The United States has affirmed strategic competition with both Russia and China as the central organizing principle of its national security policy. The announcement on October 20 by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because of alleged Russian violations might be a key plank of that policy.
The free flow of labor across national borders has been one of the defining facets of globalization. In recent years, concerns over the effects of increased migration on domestic workforces have led political leaders to consider tightening borders, dramatically altering patterns of human movement. In Asia, this could reverse the brain drain.
Many maritime disputes are motivated by material factors like oil, gas, and fishing stocks. Weaker countries tend to insist on sovereignty claims, at the risk of stretching legal definitions, while those with access to resources are inclined to maintain the status quo. The Timor-Leste-Australia dispute shows how sovereign claims risk weakening the international sea regime.
Multinational private contractors are taking the place of governmental agencies in assuming guardianship roles over asylum seekers in several countries. This development, amounting to the privatization of border controls, has disturbing consequences.
The United States, under President Donald Trump, has found a favored target of criticism in the World Trade Organization. While there is no doubt that the W.T.O. needs urgent reform, the framework it provides—offering the certainty and predictability inherent in a rules-based system—should not be abandoned.
Climate change means that drought is likely to scourge larger parts of the world, and more often, with serious impacts on agriculture and food supply. Drought episodes are generally tackled via ad hoc policy support measures. As the Australian case shows, such responses should be replaced with longer-term policy interventions across good and bad seasonal conditions.
China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 was greeted with great fanfare. But near silence has greeted the recent removal by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission of caps on foreign ownership of Chinese financial institutions. For Beijing, the apparent lack of interest might be an issue of too little, too late.
Having built the world’s second-largest economy on the back of its mammoth manufacturing sector, China is now contending with not just environmental problems but also economic obstacles. Policies that make businesses greener can raise costs, and negative impacts on labor must be mitigated.
Japan has traditionally imposed one of the most stringent immigration policies among developed nations. But with aging demographics, its increasingly critical labor shortage is prompting more radical approaches, including relaxing a virtual ban on unskilled workers.
With environmental and societal concerns coming to the forefront of global discussion, adopting green finance is a matter of highest urgency. In Asia, the shift has already begun. Banks, funds, and companies are increasingly building systems for and investing in greener projects.
Donald Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, has acted on his long-stated distaste for the International Criminal Court by declaring it dead to the U.S. Though a few of Bolton’s protestations have merit, the U.S. is setting a dangerous precedent in condemning the court.
The Asia-Pacific casino sector has undergone many changes in the past 15 years. The success of Macao and Singapore has encouraged other regional jurisdictions, such as Japan, to follow suit. The recent passage of Japan’s legalization bill caused heated debate across Japanese society, but stakeholders can engage the community to achieve positive outcomes.
The 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have caused ordinary Japanese to reevaluate their trust in the food supply. Skeptical of government assurances, consumers turned to private actors, who stepped up their regulatory efforts to fill the trust gap.
Following World War II, the global economy moved rapidly toward further integration. Now, this process has stopped, and is in fact reversing itself. With countries increasingly engaging in economic nationalism, massive changes are coming, for economies big and small.
Carbon pricing has been widely considered for the past 25 years as a useful tool to help combat climate change. Adoption has progressed, but the pace has been glacial. As the U.S. retreats from climate change leadership, China, as shown by its embrace of emissions trading, is stepping in to fill the vacuum.
Australia and New Zealand have long viewed the Pacific Islands as part of their sphere of influence. China’s increasing engagement in the region is now throwing that in doubt. Canberra and Wellington must reconfigure their regional strategies to be more inclusive, and recognize Pacific Island states as sovereign actors in their own right.
Over the past couple of decades, Japan has indicated its desire to play a bigger role in Central Asia and has gradually increased its developmental efforts in the region. However, Japan’s engagement in the region remains overwhelmingly government-driven. To make a bigger impact, it must increase private sector participation.