Contemplating International Affairs in Izu

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Over the last day and a half, I’ve been seeing as much as possible of the area around the Izu Peninsula in Japan. For those who want to venture out and see scenery like that above, Hana Fubuki is a great place to stay with seven different, private natural hot springs baths. This ryokan in Izu Kogen is fantastic. Only flaw is that they didn’t have sandals to fit size 15 feet. I hobbled along anyway. William “Miura Anjin” Adams,…

Guest Post by Patrick Doherty: OAS Kerfluffle Points to New Hemispheric Consensus

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(Patrick Doherty directs the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba 21st Centry Policy Initiative.) With the Organization of American States diplomatic maneuvering around the exclusion of Cuba hitting the Washington Post today, it seems like a good time to cut through all the inside baseball and get right to the real important message: Latin America has made Cuba its cause celebre, and the analogy is to Palestine. In other words, if the United States wants to do business with the region and to…

Japan May Be Running Fast Again

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I took this picture this morning at Shibuya station in Tokyo, watching a real mob of people pack themselves in a 12-person thick long line entry into the Ginza line subway where train cars arrive every two minutes. It’s quite hard to imagine after seeing this mad morning rush that on paper Japan’s economy has been contracting at a staggering rate — at least until recently. There are new industrial output figures that were just released here that show a…

Hyping the GITMO Boys Threat

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After spending some time in China recently listening to the stories of Chinese officials and others on what roles they played or in what circumstances they or their families suffered during the Cultural Revolution, I can easily imagine twenty or thirty years from now similar historic reflections in the form of special lectures, movies, even Broadway theater productions on the topic of “The Gitmo Boys.” The Gitmo boys are the terrorists and suspected (but not proven) terrorists that America and…

The Washington Note on the Road

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(Steve Clemons and Shanghai Municipal Government official Cao Yang at the Shanghai Museum; photo credit: Peter Pi) This past week, TWN‘s Steve Clemons has been in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, and Shenzhen. Today, we are flying to Tokyo. Monday will be DC. Tuesday and Wednesday — Bonn, Germany. Thursday and Friday — Dallas, Texas. I have a great deal of material to share in the coming days and weeks about observations on the political, economic, environmental, even the religious circumstances in…

Is it Possible to Press the Reset Button on U.S.-Russian Relations?

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Among the Obama administration’s many promised changes to the United States’ strategic posture is an intention to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russian relations. Many Russia analysts have argued that while a strategic partnership may be impossible, Washington and Moscow have enough mutual interests to develop, in Nikolas Gvosdev’s words, “a relationship characterized by a major pragmatic approach to resolving issues and preventing disagreements from flaring up into full-scale crises.” Similarly, Dmitri Simes, Thomas Graham and the Committee on U.S….

Oakley on the China Trip

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Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner gives me this look when he’s had it. “China, China, China. . . All you talk about is China. Enough.” (in Weimaranerese of course) On the other hand, he didn’t think that the fashionable Camp Doha-inspired reflector collars (suggested by regular reader POA) were such a bad idea. I’m off to Tokyo tomorrow. — Steve Clemons

What Should Obama Do When Kim Jong Il is Not “Kim Jong Well”?

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Most national security analysts see the provocative second nuclear test by North Korea as a direct “poke” at Barack Obama — testing his resolve in a high stakes international stand-off and demanding senior level US attention. These analysts are partly correct, but the other part of the equation is that North Korea’s nuclear gaming and short range missile launches today are embarrassing for the leadership in Beijing. According to one Chinese international security expert once affiliated with Peking University’s International…