When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her first official trip abroad to Asia in March 2009, insiders in both New Delhi and Washington were privately critical that she neglected to include India in her itinerary. With her now-completed inaugural visit to India, Clinton’s broad mission was to show that the administration of President Barack Obama is just as serious about a strategic partnership with New Delhi as the previous one under George W. Bush. But strengthening the U.S.-India bilateral relationship is just one part of the equation, even if, to be sure, there is much work to be done […]

Managing China’s Growing Assertiveness in the South China Sea

While the U.S. military remains preoccupied with ongoing operations in the Middle East, competition brewing in the South China Sea risks greater conflict if not properly managed. Two recent maritime incidents in the region involving the Chinese and American navies are manifestations of ongoing jockeying between the two powers, and are a reminder that subtle shifts in power have put new areas of Asia into play. In March, Chinese naval vessels harassed an American reconnaissance ship, the U.S.N.S. Impeccable, 75 miles off the coast of Hainan island, and in June, a Chinese submarine stalking a U.S. Navy destroyer collided with […]

Hypocrisy on China and the Muslim World

Since the events earlier this month inXinjiang, there has been a spateof newsstoriesasking, “Why isn’t the Muslim world protesting against China forcracking down on Uighurs?” Why indeed? There is something a littlepatronizing about the question, with its implicit judgment that thereare worthy and unworthy things to be protesting, and that Muslimsought to justify their apathy towards the Uighurs. (I’m still waitingfor the stories about why the Americans aren’t protesting thesituation in Honduras, or global warming, or any number of otherthings outsiders might think we ought to be protesting.) And there is probably a little reverseschadenfreude, too, if there is a […]

Last week’s major policy address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was as noteworthy for the strategic concepts she dismissed as for the ones she embraced. Clinton provided Americans with a strong sense of how she plans to conduct U.S. foreign policy: not merely as “the indispensable nation” that assumes international leadership, but rather as the global rule-set convener that aggressively builds partnerships across a strategic landscape pulsating with rising players — both state-based and transnational. In doing so, Secretary Clinton explicitly rejected the emerging — and yet painfully antiquated — conventional wisdom that portrays a world inevitably divided into […]

Signals to Asia in Clinton’s Speech

For some reason, my thoughts keep coming back to this brief passage from Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday, following her discussion of NATO: At the same time, we are working with our key treaty allies Japan andKorea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines and other partners tostrengthen our bilateral relationships as well as trans-Pacificinstitutions. We are both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-Pacific nation. It’s little more than a boilerplate reiteration of a geopolitical reality that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. But it comes at a time when many of our Asian allies have begun to wonder whether our […]

When ethnic disturbances broke out in western China last week, bringing the worst violence the country has seen in years, international reaction proved curiously mild. The violence in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, resulted in the deaths of at least 184 people, with some putting the number much higher. The events alarmed China’s leadership, prompting President Hu Jintao to suddenly leave the G-8 summit in Italy. As for the rest of the world, the sense of alarm, if there was one, seemed rather muted. World leaders remained eerily quiet or spoke in tones strikingly deferential to China, despite pleas […]

Turkey, China and the Uighurs: The Erdogan Factor

I wish I could claim “the Erdogan Factor” as my own invention, but Yigal Schleifer coined the term to explain what just put the kibosh on Turkey’s moderate response to the Xinjiang riots: Speaking to reporters live on NTV television last Friday, Turkish PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has a habit of doing away withdiplomatic niceties — said: “The incidents in China are, simply put,tantamount to genocide. There’s no point in interpreting thisotherwise.” So much for a moderate response. I personally find Erdogan’s inability to bury his emotional reactions with “diplomatic niceties” compelling, and would almost argue for a […]

WPR on France 24

World Politics Review managing editor Judah Grunstein appeared on France 24’s panel discussion program, The World This Week, on Friday to discuss the riots in Xinjiang, the G-8 summit and Obama’s visit to Kenya, along with Anthony Bellanger of Courrier International, Billie O’Kadameri of Radio France International, and Elie Masbounji of l’Orient le Jour. Part One can be seen here. Part Two can be seen here.

For those in the West eager to uncover another Tiananmen-like crackdown by Chinese authorities last week in the Xinjiang provincial capital of Urumqi, the true story disappoints, even as it points to a potentially far-more-destabilizing social phenomenon: the emergence of race riots inside allegedly homogenous China. Note that President Hu Jintao’s embarrassingly rushed departure from the G-8 meeting in Italy was not provoked by Sunday’s riots by angry Uighurs, but rather by Tuesday’s even uglier revenge riots by even angrier — and better-armed — Han Chinese. The makings of this unrest should strike us Americans as painfully familiar. The influx […]

Amid the Ruins, the G-8 Was Not a Shambles

In the end, the Italians’ legendary talent for snatching success out of impending disaster won the day, and the G-8 summit in the quake stricken town of l’Aquila this week was “a tour de force of last-minute organization,” as the New York Times called it. There was no major breakthrough on any of the main problems confronting world leaders. But there was a useful clearing of the air on such issues as global warming, as well as a burst of generosity by “have” nations towards struggling economies in the developing world and welcome help for agricultural development. Above all, the […]

Drones vs. Pilots

Robert Farley thinks I’m holding onto the past in my defense of piloted fighter planes, and he’s probably right: The question isn’t really one of the relevance of air superiority, orthe likelihood of war with China. Rather, we’re talking about theimminent reality that drones (with human controllers) will, in theforeseeable future, be better able to handle air superiority missionsthan aircraft with human pilots. He goes on to explain why, before adding this: Finally, I’m singularly unconvinced by the notion that we need tomaintain industrial and training capacity into the indefinite futurefor weapon systems that we’ve identified as obsolete. Right or […]

Turkey, China and the Uighurs

In a WPR Briefing yesterday, Joshua Kucera mentioned in passing Turkey’s response to the Xinjiang riots. Yigal Schleifer has more today. The keywords for Turkey are Turkic Uighurs, leading to both public outpourings of sympathy, but also official declarations of concern and a promise to bring the matter before the UNSC, where Turkey is currently a non-permanent member. But the other keywords are ethnic separatists, leading to a bit of sheepish self-consciousness, given Turkey’s stance towards separatists among its own Kurdish minority. All this at a time when Turkey is actively courting China. President Abdullah Gul recently paid a state […]

Pilots vs. Drones

As someone who grew up devouring books on WWI-era fighter aces, and spent countless hours building model WWI and WWII fighter planes (I could probably put together a Spitfire with my eyes closed), I’m probably not a very objective judge of the idea making the rounds that the F-35 might be that last generation of U.S. piloted fighter/fighter-bomber planes. David Axe kicked things off, based on a comment by Adm. Mike Mullen in Senate testimony. Matthew Yglesias and Robert Farley make the case based on the relative expense compared to drones, with drones obviously coming in far cheaper. And Abu […]

G-8: Eight is Enough

Reading through this European Voice article by Richard Gowan and Bruce Jones (it’s sub. req., but Global Dashboard has a write-up here), I can’t help but think that the G-8 would be more relevant if it returned to its exclusive Euro-Atlantic roots, as opposed to the neither/nor affair it has become. As Gowan and Jones explain, U.S.-EU splits prevent any broader agreements from being reached with the emerging powers, while the broader format prevents the U.S. and EU from meaningfully hashing out their differences. They argue for maintaining the current format, while simply doing a better job of organizing it. […]

The ethnic rioting that has rocked China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang over the past few days has badly poisoned the already tense relations between the region’s Uighurs — Muslims who make up a plurality of Xinjiang’s residents — and the Han Chinese. It could also complicate China’s increasingly important ties with its neighbors in ex-Soviet Central Asia. The Chinese presence in Central Asia has grown in recent years, especially in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Trade between China and Kyrgyzstan — much of it exports of cheap Chinese manufactured goods — tripled between 2004 and 2006 (the last year for which […]

NEW DELHI — While India’s immediate military aim is to build a potent strike force against Pakistan, it also harbors long-term plans to field a credible deterrent against China. This reflects the fact that although military efforts to counter Pakistan, such as the strengthened deployment along India’s western frontiers, are usually given precedence, the perceived threat from China remains very much on the radar. A case in point is India’s recent decision to buttress its military presence in the Northeast frontiers by basing its latest “air dominance” Russian Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters there. The move is meant to check China’s buildup […]

China’s Deferred Maintenance

There are still a lot of question marks surrounding the violence in Xinjiang. Two things, though, seem obvious. First, this is the sort of deferred maintenance China will be facing for quite a while with regards to transforming its inchoate territory into a truly coherent nation. (Tibet is the other obvious flashpoint.) The costs will remain significant in terms of power investsed, both hard (domestically, in terms of security forces) and soft (abroad, in terms of pushing back against international pressure). And it points to the degree to which the risk of violent conflict involved in China’s rise will manifest […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 221 2 Last