Asia and Pacific

Ask CFR Experts

What action, if any, should be taken by outside actors to support reform in Myanmar?

Asked by Talee
Author: Joshua Kurlantzick

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.

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See more in Burma/Myanmar; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights; Economics

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New Yorker: Pakistan’s Next Top General

Author: Omar Waraich

"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."

See more in Pakistan; Politics and Strategy

Primary Sources

Asahi Shimbun Interview with Vice President Biden

The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, conducted a written interview with Vice President Joe Biden on December 2, 2013, before the vice president's trip to China, Japan, and South Korea. The interview covers China's announcement of its Air Defense Identification Zone, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, defense and cybersecurity alliances, and the Obama administration's "pivot to Asia."

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Grand Strategy; Regional Security

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The Economist: China's New Air-Defence Zone Suggests a Worrying New Approach in the Region

"China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo."

See more in China; Regional Security

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Wired: The Surge

Author: Matthieu Aikins

"Once you have beaten back a disease to just a few hundred cases, they will almost by definition be concentrated in places where there's some barrier—geographical, cultural, political—to easy vaccination. In general, each marginal case will cost more, and will consume more time and effort and labor, than the one before it...[but] the math of cost-benefit analy­ses runs aground when it comes to eradication campaigns, because the benefits, in theory, are infinite."

See more in Asia and Pacific; Health

Op-Ed

A Return to Stoning Won’t Help the Effort to Rebrand Afghanistan

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Defense One

Following recent decisions made during a meeting of the Afghan grand assembly, Gayle Lemmon discusses how Afghans, U.S. foreign policy leaders, and others are working to shift the international perception of the Afghanistan war from one of hopelessness to one that reflects the strides the country has taken in economic growth, development progress, and human rights.

See more in Afghanistan; Nation Building

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Project Syndicate: Japan's Tax-Hike Test

Author: Koichi Hamada

"If Japan's government can overcome a demand setback after the tax increase takes effect – leaving the economy functioning smoothly and initiating a recovery in government revenue – Abe will be able to declare Abenomics an unequivocal success."

See more in Japan; Economic Development

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Afghanistan Analysts Network: A Yes, a Maybe and a Threat of Migration: The BSA Loya Jirga’s Last Day

Authors: Kate Clark, Gran Hewad, and Obaid Ali

"When asked if Karzai was concerned that the US might lose faith and withdraw altogether, the president's spokesman said: 'We don't believe there is a zero option.' This rock solid belief that the U.S. will not walk away from Afghanistan gives Karzai the confidence to hold out when the Americans, as well as everyone at the jirga...are pressing him to sign."

See more in Afghanistan; Regional Security