Saturday, April 30, 2016

Monday in Washington, May 2, 2016

2016 GLOBAL STRATEGY FORUM. 5/2, 8:30am-5:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers Include: Robert Work, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense; Max Brooks, Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center; Arati Prabhakar, Director, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, U.S. Department of Defense; Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor, Foreign Policy Group.

GETTING TO YES WITH CHINA IN CYBERSPACE: IS IT POSSIBLE? 5/2, Noon–1:00pm. Sponsor: RAND. Speakers: Scott W. Harold, associate director of the Center for Asia Pacific Policy; Martin C. Libicki, senior management scientist at the RAND Corporation. Related publication: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1335.html
POLITICAL AND SECURITY CRISES IN AFGHANISTAN; THE FUTURE OF THE NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT. 5/2, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Middle East Institute. Speakers: Ali Jalali, Former Interior Minister of Afghanistan; Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South Asia, Wilson Center; Omar Samad, Former Ambassador-Designate to NATO, Belgium and the EU; Scott Smith, Member of the UN Standby Mediation Team.

THE IMF’S APRIL 2016 GLOBAL FINANCIAL STABILITY REPORT: WHAT POLICIES COULD NORMALIZE MARKETS? 5/2, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Dean’s Forum, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Jose Vinals, Financial Counselor, IMF; Douglas Elliott, Partner, Oliver Wyman.

HISTORY WRITING OF COMFORT WOMEN ISSUES. 5/2, 2:00-5:00PM. Sponsor: Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues. Speakers: Dr. Tomomi Yamaguchi, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Montana State University (The “History Wars” and the “Comfort Woman” Issue: Revisionism and the Right-Wing in Contemporary Japan); Dr. Bonnie B.C. Oh, retired, Distinguished Professor of Korean Studies of Georgetown University (Comfort Women Testimonies as Oral History); Dr. Elizabeth W. Son, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Theatre at Northwestern University (Performing “Comfort Women” Histories in Redressive Theatre); Moderators: Dr. Jungsil Lee (President of WCCW) and Dr. Jisoo M. Kim (GWU).

TAKING A STAND TOGETHER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA. 5/2, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, Abe Cabinet; Jung-Hoon Lee, Ambassador for Human Rights of the Republic of Korea; Robert R. King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, U.S. Department of State; Victor Cha, Senior Advisor and Korea Chair, CSIS.

STATE OF THE RACE. 5/2, 2:45pm. Sponsor: Politico. Speakers: Mike DuHaime, Partner, Mercury; Stephanie Cutter, Partner, Precision Strategies; Kevin Madden, Partner, Hamilton Price Strategies; April Ryan, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief, American Urban Radio Networks.

RUSSIA ECONOMIC REPORT, APRIL 2016: THE LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY. 5/2, 5:00-6:20pm. Sponsor: Georgetown University (GU). Speaker: Birgit Hansl, World Bank’s Program Leader and Lead Economist for Russian Federation in the Europe and Central Asia Region.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Japan’s Double Standard on Freedoms and Rule of Law

PM Shinzo Abe is maintaining a double standard on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

By Aurelia George Mulgan
First Appeared in The Diplomat, April 20, 2016

A number of domestic and international developments have revealed a glaring disconnect between the Japanese government’s preaching and its practice on the issue of universal values.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly declared a values-based diplomacy for Japan in both his first (2006-07) and second administrations (2012-), emphasizing universal values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In January 2013, not long after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained power, he outlined the basic principles on which his government’s diplomacy would be based. One of these fundamental principles was the concept of “universal values.” A month later, he publicly repeated this commitment to “diplomacy that places emphasis on universal values.”

As a diplomatic tool, rhetoric such as “democracy, human rights and the rule of law” justifies the Abe government’s continuing alignment with Japan’s long-standing democratic allies and with other semi-democracies in Asia that share his strong reservations about China’s unpeaceful rise. It also pointedly excludes China by definition from any putative coalition of democratically aligned states.

On the other hand, several recent actions and policies of the Abe administration, particularly in the domestic domain, suggest that the prime minister’s declarations of a commitment to universal values are primarily a diplomatic device for international consumption. They do not represent a guide to the government’s stance at home on a number of key issues. Quite the contrary, the prime minister’s record clearly shows that his government is taking Japan in an authoritarian direction that is unprecedented in the postwar era. What is more, these steps seriously question Abe’s commitment to universal values.

Among a series of deleterious developments, the Abe administration’s record in dealing with the media demonstrates that it is falling well short of observing first principles of democratic accountability. Amongst the most egregious examples of media-muzzling are attempts to silence media critics, including creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation amongst journalists and other commentators who dare to question the government’s and ruling party’s policies, personnel and actions. In addition to the administration’s explicit actions to control the message, the 2013 State Secrets Law compounds the threat to freedom of news reporting by hanging over journalists’ heads like the sword of Damocles.

In the education sector, the Abe government has censored school textbooks, ensuring that the latest versions for students follow the government’s uniform line on history and territorial issues. The bottom of this slippery slope will land Japanese students in the same position as those in China, for whom only official accounts of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre are available and who are taught that the Dalai Lama is a terrorist.

The Abe government has also heavied universities to rid themselves of humanities and social science departments, arguably, amongst other things, to discourage the training of students’ critical thinking skills, thus silencing another potential source of criticism of the government.

Yet another and possibly the most disturbing example is the proposed content of the LDP’s May 2012 draft revisions to the 1947 Constitution. In glaring contrast to the human rights Abe cites internationally as “universal,” the draft explicitly rejects this notion. It states that human rights derive from a country’s history, culture, and traditions, and are, therefore, qualified to the extent that they are influenced by these factors. Indeed, the maintenance of so-called “public order” is elevated over all individual rights, raising the question, “public order” as defined by whom? Presumably “the government of the day.” Instead of universal human rights, Japanese citizens will be given “duties and obligations” (unspecified) – no doubt, once again, to be defined by public authorities. At the same time, the prime minister has undermined the rule of law by claiming in the Diet to be the ultimate source of authority regarding interpretation of the Constitution, an act for which he will be judged by the electorate. In short, the meaning of the constitution is what the prime minister says it is, which would potentially remove the Japanese constitution’s safeguards against the rise of authoritarianism.

Last but not least is the Abe government’s flouting of the ruling of the highest court of the UN, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Japan’s whale hunt in the Southern Ocean. In March 2014, ICJ ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whale hunts were unscientific and ordered it to stop hunting. Only three months after this ruling, in June 2014, Prime Minister Abe told the Japanese parliament that he wanted to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research. He thus personally endorsed the resumption of commercial whaling, which Japan had been conducting on spurious scientific grounds under the politicized term “research whaling” (chōsa hogei) used ubiquitously by Japanese authorities and in the media.

Japan has since resumed lethal research whaling under the much publicized heading of NEWREP-A and stated that it will not accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ on marine living resources, reflecting a clear double standard in its stance on the rule of law internationally. Nor does Japan recognize the Australian Antarctic Territory’s EEZ, or its Whale Sanctuary, or the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The reality is that Japanese whaling is neither scientific nor commercial. It is a government-subsidized and sponsored industry conducted for the benefit of the Japanese whaling industry-cum-lobby and is certainly not for the benefit of Japanese consumers. This lobby is headed by the semi-governmental Institute of Cetacean Research, charged with propagandizing the virtues of whaling and an affiliated organ (gaikaku dantai) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). Apart from providing plum positions for retired bureaucrats, many such groups play key roles in the ancillary apparatus of government intervention by undertaking regulatory and/or allocatory functions as well as participating directly in markets.

Whaling is defended against international attack on spurious cultural grounds, traditionally the last defense of the protectionists. The Japanese government tried the same defense of its rice industry at the Uruguay Round of the GATT, proselytizing the notion of rice as quintessentially a cultural good in Japan. Here it was considerably more successful, extracting a concession that allowed rice to be spared from tariffication under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (URAA).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Monday in Washington, April 25, 2016

INTEGRATING ACCESS TO JUSTICE, RULE OF LAW AND LEGAL AID SERVICES INTO THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA. 4/25, 9:30am-12:45pm. Sponsor: American University (AU). Speakers: TBA.

THE OUTLOOK FOR ACQUISITION REFORM IN 2016. 4/25, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Dr. William LaPlante, Vice President, Intelligence Portfolio, National Security Engineering Center, MITRE; Kate Blakeley, Research Fellow, CSBA; John Luddy, Vice President, National Security Policy, AIA; Matthew Chandler, Director of Acquisition Policy, Palantir.


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THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION: A PEOPLE’S HISTORY, 1962–1976. 4/25, 11:00-12:30pm, Washington, DC. Speakers: author Frank Dikötter, Chair Professor of Humanities, University of Hong Kong; with comments by Xia Yeliang, Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute; moderated by Marian L. Tupy, Editor, www.humanprogress.org, Cato Institute. 

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF U.S.-INDIA TRADE. 4/25, 1:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Chairman, Atlantic Council; The Hon. John Cornyn, R-TX; The Hon. Mark Warner, D-VA; H.E. Arun Singh, Ambassador of India.

THE HALFWAY POINT OF THE U.S. ARCTIC COUNCIL CHAIRMANSHIP: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? 4/25, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speaker: Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., Special Representative for the Arctic, U.S. Department of State.

CHINA’S OVERSEAS INVESTMENT IN EUROPE AND BEYOND. 4/25, 2:30-4:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Mireya Solis, Senior Fellow, Brookings; Philippe Le Corre, Visiting Fellow, Brookings; David Dollar, Senior Fellow, Brookings; Constanze Stelzenmuller, Senior Fellow, Brookings.

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE ONE YEAR LATER: DEPUTY PM ADDRESSES POLITICAL PROCESS, LESSONS FROM THE RESPONSE. 4/25, 3:45-5:00pm. Sponsor: USIP. Speakers: Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs; H.E. Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR MODERN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. 4/25, 5:30-6:30pm. Sponsor: George Washington University (GWU). Speaker: Katherine Brown, Executive Director, U.S. Advocacy Council on Public Diplomacy.

Despite Bilateral Diplomatic Contacts, Russia Hardens Its View of US as the Enemy

Russian coast guard vessels moored in port at the
Kurile island of Shikotan (Source: Reuters)
First published in the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 63, March 31, 2016

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the frequency and intensity of high-level contacts between Russia and the United States “are unprecedented.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has regularly visited Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and with President Vladimir Putin. This flurry of diplomatic activity is proof, according to Ryabkov, that Moscow is an indispensable world power, essential to fixing important global problems; and Washington is being forced to recognize this fact. Russia will be doing its best to further impress on the US its own importance and the need to “treat us [Moscow] as an equal power.” But there are problems: “Illegal sanctions imposed by the West are in force” and “anti-Russian rhetoric is deafening in the election-year debates in America.” Russia’s relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are frozen: There is no date yet to hold a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the ambassadorial level, because Moscow does not accept NATO’s proposed draft agenda (Izvestia, March 28).

Russia refused to attend the fourth nuclear security summit in Washington this week (March 31–April 1)—the first time a top Russian official has been absent since these summits were initiated by President Barack Obama. The Kremlin and the White House exchanged barbs over “Russian self-isolation” on one side and the “lack of understanding with Washington” on the other. Kerry’s visits and talks did not help dissolve mutual distrust (Kommersant, March 31). The chair of the Duma Foreign Relations Committee, Alexei Pushkov, dismissed US calls for more nuclear disarmament talks and Obama’s demand that Russia fully comply with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Washington accuses Moscow of violating the INF by developing a land-based, long-range, nuclear-capable cruise missile—an accusation the Russian side has adamantly denied. According to Pushkov: “The US must first repair relations with Russia that were destroyed by Obama and only then offer us talks on nuclear weapons” (RIA Novosti, March 31).

The Russian military has recently begun to once again officially use the Cold War phrase “likely enemy” (veroyatniy protivnik) when referring to the US and its allies. Since the collapse of Communism in 1991, the term fell into disuse. But today, Russia and the US are apparently officially enemies again. Last week, speaking at a gathering of top Russian brass in Moscow (the Defense Ministry Collegium), the defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, announced the deployment of new S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems near Novosibirsk, in the Central Military District. According to Shoigu, new air defense units are being formed, “which will allow, by 2020, to drastically increase the zone of denial of attack by air formations of the likely enemy—we will be able to shoot down cruise missiles flying at low, high and medium altitude” (Mil.ru, March 25).

Shoigu seems to be preparing the Russian military to fight an all-out war with the “likely enemy” on all fronts—on land, sea and air—defending military industrial targets in big cities deep in the Russian hinterland. New threats and military deployments were announced in the East, the Arctic and in the West against NATO, “which is expanding its military potential in Europe, close to Russian borders.” According to Shoigu, “Russia must respond.” New forces are being organized and deployed against NATO in the Western Military District, “including two new army divisions.” Bases are being built and expanded in the Arctic, including on Vrangel Island, located north of Chukotka, in the Arctic Sea (Mil.ru, March 25).

Reinforcements are also being deployed in the Kurile Islands: In 2016, new anti-ship guided missiles “Bal” and “Bastion,” together with new spy drones will be deployed in the South Kurile Kunashir and Iturup islands, also claimed by Japan (see EDM, March 30). Shoigu announced that in April 2016, a special three-month-long naval expedition “by sailors of the Pacific Fleet” will be commenced from the islands of the Greater Kurile Chain (Ridge) to “explore new bases for the Pacific Fleet” (Mil.ru, March 25). According to the chair of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament), Victor Ozerov, “the number of naval ships of the Pacific Fleet that will be deployed in the Kuriles will depend on how constructive relations will be with Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations.” Ozerov called on Japan not to view this future deployment as a threat: “The military-strategic importance [to Russia] of the Kuriles is high; and anyway, not all of the Pacific Fleet will be deployed there” (RIA Novosti, March 25).

It is unclear where the Russian warships are to be stationed in the Kuriles: on Kunashir and Iturup or further north. Today, only Kunashir, Iturup and the most northern Paramushir islands are populated. The Russian military is deployed in the southern Kunashir and Iturup, close to Japan. The rest of the Kurile islands (56 in all) are uninhabited and have no military infrastructure. Since military forces are already deployed in the South Kuriles, there seems no need to send a special naval expedition to seek possible new bases. Possibly the Russian military is planning to militarize the other Kurile islands, as well.

The Russian General Staff considers the Kurile Islands a prime military-strategic asset. The Russian navy has announced it will deploy its newest Borei-class strategic nuclear submarines armed with new Bulava multiple-warhead ballistic missiles to Kamchatka, at the Vilyuchinsk submarine base, where housing and infrastructure have been revamped on orders from the Kremlin. Overall, eight Borei-class subs are planned to be built, and up to five could be based in Kamchatka (TASS, March 4).

At present, the existing Borei-class subs (Yuri Dolgoruky, Vladimir Monomakh and Alexander Nevsky) are undergoing testing in the Barents Sea—close to the Severnaya shipyard, where they were built in Severodvinsk, in the estuary of the Severnaya Dvina, on the White Sea (Izvestia, March 2) When operating in the Pacific, the Borei submarines will go on patrol from Vilyuchinsk into the Russian-controlled, relatively shallow Sea of Okhotsk. From there, they will target the continental United States.

The Sea of Okhotsk is seen as a better safe haven than the northern Barents Sea. The Kurile Island Chain separates the Sea of Okhotsk from the open Pacific Ocean; it is strategically important for the Russian military to build up its naval defenses in the region so as not to allow US and allied anti-submarine assets to penetrate the Okhotsk waters and airspace. As the Borei subs begin arriving in the Pacific, the Kurile Islands could be further militarized—and not only the southern ones facing Japan.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Monday in Washington, April 18, 2016

ECONOMIC REFORM AND A NEW CONSERVATIVE AGENDA: REMARKS BY THE RT. HON. IAIN DUNCAN SMITH MP. 4/18, 9:00-10:00am. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: The Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith, Member of Parliament; John R. Bolton, AEI.

THE ROK-U.S. ALLIANCE: STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF CHALLENGES. 4/18, 9:00am-Noon. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Kim Hyoung-zhin, Deputy Minister for Planning and Coordination, ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Victor Cha, Senior Advisor for Asia and Korea Chair, CSIS; Kim Sung-han, Professor, Korea University; Robert Gallucci, Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy, Georgetown University; Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia, Heritage Foundation; Choi Kang, Vice President, Asan Institute for Policy Studies; Shin Beomchul, Director-General for Policy Planning, ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Bonnie Glaser, Senior Advisor for Asia, CSIS.

THE UN IN THE NEW AGE: LECTURE BY IGOR LUKSIC. 4/18, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Igor Luksic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.

JAPAN’S G-7 AND CHINA’S G-20 CHAIRMANSHIPS: BRIDGES OR STOVEPIPES IN LEADER SUMMITRY? 4/18,10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Mireya Solis, Senior Fellow and Chair in Japan Studies, Brookings; Nancy Alexander, Director, Economic Governance and G20, Heinrich Boll Foundation; Colin Bradford, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings; Yves Tiberghien, Associate Professor and Director, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia; Thomas Wright, Fellow and Director, Project on International Order and Strategy, Brookings.

WHAT IS CHINA REALLY DOING IN RURAL AFRICA. 4/18, 10:30am-12:30pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Scott Kleinberg, Deputy Director, Office of Donor Engagement, USAID; Wu Jin, Associate Dean of College of Humanities and Development Stu ides, China Agricultural University; Zhang Chuanhong, Associate Professor of Development Studies, China Agricultural University; Josh Maiyo, Adjunct Lecturer in International Political Economy, Webster University; Sergio Chichava, Senior Researcher, Institute of Social and Economic Research; Hezron Makundi, Ph.D Candidate, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

IRAN’S INNOVATION ECONOMY AND THE IMPACT OF SANCTIONS RELIEF. 4/18, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Lily Sarafan, Co-Founder and CEO, Home Health Care Assistance; Nadereh Chamlou, Former Senior Advisor, World Bank; Christopher M. Schroeder, Entrepreneur, Advisor and Investor.

SIGNING THE PARIS CLIMATE TREATY AND FUNDING THE GREEN CLIMATE FUND: HOW CAN CONGRESS RESPOND? 4/18, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Speakers: Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow, CEI; David Kreutzer, Research Fellow, Heritage; Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment, CEI.

XI IN COMMAND: CHINESE REFORMS AND REGIONAL RESPONSES. 4/18, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: American Foreign Policy Council. Speakers: Joshua Eisenman, Senior Fellow for China Studies, American Foreign Policy Council; Derek Grossman, Senior Project Associate, The RAND Corporation; Andrew Scobell, Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation; Jeff M. Smith, Director of Asian Studies Programs, American Foreign Policy Council.

A CONVERSATION ON JERUSALEM AND THE FUTURE OF THE PEACE PROCESS WITH DANIEL SEIDEMANN. 4/18, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speakers: Daniel Seidemann, Founder, Terrestial Jerusalem; Muna Shikaki, Correspondent for Al-Arabiya News Channel; Daniel Serwer, MEI Scholar.

NPC LUNCHEON WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE PENNY PRITZKER. 4/18, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: National Press Club (NPC). Speaker: Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES: BUILDING THE PLANE MID-FLIGHT. 4/18, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

CHINA’S NEW SILK ROAD: GLOBAL COMPETITOR, NEW COLONIZER, OR LEADER OF THE FLYING GEESE IN ASIA. 4/18, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speaker: Min Ye, Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Boston University.

SECURITY IN ASIA: THE UK'S APPROACH. 4/18, 2:30-3:15pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP. Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom.

STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE DURING TIMES OF ACCELERATED GLOBAL CHANGES. 4/18, 4:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: LTG Harry E. Soyster, Former VP for International Operations, MPRI.

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BURNING COUNTRY: SYRIANS IN REVOLUTION AND WAR. 4/18, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speakers: Co-Author Robin Yassin-Kassab, Media Commentator on Syria and Author; Co-Author Leila Al-Shami, Human Rights Worker in Syria and the Middle East.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT, THE OBOR INITIATIVE AND U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS. 4/18, 4:00-5:15pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Chris Johnson, Chair in China Studies, CSIS; Wang Wen, Executive Dean, Chaoyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University; Matthew Goodman, Chair in Political Economy, CSIS; Zhao Minghao, Research Fellow, China Center for Contemporary World Studies; Yves Tiberghien, Director, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia; Wang Yiwei, Director, Institute of International Affairs, Renmin University.

RELIGION AND REVOLUTION IN CHINA. 4/18, 5:00-6:30pm. Sponsor: George Washington University (GWU). Speaker: Elizabeth J. Perry, Professor of Government, Harvard University.

U.S.-ROK-CHINA TRILATERAL DIALOGUE. 4/18, 5:15-6:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: John J. Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Yun Duk-Min, Chancellor, Korean National Diplomatic Academy; Su Ge, President and Senior Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies.

ENVIRONMENTAL DIPLOMACY. 4/18, 6:00-7:30pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Dr. Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science; Lynn M. Wagner, Researcher on the Relationship between Negotiation Processes and Outcomes, SAIS.

A GRAND STRATEGY? RE-IMAGING AMERICA'S FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION. 4/18, 6:30pm. Sponsor: New York University (NYU). Speakers: Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group; Bruce Jones, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy Program, Brookings; Michael Oppenheimer, Clinical Professor, Global Affairs Program, NYU.

GETTING MILLIONS TO LEARN: WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO ACCELERATE PROGRESS ON MEETING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS. 4/18-4/19. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: John McArthur, Senior Fellow, Brookings; Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board, Global Partnership for Education; Justin van Fleet, Director, International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity; Rebecca Winthrop, Director, Center for Universal Education; Jenny Perlman Robinson, Nonresident Fellow, Center for Universal Education; Madhav Chavan, Co-Founder and Executive Member of the Board, Pratham; Esvah Chizambe, Assistant Director, Directorate of Teacher Education and Specialized Services, Ministry of General Education, Zambia; Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-Founder, Teach for All; Vineet Bewtra, Director of Investments, Omidyar Network; Jacob Harold, President and CEO, Guidestar; Johannes F. Linn, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings; Alix Zwane, CEO, Global Innovation Fund; Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop, India; Michael Staton, Partner, Learn Capital; Carol Williams, Country Manager, Ghana, Worldreader.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

If Trump Launched a Trade War on Asia

U.S. stocks swooned during China’s mild summer slowdown.
Imagine what 45% tariffs would do.

By RICHARD KATZ, editor of the Oriental Economist Report and APP member
Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2016

If Donald Trump becomes U.S. president, will he wreak havoc on world trade? Or is he bluffing when he proposes a 45% across-the-board tariff on manufactured imports from China, and 35% on goods made in Mexico by U.S. firms such as Ford Motor?

No one knows, perhaps not even Mr. Trump himself. But here’s what we do know.

First, U.S. law enables Mr. Trump to carry out his threats. Second, while such steps would damage the U.S. economy, perhaps sending it into recession, that damage would be dwarfed by the havoc created among U.S. friends such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Even if Mr. Trump loses in November, his candidacy could spark a dangerous sea change. Since World War II, neither major party in America has nominated an outright protectionist. Many Congressional Republicans will no doubt look at his triumph and shift their own stance on trade out of fear of losing their party’s primary elections.

Mr. Trump’s threats violate the rules of the World Trade Organization, but there’s nothing in U.S. law to block a president who cares nothing for WTO rules. According to several respected trade lawyers, including Warren Maruyama, the former general counsel of the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, Mr. Trump can find authorization in Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974. It authorizes the president to impose sanctions, including tariffs, on any country that, in his view, undertakes an “act, policy, or practice” that is “unjustifiable” and/or “unreasonable” and “burdens U.S. commerce.”

Mr. Trump could decide that any economic inducements given by Mexico to Ford and other firms constitute an “unjustifiable” act. He’d likely ignore that his rival, Gov. John Kasich, provided special tax cuts to Ford to get it to return some assembly jobs to Ohio. Mr. Trump could call China “unreasonable” for “manipulating” its currency, even though the International Monetary Fund says China’s currency is no longer undervalued.

Mr. Trump says he’s not afraid of U.S. exports being hit in a trade war because China and Mexico would have more to lose. But when China is hit, as it was back in 2009 with an antidumping duty on tires, it hits back and does so quickly. U.S. exports to China and Mexico add up to 2% of U.S. gross domestic product, and 5% of manufacturing sales.

But the U.S. would also be hurt by a cut in imports. Mr. Trump’s tariffs would amount to a tax on American companies and households equal to 1.5% of GDP—1.2 points from his 45% tariff on Chinese products and another 0.3 points from a 35% tariff on goods made in Mexico by American firms. A hit of that size could cause a recession, such as the 1.4% peak-to-trough decline in U.S. GDP seen in 1990. Two years later, “It’s the economy, stupid,” got President George H.W. Bush evicted from the White House.

Beyond that, more than one-half of U.S. imports from China and three-quarters of U.S. imports from Mexico are capital goods and intermediate goods that American firms need for their own production. It’s impossible to abruptly shrink imports from China and Mexico without damaging U.S. firms, reducing long-term growth and destroying jobs. American-based auto plants forced to pay more for steel, for example, would suddenly find themselves less able to compete with imports from Europe, Japan and Korea.

Mr. Trump claims any damage will be swamped by benefits as his tariffs force firms to “bring the jobs back” from China and Mexico. In the case of China, that’s impossible because the growth of imports from China didn’t “take” jobs from the U.S., but from elsewhere in Asia.

During the quarter century from 1990 to 2014, the share of U.S. manufactured imports that came from China soared to 26% from 3.6%. But during that same period, according to the Congressional Research Service, the share of U.S. factory imports coming from all of East Asia stayed the same (47% in 1990 and 46% in 2014).

Imports from China didn’t add to U.S. imports; they mostly replaced imports that previously came from other countries. Computer chips once imported directly from Japan now come inside products assembled in China and are labeled “Made in China.”

While the U.S. would suffer, America’s friends and allies in Asia would suffer far more. The ratio of total China-bound exports to domestic GDP ranges from 3.5% in Japan to 10% in Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam to 13%-15% in Korea and Taiwan. Considering that around 40% of the value of these exports consists of imported inputs from the U.S. and other countries, the global damage from the ripple effects would be enormous.

Mr. Trump may not think this matters. But consider how U.S. stocks swooned in 2015 in reaction to a relatively mild deceleration in China. How much more severe would the impact be on currency and stock markets from the economic and geopolitical maelstrom Mr. Trump proposes to let loose—not to mention the anxiety of having such a reckless character at the helm in Washington.

Monday in Washington, April 11, 2016

THE FUTURE OF PERSONNEL POLICY AT DOD. 4/11, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: The Hon. Brad R. Carson, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

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THE SMARTEST PLACES ON EARTH: BOOK DISCUSSION. 4/11, 10:30-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Co-Authors Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROSPECTS: SPRING 2016. 4/11, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics (IIE). Speakers: Paolo Mauro, IIE; Adam S. Posen, IIE; Nicholas R. Lardy, IIE.

FEMINISM FOR THE FUTURE: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON FEMINISM AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION. 4/11, 1:00-2:00pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: George Mason University (GMU). Speaker: Dr. Cynthia Enloe, Visionary Scholar in Feminist International Relations.

WHY THE U.S. IS THE CENTER OF SOFTWARE INNOVATION: A DISCUSSION WITH TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEUR ALAN DABBIERE. 4/11, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Alan Dabbiere, Chairman, Wandering Wifi; Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

21ST CENTURY DEVELOPMENT: LEVERAGING DATA, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION. 4/11, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Ann Mei Chang, Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director, U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID; Dr. John Boright, Executive Director of International Affairs, U.S. National Academies; Sonal Shah, Professor of Practice and Founding Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, Georgetown University. Location: CSIS, 1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW. Contact: http://csis.org/event/21st-century-development-leveraging-data-technology-and-innovation.

THE FUTURE OF KURDISTAN IN IRAQ. 4/11, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Minister of Foreign Relations of the Kurdistan Regional Government; Opening remarks and introduction: Sasha Toperich, Senior Fellow and Director of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS Keynote Address: Falah Mustafa, Minister of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government; Commentator: Daniel Serwer, Professor and Director, Conflict Management Program, and Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS; Moderator: Rebeen Pasha, WYLN Senior Fellow, Mediterranean Basin Initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS, and co-founder and President, American Friends of Kurdistan.
CAN INDIA EVER BECOME A GREAT POWER? 4/11, 3:00-4:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment. Speakers: Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment; Devesh Kapur, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania; Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India; Milan Vaishnav, Senior Associate, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment.

THE THIRTY-SECOND JIT TRAINOR AWARD FOR DISTINCTION IN THE CONDUCT OF DIPLOMACY. 4/11, 4:30-6:00pm. Sponsors: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy; Trustees of the Trainor Endowment. Speaker: Awardee The Hon. Dr. Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy.

ORGANIZED CRIME AS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE: PERSPECTIVES FROM THE AMERICAS. 4/11, 5:30pm. Sponsors: Women's Foreign Policy Group; NAFSA. Speaker: Joy Olson, Executive Director, Washington Office on Latin America.