India »

U.S.-China Tensions Could Leave Room for Indian Leadership
[28 December 2009, Comments Off on Fizzling of the “G2”: Opportunity for India, Tags: , , , , , ]

After Copenhagen, many are beginning to rethink their expectations for collaboration between the United States and China. The idea of a “Group of Two” (G2) was always far-fetched and, arguably, misguided. But now that popular perception of a G2 is changing as the world finds it harder to work with China, there could be new opportunities for Asia’s other rising great power: India.

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China »

Beijing’s Balancing Act on Climate
[24 December 2009, Comments Off on Is China Afraid of International Scrutiny?, Tags: , , , , , ]

A Foreign Policy article from earlier this week argues that China is “afraid to shine too bright a light in dark places,” revealing the corruption and disorder in most of China–and that this is why Wen Jiabao refused to subject Chinese emissions to outside scrutiny at Copenhagen. But the article’s author, John Lee of the Hudson Institute, is focusing on exactly the wrong part of the picture.

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China »

Stance at Climate Conference Brings Costs for China

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to say in a podcast that a deal at Copenhagen was “held to ransom by a handful of countries.” His climate secretary wrote, more specifically, that it was China that had “vetoed” crucial proposals the entire developed world and most of the developing world stood behind.

The Financial Times reports seeing “a more assertive China” at the summit. And at least one paper’s conclusion from Copenhagen is: “China won, the world lost.”

But did China really win? It kept the Kyoto agreement intact and avoided binding cuts, both of which helped to secure China’s policy maneuverability and economic growth prospects. Nevertheless, Chinese obstructionism–which included peculiar tactics like failing to show up to a meeting with President Obama–still carries significant costs.

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U.S. Policy »

Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Are We Getting Serious?

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced this week that the United States will negotiate to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently includes New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, and Singapore. As more countries join–Australia, Peru, and Vietnam will negotiate to join with us–this could be the start of a more robust U.S. trade agenda in Asia. Kirk even said Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea should join an agreement, too.

But is the United States really ready for an agreement like this? And is the Obama administration really serious about moving forward on trade? Read More »

India, U.S. Policy »

Is India on America’s Strategic Map of Asia?

When I listened to Prime Minister Singh’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations during his visit to Washington, I was struck by how well Singh seemed to understand his audience. In spite of major differences in American and Indian approaches to global issues from climate to nonproliferation/arms control to human rights, Singh spoke of common values–an approach that speaks to the way Americans of all political stripes think about the world.

But even as Singh and Obama spoke of shared interests and shared values, there is something lacking in Washington’s approach to the strategic aspect of the relationship. The biggest question coming out of the trip is: was Singh able to place India back on America’s strategic map? Read More »

Uncategorized »

[28 November 2009, Comments Off on Asia Ruminations Version 2]

I spent some time over the past couple of weeks updating Asia Ruminations to make it possible for me to include a great deal more content, and a greater variety of content–such as audio and video files and PDF and PowerPoint attachments. It is now possible to email me directly from the site on the contact page, to view video and audio of media appearances on the press page, and to read through a selection of my publications and presentations, including transcripts of the “China and the Future of the World” conference I organized several years ago. Finally, I put together an assortment of links to blogs and web sites that I find interesting.

There are a couple new interviews posted from about a week and a half ago, both on President Obama’s Asia trip: one with Iceland’s national evening news and the other with an Icelandic radio show similar to NPR’s “All Things Considered.” See the press page to watch or listen.

I will post later this weekend on Manmohan Singh’s official state visit to Washington, and recent difficulties in the U.S.-India relationship. I’ll also include some personal reflections on the prime minister’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, which was my first time seeing the Indian PM in person.

China, U.S. Policy »

Obama’s Trip to China
[16 November 2009, Comments Off on No Need to Be Obsequious in Beijing…, Tags: , , , , ]

A good reality check today from Steve Dunaway on the true balance of leverage between China and the United States.

The popular narrative in the United States is that President Obama has little leverage in Beijing to push President Hu in areas like its currency peg, Iran and North Korea, or even human rights. But the real story is more complicated, as always.

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