Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, and his wife Iriana, walk with his new Cabinet ministers and their spouses after the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).
Two months into his second term, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, has announced some bold new economic plans. He has vowed to push through major legislation on deregulation—modeled on the Trump administration’s agenda in Washington—and launch a staggering number of new infrastructure projects. It is all part of a push to attract foreign investment, which has provoked backlashes in Indonesia before, but which he said “no one should be allergic to” in a speech after winning reelection. Whether Jokowi can implement this economic agenda remains unclear. He has built a vast, 50-member Cabinet, including vice ministers, from [...]
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).
Natural gas started flowing from Russia to China for the first time on Dec. 2 when Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, officially launched the initial phase of a huge new pipeline known as the Power of Siberia. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, claims it is expected to generate $400 billion in revenue—its largest export contract ever. The potentially lucrative pipeline also has clear geopolitical undertones, accelerating the strategic entente between the world’s second-largest gas producer and Asia’s biggest economy at a time when both Russia and China are pushing back against the global influence of the [...]
An aerial view of the Qingbaijiang Railway Port, where freight trains travel between China and Europe, in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, China, April 30, 2019 (Imaginechina photo by Yi Fang via AP Images).
Seven years into a sweeping and costly effort to rebuild Asia with itself at the center, China has a publicity problem with its Belt and Road Initiative. What has become the guiding macroeconomic centerpiece of Chinese foreign policy is in many ways stranded on shaky ground. Some of the Belt and Road Initiative’s trouble is superficial, like its unwieldy name, which had to be rebranded from its earlier form, “One Belt, One Road,” that itself was an abbreviation for two interrelated investment strategies called the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. But fundamentally, Beijing’s problems [...]
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