jointly introduced a proposal at the meeting titled “Partnering for Food Security: Moving Forward.” The thrust of the initiative is to take a more preventative and less reactive approach toward food security. “We will continue of course to invest in the crises and emergencies, but we want to begin to try to alleviate the crises and the emergencies by once again enabling people to feed themselves,” Clinton said at […]
Royal Navy Commodore Steve Chick, seniorofficer of a NATO counter-piracy force on the Gulf of Aden, discussesthe state of Somali piracy, during a visit to the U.S.S. Donald Cook inSeptember 2009. Video by David Axe.
Commander Derek Granger, captain of the U.S.S.Donald Cook, discusses counter-piracy operations during a patrol on theGulf of Aden. Video by David Axe.
After two days of high-profile meetings and deliberation last week, the G-20 managed to make official something everyone already knew: the United States and Europe can no longer effectively manage the whims of the global economy on their own. To that end, the group reached consensus on two major fronts: 1) the more diverse G-20 should effectively replace the Western-dominated G-8 as the world’s primary economic coordinating body; and, 2) voting power within the IMF should be reformed to give greater voice to emerging powers. Stop the presses, right? Yes and no. This is big news, but not necessarily new […]
BERLIN — After four years of an uncomfortable alliance with the liberal Social Democratic Party marked more by inaction that by any major initiatives, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrat party won a sweeping victory in federal elections here yesterday, putting the legislative pieces in place to make significant policy changes in her second term. The pro-business Free Democrats pulled off a major upset, winning enough votes to form a grand coalition with the CDU. Meanwhile, the election marked a major defeat for the SDP, with party candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier calling for a reassessment of the party’s […]
President Barack Obama’s performance at the United Nations last week was widely hailed — and condemned — as a clear departure from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. His most telling statement spoke volumes about the limits of U.S. power in an interdependent world: “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone.” Subtext? Atlas has put down the heavy globe and has neither the intention nor the wherewithal to pick it up again. If that makes for an uncertain age, it’s […]