During a seemingly successful trip to Asia in November, Barack Obama announced several breakthroughs. Among them was a promise that the United States and Asian nations would proceed toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a free-trade deal that, if enacted, would create a free trade area with a total gross domestic product of more than $27 trillion.
In his second visit to India, US President Barack Obama has another opportunity to take the measure of his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Over the past six months, US officials like former Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel have tried to emphasise the ways in which Obama and Modi are similar, noting, for instance, that both are outsider candidates from humble backgrounds.
Ambassador Robert Blackwill argues that expectations for the U.S.-India relationship in 2015 should be modest at best. Unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama put the strategic transformation of U.S.-India relations in a preeminent place in their foreign policy agendas, there will be no short-term strategic partnership between the United States and India.
In this excerpt from his CFR Working Paper The Pivot in Southeast Asia: Balancing Interests and Values, Joshua Kurlantzick analyzes the Obama administration's Southeast Asia policy, and assesses how it has gone wrong.
In the past year, Southeast Asia has suffered an unprecedented number of air travel-related tragedies. Josh Kurlantzick posits that the weak safety regulations of new low-cost carriers, air traffic controllers, and airspace in that part of the world, may lend insight into why several such tragedies have occurred in such close proximity to one another.
Given the enormous threats facing [Pakistan]—from insurgency to environmental degradation to demographics—achieving performance-based legitimacy sufficient to challenge the military’s political dominance will likely remain a tall order for years, perhaps decades, to come, says CFR’s Daniel Markey.
Joshua Kurlantzick reviews the impact of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report regarding their investigation into CIA interrogation practices on countries around the world, including: Thailand, Afghanistan, Lithuania, and Poland.
Sheila Smith examines how domestic pressure in Japan, the release of U.S. citizens detained by North Korea, and a new UN resolution referring North Korean leaders to the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity could potentially shape Tokyo’s ongoing efforts to learn the fates of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.
China’s unexpectedly easy cooperation with the U.S. on climate change, security and trade says a lot about the interests at the very top: Barack Obama’s legacy and Xi Jinping’s ambitions, says Elizabeth Economy.
The United States should consider joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a means of guaranteeing that it matches financing strength with sustainable environmental practices, says Elizabeth Economy.
Yanzhong Huang notes the limited public health infrastructure in certain West African countries that are currently battling the spread of Ebola, which is a similar phenomenon to that which occurred in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Dr. Huang stresses the importance of foreign aid, particularly Chinese funds, to slow the spread of Ebola but points out that dependence on foreign aid is ultimately an unsustainable public health strategy.