US Opinion and Commentary

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Showing Archived Posts

Cheap Gas Is Killing Coal and Saving the Planet

Posted September 9th, 2016 at 10:49 am (UTC-5)
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[N]atural gas is beating coal in the race to the bottom of energy prices. Thanks to the U.S. shale boom and significant increases in LNG exports from countries like Qatar and Australia, natural gas is plentiful and, more importantly, cheap….enabl[ing] both China and India to move away from much dirtier coal.

Why Kim Jong Un Tested a Nuclear Warhead Now

Posted September 9th, 2016 at 10:26 am (UTC-5)
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[F]rom all indications, the Kim regime tested at this time because it realized China would not impose costs for the detonation….At the moment, Beijing is far more upset with Seoul than Pyongyang….With Beijing upset at Seoul, the North Koreans evidently think they can do what they want.

China’s Military Aggression Means the U.S.-Philippines Relationship Will Survive Despite Duterte’s Slurs

Posted September 8th, 2016 at 11:21 am (UTC-5)
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Despite the friction, an increasingly assertive China cements the underlying relationship between the two nations….Faced with such aggression, Manila recently agreed to welcome back US forces, giving them access to a handful of Filipino military bases…

Infrastructure as a Tool of Foreign Policy

Posted September 7th, 2016 at 11:19 am (UTC-5)
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If I were in charge, I would do an about face and reverse America’s formal opposition, skepticism, and attempts to persuade allies not to join the AIIB. I would say, drop the act and join the AIIB because you’ll never be able to influence its policies unless you’re a member.

Finally, the Asian Pivot?

Posted September 6th, 2016 at 6:11 pm (UTC-5)
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Barack Obama’s tenth and final trip to Asia was billed as an opportunity to demonstrate the how the “centerpiece” of U.S. foreign policy is the “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region.
Obama has been trying to pivot to Asia for much of his time in the White House, but events in the Middle East and Europe have drawn an extraordinary amount of attention.
Trade, climate change and the situation in the South China Sea sat atop his agenda. But attention has again been diverted by a perceived slight by China, a slur by the Philippines president and doubts that Obama can get the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal passed by Congress.
For all the time and effort Obama has put into pivoting to Asia, how much will have to be left for the next president?

The Looming Air Superiority Train Wreck

Posted August 31st, 2016 at 4:19 pm (UTC-5)
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America is on track to lose air supremacy in contingencies involving near-peer air combat….In a 2030 war, the U.S. Air Force, after assessing currently funded improvement programs, now expects to no longer be able to win the air superiority battle.

What the World Could Lose in America’s Presidential Election

Posted August 29th, 2016 at 1:23 pm (UTC-5)
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The global impact of a Donald Trump presidency would be disastrous. But even a Hillary Clinton win won’t help reverse the worldwide retrenchment in democracy and human rights unless she brings change in policy from the current administration. If all of that strikes you as a bit too breathless, consider what’s happened over the past decade.

Is a Rebuked China Taking a Timeout?

Posted July 27th, 2016 at 11:22 am (UTC-5)
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The deeper problem underlying the South China Sea dispute is the increasingly assertive nationalism of Chinese President Xi Jinping. But here, too, the Chinese appear to have taken a step back from the public anti-U.S. agitation that immediately followed the ruling.

Reversing China’s South China Sea Grab

Posted July 26th, 2016 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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[A]ll U.S. visas for students from China to be revoked prior to the start of the 2016-17 academic year…[s]hould the PRC not demilitarize the South China Sea by Jan. 20, 2017…revocation of all Chinese EB-5 visas, tourist visas and the resultant Green Cards dating back to the law’s inception…

All Cards on the Table: First-Use of Nuclear Weapons

Posted July 25th, 2016 at 11:47 am (UTC-5)
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First of all, we should stop believing that nuclear deterrence is Cold War thinking by people who want to retain Cold War weapon systems….Second, if the United States were to de-alert its nuclear forces, what message would re-alerting them send to an adversary during a crisis situation?

Here’s a Problem with the TPP that Hillary Clinton Ignores at her Peril

Posted July 25th, 2016 at 11:29 am (UTC-5)
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There is not a single mention of climate change or human rights in the treaty text….While leaked documents from the TPP negotiations suggest the U.S. acquiesced to other countries attempts to weaken the agreement, history shows that tying environmental and human rights issues into larger strategic agreements actually strengthens these treaties.

A World Awash in Change

Posted July 12th, 2016 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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There is a global effort opposed to the longstanding state system for bringing order to the world. [T]here are more refugees today than at any time since the end of World War II. All this is in sharp contrast to the economic and security commons that coalesced as the Cold War came to an end.

Satellite Imagery Suggests China Is Secretly Punishing North Korea

Posted July 1st, 2016 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
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Following North Korea’s latest nuclear test, in January, trade over the China-North Korea border dropped dramatically, according to newly released satellite imagery. The revelation has led experts to conclude that Beijing has been quietly punishing Kim by cutting off the flow of funds to his regime.

The West Must Respond to Russia’s Increasing Cyber Aggression

Posted June 15th, 2016 at 4:03 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia´s greatest cyber advantage is its wealth of the most important cyber asset:  skilled and well-educated people. The government recruits and harnesses individuals with innovation and aplomb — for example, allowing its intelligence services to offer employment to hackers convicted of cyber crimes in lieu of prison.

No Shangri-La in the South China Sea

Posted June 2nd, 2016 at 5:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Shangri-La is defined as an imaginary paradise, exotic utopia, a faraway haven of tranquility.
Utopia and tranquility are perhaps the furthest thing from the minds of Asia-Pacific defense ministers when they get together this weekend in Singapore for the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue security summit.
Topping their agenda: what to do about China’s claim to 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also claim parts of that area. China is building artificial islands it says are for navigation, scientific and emergency services, with “limited defense facilities,” according to China’s Ambassador to the U.S. The issue is expected to be adjudicated soon by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
No matter how the court rules, the United States and other Pacific Rim nations will have to deal with China’s likely refusal to accept a ruling not in its favor and the security issues that will follow.