As fears of war grow in East Asia, the United States’ chief Pacific ally, Japan, is moving away from decades of self-imposed restraint and launching its largest military buildup since World War II. As regional tensions increase, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is urging the United States to grasp the urgency and gravity of this historic but dangerous moment.
“The global security environment is going through a major change”, Kishida told me in a long interview in his official residence just before departing for a five-country tour that will end with him meeting President Biden at the White House on Friday.… Seguir leyendo »
President Biden expressed confidence Wednesday that next year’s Congress — likely with at least one chamber under Republican control – will maintain robust U.S. support for Ukraine. But his certainty is not shared by many on Capitol Hill and in Kyiv. The struggle inside the GOP could have a massive impact on Ukraine’s fight for survival against Russia.
At his post-election news conference, Biden defended his administration’s support for Kyiv, maintaining that he had not given Ukraine a “blank check” and bragging that “there’s a lot of things that Ukraine wants we didn’t do”. He also said that he expects Republicans in the House, likely to be led next year by Rep.… Seguir leyendo »
Taiwan now faces a more powerful foe in Chinese President Xi Jinping. Last month’s Chinese Communist Party congress freed Xi of the last internal checks on his power, bestowing upon him a status akin to that of an emperor. For Taiwan’s leaders, that increases the already high risk of conflict. They are warning that time is running out to do what’s needed to avoid war and save their democracy.
In my meetings with senior Taiwanese government leaders last week in Taipei, several officials shared their concerns about the outcome of the congress. Xi’s bellicose statements on Taiwan at the congress, and the fact he amended the party constitution to say that China will “resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan independence”, continue a trend of rising threats and aggression.… Seguir leyendo »
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have committed countless war crimes over the past decade in Syria. Now, he is putting the very same people, weapons and tactics implicated in those atrocities to fresh use in Ukraine. But that could well turn out to be a huge mistake. Syrians and Ukrainians are teaming up to seek justice for Russia’s victims and force accountability on Russian war criminals — and Putin is at the top of their list.
As Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian occupiers out of towns such as Bucha and Izyum, the horrifying scenes they’ve uncovered there are eerily reminiscent of Putin’s past atrocities in cities such as Grozny and Aleppo.… Seguir leyendo »
This week, Americans are understandably focused on the hurricane-related flooding in Florida, which is causing tragedy for thousands. Yet there is little attention in the United States to the fact that Pakistan has been flooded since mid-June, a catastrophe that is still causing unspeakable suffering for tens of millions.
Both of these crises owe much to the same phenomenon — climate change. But aside from some limited aid, there’s scant U.S.-Pakistan cooperation on long-term solutions. That has to change, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was in the United States this week pitching his proposal for a “Green Marshall Plan”.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost seven months into the Russia-Ukraine war, China is still claiming to be a neutral party, despite the evidence. And when Vladimir Putin meets Xi Jinping this week, the falsity of that claim will come into full and dramatic view. China’s increasing support for Russia is driving some in Ukraine to push for closer cooperation with Taiwan, a fellow democracy under threat.
The Ukrainian government has been careful to walk a fine line in its relations with Beijing and Taipei. Even though Xi and Putin pledged a partnership with “no limits” when they last met in February, the idea that Ukraine should develop closer ties with Taipei has been controversial in Kyiv.… Seguir leyendo »
On her very last day in the job, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released her long-delayed report on the Chinese government’s mass atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western region of Xinjiang. The damning findings are shocking — but they should come as no surprise, considering the world has known about these abuses for years. So why isn’t the U.S. government doing more to stop them?
The U.N. report stops short of designating China’s abuses in Xinjiang as an ongoing genocide — contrary to the Biden administration, which has described the situation in exactly those terms.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s overreaction and retaliation toward Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit shows that the leadership in Beijing is now focusing on taking the island by force, not through peaceful reunification as it has long claimed. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strategy has moved from winning Taiwanese hearts and minds to inciting fear and loathing.
Although China seems to be finally winding down its military exercises around Taiwan, a week after Pelosi visited the democratic island, China’s drastic responses and ongoing punishments mark the beginning of new era of heightened danger. China canceled three military-to-military dialogues and suspended several bilateral cooperation programs on topics ranging from climate change to counternarcotics.… Seguir leyendo »
Friday was a day of shock, sadness and anger in Japan and around the world following the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. But when the grieving has subsided and the history books are written, Abe will be remembered above all for his early and crucial contribution to the world’s long-term response to the challenges posed by China’s rise.
The condolences pouring in from world leaders reflect the international respect Abe earned during his long political and diplomatic career, which included two stints as prime minister, a post he held longer than anyone in Japan’s history. Many of these testimonials recognized Abe’s commitment to bolstering the international order that had provided for regional peace, prosperity and security in East Asia since the end of World War II.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, the United States and its NATO partners convened in Madrid to celebrate their unity in support of Ukraine as it fights Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal aggression. This week, the grim reality on the ground is reemerging. Ukrainian forces don’t have the weapons they need to resist the Russian onslaught in the east, much less push Russian troops off their land.
The Biden administration deserves credit for giving Ukraine massive amounts of help and rallying European allies to the cause. At the same time, concerns are rising that President Biden’s risk-averse strategy amounts to giving Kyiv just enough weapons to maintain a violent stalemate but not to win the war.… Seguir leyendo »
At this week’s NATO summit, President Biden met for the first time in a year with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, setting aside his long-standing issues with the Turkish leader. But Turkey continues to play both sides of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. If the United States is now willing to deal with Ankara, the next deal should center on persuading Erdogan to side with the West on Ukraine.
There’s no love lost between Biden and Erdogan. As a senator, Biden was a regular critic of Turkey, owing in part to the strong Greek American constituency in his home state of Delaware. As vice president, Biden clashed with Erdogan over the Turkish leader’s backsliding on democracy and human rights.… Seguir leyendo »
For decades, the United States has been a world leader in promoting reproductive rights and women’s rights. But now, by overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has struck a severe blow to American credibility in this role. And that, in turn, undermines U.S. international advocacy on these issues, which could result in a cascade of negative consequences around the world.
Last week’s Supreme Court decision on abortion triggered a deluge of criticism from world leaders, protests at U.S. embassies abroad and general embarrassment for President Biden, who is traveling in Europe. Over the longer term, international erosion of faith in the United States’ commitment to reproductive rights and the effects of changes in U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
As the Biden administration scrambles to find ways to bring down soaring gas prices, several old ideas are gaining new life in public debate and inside the White House. The latest is a proposal to ban or restrict U.S. oil exports, which wouldn’t fix the problem and would very likely hurt our European allies while handing a financial windfall to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On June 16, Bloomberg News reported that the White House is considering capping U.S. exports of gasoline and diesel fuel, a step short of a full ban on all petroleum product exports. The White House’s National Economic Council has already been exploring legal justifications for restricting exports, the report stated, because the president doesn’t have explicit authority to make this unprecedented move.… Seguir leyendo »
While appealing to Asian nations for support to fend off Russia’s invasion on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the international community should help Taiwan resist China’s aggression now, before Beijing attacks the island democracy it claims as its own province.
The comments risk upsetting Ukraine’s delicate balancing act with China; nevertheless, Zelensky insisted that aggressors must be confronted wherever they emerge. Asian countries must not wait for the crisis to act on Taiwan’s behalf, which would be repeating the mistake Europe made before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
Zelensky’s remarks followed a video address he made to the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual conference of Asian and Pacific defense and diplomatic officials organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.… Seguir leyendo »
Before U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made her long-awaited tip to China last week, the Biden administration and the human rights community urged her not to let Beijing turn the visit into a propaganda win for the Chinese Communist Party. But Bachelet ignored those warnings. Her trip ended up helping China deny its genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other repressive policies, harming the cause of human rights accountability in the process.
On Saturday, Bachelet completed her six-day trip to China, the first in 17 years by someone with her title, with a statement to the media that summed up a visit many observers view as a tragic failure.… Seguir leyendo »
The U.S.-led effort to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin is being actively undermined by America’s supposed Persian Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The dictators who run these petrostates are raking in profits from oil sales while sky-high prices are filling Putin’s coffers and hurting the U.S. and European economies. With friends like these, who needs enemies? And why is the Biden administration playing along?
As Putin uses Russia’s energy to both blackmail and punish the West for helping Ukraine, Saudi Arabia’s de factor ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) and UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (known as MBZ) have been rejecting calls to do the one thing in their power that would help: pump more oil.… Seguir leyendo »
Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching his friend Russian President Vladimir Putin fumble Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and learning from Putin’s errors, senior U.S. military officials believe. And if China should ever decide to attack Taiwan, Xi will surely apply the lessons he has learned — which means we in the West must also quickly adjust our plans for Taiwan’s defense.
The Chinese government insists that the Ukraine and Taiwan situations are different and that China has no plans to attack the island it claims as its own. But the Taiwanese government correctly recognizes the overwhelming similarity between its situation and that of Ukraine: Both are small democracies menaced by aggressive, nuclear-armed dictatorships threatening to wipe them off the map.… Seguir leyendo »
As the United States and Europe continue to scramble to help Ukraine defend its territory, preserve its democracy and save its economy, they should keep in mind that Ukraine is not the only country in the region suffering due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. Next door, the small country of Moldova is appealing to the West for urgent help and long-term partnership. If we turn away from Moldova, again, we will push it into Putin’s arms.
“The Russian military aggression in Ukraine is making every single person in Europe feel less secure and is having a negative impact on every single person in Europe”, Moldova’s foreign minister, Nicu Popescu, told me in an interview this week in Washington.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past few weeks, the world has been understandably transfixed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, though, his close ally Chinese President Xi Jinping has been quietly taking advantage of the West’s distraction by expanding China’s sphere of influence in the South Pacific. If Washington doesn’t wake up to this threat, China’s efforts to dominate the region will gain dangerous and perhaps irreversible momentum.
Officials and experts throughout Asia expressed shock last month when a leaked document emerged showing a draft of a “security cooperation” agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, a small former British colony in the South Pacific that has been independent since 1978.… Seguir leyendo »
The horrific images emerging from Ukrainian cities and towns such as Bucha, where retreating Russian forces left behind the corpses of slaughtered civilians, have shocked the world. Even more troubling is the realization that these atrocities are widespread and likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Therefore, Israel’s balancing act of maintaining its ties to Russia while offering only tepid support for Ukraine is becoming morally and strategically untenable.
Israel has not joined Western sanctions on Russia. Israel has given humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, but won’t provide military equipment such as air defense systems or even spy software. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett won’t even use the phrase “war crimes” when referring to Russian war crimes in Ukraine, although his foreign minister finally uttered that phrase this week.… Seguir leyendo »