Obama’s Export Initiative

President Obama announces the National Export Initiative. The initiative is the culmination of the Obama administration’s efforts toward promoting increased American exports. In this vein, the administration has shown interest in joining the TPP, a small pacific trade group that could provide bigger opportunities in the future as the partnership grows.

The United States is entering negotiations this week to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (.pdf), a relatively unknown trade agreement that includes Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The pact is perhaps humble in its origins, with the population of its largest member — Chile — less than 16 million at the time of its inception in 2005, and the group’s share of global GDP minute. But the TPP has quietly gained momentum over recent years and may come to serve as a free trade zone that incorporates large parts of both sides of the Pacific. In addition to the United […]

Onlookers Watch As China Sets The Agenda

The National People’s Congress serves as a platform for the nation’s leaders to come together to reaffirm the national agenda and to more informally lobby for provincial interests. The event is heavily covered by the international media as well as politicians looking to take the pulse of Beijing. Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan reports from Beijing.

BANGKOK — It was billed by local media as the last stand of former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s red-shirted rural supporters against a bureaucratic elite that they claim rules Thailand as an “Orwellian state.” But despite heightened fears of a “final battle,” Sunday’s mass protest has so far only set the stage for more political instability in the coming days and weeks. The rally in Bangkok was called to protest a court seizure of the ousted premier’s assets, a decision that dealt a blow to the grassroots movement Thaksin funds from exile. Fearing the worst, the Thai government made sweeping preparations […]

U.S. Power in an Age of Transitions

I just got through reading a few unrelated blog posts that combine to make for an interesting discussion of the U.S. response to shifting regional dynamics in Asia and the Middle East. Hugh White sketches how he thinks the U.S. should adapt its Asia strategy to accomodate China’s rise, while Tobias Harris exposes the limitations of the “losing Japan” narrative. Meanwhile, Elias Muhanna argues that the U.S. narrative of a moderate vs. militant divide in the Middle East fails to take into account how the landscape has shifted there, quoting this from a Washington Post op-ed by Rob Malley and […]

One of the strengths of the Naval War College is that it constantly reviews and assesses its curriculum. In support of that effort, I have been reacquainting myself with E. H. Carr’s seminal work “The Twenty Years’ Crisis,” which got me to thinking: Will we look back on the period of time between 1991 and 2011 as another two-decade interregnum marked by crisis and opportunity? This isn’t an entirely original thought. James Goldgeier and Derek Chollet opened this discussion two years ago when they published, “America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11.” But I wanted to focus on the […]

A View from the Battlefield

WPR’s David Axe provides raw footage of Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, attached to Task Force Gladius at Bagram as they patrol Parwan province. Axe’s most recent column discusses the challenges that face troops on the ground as the Afghanistan “surge” pushes forward.

The United States, a ‘Pacific Nation’

Kurt M. Campbell, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, recently referred to the United States as a “Pacific nation,” a new approach to global positioning — unlike that of the traditional Atlanticist orientation — drawing attention to a new era in U.S. foreign policy. Campbell says: “There should be no doubt that the United States, itself, is a Pacific nation. In every regard — geopolitically, militarily, diplomatically, and economically — Asia and the Pacific are indispensable to addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century. As the Asia-Pacific century emerges, defining the […]

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Standing on a mountaintop, 1st Lt. Maximilian Soto swept his arm from side to side, indicating a 400-square-mile expanse of fields, rivers and streams surrounding the village of Estalef in Parwan province, just north of Kabul. “All this,” he said, “is mine.” With a force of just 26 men from the Special Troops Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Soto provides security for a chunk of Afghanistan the size of a typical American county. “It’s quite difficult,” he told World Politics Review. In December, U.S. President Barack Obama announced he would be sending 30,000 new […]

As president of the G-20 this year, South Korea seemingly has an appetite for tackling the global economy’s biggest problems. And few challenges loom larger than the significant global imbalances that helped pave the way for the recent international financial crisis. The Koreans have been busy promoting an apparently novel solution to this very problem: an international currency swap regime. But how would such an arrangement work, and could it actually help correct current imbalances? As important, is there any chance this idea will get off the ground? The global economy of today is — and has been for some […]

On International Women’s Day, Still a Long Way to Go

Women’s rights advocates, governments, NGOs and women around the world marked International Women’s Day yesterday, with cheers for progress achieved and calls for even more global efforts to ensure protection for the rights of women and girls. “Most girls now receive an education, particularly at primary level, and more women are now more likely to run businesses or participate in government. A growing number of countries have legislation that supports sexual and reproductive health and promotes gender equality,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his International Women’s Day 2010 message. “Nonetheless, much work remains. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, […]

After the Dutch, Who’s the Next to Leave Afghanistan?

If our European allies want to capture Barack Obama’s full attention, they could certainly do so by announcing en masse their intention to withdraw from Afghanistan by the coming July. Europe would suddenly loom large on Obama’s radar screen, triggering a flurry of diplomatic activity by the White House in a bid to prevent or at least whittle down the extent of the exodus. Obama would be in Madrid like a shot for this month’s EU-U.S. summit — from which he had previously begged off, citing commitments at home — and again for the NATO summit in April. The Europeans’ […]

China has designated 2010 “The Year of China-Indonesia Friendship” to mark the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with the world’s fourth-largest country. But while both countries are poised to reap major benefits from their improved bilateral ties, Beijing and Jakarta must manage their asymmetric relationship skillfully to mitigate potential tensions in the future. Relations between China and Indonesia have certainly come a long way since the height of the Cold War. Beijing, then reviled by Jakarta as a fomenter of communist insurrection, is now welcomed as a key investor in Indonesia’s economic future. Bilateral trade has mushroomed by an […]

National security types have long noted — and complained about — the relative lack of military veterans in Congress, which results in too few experienced votes being cast when the prospect of overseas interventions is raised. I have long noted — and complained about — the fact that Congress’ most prominent military vets hail from the Vietnam era, which has led many to instinctively reject the necessity and utility of conducting nation-building and counterinsurgency. Clearly, our lengthy interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan will alter this generational equation, but how will the experiences of today’s veterans impact their votes in tomorrow’s […]

The Modest Failure of Obama’s Iran Policy

As the push for a new round of sanctions against Iran falters, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Obama administration’s game plan on Iran policy was long on tactics and short on strategy. We’ve heard a bit about how U.N sanctions are up against a “bad UNSC,” which currently includes Brazil, Turkey and Lebanon as non-permanent members. But that should come as no surprise, and the same goes for those three countries’ predictable resistance to getting vocally on board for stiff sanctions. Now comes word that the administration is trying to carve out an exemption for China in unilateral U.S. […]

Nobel Women Push for ICC Myanmar Charges

The Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Women’s League for Burma organized the quasi-legal International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma this week, to raise awareness of how that country’s military regime uses systematic violence against women to maintain its grip on power. In addition to the unprecedented event, the group visited the United Nations to push for legal accountability for the country’s ruling junta. Campaigners want to see the military rulers brought before the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity. “Your searing testimonies of unimaginable brutalities, including sexual violence, break the silence on behalf of […]

Last week, senior students at the Naval War College presented their Final Exercise briefs. In assessing how the world of 2030 will take shape, many drew on the National Intelligence Council’s report, “Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed,” particularly its assessment — as a “relative certainty” — that “a global multipolar system is emerging with the rise of China, India, and others.” This is the future everyone expects, but in order to determine what steps the United States should take now, in 2010, to mold and nudge how this future will unfold, we need to answer a fundamental question: What […]

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