Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday in Washington, March 20, 2017

LEARNING FROM PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER. 3/20, 9:00-10:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Bret Baier, Fox News, author Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission; Marc A. Thiessen, AEI.

3/20, 9:00-11:00am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center. Speakers: Leon Panetta, Former Secretary of Defense; Jim Talent, Former Senator, Missouri; Gen. Jim Jones, Former National Security Adviser; Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO, Blue Star Families.

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA 2030 AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: AREAS FOR US-JAPAN COOPERATION. 3/20, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Abigail Friedman, Senior Advisor, Asia Foundation, Founder, CEO, Wisteria Group; Christina Kwauk, Postdoctoral Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Center for Universal Education; John McArthur, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development; Yumiko Tanaka, Senior Advisor, Gender and Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Moderator: Mireya Solís, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, Brookings.

ADDRESSING THE NORTH KOREAN THREAT. 3/20, 11:30am-1:00pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC-2), Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chairman, Subcommittee on Readiness, Armed Services Committee; Rebeccah Heinrichs, Fellow, Hudson Institute; Arthur Herman, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

FROM SCARCITY TO SECURITY: WATER AS A RESOURCE FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACEBUILDING. 3/20, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Judaic Studies Program, Elliott School, GWU. Speakers: Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director, EcoPeace Middle East; Marina Djernaes, Director, EcoPeace Center for Water Security; Moderator: Ned Lazarus, Visiting Professor of International Affairs, Elliott School, GWU, Teaching Fellow, Israel Institute.

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THE BATTLE FOR CHINA’S SPIRIT: RELIGIOUS REVIVAL, REPRESSION, AND RESISTANCE UNDER XI JINPING. 3/20, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Georgetown University. Speaker: Sarah Cook, Senior Research Analyst, East Asia, Freedom House; Moderator: Dennis Wilder, Professor, Asian Studies Program, US-China Dialogue, Georgetown University.

CYBER DRAGON: INSIDE CHINA’S INFORMATION WARFARE AND CYBER OPERATIONS. 3/20, Noon-1:00pm. Sponsor: Heritage. Speakers: Author Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Heritage; Phillip C. Saunders, Director, Center for Study of Chinese Military Affairs, National Defense University; Catherine B. Lotrionte, Director, Cyber Project, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Moderator: Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center.

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WHY PEACE PROCESSES FAIL: NEGOTIATING INSECURITY AFTER CIVIL WAR. 3/20, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Georgetown University. Speaker: author Jasmine-Kim Westendorf, Lecturer, International Relations, La Trobe University, Australia. 

WOMEN’S AND FAMILY HEALTH. 3/20, 2:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: Taskforce on Women’s and Family Health, CSIS. Speakers: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); Rep. Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (R-NY-11); Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL); Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13); Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL-5); Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Lisa Carty, Director, U.S. Liaison Office, UNAIDS; Steve Davis, President, CEO, PATH; Christopher Elias, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania; Patrick Fine, CEO, FHI 360; Michael Gerson, Senior Adviser, ONE Campaign; Asma Lateef, Director, Bread for the World Institute; Afaf Ibrahim Meleis, Dean Emerita and Professor of Nursing and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; Diane Rowland, Executive Vice President, Kaiser Family Foundation; Moderators: Helene Gayle, TaskForce Co-Chair, CEO, McKinsey Social Initiative; J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President, Director, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS.

GENDER, DEVELOPMENT, AND ARMED CONFLICT. 3/20, 6:00-7:30pm. Sponsor: Clovis & Hala Maksoud Memorial Lecture Series, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University. Speaker: Jennifer Olmsted, Professor of Economics, Director, Middle East Studies, Drew University, Former Gender Advisor, UN Population Fund. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Abe’s revisionism nets own goals at home and away

What links Osaka, Seoul, Busan and Glendale, California? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s championing of revisionist history
BY Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan and APP member
Japan Times, March 11, 2017 
Since becoming a member of the Diet in 1993, Abe has been pushing for a more positive spin on Japan’s 1931-45 wartime record. To that end, he ushered through a law promoting patriotic education in 2007. More recently, his education ministry has issued guidelines for textbook publishers and educators that mandate instruction about various controversies, such as the “comfort women” system of sexual servitude, that conforms to the government’s stance.
In mid-February, in the early days of the Moritomo Gakuen scandal brewing in Osaka, Abe declared that he shared the ideological views of the school’s founder. This stalwart defense of Yasunori Kagoike has since crumbled as Abe has scrambled to distance himself from what has become the biggest crisis of his premiership.
But Abe’s defiant declaration is revealing because he was responding to questions about whether the educational philosophy at the school was appropriate. Parents say students were taught to use hate speech in referring to ethnic Chinese and Koreans. Students were also tasked with memorizing the 1890 Imperial Rescript of Education, which enjoined all Japanese subjects to pledge blind devotion to the Emperor in the pre-1945 era. U.S. Occupation (1945-52) authorities banned teaching students this rescript because it was considered to be a key element in the militaristic brainwashing that helped sustain Japanese imperialism between 1895 and 1945.
Abe didn’t repudiate the jingoism, racism and Emperor worship — all redolent of wartime Japan — inculcated among the children studying at Moritomo Gakuen. In fact, the planned elementary school at the heart of the current land scandal was to be named after Abe, until he requested that his name not be used for that purpose or for fundraising.
But his wife, Akie Abe, became the honorary principal of the school and praised its educational philosophy, saying that Japan needs more of the moral education on offer. In 2014, in a videotaped exchange, she asked the students if they knew whom her husband was and, prodded by Kagoike, they chimed up that he was the man protecting Japan from China.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada also had a posting on the school website thanking the founder for sending his students to cheer on and wave flags for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. Students were also encouraged to congratulate Abe on the passage of his controversial security legislation in 2015.
These are kindergarten children. Shamelessly brainwashing them in support of Abe’s security agenda is reprehensible and a worrying sign that Japan’s reactionaries are so desperate they will stoop to any measure to manipulate public opinion and fabricate support.
But it gets worse. The planned elementary school is being built on contaminated land, endangering the health of the young patriots. This lack of concern about the welfare of the children should disqualify the school from operating. The government gave the school funds to clean up the site, but one of the workers involved revealed he dug up some of the contaminated soil and was then told to rebury it, covering it with just a thin layer of clean topsoil.
Hmm. So, it would appear that the school went through the motions of a cleanup and pocketed the money the government gave them for this task, a sum that happens to be about the same amount as the school ended up paying the government to acquire the land. Thus the school seems to have funded this purchase with money from state coffers while getting an exorbitant discount into the bargain. (A similar plot of land nearby sold for almost 10 times what the school paid.)
In the Diet, this dubious land deal has raised many questions about Abe and his wife’s involvement and political interference in selling the land for a song. Conveniently, the government has destroyed documents related to the sweetheart deal. Abe opposes an independent probe of Liberal Democratic Party Diet members’ possible involvement, despite the LDP’s Yoshitada Konoike alleging that the school’s founder tried to bribe him. Soon thereafter the land deal went through at a lavish markdown, raising suspicions that some other politician was more biddable. The LDP’s opposition to summoning Kagoike to testify in the Diet makes it look like it has something to hide and is worried that he might spill the beans about unsavory dealings that could prove awkward.
Abe is the Teflon prime minister, having emerged from past scandals unscathed, but this time Abe’s support rate appears to have imploded, with one Nikkei poll recording a drop in backing for his Cabinet from 63 percent to 36 percent as anger mounts. Given that Abe has promised to resign if any evidence emerges that links him or his wife to the land deal, he must be certain there is no smoking gun. Yet you have to wonder about the coincidence of his reported visit to Osaka on the day of a meeting between Moritomo representatives and finance ministry officials, just as the Diet was in the middle of contentious deliberations about his security legislation, when his presence was crucial. One assumes he is too savvy to leave any trace, but plausible deniability or not, Abe has become the Diet’s pinata, just as he was in 2007 on the way to the ignominious end of his first turn as PM.
In China and South Korea, the fact that a school linked with Abe is teaching revisionist history and racial slurs targeting their people reinforces negative perceptions about him. In terms of public diplomacy, Team Abe has scored yet another own goal. Armed with a massively increased budget, Japan’s public diplomacy should be wowing the world, but the nation keeps getting mired in fights over its shared history with its neighbors.
The withdrawal of Japan’s ambassador to South Korea over the presence of a comfort woman statue in Busan, and a failure to remove a similar statue in Seoul, is silly. This diplomatic pout over statues is overwrought and counterproductive. Critics of Japan over the comfort women are setting the agenda, running circles around diplomats who seem willing to throw fuel on the fires of acrimony.
By overreacting, the government is ceding the initiative and ensuring that the media keeps shining a light on Japan’s damning past. And now it has taken the statue wars to Glendale, California, where it has filed an official opinion in support of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit protesting the installation of a comfort woman statue in that city. This seems to be a violation of the 2015 deal with Seoul in which the two governments agreed not to give each other a hard time internationally over the comfort women issue.
Both at home and overseas, Japan’s revisionists are betraying the nation they ostensibly revere

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Monday in Washington March 13, 2017

Motion is not Movement...

CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS AT A JUNCTURE: JAPANESE AND AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE. 3/13, 9:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Richard C. Bush, Michael H. Armacost Chair, Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Senior Fellow, Foreign policy, John L. Thornton China Center; Chisako T. Masuo, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University; Russell Hsiao, Executive Director, Global Taiwan Institute; Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of International Politics, University of Tokyo.

CUTTING FOREIGN AID? 3/13, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor:  Center for Global Development. Speakers: Scott Morris, Senior Fellow, Director, US Development Policy Initiative, Center for Global Development; John Norris, Executive Director, Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative, Center for American Progress; Danielle Pletka, Senior Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, AEI; James M. Roberts, Research Fellow, Economic Freedom and Growth, Heritage; Moderator: Rajesh Mirchandani, Vice President, Communications and Policy Outreach, Center for Global Development.

NORTHERN IRELAND’S LESSONS FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE. 3/13, 1:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Center for Middle East and Africa, US Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Nancy Lindborg, President, USIP; Hon. George Mitchell, Former Senator (D-Maine); Carol Cunningham, Unheard Voices; Melanie Greenberg, Alliance for Peacebuilding; Brandon Hamber, Professor, International Conflict Research Institute, Ulster University; Adrian Johnston, International Fund for Ireland; Joel Braunold, Alliance for Middle East Peace; Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Father Josh Thomas, Kids4Peace; Sarah Yerkes, Brookings; Moderators: Amb. Anne Anderson, Embassy of Ireland; Rami Dajani, USIP.

 3/13, 3:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Kristin Diwan, Senior Fellow, Arab Gulf States Institute; H.A. Hellyer, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for Middle East, Atlantic Council; Haykel Ben Mahfoud, Nonresident Fellow, Rafik Hariri center for Middle East, Atlantic Council; Karim Mezran, Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for Middle East, Atlantic Council; Nicola Pedde, Director, Institute for Global Studies, Rome; Moderator: Mirette F. Mabrouk, Deputy Director, Director, Research and Programs, Rafik Hariri Center for Middle East, Atlantic Council.

SEVENTY YEARS OF THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE: STILL GOING STRONG? 3/13, 4:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: Elizabeth Spalding, Associate Professor of Government, Director, Washington Program, Claremont McKenna College.

NEGOTIATING TRADE AUTHORITY: REMARKS FROM SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT) ON THE DIVISION OF CONGRESSIONAL AND EXECUTIVE POWERS. 3/13, Reception, 5:15-6:30pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Mike Lee, Senator (R-UT); Claude Barfield, Resident Scholar, AEI; Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, PIIE; Scott Lincicome, Adjunct Scholar, CATO Institute.

AFTER WAR, GENDER EQUALITY NEEDS INVESTMENT TOO. 3/13, 10:00-11:30am. SPonsor: US Institute of Peace. Speakers: Carol Cohn, Director, Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Thomas Scherer, Program Officer, Economics and Peacebuilding, US Institute of Peace; Janet Stotsky, Economist, Visiting Scholar, International Monetary Fund; Moderator: Carla Koppell, Vice President, Applied Conflict Transformation, US Institute of Peace.

 3/13, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Center for American Progress. Speakers: Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Todd A. Cox, Director of Policy, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; Deepak Gupta, Founding Partner, Gupta Wessler; Jonathan Kanter, Partner, Antitrust Group, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP; Lillian Salerno, Former USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development; Elizabeth Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center; Moderator: Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School.

Image result for the end of europe: dictators, demagogues, and the coming dark ageTHE END OF EUROPE: DICTATORS, DEMAGOGUES, AND THE COMING DARK AGE. 3/13, 2:00-3:05pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Author James Kirchick, Fellow, Foreign Policy Initiative; Thomas Wright, Director, Project on International Order and Strategy, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on US and Europe; Constanze Stelzenmuller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on US and Europe; Leon Wieseltier, Isaiah Berline Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy, Foreign Policy, Governance Studies; Moderator: Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy.

COAL PEAK OR PLATEAU? DIGGING INTO THE CLIMATE AND WATER IMPACTS OF CHINA’S DECARBONIZATION. 3/13, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: China Environment Forum, Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney, Asia Director, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Zhou Xi Zhou, Senior Director, IHS Markit’s Power, Gas, Renewables, and Coal Group; Jennifer L. Turner, Director, China Environment Forum, Manager, Global Choke Point Initiative.

INDIA’S STATE ELECTION RESULTS. 3/13, 3:30-5:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow, AEI; Irfan Nooruddin, Professor, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Adam Ziegfeld, Assistant Professor, Political Science and International Affairs, GWU; Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow, India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations; Moderator: Tanvi Madan, Director, India Project, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Information access is essential to a democracy

Why is federal government data disappearing?
By Joshua New,  policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Op Ed Published 2/21/17 in The Hill
The White House recently deleted all of the data on its open data portal, which served as a public clearinghouse for data on everything from federal budgets to climate change initiatives.

This is a red flag, since for eight years, the Obama White House championed the practice of making government data freely available to the public in order to promote transparency and accountability, to serve as a resource for researchers, and to allow innovators to create new tools and services that spur economic activity and solve social problems.

While the Trump administration has not yet signaled that it will oppose open data across the federal government, its silence on the issue suggests that open data may not receive the same level of priority it has in the past. In sharp contrast, President Obama declared a "new era of openness" on his first full day in office and directed federal agencies to be more transparent.

Rather than wait for the Trump administration to change course, Congress should move quickly to adopt the bipartisan OPEN Data Act and permanently codify an open data policy for the U.S. government.

Unlike, the federal government's primary open data portal, the White House open data portal was by no means the most crucial repository of data, primarily consisting of machine-readable versions of White House reports, policy initiatives and budgets. Moreover, most of this data should still be available through an archived version of the portal, though a handful of datasets do seem to still be missing, particularly budgeting data for fiscal year 2012.

It is possible that this is merely a case of poor communication: The new administration may be in the process of updating its website and forgot to alert users of the scheduled downtime.

Unfortunately, this latest action comes on the heels of an earlier decision in February by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to shield government data from public scrutiny by removing data collected by the agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The data consisted of inspection reports, enforcement actions, regulatory correspondence and other information related to APHIS' investigations of animal welfare issues, ranging from puppy mills to abuse of animals in research labs, and the USDA decided it should not be publicly available due to ill-conceived concerns about the privacy of animal abusers.

Not only does this action prevent the public from accessing valuable data about animal abuse, but it prevents pet stores in seven states from complying with state laws requiring them to only deal with breeders with clean inspection reports. Stores in these states could previously use APHIS's database to easily identify breeders without histories of violations, but now that database is no longer available to the public.

Instead of simply censoring personally identifiable information when privacy concerns arise, the USDA decided that members of the public should have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to access any of this data — a process that can take months.

The private sector will be unable to rely on government data if federal agencies can make arbitrary and capricious decisions about when to publish datasets. As Obama recognized in one of his executive orders, "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve."

For example, some sources are reporting that the administration plans to wipe data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related to climate change. Reacting to Trump's long history of dismissing climate science and reported plans to reduce the EPA's ability to study climate issues, a large number of civil society groups, civic hackers and concerned scientists have taken to archiving federal climate and environmental data to make it available through a non-government website, fearing that the administration will delete or alter it.

There is no definitive evidence that the Trump administration intends to roll back the valuable commitments to open data that Obama made during his administration, which require federal agencies to treat their data as open and machine-readable by default. However, the Trump administration has also failed to make any indication that it intends to honor or expand upon these commitments.

In fact, the White House has archived the guidance on open data from the Office of Management and Budget along with the Open Government National Action Plans, which detail the U.S. government's commitments to meet the goals of the multinational Open Government Partnership, which include publishing open data, further indicating that it does not consider these policies as its own.

Open data has always been a bipartisan issue. Regardless of how the Trump administration decides to approach open data ( as of this writing displays a vague disclaimer simply stating "check back soon for new data"), Congress should act swiftly to ensure that publishing open data remains a permanent responsibility of the federal government so it is not subject to changing political winds.

In the last days of the 114th Congress, the Senate unanimously passed the OPEN Government Data Act to do exactly that, and given the bill's bipartisan support, Congress should view the reintroduction and passage of the bill as a quick win that would benefit the public and private sectors alike.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Monday in Washington, March 6, 2017

HOLLYWOOD MADE IN CHINA. 3/6, 10:00-11:15am. Sponsor: Kissinger Institute on China and US, Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Aynne Kokas, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia; Robert Daly, Director, Kissinger Institute on China and US, WWC; Moderator: Sandy Pho, Senior Program Associate, WWC.

ADVANCING U.S. LEADERSHIP IN THE DIGITAL AGE. 3/6, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Thomas E. Donilon, Partner, O'Melveny & Myers; Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, Center of the Global Enterprise; Steven R. Chabinsky, Partner, White & Case; Karen Evans, National Director, U.S. Cyber Challenge; Kiersten Todt, Executive Director, Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity; John J. Hamre, President, CEO, CSIS.

PEACEBUILDING AND JAPAN: VIEWS FROM THE NEXT GENERATION. 3/6, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers: Kei Koga, Assistant professor, Public Policy and Global Affairs Program, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU); Hiromi Nagata Fujushige, Associate Professor, Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies, Hosei University; Nobuhiro Aizawa, Associate Professor, Kyushu University; Rie Takezawa, Researcher, Institute for International Policy Studies, Adjunct Lecturer, African Politics, Musashino University; Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate, East Asia Program, Stimson Center.

THE 1930S AS AN INSPIRATION FOR TODAY’S NEW AUTHORITARIANISM. 3/6, 3:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center (WWC). Speaker: Timothy Snyder, Professor of History, Yale University.

THE UK’S DEFENSE APPROACH: KEY THEMES FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. 3/6, 3:30-4:30pm. Sponsor: Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council. Speaker: Stephen Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense, UK.

UNDERSTANDING THE TRUMP PHENOMENON. 3/6, 4:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics, Graduate School of National Security and International Affairs. Speaker: Author Michael A. Walsh, Former Associate Editor, TIME Magazine, Visiting Fellow, Institute of World Politics.

THE TRAGEDY OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: HOW AMERICA'S CIVIL RELIGION BETRAYED THE NATIONAL INTEREST. 3/6, 4:00-5:50pm. Sponsor: Washington History Seminar, Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Walter A. McDougall holds a chaired professorship in International Relations and History at the University of Pennsylvania; Eric Arnesen, Fellow, Professor of History, The George Washington University; Christian F. Ostermann, Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, Woodrow Wilson Center. 

THE COMPLACENT CLASS: THE SELF-DEFEATING QUEST FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. 3/6, 6:00–7:00pm, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Speakers: author, Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University; Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor in Chief at Reason. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Are Fears of Trump giving China free rein in East Asia misplaced?

APP member Daniel C. Sneider, an associate director of research for Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an authority on US, Japan and Korea relations thinks we might be overreacting.

He outlines his views in a recent interview in the Asia Times with DOUG TSURUOKA, published February 24, 2017.

Q: On a long strategic view, can China and Japan ever get on the same page? For that to happen, does the US have to get out of the middle?

While I think rivalry fundamentally remains the driver of relations between China and Japan, framing that story only in terms of rivalry is inconormplete. The Chinese are trying to assert that they are the dominant power in the region. There’s almost a psychological element to this — to remind the Japanese that they are the inferior party and to drive wedges between Japan and the US. A Japan that’s isolated from the US is exactly what China seeks. It’s a Japan that’s more likely to bandwagon with China and it weakens the American strategic posture in the region.

The Japanese are desperate to preserve their alliance with the US. It’s the only guarantee of Japanese security. Unless the Japanese are willing to go nuclear — they can’t ever afford to give [that alliance] up, and I don’t think the Japanese are ever going to go nuclear — though they retain that latent capability.

But does that mean the China-Japan relationship means only rivalry? Of course not. These are two countries that are intertwined with each other in countless ways, not just the economic one. It’s not wholly a hostile relationship. They have a lot of overlap. So can they ever get on the same page? No. But they could be reading the same book now and again.

Q: Is it possible that China will be given the run of the region under Trump?

In Japan there is this worry, and I’ve heard it repeatedly in Tokyo, about a G2 redux — the idea that Trump will make a deal with the Chinese and that this is why he fleetingly put the One-China policy on the table. The Japanese think this because Trump is a guy who believes that he’s a great dealmaker. The fear is that he would be willing to sit down with the Chinese and that part of that deal would be a kind of let’s talk about [dividing] East Asia between us. The Japanese have this fear of abandonment. It’s deep-seated in Japanese strategic thinking.

But do I believe that the Chinese will be handed the keys to the palace? I think that if Donald Trump ever tried to do that it would probably trigger a coup d’etat in the United States, I just don’t see that.

Q: What are Trump’s options on North Korea following Pyongyang’s February 12 missile test and what is he likely to do?

I think the options regarding North Korea today are no different than they were under the Obama administration, or for that matter, the Bush administration. It’s an unpalatable set of limited options. It’s the same options that are on the table and being considered by the Trump administration.

The first is the broad engagement option — let’s go back and resume negotiations with the North Koreans with the aim of gaining some form of freeze on the missile and nuclear programs. Then there’s the let’s get the Chinese to do it option; let’s persuade the Chinese or pressure the Chinese to pressure the North Koreans to whatever end, whether it’s a freeze or something more ambitious than that. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raise the same argument to his Chinese counterpart recently, saying, ‘we would like the Chinese to put more pressure on the North Koreans.’

The other two options are the ones that make most people uncomfortable. But they are the ones to which we’re heading for lack of anything else. One is the military option. That is, responding to the possible test of a North Korean ICBM missile by either attempting to take it out on the launch pad or shoot it down through anti-missile defense systems which hopefully might work, though we don’t know that they will. Or some form of fostering regime change. I prefer the word regime “transformation.” Some way of trying to bring about internal change in North Korea that makes it more likely they’ll give up their nuclear option.

Q: What are the other options?

The last option is the one that I wish we were thinking about more, and more creatively. It could include elements of engagement, but also pressure. Sanctions, for example, have encouraged the forces of change from within North Korea by forcing them to pursue economic reforms that they’d have to do if they were really cut off from sources of capital and trade on the outside.

Q: Did Trump discuss North Korea with Abe during their summit and how aware is Trump of the North Korean nuclear issue?

I don’t know what [Abe and Trump] talked about. But I do know this — the president and people around him — if they weren’t aware that the North Korean nuclear missile program was a serious security issue when they were campaigning, they became aware of it very quickly after the election was over. I think from [Trump’s] first meeting with president Obama it was conveyed that this was going to be a problem that it would be pretty much at the top of his agenda. I believe that Trump made some reference to North Korea after that meeting — almost with surprise.

I don’t think [Trump] had thought much about the issue until then. I have the sense from conversations I’ve had that [the administration] was mainly worried that North Korea was going to force them to respond to some kind of provocation and disrupt their planning for other things regarding their foreign security policy.

Q: Is Trump mulling a policy change toward North Korea?

There was a report that [the administration] has ordered a review of North Korea policy, but I see no evidence of a review going on. When you do a review, you have a sense that it’s going on because experts on the outside are being drawn in. But to my knowledge, it hasn’t taken place.

This should be a very important element. Most importantly, it should be part of our review of our overall force posture in the Western Pacific. It relates to the problem of base issues in Japan — the still determined effort by the US with the support of the Abe government to relocate the Marine air station at Futenma to another part of Okinawa.

Q: What are the military steps, in concert with Japan and South Korea, that Trump should take to strengthen deterrence against North Korea and a Chinese military buildup in the region?

I think it’s high time that we looked at the foreign base issue in Japan in a broader context. The problem is we have an inertia about an investment we’ve made in fixed facilities that is hard to change. If you look at the base structure in Japan and South Korea, it’s pretty much unchanged since the Cold War.

The people I talk to who think about these issues have brought up whether we want to augment our naval and air forces based in Japan and Korea, [as opposed to] preserving our ground presence, even a Marine infantry presence in Okinawa. The purpose would be to make more credible our extended deterrence commitments to both Japan and South Korea.

For instance, there is the idea of adding a second carrier battle group to be home ported in the Western Pacific — that’s a big shift and we’re probably talking about Japan. We’re already increasing somewhat our nuclear-powered submarine basing in Japan, and that is an area from a deterrence point of view where we should be thinking of adding capability. [That would include] attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines.

We should think about adding an entire strike fighter wing to the air base in Misawa, Japan, which has a capacity to take an added presence. That would give us added capability against both China, North Korea and also to deal with increased activity by the Russian Air Force in that area.

This would, in some ways, compensate for a decision I would like to see to finally take most of the 3rd Marines out of Okinawa and move them to Guam. That’s a long-delayed move that needs to be accelerated. The obstacle to that reflects an inability of our services to cooperate with each other rather than any technical or even political problem on the island. We need to re-think more broadly where our force structure ought to be.

Q: Will anything of substance replace TPP?I don’t know what Trump is likely to do. Is [THAAD] something he would trade off for something else? 

I have no idea. [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis during his brief visit to Seoul reiterated the US desire to and commitment to go ahead with the THAAD deployment. The latest missile tests show the North Koreans want to demonstrate a survivable capability to deliver nuclear weapons. The logic of deploying THAAD is even stronger than it was before.

I noticed in an Abe-Trump joint statement [after the summit] that they referred to discussions, both on a bilateral basis as well as some regional framework. I gather from friends that that was language the Japanese wanted in there. This was to give the Japanese the freedom to continue to pursue a TPP without the US or a revival of the TPP with the US , or [in the context of] other regional trade structures.

The Japanese feel very strongly that TPP without the US is useless, so the big question is can you find other kinds of formulations that would be politically acceptable to Trump? The door is open for some kind of bilateral discussion. [But] I don’t see much enthusiasm in Tokyo for a full-scale, bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

Q: Can you give an example of something that might replace the TPP?

There could be a mini-lateral structure, for example, one that could include Vietnam and Japan. I hope somebody is thinking creatively about this.

Q: What stands out about the recent Trump-Abe summit?

I was frankly stunned that Abe comes to Washington and you have these people [on the US side] who had said, ‘We want to raise currency manipulation and market-access issues.’ They signaled this, including the president, and they did nothing. From what I’m told, the Japanese came prepared and were ready to talk about currency issues, for example and they were surprised that nobody [on the US side] raised it. Even on something where the Trump administration seemed to have a cogent policy view — there was no implementation.

Monday in Washington February 27, 2017

CRUDE STRATEGY: RETHINKING THE U.S. MILITARY COMMITMENT TO DEFEND PERSIAN GULF OIL. 2/27, 11:00am-12:30pm. Sponsor: Cato Institute. Speakers: Editor Charles Glaser, Professor of Political Science, Director, Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, GWU; Rosemary Kelanic, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Williams College; Author Kenneth Vincent, Visiting Fellow, Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, GWU; John Glaser, Associate Director, Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Moderator: Emma Ashford, Research Fellow, Cato Institute.

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WOMENOMICS: PROGRESS MADE AND CHALLENGES REMAINING. 2/27, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsors: Asia Society Policy Institute; Simon Chair in Political Economy, CSIS. Speakers: Matthew P. Goodman, Simon Chair in Political Economy, Senior Adviser, Asian Economics, CSIS; Haruno Yoshida, Vice Chair of the Board of Councilors, Keidanren, President, Representative Director, BT Japan Corporation; Mitsuru Claire Chino, Executive Officer, General Counsel, ITOCHU Corporation; Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; Moderator: Wendy Cutler, Vice President, Manager, DC Office, Asia Society Policy Institute.

REMAPPING IR: "GENDER, WAR, AND CONFLICT". 2/27, 12:30-1:30pm. Sponsor: Mortara Center for International Studies, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. Speaker: Laura Sjoberg, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Florida.

HOW TO TAKE RELIGION SERIOUSLY IN WORLD POLITICS: CAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES HELP? 2/27, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University. Speakers: Katherine Brown, Lecturer, Islamic Studies, Department of Religion and Theology, University of Birmingham; Jocelyn, Senior Fellow, Berkeley Center, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University; Andrew Davies, Reader, Public Understanding of Religion; Director, Edward Cadbury Center; Francis Davis, Professor of Religion, Communities, and Public Policy, Department of Theology and Religion, Director, Edward Cadbury Center for Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham.

ALIGNING PARTNERSHIPS FOR SECURITY: A HUMAN RIGHTS BASED APPROACH TO SECURITY AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION. 2/27, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Human Rights Initiative, CSIS. Speakers: JJ Messner, Executive Director, Fund For Peace; Leana D. Bresnahan, Chief, Human Rights Office, U.S. Southern Command; Albert Yelyang, National Network Coordinator, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding; Campbell Corrigan, Senior Global Director of Security, Newmont Mining Corporation; Shannon N. Green, Director, Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative, CSIS.

TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY: CHANGING AND DISRUPTING GLOBAL NORMS. 2/27, 6:00pm, Reception. Sponsors: Women’s Foreign Policy Group; New York University. Speakers: Anne Gearan, Diplomatic Correspondent, Washington Post; Julie Hirscheld, White House Correspondent, New York Times; Jay Solomon, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Wall Street Journal; Moderator: Elisabeth Bumiller, Washington Bureau Chief, New York Times

NEWSMAKER WITH DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS NANCY PELOSI AND CHUCK SCHUMER. 2/27, 2:00pm. Sponsor: National Press Club. Speakers: Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader; Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

JAPAN’S TRADE POLICY IN AN ERA OF GROWING ANTI-GLOBALISM. 2/27, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Vinod K. Aggarwal, Professor, Travers Family Senior Faculty Fellow, Department of Political Science, Director, APEC Study Center, University of California, Berkeley; Yukiko Fukagawa, Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University; Takashi Terada, Professor, Department of Political Science, Doshisha University, Operating Advisor, U.S.-Japan Research Institute; Shujiro Urata, Dean, Professor, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University; Moderator: Mireya Solís, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies.

PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH FOR GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY. 2/27, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: U.S-Japan Research Institute (USJI). Speakers: Hiroshi Ezura, Professor, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba; Jocelyn Kenneth Campbell Rose, Professor, Plant Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Sciences, Cornell University; James J. Giovannoni, Professor, ARS/BTI, Ithaca NY, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Plant Biology, Cornell University; Tohru Ariizumi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba.

COMBATING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE. 2/27, 6:00-8:00pm, Reception. Sponsor: World Affairs Council. Speakers: Salman Sufi, Director General, Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit (SRU), Punjab, Pakistan; Lyric Thompson, Director, Policy and Advocacy, International Center for Research on Women; Moderator: Barbara Wien, Professor, Masters Program in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, School for International Service, American University.