Post Archive for October 2009
In just a few years’ time, Iran’s tally of uranium enrichment centrifuges has grown 35 times from 164 to 6,000. Along the way, the intransigence of Iran’s president–which drew international condemnation, caused western companies to pull out of ventures in Iran, and led the International Atomic Energy Agency to send Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council–has fueled an unprecedented amount of internal instability within the Islamic Republic.
Earlier tonight, I gave a presentation on the China-India relationship for a Washington foreign policy group. I spoke on the imbalance in bilateral trade, areas of cooperation, security competition, regional profiles, and the border dispute.
I showed slides of some thought-provoking (and perhaps disappointing) data on India’s economic weight in Asia; since the audience found it interesting, I am posting some of it here with a bit of discussion.
China, India, Publications »
Japan, U.S. Policy »
Today’s excellent Foreign Policy article by Dan Sneider and Richard Katz attempts to make sense of Japanese PM Hatoyama’s concept of an “East Asian Community.” This is an article well worth reading. The main argument: just because Japan is looking more towards Asia does not mean that Japan is distancing itself from the United States. Indeed, the U.S. has encouraged Japan to take on a more assertive regional profile in the past. The region is changing, and it is to be expected that the U.S.-Japan alliance will need to change as well.
But Sneider is overly dismissive of some important trends that do materially affect U.S. interests.
U.S. Policy »
Why the U.S. Must Engage ASEAN on Trade
Dick Lugar, Republican U.S. senator from Indiana, announced today that he will introduce legislation next week to ask the Obama administration to pursue free trade negotiations with ASEAN. This is good news, though the chances of successfully changing administration policy on trade are dim.
In my view, opening up trade with ASEAN is important for at least three reasons:
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Miscellaneous, U.S. Policy »
The value of the dollar has taken a hit as rumors spread that oil producers are exploring a scheme to price oil in a basket of currencies instead of the U.S. dollar. (The Wall Street Journal subsequently reported that Gulf officials “strongly denied” the rumors.)
This week’s news follows a year in which more and more banks and foreign governments have voiced concern that the U.S. dollar will weaken in the coming years. This has been discussed most openly in Asia, where China and Japan’s massive foreign exchange reserves are at risk.
But should demand for the dollar fall significantly, it is the United States that would suffer most. The U.S. could face a crippling debt crisis unlike any previous economic crisis we have faced in the last two centuries.