Articles in English

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) greets soccer player Son Heung-min at Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 2. South Korean Presidential Office via Getty Images

Whether you were for or against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Asia, you can’t overstate its importance. The legislator became the highest U.S. official to visit Taiwan, prompting a furious response from Beijing and adding to a U.S.-China rivalry that will shape the 21st century. Pelosi was welcomed by crowds in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. On the Malaysia leg of her whirlwind tour, she lunched with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. In Japan, she met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

But after completing her historic visit to Taiwan, Pelosi’s flight landed at the U.S. Air Force base in Osan, South Korea—where no Korean official came to greet her.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian volunteers make a camouflage net for the army in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Aug. 4 amid Russia's military invasion. (Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Most schools in Kyiv sit dark and empty these days. Russia’s invasion in February sent children back home for distance learning, and then the summer vacation started. But this school gym is packed — not with students, but with women cutting pieces of cloth, weaving, chatting.

“We do this for you, you should tell us what you need”, a woman tells a man with a military uniform.

The gym equipment has been pushed to the side and fishing nets and colorful rags are stacked on the floor — when the women are done, the nets and rags will become camouflage for equipment and troops in the front.…  Seguir leyendo »

A PLA plane refuels in mid-air. The Chinese have sent a record number of warplanes across the median line in the Taiwan Strait in protest at Pelosi’s visit © Eastern Theatre Command/Handout/Reuters

For two days straight, Chinese military officials have been delivering a message of triumph to the public. The exercises with which the People’s Liberation Army is punishing Taiwan for hosting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi feature “multiple firsts”, they gloated on state television.

“Our firepower covers all of Taiwan, and we can strike wherever we want”, said Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the PLA Navy Research Institute. “We got really close to Taiwan. We encircled Taiwan. And we demonstrated that we can effectively stop intervention by foreign forces”.

The Pelosi visit to Taipei, the first in 25 years by a Speaker of the House, was designed to demonstrate support for the country in the face of what many in the US believe to be a growing threat of a Chinese invasion.…  Seguir leyendo »

This photograph taken on December 7, 2021 shows a machine gun over the Menaka camp in Mali for the new Task Force Takuba, a multinational military mission in the troubled Sahel region. THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Since the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime in Libya 11 years ago and the ensuing security crisis in Mali, Europe has accelerated the process of pushing the borders of its immediate southern neighborhood. It has committed more spending, initiated more development and stabilization programs, and stepped up its foreign military footprint in Africa’s Sahel countries, especially Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, which are now considered part of Europe’s “doorstep”.

Before 2011, the Sahel region was perceived by European policymakers as a remote desert land prone to droughts and in need of infrastructure and humanitarian aid. It is now seen as the source of dangerous population growth, unwanted migration, and violent extremism, and as the favored turf for greedy Russian mercenaries.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past the turret of a Russian tank next to a destroyed gas station in the village of Skybyn, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 2. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

During the last several weeks, international and Ukrainian economists’ and policymakers’ discussions have been largely focused on a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine focusing on the technical issues around reconstruction, from conditionalities on anti-corruption to the green agenda.

But, as a European friend of mine, close to policymaking circles, noted, Talking about Ukraine’s reconstruction is important to build confidence and give Ukrainians hope. But it is also cheap”.

The West is making generous promises, but the actual delivery is disappointingly slow. In total, Ukraine has now been promised more than 31 billion euros in budgetary support by the most important donors, according to calculations of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks pledged financial assistance to Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’m Taiwanese, and I Want to Thank Nancy Pelosi

As a Taiwanese, I’m sometimes asked what it’s like living in “the most dangerous place on earth”.

That’s what The Economist labeled Taiwan last year, and not without reason. Taiwan’s people have lived for decades under Chinese rhetorical threats to absorb the island. And as our huge Communist-ruled neighbor has developed into a military power, those threats now have teeth, which China has repeatedly bared in recent years through military exercises and violations of our air space in an escalating bullying campaign.

We are bracing for more pressure now after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whirlwind visit to Taipei. China often reacts furiously when any U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (AFP PHOTO/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service) (Str/Ukrainian Presidential Press Ser)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gets a lot of advice on how he can end the war in his country, and most of it pushes in one direction: Swap some sovereignty for peace. If only Zelensky would give Russian President Vladimir Putin another chunk of Ukrainian territory, the argument goes, the war would end.

In May, Zelensky reported that French President Emmanuel Macron “suggested to me certain things related to concessions on our sovereignty in order to help Putin save his face”. Henry A. Kissinger echoed that advice. Speaking at the World Economic Forum that same month, the former U.S. secretary of state warned Western leaders not to push Putin into an embarrassing defeat, and instead suggested they urge Zelensky to give up Ukrainian territory as a means to ending the war.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwan has been an inseparable part of China’s territory for 1,800 years. In 1943, the leaders of China, the United States and Britain issued the Cairo Declaration, which clearly states that all territories Japan stole from the Chinese, such as Taiwan, shall be restored to China. The Potsdam Declaration of 1945 affirmed that the terms of the Cairo Declaration would be carried out. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, passed in 1971, recognized that the representatives of the government of the People’s Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations.

When China and the United States established diplomatic relations on Jan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tourists watch as a Chinese military helicopter flies past China's Pingtan Island on Aug. 4. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images) (Afp Contributor#afp/AFP/Getty Images)

How did the world’s two most powerful nations find themselves in a hair-raising crisis that could spill into a military conflict? The strangest aspect of the current conflict over Taiwan is how predictable it was.

Taiwan has been known to be the most sensitive issue for both the United States and China, one that has been carefully managed for five decades. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) recent visit to the island — which triggered the current conflict — was something she signaled she intended to do months ago.

On the American side, several errors — many of them tactical and driven by domestic politics — have resulted in a dangerous reality: There is no serious working relationship between the 21st century’s two most powerful actors.…  Seguir leyendo »

On a visit to Kyiv earlier this summer, I was struck by what was present that I had expected to be absent—young people sharing Aperol spritzes at a sidewalk café, municipal services such as trash collection up and running—and by what was absent that had previously been omnipresent in the Ukrainian capital—politics. The existential crisis precipitated by Russia’s illegal and unconscionable war against Ukraine has produced now legendary scenes of defiance. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s charismatic courage, aided by masterful communication skills, has turned him into an almost Churchillian figure. And Zelensky is not alone. Ukrainians from every walk of life have come together to resist the Russians, forging an undeniable sense of unity in a city accustomed to pitched political battles that can make Washington feel tame.…  Seguir leyendo »

On July 26, the European Union announced a gas deal that was aimed at showing member states’ continued resolve on Russia: according to the agreement, EU states will reduce gas consumption by 15 percent between August and March, thus helping prevent a crisis in the winter by showing solidarity and limiting Russia’s ability to weaponize Europe’s energy supply. On the surface, it was a further demonstration of the unified front that the continent has mostly maintained since the outset of the war. In reality, however, the cuts are voluntary and many individual states have carveouts that call into question how meaningful the deal will be, especially when gas shortages will affect some much more than others.…  Seguir leyendo »

(Front second right) Imran Khan, former Pakistani prime minister and leader of the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, waves to supporters during a protest rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on July 2. FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images

Pakistan is going through a particularly challenging time, even by the standards of its reputation as a crisis-prone country. Since former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan lost a parliamentary vote of no confidence and was ousted from office in April, the cricketer-turned-politician has been threatening continued street protests by his supporters to demand early elections.

The nation is polarized—between Khan’s supporters and followers of Pakistan’s traditional political parties, between Islamists and supporters of Western democracy, and between proponents of the military and its detractors. Khan’s opponents identify him as a dangerous populist refusing to follow democratic norms. His supporters see him as an anti-corruption messiah who has been removed from office through a U.S.-backed…  Seguir leyendo »

US Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, poses with Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen, in Taipei, Taiwan on 3 August 2022. Photo: Handout/Getty Images.

China’s fading ties with Washington?

Dr Yu Jie

US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi’s, visit to Taiwan has plunged China-US relations into a new low as the reservoir of trust forged between the two sides over the last 40 years appears to be almost exhausted.

However, her move will likely not result in the full-scale crisis across the Taiwan strait that some hawkish voices in both Beijing and Washington believe. Instead, Beijing will most likely offer a combination of military posturing toward the US navy and economic sanctions on Taiwanese agricultural and manufacturing products in order to send a clear bellwether to any future potential visits by high-level Western political figures.…  Seguir leyendo »

Osama bin Laden, left, sits with Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview on Nov. 10, 2001. (Hamid Mir/Daily Dawn via Reuters)

The first time I met Ayman al- Zawahiri, back in 1998, he was acting as Osama bin Laden’s interpreter — but it was clear he was much more than that.

It was my second interview with bin Laden, and Zawahiri impressed me right away. He translated bin Laden’s responses from Arabic into perfect English. Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor by training, was able to pose my critical questions with a mild smile on his face, and then conveyed bin Laden’s responses to me in a very aggressive tone.

When I learned that Zawahiri had been killed by a U.S. drone strike in downtown Kabul, I thought about his deep ties to jihadism in the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian soldiers training at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 2022. Army Sgt. Spencer Rhodes / U.S. Department of Defense

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the West has provided billions in military and economic assistance aid to Kyiv. The United States alone has provided more than $8 billion in security support in the last six months. The money and arms are making a difference on the battlefield. The recently delivered U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), for example, have allowed Ukraine to launch counteroffensives in the southeast and repel attacks elsewhere.

Support from other NATO allies has been mixed, however. Germany, for example, has been delayed in delivering similar rocket systems, with the first arriving just in the last few days, and other promised heavy weapons likely delayed until the end of the year.…  Seguir leyendo »

The russian invasion of Ukraine has been a wake-up call for Taiwan. Every day images of destruction flash across Taiwanese television screens. They bring to mind Taiwan’s own potential future. Late-night talk-show hosts in Taipei, the capital, have shifted from discussing political gossip to analysing military tactics and ruminating on how the war in Ukraine will unfold, and what it all means. That faraway conflict has drawn attention to the existential threat facing Taiwan.

Under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s command, the Chinese Community Party (CCP) has systematically strengthened its armed forces and prepared for an attack on Taiwan. The island’s government, its armed forces and its citizens must also prepare.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, as she arrives in Taipei Aug. 2.Associated Press

The risk of a crisis emerging from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan this week is uncomfortably high. A crisis is not inevitable if Washington and Beijing engage in deft diplomacy, but the visit will probably lock in place an even more confrontational dynamic, increasing the chances of US-China conflict over Taiwan in the future.

No matter what immediate tit-for-tat reactions there are to the visit, the troubling long-term implication points to the urgent need for the Biden administration and Congress to better coordinate their handling of the Taiwan issue.

On Tuesday Pelosi arrived in Taiwan, the first time since 1997 that a US official of her seniority — second in the line of presidential succession — has visited the island.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese military personnel participating in an amphibious landing drill last week. Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack on his Ukrainian neighbors has sparked global outrage — and forged unprecedented unity — among the democratic nations of the world. Not so with Xi Jinping, the hypernationalist president of the People’s Republic of China. Rather, he is no doubt taking notes and learning lessons from Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine to apply to his plans for Taiwan.

The United States and our partners in the international community need to do the same to develop and put in place a new and more resilient strategy for Taiwan while there is still time.

A clear lesson from the war in Ukraine is that authoritarian leaders have been emboldened in recent years by dysfunctional democracies and hesitant international institutions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Campaign posters for various candidates on a wall in Nairobi.Credit...Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Kenyan friend of mine who graduated from Harvard Business School recently told me that the United States is a good place to get an education, but “it is no longer a leading light”.

“We are looking elsewhere, not just the West”, she said. “Democracy? I don’t believe in it”.

She made the comment at a dinner party I attended in the garden of a gated neighborhood in Karen, a wealthy Nairobi suburb earlier this summer, as Kenyans were preparing to elect a new president. Nearly everyone in attendance was a Kenyan who had graduated from a top American school and gone on to an impressive career in finance, business consulting or government service.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban security in the neighborhood where a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 31. EPA, via Shutterstock

When President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan last year, one of his main justifications was that Al Qaeda had been so “degraded” that the United States no longer needed to maintain a military presence in a country once used as a Qaeda sanctuary. Mr. Biden also vowed to hold the Taliban to its pledge not to allow terrorists to threaten the United States from Afghan soil.

Yet less than a year after the Taliban completed their recapture of Afghanistan, the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, was hiding out in a house in downtown Kabul, where he was killed in an American drone strike on Sunday.…  Seguir leyendo »