China, Korea

South Korea’s New Foreign Policy of Two Nos and One Yes

South Koreans are still sorting out the implications of the recent presidential elections. Victorious conservative candidate Yoon Suk-yeol rose to prominence on an anti-corruption agenda and has various plans to shake up the way government functions. He has also pledged to reduce government intervention in the economy, boost incentives for business, increase the role of… Continue reading South Korea’s New Foreign Policy of Two Nos and One Yes

China, Environment, Russia and Eastern Europe

Russia and China’s Dirty Partnership

The leaders of Russia and China are joining forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing for the Winter Olympics to show solidarity with his largest trade partner at an event that the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia are boycotting diplomatically. The statement that Putin signed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping confirms their… Continue reading Russia and China’s Dirty Partnership

China

Chinese Fossil Fuel Investments in Africa

China’s relationship with Africa is multifaceted. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) shares ideological bonds with many African countries because of early ties to anti-colonial struggles and through the Non-Aligned Movement. Every African country recognizes the PRC with the exception of eSwatini (Swaziland), which has diplomatic relations with Taiwan). Many African countries preserved trade relations… Continue reading Chinese Fossil Fuel Investments in Africa

China

Can We Avoid a War with China

When he was running for office in 2008, Barack Obama wanted to put an end to the war in Iraq in order to focus U.S. troops and resources on the conflict in Afghanistan. This August, the Biden administration finally withdrew the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It’s hard not to get the sense that it… Continue reading Can We Avoid a War with China

China

Why is Biden’s Foreign Policy So…Conventional

On the domestic front, Joe Biden is flirting with transformational policies around energy, environment, and infrastructure. It’s not a revolution, but it’s considerably less timid than what Barack Obama offered in that pre-Trump, pre-pandemic era. When it comes to foreign policy, however, the Biden administration has been nowhere near as transformational. The phrase Joe Biden… Continue reading Why is Biden’s Foreign Policy So…Conventional

China

Building the World Back Better?

The Senate recently demonstrated that the only adhesive capable of uniting the two parties is a good, old-fashioned enemy. Although the Democrats and Republicans continue to bicker over the Biden administration’s infrastructure legislation, they achieved rare accord in passing a major technology bill that directs investment into key sectors of the economy. Why the sudden… Continue reading Building the World Back Better?

China

China and the Perils of Bipartisanship

Not a single congressional Republican voted for the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Not even the so-called moderate Republicans, the handful that backed the second impeachment of Donald Trump, deigned to support an economic package that helps Americans hardest hit by the pandemic. The entire Republican caucus didn’t just snub the Democrats. They ignored the… Continue reading China and the Perils of Bipartisanship

Book Reviews, China

One in a Billion

The story of An Wei overlaps almost perfectly with the story of Communist China. Born in a small village some distance from the northwestern city of Xian, An Wei was seven years old when Mao took control of the country in 1949. As the son of peasants, he was part of the first generation of… Continue reading One in a Billion

China

Conservatives Are Comparing Racial Justice Protestors to Maoists

In their effort to transform their discomfort with the current #BlackLivesMatter protests into a superficially sophisticated critique, right-wing “intellectuals” in the United States and Europe have latched onto a dubious historical analogy. When former congressman Newt Gingrich, the National Review’s David Harsanyi, Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, and other right-wingers look at the protests against police violence,… Continue reading Conservatives Are Comparing Racial Justice Protestors to Maoists

China, US Foreign Policy

Trump’s ‘Uncreative Destruction’ of the U.S.-China Relationship

Economists like to think of the wreckage caused by stock market downturns, widespread bankruptcies, and corporate downsizing as “creative destruction.” As it destroys the old and the dysfunctional, the capitalist system continually spurs innovation, much as a forest fire prepares the ground for new growth. Or so the representatives of the dismal science argue. Donald… Continue reading Trump’s ‘Uncreative Destruction’ of the U.S.-China Relationship

China, US Foreign Policy

Debunking Trump’s China Nonsense

Conspiracy theorists never let a crisis go to waste. When something truly terrible happens, the conspiracy theorist sets to work to determine the dark, hidden forces at work behind the scenes that have produced the crisis. Some people might see God or the Devil as the prime mover behind a catastrophe. Others throw up their… Continue reading Debunking Trump’s China Nonsense

China, US Foreign Policy

What the Coronavirus Says About Us

A crisis, according to self-help and leadership books, reveals much about a person’s character. The same can be said of a nation’s character. Since the latest pandemic began to spread out of China in 2020, countries responded in very different ways to the challenge. There was ingenuity, inflexibility, incomprehension, and sheer incompetence. Diversity can be… Continue reading What the Coronavirus Says About Us

China, Russia and Eastern Europe

The New Age of Protest

Led by young people, climate strikers blocked traffic on two mornings at the end of last month in Washington, DC. On the first day, protestors chained themselves to a boat three blocks from the White House, and 32 activists were arrested. On the second day, activists targeted the EPA and Trump International Hotel. It was… Continue reading The New Age of Protest

China

Hong Kong and the Future of China

Something didn’t quite add up. This past weekend, protestors were rallying outside the American embassy in Hong Kong. They were waving American flags. They were singing The Star-Spangled Banner. One 24-year-old protester wore a red Make America Great Again hat. Some signs at the protest read “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong.” “The Chinese government is breaking their… Continue reading Hong Kong and the Future of China

China

Trump’s Trade War Is About Trump, Not China

By slapping tariffs on Chinese imports, Donald Trump has once again proven to be the Disrupter-in-Chief. This week alone, he’s brought John Bolton in as national security advisor over the objections of every sane person in the universe, threatened to go after Bashar al-Assad over the Syrian leader’s alleged use of chemical weapons, and revived disgusting characterizations of Mexicans as rapists.… Continue reading Trump’s Trade War Is About Trump, Not China

Asia, China, Korea

Building On The Good News From Asia

There’s been precious little good news from Asia these days. Washington and Pyongyang continue to trade threats of war. Right-wing nationalist Shinzo Abe won reelection as prime minister in Japan last month. Major storms have hammered several countries in the region, most recently Typhoon Damrey in Vietnam. And now, in the wake of those typhoons… Continue reading Building On The Good News From Asia

China

Russia’s Not the Country Benefitting Most from Trump

Forget RussiaGate for the moment. Forget James Comey’s upcoming testimony before the Senate intelligence committee. Forget all the conspiratorial speculation that Donald Trump is the plaything of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In strictly foreign policy terms, Trump’s election is not really working out so well for the Kremlin. The sanctions against Russia are still in… Continue reading Russia’s Not the Country Benefitting Most from Trump

China

China on the Defensive?

It has not been a good month for China. On July 12, an international court of arbitration at The Hague handed the Philippines a huge victory over China in the struggle over the South China Sea. A few days before that, South Korea decided to go forward with the deployment of the US Army’s Terminal… Continue reading China on the Defensive?

China

Making China Great Again

The final of the World Snooker Championship took place this week in Sheffield, the hardscrabble town in England’s north perhaps best known as the setting for the movie The Full Monte. Sheffield is a former industrial center so snookered by globalization that the laid-off steel workers in that 1997 film decide to become male strippers… Continue reading Making China Great Again

China, US Domestic Policy, US Foreign Policy

The Missing

There are several types of missing persons. Some missing people are missed so publicly that their absence is a presence. Vanished children reappeared on milk cartons and then later in amber alerts. American soldiers, killed in action or MIA, look out at us from rows of photos like headstones in the newspaper on Memorial Day.… Continue reading The Missing

Asia, China, Security

Asia Smiles for the Cameras

It wasn’t long ago that certain pundits were predicting war in Asia. Back in the spring, the conflict over the South China Sea was heating up as China sparred with Vietnam over an oil exploration rig and with the Philippines over disputed reefs. Japan and China, meanwhile, were butting heads over a string of uninhabited rocks in… Continue reading Asia Smiles for the Cameras

Asia, China

The Dance of Superpowers

By now, the phrase “Pacific Pivot” gives off a whiff of nostalgia. The Obama administration’s announcement of its intention three years ago to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward Asia seems to belong to an entirely different era. It was a time when the United States had the luxury to think geopolitically: to craft long-term policies… Continue reading The Dance of Superpowers