China and the Afghanistan Regional Approach

The oddest thing about recent discussions of the “regional approach” to Afghanistan is that it systematically ignores the pink elephant in the room: China. So we hear about Af-Pak, with India referred to by its given name out of deference. But if you talk about Pakistan and India without talking about China, you’re leaving out a big part of the equation. To see why, check out the feature issue WPR ran on the region titled, The Asian Triangle, but especially the Arif Rafiq piece, Pakistan’s Search for Security (subscription required.) It just so happens that Chinese interests on Afghanistan and […]

The Dalai Lama at Syracuse University, Oct. 8, 2012 (Voice of America photo).

Fifty years after their failed uprising against Chinese rule, Tibetans, from Lhasa to London, are seething. As a show of resolve, monks, merchants, and expats vowed not to celebrate Losar — the joyous Tibetan New Year festival — this year, choosing instead to mourn those who died in violent clashes in Tibet last March. Protests in China, meanwhile, continue to be marred by self-immolations, with a monk setting himself ablaze in protest last month. In a statement issued Feb. 25, Tibetans' spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, acknowledged their frustration, but urged patience and restraint. "It is difficult to achieve a […]

China’s Arms Export Model

Another sector that should be significantly impacted by theglobal economic downturn is the international arms market, where tighter budgets will favorreverse-engineered knockoffs like the newly marketed Chinese HQ-9 surface-to-air missile: To the extent that China enjoys export successes, it will depend oncustomers who are looking for high mid-range air defense performance ata low to mid-range price. That pretty much sums up the Chinese arms export model. This particular system is basically a not-so-bad Russian S-300 for less money. That might not havemade for a very tempting sales pitch a year ago, but my hunch is thatit won’t sound half-bad for […]

Will China Nationalize the U.S.?

The Times reports that panicky American investors are repatriating their capital, and the Chinese haven’t hit the brakes on buying up American debt, either. That’s exacerbating the impact of the financial crisis globally by soaking up liquidity that could finance debt elsewhere. In other words, money is still flowing uphill, largely because high ground is safer when the water’s rising in the valley. But capital from emerging markets is increasingly flowing towards developed economies as well, where it is busy buying up assets. 2point6billion reports: A recent KPMG survey entitled – ‘Emerging Markets International Acquisition Tracker’points out that emerging-to-developed deals […]

U.S.-China Wedgie wars?

I get the fact that the American merchant marine vessel mentioned in this WaPo article is probably the naval equivalent of a listening device. And I get the fact that the Chinese would want to harass it, even if it is in international waters. And I get the parallels to the U.S. airmen held at Hainan in the early months of the Bush administration. But this part, I don’t get: The Impeccable sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force itaway. Despite the force of the water, Chinese crew members stripped totheir underwear and continued closing within 25 […]

For the IMF, the global economic downturn could not have come soon enough. Two years ago, the Fund’s lending portfolio was a scanty $13 billion, down from $100 billion in 2003. As Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Indonesia, and the Philippines each paid off their loans early, the institution’s revenue stream slowed to a trickle. Since the institution’s operating costs are financed by fees and interest charged on its loans, its shrinking portfolio resulted in annual losses between $200 and $300 million. Forced to find alternative sources of income and reduce costs, the fund initiated plans to sell off some of its […]

Globalization’s High-Water Mark

Even before the global financial crisis, I’d been pointing out the various possibilities for a globalization backlash. It seemed pretty likely that opposition to the enormous transfer of wealth from developed to developing countries would eventually be couched in regulatory concerns, whether social or environmental. The global downturn is likely to accelerate that process, and spread it to emerging-emerging commerce as well. As an illustration, India just relaxed a recent outright ban on Chinese toys, limiting it instead to products not covered by global certification agencies. That provides the necessary cover for now. But while all economists are voters, not […]

Global Insights: China Fumes After Moscow Sinks Freighter

When the Chinese first learned that two Russian coast guard ships had sunk a Chinese-owned freighter on Feb. 15 in the Pacific Ocean, the incident must have aroused conflicting feelings regarding their sometimes overbearing neighbor. The freighter, the New Star, was registered with Sierra Leone and was using that country’s flag of convenience. The Hong Kong-based J-Rui Lucky Shipping Company owned the vessel. Ten of the 16 crew members were Chinese citizens, while six were from Indonesia, including the captain. Of the eight who died when the ship sank 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the port of Nakhodka, seven were […]

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