A group of Italians started the Slow Food movement back in the 1980s. Stay away from fast-food restaurants, they urged: eat local, focus on traditional recipes, relax, and enjoy your meal. The Slow Food movement began as a protest against McDonald’s, which opened a new franchise near the Spanish Steps in Rome. But it grew… Continue reading Slowbalization: Boon or Bane?
If you ignore the headlines, you’d think the United States and China were the best of partners. Americans continue to rely on Chinese-made products in their homes, at their offices, and in their pockets. If you live near a university, you can still bump into one of the 340,000 Chinese studying in the US. You… Continue reading The Widening Rift Between the US and China
“Get me outta here.” At the recent G20 meeting in Argentina, Donald Trump was on the world’s stage when he muttered this aside to an aide. He was supposed to be getting ready for a photo op with the other global leaders at the conclusion of the meeting. And, after some confusion, Trump eventually did… Continue reading Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
It’s embarrassing enough to have Donald Trump as president. But now American citizens have to endure the additional pain of the sanctions that other countries are imposing on the United States. Doesn’t the world realize that we’re suffering enough as it is? That seems so grossly unfair. Oh, but wait: that’s how sanctions work. Iraqis… Continue reading Wait, You’re Sanctioning Us?
As presidencies approach their midpoints, pundits begin the inevitable search for that elusive creature: the doctrine. It’s often a quixotic quest, since presidents rarely boil down their foreign-policy visions — if they even have them — to some pithy essence. Then there’s Donald Trump. Conjuring up the current president’s foreign-policy doctrine is like arguing that… Continue reading The Flight 93 Doctrine
In 1993, I arrived one fall evening in the Romanian city of Cluj. The railway station was mysteriously full of people, and the city outside was crowded and frenetic. I was mystified. Why did this rather obscure Transylvanian outpost suddenly seem like New York City? My contacts in Cluj eventually provided me with an explanation.… Continue reading The President Is a Ponzi Scheme
The future of Europe is being decided this week in the Netherlands. Perhaps you thought that the European Union’s fate would be voted up or down in June, when the United Kingdom holds its referendum on continued membership. The “leave now” constituency in the UK currently holds a four-point lead, though much depends on whether… Continue reading Ukraine and Europe: Much Depends on the Dutch
Island disputes are a big thing in Asia. Japan and China both claim the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Japan and South Korea tussle over Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan and Russia still haven’t definitively sorted out who owns the Kuriles/Northern Territories. You’d think that these existing island disputes are a sufficient headache. But no: Countries in the region are making… Continue reading Asia: On the Rocks
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
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