One concern rising about a possible Romney foreign policy is that it might prove incapable of a grand strategic concept. Not because a President Romney would decline to consider one, but because a Romney administration would represent an effective replay of Bush 43’s first term: A war between Republican realist-traditionalists and neocon-hawks, without any coherent vision emerging from the scrum. Read more
After a hiatus imposed by travel and family duties, the blog returns for a hopefully extended run to the promised end of the 2012 strategic transition moment.
In the endless discussion about U.S.-China policy, two recent stories offer bookends that frame perhaps the most serious flaw in the current U.S. approach—balanced and nuanced though it has sought to be, all the way back to the Clinton years. Read more
Another tragic sign in the emerging Afghan endgame: The flight of cash and investment. As the American and coalition departure looms, more and more schemers are shepherding their profits out of the country, despite the futile efforts of the government to block them. To paraphrase a famous line from Jurassic Park, “Cash will find a way.” Read more
A leading element of the Conventional Wisdom on U.S. grand strategy and global posture is that America’s presence in key regions is essential to dampening mutual fear and hostility, to avoiding multipolar rivalry, and thus to keeping the peace. But there are increasing questions to be asked about the role we’re playing and how we play it. Read more
Andrei Lankov, for my money the single most thoughtful observer of North Korea we’ve got, joins a chorus of others looking at Pyongyang’s decision to announce a “satellite test” (read: long-range rocket test) just after it reached an accord with the U.S. trading nuclear and missile concessions for food, and is perplexed. He calls it an “unusually witless move,” but he also says it raises many questions. Read more
In the wake of the Obama administration’s emphasis on Asia, I spoke to a Friend of the Blog in Tokyo—an experienced observer of U.S. and regional foreign policy—for his reactions, and for a sense of how all of this is playing in Japan. This senior analyst has worked in US and Japanese think tanks and foundations and consulted closely with Japanese government offices. His basic message is that Japan likes The Pivot: The core of Japanese public opinion and its leading national security community place great stakes in a positive US regional role, and the reemphasis of that role embodied in the “shift to Asia” has gone down like a fine shot of sake. Read more