Will Trump Complete the Foreign Policy Pivot to Asia?

Will Trump Complete the Foreign Policy Pivot to Asia?

James Mattis visited Asia this month on his first foreign trip as the new head of the Pentagon. It was less a get-acquainted visit than a damage control tour. His boss, President Donald Trump, had threatened to escalate tensions with China and prevent North Korea from...
Can Korean Millennials Transform the Country’s Political System?

Can Korean Millennials Transform the Country’s Political System?

The street protests of the Arab Spring happened largely because of disgruntled youth. The unemployment rate for young people in the Middle East and North Africa verged on the catastrophic in 2012: 42 percent for Tunisia and 38 percent for Egypt. Moreover, the rates...
Should South Korea Get the Bomb?

Should South Korea Get the Bomb?

In 2012, a year before he died, the distinguished political scientist Kenneth Waltz wrote an article in Foreign Affairs arguing that everyone should stop worrying about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. He didn’t think that Iran was likely to voluntarily abandon its...
East Asia Is Invisible

East Asia Is Invisible

Americans don’t care about East Asia. That’s a strong statement. So, let me make a few qualifications. First, Americans love Chinese, Japanese, and (increasingly) Korean food. They like to visit East Asia. They will, on occasion, watch a Hong Kong action film or the...
Iran Deal: Is Obama Channeling Nixon?

Iran Deal: Is Obama Channeling Nixon?

One of the greatest moments of U.S. diplomacy in the 20th century was Nixon’s opening to China. It was a surprise, a breathtaking opportunity, and a true game-changer. It was also one of the strangest political matches of all time. A president who had established his...
Fast Track Bill Ignores Lessons of Financial Crisis

Fast Track Bill Ignores Lessons of Financial Crisis

In a move that elicited a collective groan from virtually all of progressive America, the Obama administration and congressional Republicans reached a deal on April 16 on so-called “fast track” trade authority. This is the legislation needed to ram new trade...
Empire, Capitalism, and Human Trafficking in Northeast Asia

Empire, Capitalism, and Human Trafficking in Northeast Asia

As a Pentagon report revealed widespread sexual abuse in the U.S. military, the mayor of Osaka, Japan, Toru Hashimoto, came up with a remedy. Speaking to a U.S. military commander, he suggested that U.S. marines stationed in Japan make more use of Okinawa’s sex...
Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea

Breaking Out the Bush Playbook on Korea

In the current crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Obama administration is virtually repeating the 2004 Bush playbook, one that derailed a successful diplomatic agreement forged by the Clinton administration to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. While...
Raising the Stakes in Asia

Raising the Stakes in Asia

This article is part of a weekly FPIF series on the Obama administration’s “Pacific Pivot,” which examines the implications of the U.S. military buildup in the Asia-Pacific—both for regional politics and for the so-called “host”...
Where’s Joe the Plumber When You Need Him?

Where’s Joe the Plumber When You Need Him?

Four years ago, a chance encounter between Barack Obama and Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher injected inequality right into the heart of the 2008 presidential race. Obama explained to the then-unknown Wurzelbacher that “when you spread the...
Marching Orders for Japan’s Reactionaries

Marching Orders for Japan’s Reactionaries

This article is part of a weekly FPIF series on the Obama administration’s “Pacific Pivot,” which examines the implications of the U.S. military buildup in the Asia-Pacific—both for regional politics and for the so-called “host”...
Agent Orange on Okinawa: The Smoking Gun

Agent Orange on Okinawa: The Smoking Gun

Since 1945, the small Japanese island of Okinawa has been unwilling host to a massive U.S. military presence and a storehouse for a witches’ brew of dangerous munitions and chemicals, including nerve gas, mustard gas, and nuclear missiles. However, there is one...