Last month, President Barack Obama held a world anti-terrorism summit in Washington, D.C., calling on more than 60 nations to join the fight against “violent extremism.” During the summit, he reiterated his position not to call war against Islamic State (IS) as a religious one and emphasized the need to address the social origins of terrorism, such as twisted interpretations of Islam, local economic grievances, and IS propaganda. This followed a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen, and Ottawa, and the White House’s request to Congress for a new war authorizationagainst the terrorist group. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, South Korea, and Japan on the recent development on the fight against IS.
Chinese editorials expressed dissatisfaction in the way the United States has dealt with terrorism. (more…)Continue Reading →
The terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people including the editor and four other cartoonists, generated a public outcry against terrorism and a controversy surrounding freedom of speech in France, Europe, and the world. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the terror attack.
Chinese media unanimously cautioned that free speech has limits and suggested that the limit was pushed too far in the case of Charlie Hebdo. (more…)Continue Reading →
In this post, we examine the contrasting reactions of Russia, China and India to last week’s bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon. Commentaries from these Asian powers reflect the differences in their attitudes on how to define and respond to problems of terrorism.
Editorials expressed mixed views on how the Boston bombings may impact US-Russia security relations while also using the incident to criticize US actions and policies against terrorism.
President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed their commitment tostrengthen US- Russia security coordination in a recent telephone conversation. However, others expressed skepticism:
- Though Russia’s Federal Security Service and the FBI have promised to focus on “all aspects of the challenge,” intelligence sharing efforts are “hampered by mistrust, bureaucracy, and self-interest,” said Russian intelligence expert Andrei Soldatov.
- “The Boston terrorist attack may provide for an uptick in the U.S.-Russian security partnership, but we should be careful not to overdramatize its significance for overall U.S.-Russia relations,” wrote George Washington University’s Cory Welt. “The history of post-9/11 relations suggests that a stable and constructive U.S.-Russian relationship cannot be built mainly on a counterterrorism foundation.”
- Duma Deputy Speaker and Liberal Democratic Party member Vlidimir Zhirinovsky predicted that the U.S. faces a grim future of repeated attacks. “There is a clash of civilizations. The United States bombs the Islamic world, and what can they do in return? As long as Islamic countries are being bombed, attacks will occur in London and New York.”
Several editorials criticized the U.S. for holding double standards regarding terrorism (more…)Continue Reading →
The car bomb targeted at an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi has accentuated the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the imposition of sanctions on its oil exports. India in particular is having a hard time responding to the ramifications of this attack. Today’s post highlights the variety of Indian viewpoints, as well as reactions from China and Russia.
This incident has castIndia’s diplomatic and strategic predicament in a harsh light. Indian commentaries reflect a deep anxiety and uncertainty over what this means for the future of Indian foreign policy toward the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as its energy supply and relations with theU.S.
- The Business Standard says New Delhi should not revise its current approach, and must reject the notion that it has to choose between Iran and Israel.
- But as C. Raja Mohan argues in The Indian Express, “Unlike in the past, India no longer has the option of doing nothing….While engaging all sides in a crisis is important, Delhi must recognize that circumstances will force its hand, sooner than later.” Yet even a great-power realist like Mohan is not outlining specific foreign policy prescriptions and instead suggests the need for domestic political unity, reflecting perhaps the enormous complexity ofIndia’s dilemma.
- Similarly, Bharat Karnad, a hard power nationalist at the Center for Policy Research only suggests that Indiashould tell Iranand Israelto keep their disputes away from Indian soil, and “publicly proclaim a policy that makes it clear that this country will not be made the site for a clash of strictly Western Asian interests.” An editorial in The Times of India makes a similar point.
A few analysts are more explicit in their foreign policy recommendations: (more…)Continue Reading →
This past weekend, the U.S. commemorated the ten year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Across the globe, other countries also took a moment to reflect on this day. In this post, we examine views from Russia, India, China and Japan.
InRussia, commentators asserted thatU.S.unilateralism in the “war on terror” has interfered in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. At the same time, they concede that the Kremlin also lost an opportunity to deepen U.S.-Russian relations in the 9/11 aftermath.
- The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that although the 9/11 attacks were “provocative and cruel,” they also led to broad international cooperation that has helped to bring global counter-terrorism cooperation to a higher level. The Foreign Ministry emphasized thatRussia supports an international coalition of nations, as opposed to some form of unilateralism, as the best mechanism for battling against the specter of terrorism.
Multiple commentaries described the 9/11 tragedy and subsequent global fight against terrorism as a missed opportunity for the Kremlin to boost ties with the West:
- The Moscow Times, which tends to express opinion that the Rising Powers Initiative characterizes as Pro-Western Liberal, favoring modernization and integration with the West, noted that although U.S.-Russian cooperation got off to a strong start after 9/11, it quickly fizzled. “Moscow was counting on getting something in return fromWashington…butWashington simply tookMoscow’s assistance for granted, interpreting it as a response that any civilized country would have taken to support a partner hit by a major terrorist attack.”
- Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, corroborated this view, asserting that “good will and compromise on strategic issues are always the result of tough bargaining and never reciprocity.” Ultimately, Lukyanov concludes,Russia’s tough stance towards theU.S. was “the result of feeling that it had been betrayed,” leadingMoscow to conclude that “only power is respected in this world.”
- Another editorial in The Moscow Times attributes the dramatic increase in opium production and drug addiction-related deaths in Russia as an offshoot of the decline in U.S.-Russian security cooperation. The author insists that Washington has a “moral responsibility” to help Moscow control the flow of drugs from Afghanistan.
- RIA Novosti military commentator Konstantin Bogdanov remarked, “If there’s anything that the ten years of the ‘war on terror’ have demonstrated, it’s that the world leader is incredibly isolated. America is stubbornly and methodically trying to impose its own designs on a desperately recalcitrant world.” As the state news agency, RIA Novosti’s views are close to the current government position and reflect what the Rising Powers Initiative has identified as the Great Power Balancers viewpoint—those that seek great power status in relations with U.S. and China.
In India, 9/11 was an occasion to reflect on the country’s own problems with terrorism, in the context ofAmerica’s war on terror over the past ten years. (more…)Continue Reading →
How is the Asian region responding to the death of Osama bin Laden? In this blog post, we examine the domestic viewpoints of India, Iran, Russia, China and Japan, especially their reflections on terrorism, U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and the role of Pakistan.
In India, most commentaries focused on India’s relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan, while some reflected on the ongoing democratization processes in the Middle East.
- The Hindu described the revelation of bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan as a “moment of truth…similar to the discovery that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were launched from its territory,” but it nevertheless urged restraint in Indian diplomacy: “While it may be tempting to see bin Laden’s killing at Abbottabad as confirmation of India’s worst fears, New Delhi must resist the temptation to crow, and must push ahead with the peace process with the civilian government of Pakistan.” The Indian Express had a similar view, saying “India has to continue to be innovative and largehearted in engaging with as large a section of the Pakistani establishment as it can.
- The Times of India wondered whether the U.S. would accelerate its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and expressed deep worry that this could “easily lead to chaos with serious security ramifications for the region, including India.” The Indian Express urged more cooperation with the U.S. on Af-Pak peace: “The death in Abbottabad is a reminder of the realism needed to negotiate the new great game being played for Afghanistan after the drawdown of American troop presence….Given its limited leverage within Pakistan, India must also be engaged with the US and the international community on steps towards Af-Pak peace, to prevent the re-emergence of Afghanistan as a hotbed for extremism and also to enable political stability in Pakistan.
- Other commentaries in the Hindustan Times, Economic Times, and Indian Express all noted that al-Qaeda had originally sought to overthrow the regimes of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but now the pro-democracy movements of the “Arab spring” are showing the region’s disenfranchised youth an alternative to religious radicalism in pushing for political change.
An analysis by Semira N. Nikou of the United States Institute for Peace notes that the general reaction in Iran “discounted Osama bin Laden’s death while at the same time calling for a faster U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, since the pretext for going to war was eliminated.”
- Ramin Mehmanparast, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, said the “US and their allies have no more excuse to deploy forces in the Middle East under pretext of fighting terrorism.” In a similar tone, defense minister Ahmad Vahidi emphasized the casualties from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, commenting that Americans had “inflicted much damage to the region to kill only one individual.” (more…)