The myth of Chinese exceptionalism

Yuan-kang Wang All nations tend to see their history as exceptional, and these beliefs usually continue a heavy dose of fiction. Here are the top three myths of contemporary Chinese exceptionalism. Myth #1: China did not expand when it was strong. Myth 2: The Seven Voyages of Zheng He demonstrates the peaceful nature of Chinese … Continue reading

Kissinger in China: Triumph or disaster?

Clyde Prestowitz Henry the K was at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace yesterday using the occasion of the publication of his latest book, the portentously titled On China, to take another, perhaps a final, victory lap for his work in carrying out President Richard Nixon’s strategy of achieving a diplomatic opening to China. This … Continue reading

Diplomatically Insulting the Chinese

Ted Galen Carpenter May 2011 is likely to go down as an especially important and intensive period in U.S.-China relations. Leaders of the two countries held the latest annual session of the bilateral Strategic and Economic Dialogue on May 9-10. And this week, eight high-ranking Chinese generals, led by Chen Bingde, chief of the general … Continue reading

Soul-Searching Necessary for U.S. and Japanese Governments in Wake of Maher’s Remarks

Minami-Nippon Shimbun, Japan Translated By Andrew Gonzalez 10 March 2011 Edited by Rica Asuncion-Reed Japan – Minami-Nippon Shimbun – Original Article (Japanese) The director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Japan Affairs, Kevin Maher, made a string of derogatory remarks about the people of Okinawa, calling them “masters of manipulation and extortion” and “lazy.” … Continue reading

The Ethnicity of the U.S. Ambassador Does Not Alter America’s China Policy

By Yu Yongsheng Translated By Liangzi He Edited by Hoishan Chan China – Huanqiu – Original Article (Chinese) On March 9, U.S. President Barack Obama formally nominated Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as the next ambassador to China, succeeding the incumbent ambassador Jon Huntsman, who will leave in April. According to American law, this nomination … Continue reading

Determining East Asia’s Future

Determining East Asia’s Future © RIA Novosti. Edward Pesov By Alexei Pilko, RussiaProfile.org special for RIA Novosti The United States and China Swapping Taiwan for North Korea Will Ultimately Benefit the Russian Federation It would seem at first glance that the deterrence infrastructure the United States created during the Cold War is up to the … Continue reading

The U.S. Provokes a Kuril War

By Sergey Balmasov What are the Americans trying to achieve by making provocative statements public? Translated By Natalia Dresner 22 February 2011 Edited by Amy Wong Russia – Pravda – Original Article (Russian) American diplomats, with their statements on the South Kurils, are pushing the Japanese revanchists into a war against Russia. Recall the recently … Continue reading

Disclosing Robert Gates’ Ignorance of the Futenma Issue

Is Secretary Gates ignoring the mounting opposition in Okinawa to the relocation of the base, or is he ignorant of the wavering domestic political situation in Japan? Translated By Tom Derbish 21 February 2011 Edited by Mark DeLucas Japan – Ryukyu Shimpo – Original Article (Japanese) U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ statement regarding the … Continue reading

America’s Double-Edged Sword

and “Unrequited Love” By Wang Yusheng Translated By Liangzi He 23 February 2011 Edited by Hoishan Chan China – China Daily – Original Article (Chinese) Not long ago, during the Indian National Day, the United States formally lifted its limit on the export of technology by Indian defense and aerospace industry companies, in place since … Continue reading

Burying Pan-Arabism

Leon Hadar The uprisings in the Arab World have generated two competing narratives in Washington. The first has the making of a Middle Eastern End-of-History prototype: The Arab embrace of liberal democracy is another chapter in the historical epoch evolving since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The competing narrative—a derivative of the Clash-of-Civilizations paradigm—raises … Continue reading

Human Rights Last

China’s diplomats have the ear of the world’s bad guys. So what are they telling them? BY GARY J. BASS On Feb. 21, 2010, the Chinese Embassy in Harare threw a birthday party for Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s heavy-handed and increasingly erratic octogenarian despot, complete with cake, almost 100 guests, and a "Happy 86th birthday" sign. … Continue reading

The myth of China’s financial leverage

By Daniel W. Drezner Last week Reuters’ Emily Flitter filed quite the story, entitled "China flexed its muscles using U.S. Treasuries ," about China’s financial power over the United States.  Here’s the opening:  Confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Hong Kong lay bare China’s growing influence as America’s largest creditor. As … Continue reading

Le Scandal

The Arab world’s revolutions have exposed the moral bankruptcy of France’s foreign policy. BY ERIC PAPE The year in French foreign policy began rather well, with a feeling of a fresh start as the new minister of foreign affairs, Michèle Alliot-Marie, returned home rejuvenated from her Christmas holiday to provide renewed strength and focus at … Continue reading

Janet’s Precautions

By Gerardo Unzueta Translated By Yanina Weingast Edited by Nathan Ladd Mexico – El Universal – Original Article (Spanish) First, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano gave a warning to drug cartels in Mexico, as she did half a week ago in El Paso, Texas: “Don’t even think about bringing your violence and tactics … Continue reading

A Mutiny Grows in Punjab

Anatol Lieven U.S. STRATEGY toward Pakistan is focused on trying to get Islamabad to give serious help to Washington’s campaign against the Afghan Taliban. There are two rather large problems with this approach. The first is that it is never going to happen. As U.S. diplomats in Pakistan themselves recognize (and as was made ever … Continue reading

Can You Get Away With Any Crime if you Have Diplomatic Immunity?

Pretty much, unless your own government gives you up. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING The U.S. government has launched a high-profile effort to secure the release of Raymond Davis, an employee at the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, who was arrested in late January for the fatal shooting of two Pakistani men. Davis’s job at the … Continue reading

Why U.S.-China Relations Will Get Tougher

Should Indians care about America’s strategic choices with China? Evan A Feigenbaum Should Indians care about America’s strategic choices with China? You bet, especially since so many perceived a tilt unfavourable to India during US President Obama’s first two years in office. What a difference two years makes. The US and China are deeply interdependent, … Continue reading

Show Me the Money

Maariv, Israel Show Me the Money By Nadav Eyal You don’t build superpowers out of self-pity … Translated By Viktoria Lymar 21 January 2011 Edited by Julia Uyttewaal In the welcome reception he held for the president of China this week, Obama has made a supreme effort to furnish the Chinese with symbols of the … Continue reading

Are the WikiLeaks Actually An American Plot?

Jacob Heilbrunn  The Obama administration is busily denouncing the WikiLeaks. Spilling secrets is a bad thing, we’re told, for American national security. Relations with friendly leaders will be jeopardized. And so on. But is it true? Or are the leaks, in fact, part of a carefully orchestrated plot by the American government? Think about it … Continue reading

Going Machiavelli on Islamabad

Mark N. Katz  Despite the advice of some military commanders and intelligence officials, the Obama administration has decided to increase U.S. aid to Pakistan due to the conviction that Washington cannot afford to alienate a country whose assistance is “essential” for the achievement of American goals in the region. This, however, is a mistake. Pakistan … Continue reading

The Rest of the Story

Al Jazeera’s Palestine Papers have been a PR disaster for the Palestinian Authority. But it’s Israel’s American supporters who really need to read them. BY JAMES TRAUB At a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators on June 21, 2008, Ahmed Qurei, a former Palestinian prime minister, raised a familiar concern: "When will you freeze settlement … Continue reading

Fear is a mediocre reason to support the US

Source: Global Times As the Chinese flag lowered with President Hu Jintao’s departure from the US on Friday, $45 billion in deals as well as China’s image advertisements were left behind. The visually appealing images were perhaps designed to help make a difficult mission easier to complete and ease the fears of Americans still fearful … Continue reading

How to Stay Friends With China

By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI Washington THE visit by President Hu Jintao of China to Washington this month will be the most important top-level United States-Chinese encounter since Deng Xiaoping’s historic trip more than 30 years ago. It should therefore yield more than the usual boilerplate professions of mutual esteem. It should aim for a definition of … Continue reading

Hu Cometh

by Evan A. Feigenbaum  "U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao watch members of the Old Guard march during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House April 20, 2006. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)" Chinese president Hu Jintao arrives in Washington this week.  And after a year of difficult relations, … Continue reading

Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war

By Henry A. Kissinger  The upcoming summit between the American and Chinese presidents is to take place while progress is being made in resolving many of the issues before them, and a positive communique is probable. Yet both leaders also face an opinion among elites in their countries emphasizing conflict rather than cooperation. Most Chinese … Continue reading

Getting Real on Japan

Bob Gates now appears to understand that the U.S.-Japan alliance is much bigger than one base in Okinawa. But both sides still have a long way to go. BY DANIEL SNEIDER Two learning curves intersected in Tokyo this week when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates came to town, part of a Northeast Asian swing that … Continue reading

Good news and bad news about U.S.-China relations

By Michael J. Green Next week Chinese President Hu Jintao will travel to the United States for his 8th meeting with President Obama, his first state visit with an U.S. president, and his valedictory call on the American people before he retires as part of the Chinese leadership transition in 2012. There will be no … Continue reading

China’s next president lashed out in Mexico against ‘well fed foreigners’

By Josh Rogin Not much is known about Xi Jinping, the expected next president of China, but according to a newly public WikiLeaks cable, Xi has been complaining to America’s neighbors about "well fed foreigners" pointing fingers at China. In a February 2009 trip to Mexico, the first stop in Xi’s six country tour of … Continue reading

Moscow in the Middle

Ariel Cohen  In early December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strode to the podium at Brookings’s Saban Center and elaborated on the U.S. role in the Middle East peace process—or, at least, what is left of it. But Russia beat her to the punch in discussions of that troubled region. The night before Clinton’s talk, … Continue reading

America: Thug for Hire

Doug Bandow  The United States once aspired to be a shining city upon a hill, an example to the world. What an example it has become. Today Washington is the place for other governments to go when they want a competitor roughed up. No one wants to do the dirty work themselves. Instead, they ask … Continue reading

Remembering Richard Holbrooke

A look at the foreign-policy titan from the people who knew him best. Amb. Richard Holbrooke, a giant of American government and one of Foreign Policy‘s very first editors, passed away on Monday at the age of 69. From Vietnam, where he was an early and forceful internal voice of dissent on U.S. military policy, … Continue reading

Richard Holbrooke: 1941-2010

By Joshua Keating It has just been reported that Amb. Richard Holbrooke — special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan and one of FP’s earliest editors, has passed away after emergency surgery for a torn aorta. He was 69. Holbrooke’s untimely death comes as a particular shock to those of us at FP, who saw … Continue reading

The Land of No Good Options

The WikiLeaks cables show a U.S. diplomatic corps adept at diagnosing the big problems of American foreign policy — and a country hopeless at solving them. BY JAMES TRAUB WikiLeaks has done U.S. ambassadors a favor by allowing us to read their homework. And it turns out that there’s more to be said for the … Continue reading

Why Do Diplomats Still Send Cables?

To keep a record and advance their careers. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING WikiLeaks’ release of nearly 250,000 U.S. State Department cables has given the public a rare look into the inner workings of American diplomacy. The files document everything from the U.S. take on Turkish foreign policy to accounts of meetings between U.S. and Chinese … Continue reading

The False START Debate

The critics and the boosters are both wrong: Obama’s nuke treaty with Russia is a huge nothingburger. But Republicans should vote to ratify it anyway. BY JAMIE M. FLY U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration and its allies on the left would have us believe that the Senate’s failure to ratify a new Strategic Arms Reduction … Continue reading

Dumbass quote of the day: Alexander Haig’s shaky grasp of diplomacy

Thomas E. Ricks "The fundamental task of diplomacy is to strip policy of its ambiguity," Alexander Haig Jr. writes (70) in his memoir Inner Circles, which I am now reading. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that. I wonder what Haig’s old boss, Henry Kissinger, the grandmaster of strategic ambiguity, … Continue reading

Stop the world I want to get off: Obama’s global merry-go-round and the three brass rings

David Rothkopf After a brief stop at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that will almost certainly be the anticlimax of a 10-day swing through Asia, President Barack Obama will briefly return to Washington to pick up a new change of socks before heading off to Europe. From unsatisfying discussions about the world economy he will … Continue reading

Obama, Asia and Israel

Stephen M. Walt I wouldn’t call it a "shellacking," but President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia wasn’t a stunning triumph either. He got a positive reception in India — mostly because he was giving Indians things they wanted and not asking for much in return — and his personal history and still-evident charisma played well … Continue reading

The KORUS catastrophe

Phil Levy President Obama’s failure to conclude the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) is a disaster. It reveals a stunning level of ineptitude and seriously undermines America’s leadership in the global economy. The implications extend far beyond selling Buicks in Busan. Unlike some of the trade agreements the United States has pursued in the … Continue reading

Japanese coast guard member admits to leaking video of collision at sea

By Chico Harlan  TOKYO – Japan thinks it has solved the mystery of Sengoku38, the YouTube poster who last week became a hero the curious and a target for local prosecutors. A member of the Japanese coast guard confessed Wednesday to leaking the now widely viewed footage of a collision at sea involving a Chinese … Continue reading

Reader contest: help China insult the United States!!

By Daniel W. Drezner You know, as insults go, this one is pretty bush league: China’s credit-rating agency on Tuesday downgraded its rating for U.S. sovereign debt and warned of further cuts, in a pointed move ahead of this week’s Group of 20 major economies meeting. Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., the only wholly … Continue reading

In commercial diplomacy as in the Schmatte business, everything old is new again

David Rothkopf In the story of the dilemma of Buridan’s Ass, the poor tormented beast, placed between two equidistant and equally appetizing haystacks, starves to death. In a twist on this ancient paradox, American voters, placed between two equally unappetizing political alternatives, have over the past few election cycles scurried from one to the other … Continue reading

Don’t give away the store in Asia

Stephen M. Walt As the United States works to shore up existing alliances in Asia and to strengthen or forge some new ones, it will have to do a fair bit of hard bargaining. Even if there are strong geopolitical forces pushing states like India and the United States together, there are also lingering differences … Continue reading

Talking to Main Street, China

In ignoring — or botching the message to — the Chinese public, the Obama administration is only making its policy choices more difficult. BY YASHENG HUANG Looking at the seemingly inscrutable actions of the men who rule Beijing, Washington often assumes many in the Chinese government to be anti-American, whereas the Chinese public is pro-American. … Continue reading

Take an APEC and call in the morning

David Bosco Russia and Japan have been feuding this week, after President Medvedev traveled to one of the disputed Kuril islands. Now, a few days later, there’s a hint that Moscow is trying to make nice. And not a moment too soon. Japan and Russia will share a stage shortly at the annual Asia Pacific … Continue reading

Name Games

A Bush administration official recounts how, in the high stakes diplomacy over disputed territory, a tenuous peace can unravel because of a single typo. BY KATRIN KATZ Sunday, July 27, 2008 When you work at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), early-morning phone calls are almost never good news. This is especially true when the … Continue reading

Japan’s secret foreign policy

By Joshua Keating As anti-Japanese protests flare across China, the Japanese media is reporting that the government may have unwittingly violated a secret pact with China over the disputed Senkaku islands, leading to the current round of tension: Aera magazine reported that under Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party, which ruled for half a century until … Continue reading

Reading Woodward in Karachi

Is this the nail in the coffin of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship? BY MOSHARRAF ZAIDI Bob Woodward’s books have an uncanny ability to create palpable nervousness in Washington. They almost always expose some government officials in a poor light. But though many figures in his latest, Obama’s Wars, don’t come off particularly well, there is one … Continue reading

Standoff in the East China Sea

The arrest of a Chinese fisherman by the Japan Coast Guard has resparked a longstanding territorial dispute. But what’s in the water these two nations want so badly? A torn Japanese flag rests atop a pile of dead fish during a Chinese protest in front of the Japan Exchange Association on Sept. 14. The diplomatic … Continue reading

Japan to release Chinese boat captain amid dispute

By MALCOLM FOSTER The Associated Press TOKYO — Japanese prosecutors decided Friday to release a Chinese fishing boat captain involved in a collision near disputed islands, following intense pressure from China in the worst spat between the Asian neighbors in years. The move will likely ease the escalating tensions sparked when Japan arrested the captain … Continue reading