2013 was rife with diplomatic challenges to the world order, including: increasing tensions in the East China Sea, China’s new air defense zone, Japan’s new active security policy under Prime Minister Abe,the U.S. government shutdown, Russia’s takeover of Syria’s chemical weapons deal, and the NSA spying scandal. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on their assessment of international developments in 2013 and prospects for 2014.
Commentary in China characterized 2013 as a year of internal reform and envisioned continued domestic and international growth for China in 2014. (more…)Continue Reading →
On December 5, former South African President Nelson Mandela, died at age 95. Mandela served 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities and led his country into a new era of freedom and democracy. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil on the legacy of one of the greatest political leaders in history.
The media and government officials praised Mandela for his contributions to South Africa’s development. Mandela’s death dominated major Chinese TV channels, while Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine, turned its search page background all-gray in mourning for Mandela. (more…)Continue Reading →
On November 5, 2013, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched its first unmanned Mars-bound spacecraft Mangalyaan. If the mission succeeds, India will become the first Asian nation to follow the United States, Russia, and Europe in conducting a successful Mars expedition. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentaries from India, China, Russia, and Brazil on the implications of this new development.
Soon after the successful launch of Mangalyaan, congratulatory notes started pouring in from political leaders, praising the ISRO and its scientists. (more…)Continue Reading →
In 2012, the Rising Powers Initiative published an edited volume entitled Worldviews of Aspiring Powers: Domestic Foreign Policy Debates in China, India, Iran, Japan, and Russia, edited by Henry R. Nau and Deepa M. Ollapally. The Worldviews volume identifies the most important domestic schools of thought within each country and connects them to the history and institutional development of each nation. In this Policy Brief, Russia chapter author Andrew Kuchins examines how Russia’s foreign policy has evolved over the past two years from the lens of President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, conflict in the Middle East, and U.S.-Russia relations.
Continue Reading →
Rajesh Rajagopalan, a participant in RPI’s Nuclear Debates in Asia and Worldviews of Aspiring Powersprojects and professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, recently wrote an op-ed for The Economic Times where he argued that India’s strategic nonalignment strategy and its strict liability law on nuclear energy plants built by foreign companies in India severely hamper New Delhi’s foreign policy options toward China, Russia, the United States, and others:
Over the next few days, PM Manmohan Singh will summit with the leaders of Russia and China. Along with his recent meeting with US President Barack Obama, it completes a trifecta of sorts. Unfortunately, in this great power trifecta, India appears to have neither skill nor luck. At the end of his term, the PM has the unenviable task of trying to climb out of the strategic hole into which we have dug ourselves.
The Moscow summit should have been easy. India and Russia have long had close strategic ties, which though frayed sometimes by India’s recent closeness to Washington, still remains strong. Much of India’s military equipment still comes from Russia, and it has been a stalwart supporter of India in many international forums, including the NSG when it decided to change rules to allow India access to international nuclear commerce. Moscow hoped to benefit from that change by selling India nuclear power reactors.
But that hope was seriously dented by India’s nuclear liability bill, which threatened to slap equipment suppliers like Russia with liability for possible accidents. Though much of the nuclear liability debate in India was about the impact on US, the law is applicable to all suppliers, including Russia. Over the last two years, the Indian government has tried to make amends by proposing a variety of stratagems to reduce supplier liability, but it has yet to convince anyone, including Moscow, that these will work.
The latest effort revolves around Indian public sector insurers possibly providing insurance to suppliers, which defeats the purpose of the law because these will be underwritten by the Indian taxpayer. Of course, it is not clear that this is acceptable to Moscow, so the PM has a difficult task in convincing the Russians. But this was all unnecessary, a striking example of New Delhi’s propensity to shoot itself in the foot. (more…)Continue Reading →
The United States’ prolonged budget upheaval has cast doubts on America’s role as a leader in Asia. Would a decline in U.S. power create new opportunities for Chinese leadership in Asia? In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea on the prospects of a potential leadership reconfiguration in Asia in light of ongoing U.S. domestic struggles.
In China, newspapers uniformly criticized the United States for failing to quickly resolve the government shutdown and called on China to reduce its dependence on the U.S. economy. (more…)Continue Reading →
On October 1, the U.S. government shutdown for the first time in seventeen years, generating enormous anxieties over a potential default on U.S. debts and its consequences for the world economy and U.S. foreign policy. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, and South Korea on the U.S. government shutdown.
Chinese newspapers focused on the October 17 debt ceiling deadline, calling on the United States to resolve the government gridlock and ensure the safety of China’s investments in the U.S. (more…)Continue Reading →
On September 14, the United States and Russia reached a sweeping deal that called for Syria’s chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, ending a political gridlock over American airstrikes that severely divided Washington and the international community. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea on the U.S.-Russia agreement and Russia’s role in the negotiation process.
Earlier in the month, President Putin’s New York Times op-ed to Americans on the Syrian crisis and U.S. Senator John McCain’s response to Putin in Russian newspaper Pravda evoked a flurry of analysis and opinion. (more…)Continue Reading →
Earlier this month, a jury in Florida acquitted George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year old African-American Trayvon Martin. The contentious trial and long-awaited verdict roused a range of opinions by the international press with much of the commentary focused on the role of race in the shooting and ensuing response. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, India, and Russia on race relations in the United States.
- The South China Morning Post editorialized that while “eliminating racism may never be possible,” the United States should focus on practical changes in its gun laws to ensure that “gun-toting citizens who appoint themselves law enforcers have no place.”
China’s own unique demographics – over 50 ethnic minority groups, though Han Chinese comprise around 91 percent of the population – provide an interesting perspective on race relations:
- In an April 2012 Global Times op-ed, Rong Xiaoqing noted that racial tensions in the heterogeneous United States are often more complex than they appear at first glance. Unlike “Hollywood movies where good guys and bad guys are so clearly labeled,” he wrote that a multitude of factors mean the real world “isn’t a question of black and white, but of shades of grey.”
- Covering racial tensions in Los Angeles today, Xinhua acknowledged progress in easing conflict but declared “there are still problems that need to be addressed at a communal level 20 years after the Los Angeles riots.”
- Xinhua reported on a recent Gallup opinion poll that showed over half of African-Americans felt“dissatisfied with the societal treatment of their race” in the United States. Xinhua indicated, however, this view has significantly improved since Barack Obama was elected president.
Media outlets in India commented on legal structures in the United States and the raw emotional impact of the verdict on African-American families:
- The Hindu led off its editorial on the Zimmerman verdict by declaring “race has once again torn a deep gash through the conscience of the United States.” Citing statistics on the experience of African-Americans interacting with law enforcement and the courts, The Hindu concluded “there is literally not a square inch of ground for [black Americans] to stand on.”
- In an op-ed for International Business Times, Palash Ghosh empathized with the sadness and deep emotions he saw at protests in the United States after the verdict. He wrote that for “black people, particularly for black parents with sons, the tragedy of Trayvon Martin strikes at the very heart of their worst insecurities, fear and anxieties.”
Russian commentary on the Zimmerman verdict was largely silent due to preoccupation with U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, but some outlets contrasted protests in the United States with recent demonstrations in Moscow:
- Natalia Antonova, editor-in-chief of The Moscow News, remarked that protests in the United States following the verdict were “an amazing show of self-restraint – as opposed to the nationalism-fueled protest that took place on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow when football fan Yegor Sviridov was shot dead by a man from Russia’s North Caucasus region following an argument on the sidewalk.”
- The death of Kimani Gray in March 2013 – an African-American teenager shot by two NYPD officers – elicited strong criticism in a Russia Times op-ed, pointing to Gray’s death as evidence of the imperfect model the United States sets as a global leader. “Kimani Gray’s murder has become a symbol of America in the ‘Age of Obama’ – a country that presents itself as the protector of justice and righteousness while perpetrating injustice and genocide at home and abroad. Whether killed by a New York cop or a Predator drone, a neighborhood watch coordinator or a U.S. Marine, countless innocents are being killed by the United States and its machinery of death and oppression.”