"To join a U.S.-Japanese anti-Chinese coalition would not only antagonize China, it would align Korea with its "ancient foe." Worse, the mutual U.S. alliances mean that nationalists and maximalists in Korea and Japan can make whatever outrageous claims they like about the other, yet face little geopolitical consequence. U.S. alliances are a form of "moral hazard" that ironically worsen the problem by reducing the incentives for rapprochement."
The French newspaper Le Monde interviewed Afghan President Hamid Karzai on December 10, 2013. He discussed the U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement about U.S. military assistance in Afghanistan after 2014 and his conditions for signing it.
It's time to get tougher with China. That's the refrain heard just a bit louder here and in Asia after China's imposition of an air ID zone over disputed islands and the Biden trip, writes Leslie H. Gelb.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 4, 2013, during the vice president's trip to Asia. The vice president also spoke to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and the U.S.-China Business Council on December 5, 2013.
"While there is a great deal of variation in the responses based on region, province, urban versus rural, education level, income, and gender, the 2013 survey findings give reason for cautious optimism as Afghans move into critical elections and security transition in 2014."
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
CFR Senior Fellow for Japan Studies Sheila A. Smith and Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy Scott A. Snyder discuss the ongoing tension over China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea and the implications for Japan and South Korea.
Despite impressive changes over the past three years, Myanmar (or Burma) now faces growing insecurity and rising disappointment among citizens that reform has not brought higher standards of living. Interethnic and interreligious unrest now threaten to halt reforms altogether, depress much-needed investment, and could even lead to broader regional tensions.
"All of these steps are meant to ensure that the prime minister, and not the Army chief, is the most powerful Sharif in Pakistan. But that status is not easy to guarantee: before he was toppled by Musharraf, in 1999, Sharif thought that his position was invulnerable, thanks to a landslide victory that gave him an overwhelming majority in Parliament. If the direct threat of a coup has receded, today Sharif faces a broader array of checks on his power."
The U.S.-Japan alliance has been the cornerstone of Washington's security policy in East Asia, but rising threats from China, North Korea, and economic recovery in both countries have raised questions about the future of the rapport.
Vice President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered remarks to the press in Tokyo on December 3, 2013. The meeting was the beginning of the vice president's travel in Asia, to discuss the Obama administration's rebalance to Asia and China's announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone.
For more on the complex challenges that lie ahead for the world's largest and most rapidly changing continent, visit the Asia Program.
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