Day: January 26, 2013

Special Relationship at the Crossroads

 

Obama-Cameron

That Europe is caught up in a major financial crisis isn’t news to anyone.  Standing right at the crossroads, the Eurozone will either muddle through and risk another crisis onset in the near term or having scraped through its worst crisis in decades take strong steps on the necessary medium and long-term reforms.

But what our British friends may not realize is how the vaunted special relationship is also coming to a crossroads.  Prime Minister David Cameron’s large-sized gamble on the UK’s future European destiny has sent ripples of worry across the West, not least in Washington.  The US’s senior Europe diplomat Philip Gordon made this abundantly clear.  The Obama Administration’s view coalesced in 2011 in the run up to Cameron’s shaky performance at the emergency EU summit in Brussels.

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Saturday Morning Linkage

Rubber_ducks

  • The Mali campaign continues. As does the Syrian civil war. And the UN is seeking an expanded mandate in the Congo.
  • Anonymous hacks the United States Sentencing Commission’s website in retaliation for aggressive prosecution of Swartz.
  • Jennifer Lind argues that Japanese politicians must confront their country’s past.
  • Anton Stezhnev isn’t so sure about Chris Fair et al.’s new piece in the Atlantic on drone strikes and Pakistani public opinion.
  • Alex Harrowell rounds up some pretty random financial-crisis stuff. There unifying theme, of sorts, is in the title.

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USC-CSIS Conference on Korean Unification (3): DPRK ‘Sovereignty’ is a Sino-Russian Fig-Leaf to Slow Unification and Check US power

CSIS Korea Project

Here are part one and part two of this post. I spoke last Tuesday at a USC-CSIS conference on Korean unification. I learned a lot, and it was very good. If you’re interested in unification, start here with the primary report on which the conference was based. The principal investigators said a final wrap-up report will come at some point, and I’ll put up that link when it arrives.

My comments below are on the papers presented on Tuesday about neighboring states’ reactions to Korean unification. These papers aren’t publicly posted yet, so all the comments might not make sense. But in the interest of completism, I’m putting this up to round out my thinking on this excellent unification project. (For my earlier thoughts on dealing with NK, try this; for my travelogue of my trip to the DPRK, try this.)

My big beef with these sorts of conferences on NK – I go to a lot – is that inevitably outsiders, especially Chinese scholars, start laying down all sorts of guidelines, restrictions, parameters, etc. for unification, as if it’s our right to muck around in this thing. I can understand the national interest in doing so. But we shouldn’t have the temerity to try to legitimate our muddying of the waters in what is really an internal family affair. It would also help a lot if the Chinese would stop talking (not so much at this conference, but definitely at others I’ve gone to) about how Korea needs to respect its wishes, because China is big and important now, post-2008 Olympics. I heard one guy once even say that China is now the ‘veto-player’ on unification. That’s true of course in realist sense, but that sorta cockiness infuriates Koreans who’ve really soured on China in the last decade. I see the same kind of emergent Chinese bullying on unification that Southeast Asian littoral states see on the South China Sea. So I try to call that out whenever it seems necessary.

Anyway, here on my thoughts on Japan, Russia, and China’s role in this thing.

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