US Opinion and Commentary

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Obama’s Triangulation in Vietnam

Posted May 20th, 2016 at 5:21 pm (UTC-5)
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Who would have thought that the United States would consider lifting an arms embargo on Vietnam after fighting a losing war there. And it’s under consideration because Vietnam is concerned about encroachment by a fellow communist country, China, which helped arm the victorious North Vietnamese against the U.S.
Monday’s visit by President Barack Obama marks the third such trip by an American president since diplomatic relations were re-established in 1995.
Weighing heavily on Obama against lifting the 41-year arms embargo is Vietnam’s human rights record. One prominent political prisoner was released Friday. But Vietnam is said to detain the most political prisoners in Southeast Asia. Media is repressed and public protest is subject to crackdown.
Vietnam and the U.S. have a common interest in reversing China’s provocative behavior in the South China Sea. Both countries have common interest in developing stronger trade and cultural ties. Where does human rights fit into the equation?

I Survived China’s Horrific Cultural Revolution

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 11:32 am (UTC-5)
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Red Guards, mostly brainwashed teenage hooligans, stormed into any neighborhood they pleased, assaulted anyone they wanted, and tortured their victims to death with impunity — all in the name of revolution. “Be violent!” Mao told the impressionable students that he had just christened as Red Guards.

Reading the U.S.-China Tea Leaves

Posted May 12th, 2016 at 5:22 pm (UTC-5)
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President Barack Obama has an opportunity to take several steps toward his oft-anticipated and oft-postponed Asia pivot later this month. A visit to Vietnam before attending the G7 summit in Japan puts Asia squarely on the agenda.
And when Asia is on the agenda, China is at the center. From an economic engine to a military superpower, China impacts nearly everything that happens in Asia.
As for how that interests the U.S., Defense Secretary Ash Carter told graduating cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy that managing historic change the Asia-Pacific “will be in your lifetimes the single region of the world of most consequence for America. It’s where more than half of humankind lives, half the global economy, ad that’s only increasing.”
Last month, Carter gave witness to the importance of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific when he toured the USS John C. Stennis, operating in the South China Sea.
It all has experts reading the Chinese tea leaves.

The Pentagon Is Endangering Our Economic Ties With China

Posted May 11th, 2016 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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America’s economic ties with China have been out of whack with national security policy since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms began opening China in the early 1980s. Business booms, while military and geopolitical competition intensifies.

Great Power Confrontation in the South China Sea

Posted May 5th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-5)
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The US and Russia are not the only non-South China Sea states believing they have an interest in that contested body of water. India and, more recently, Japan have also made their presence felt, sending ships through what they consider to be a part of the global commons.

South China Sea: Bracing for Beijing’s Next Move

Posted April 28th, 2016 at 8:01 am (UTC-5)
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The United States should continue this trend by serving notice to the Chinese, privately at first, then publicly, that unless they can help in reducing tensions in the region…they will leave U.S. leaders with no choice but to reinforce their alliance capabilities. Then, the United States should do exactly that.

How to Get Tough with China

Posted April 27th, 2016 at 1:43 pm (UTC-5)
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Public anger over corruption is probably what scares the Communist Party of China’s leadership the most….Expose ruling-class corruption—perhaps starting with the top fifty CPC leaders and their families—and trumpet it repeatedly and widely. The United States is aware of part of the problem, but it can uncover much more with proper effort.

Use Outer Space to Strengthen U.S.-China Ties

Posted April 26th, 2016 at 4:31 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States and China have differing goals and priorities in space….Failure to reconcile their differences in this domain could lead to a renewed arms race that could be to the detriment of both sides.

North Korea, Nukes and Sanity

Posted April 26th, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-5)
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Everything they have done to date has been designed to demonstrate that they might shortly develop a deliverable nuclear weapon, but that they have not yet done so….This means that they are aware of the line and are extremely controlled in not crossing it.

Toward a Global Realignment

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 4:38 pm (UTC-5)
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Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments…the response needs to be shaped now. During the rest of this century, humanity will also have to be increasingly preoccupied with survival as such on account of a confluence of environmental challenges.

American Needs More Than Symbolic Gestures in the South China Sea

Posted April 12th, 2016 at 4:14 pm (UTC-5)
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It is also time for the US to move beyond symbolic gestures and launch a robust “freedom of the seas campaign”. It should increase the pace and scope of the Freedom of Navigation programme to challenge China’s maritime claims, as well as the number of sailing days that US warships spend in the South China Sea.

China Must Confront Its North Korea Problem

Posted April 12th, 2016 at 12:08 pm (UTC-5)
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China does not want millions of refugees running north or violent conflict bursting out to the south. Beijing would lose if reunification turned its buffer into an advanced base for U.S. containment policy. The PRC wants to preserve economic preferences which have been dearly bought….The United States needs a different strategy.

Anti-Trade America?

Posted April 8th, 2016 at 4:43 pm (UTC-5)
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In the name of reducing US inequality, presidential candidates in both parties would stymie the aspirations of hundreds of millions of desperately poor people in the developing world to join the middle class….it will mark a historic turning point in global economic affairs, one that bodes ill for the future of American leadership.

To the Future President of the United States

Posted April 8th, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-5)
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We understand that perspective is hard to come by at this stage of the race, and you are obsessively watching the polls and attempting to shape your image to a media ready to pounce on every slip. But the world is watching at a time of great uncertainty

China Swooping in on Military Drone Market

Posted April 6th, 2016 at 1:44 pm (UTC-5)
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Why has China sought to increase its prominence in the drone export market?…the sale of arms is more likely one element in its diplomatic toolkit, giving it an additional way to extend its reach into the Middle East, Latin America and Africa as it builds these security relationships.