US Opinion and Commentary

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Finally, the Asian Pivot?

Posted September 6th, 2016 at 6:11 pm (UTC-4)
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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?

China’s Increasingly Muffled Press

Posted February 24th, 2016 at 11:11 am (UTC-4)
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The Chinese media have never had much freedom to pursue muckraking stories, or even to dutifully report the facts. Now, President Xi Jinping is going to extraordinary lengths to rein the press in even further.

Burmese Opposition Win Raises Expectations for Speedy Change

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 1:39 pm (UTC-4)
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It looks to be a landslide victory for the political opposition in Burma, which really means for Aung San Suu Kyi, affectionately known as “The Lady” among the Burmese. The United States, which has invested heavily in helping steer one of history’s most repressive military regimes towards democracy, gave its cautious thumbs up to Sunday’s general election. The top U.S. official for East Asia urged a “credible” transition of power. And therein lies the rub: how much real change can we expect? As one observer put it, the vote needs to be seen for what it truly is, “…a flawed, partial exercise in democracy that won’t lead to the profound changes that people would almost certainly vote for if only they were given the opportunity.”

What Xi Jinping and Pope Francis Have in Common

Posted September 25th, 2015 at 3:20 pm (UTC-4)
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On the surface, the two world leaders making high-profile visits to the U.S. this week have little in common, except that each stands at the head of more than 1 billion followers … Each man is in the midst of a historic struggle to defeat an entrenched bureaucracy that has constrained his predecessors.

China Calling

Posted September 25th, 2015 at 3:16 pm (UTC-4)
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Cybersecurity. A trade imbalance of almost $350-billion. Intellectual property theft. Island building in the South China Sea. North Korea. Human rights. Those are just some of the issues on the table for this week’s U.S.-China summit. Presidents Obama and Xi announced an agreement — details of which are still to be worked out — that their governments will not knowingly support cyber theft of intellectual property or commercial trade secrets. In the next breath, Obama warned of possible sanctions for cybercrime that has happened, or may happen in the future. Despite the stern smiles and niceties of state dinner toasts, there is a lot of work to do on both sides of the U.S.-China relationship.

China-U.S. Trade Soars, Benefitting Both Nations

Posted September 22nd, 2015 at 12:06 pm (UTC-4)
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As President Xi Jinping visits the United States this week, history tells us that Sino-U.S. economic cooperation is win-win. For more than 30 years, our bilateral trade and investment has brought real benefits to our peoples and contributed to great development in both countries.

Susan Rice: “With China, we speak openly about persistent human rights violations, pressing our concerns at every level.”

Posted September 21st, 2015 at 3:42 pm (UTC-4)
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Tensions – Some Old, Some New – Won’t Be Ignored When China’s Xi Visits US

Posted September 21st, 2015 at 3:04 pm (UTC-4)
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Xi Jinping has visited the U.S. six times before. But this week’s tour, which begins Tuesday in Washington the state, then to Washington the capital before ending in New York City, will be his first state visit as China’s leader. Activists will clamor for President Barack Obama to denounce the rise in dissident crackdowns. But Beijing’s market roller coaster ride and Xi’s military aggressiveness in the region may force Obama’s hand.