America’s Irrational Expectations About China’s Rise

President Barack H. Obama’s recently concluded trip to East Asia has created an irrational buzz in the American media about how the declining hegemon is increasingly behaving as such, and how China seems to be exploiting that perception to further its own advantages. The second part of this buzz is not contentious, since all great and small powers operate to maximize their advantages. However, the first part of that buzz is indeed controversial. This type of analysis may not be highly conducive to Obama’s palpable desire to promote multilateralism, both regionally and globally.
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Getting Serious About Denuclearizing Iran

On the front page of Saturday’s Financial Times (September 26, 2009) there was a somber looking picture of the American President Barack H. Obama, U.K.’s Premier Gordon Brown, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy heading toward a podium to address the world press condemning Iran’s secret uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom. The United States and its allies believe that Iran is getting closer to making nuclear weapons. However, the how much closer is still a matter of speculation.
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Turbulent Aspects of A Proposed “Grand Bargain”

The Indian Press was recently full of stories that Chinese naval officials have proposed to Admiral Timothy J. Keating, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) that the two countries ought to divide the world oceans into two camps: China would take Hawaii West and Indian Ocean and the U.S. would be in charge of Hawaii East. The Chinese officials were reported to have told their American counterparts “… you will not need to come to the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean and we will not need to go to the Eastern Pacific. If anything happens there, you can let us know and if something happens here, we will let you know.” Admiral Keating shared that story with the Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, in the context of China’s high interest in developing aircraft carriers.
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Managing the Potential Chaos in Cyberspace

When one looks for a “full spectrum” contest between the United States (the lone superpower) and China (its “peer competitor”), cyberspace stands out as a place where that competition is gathering momentum.  The Pentagon has accused Chinese hackers of breaking into the DOD computer system.  Now, we are hearing about a new round of cyber attacks in Britain and 103 other countries, including NATO members.  The alleged source of the attacks is the PRC.  Needless to say, Beijing is describing those allegations as “baseless.”  What is interesting is that the nature of the activities in cyberspace may not be described by the use of the phrase “competition” alone.  It also has the making of a non-kinetic war (kinetic space warfare is excluded from this analysis), with winners and losers. 

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Tidbits and Morsels (1)

These are brief comments on stories that caught my attention.  I will attempt to write this series on my website as frequently as I can.  If you would like to see more of these in the future, please drop me a note on my gmail account: ahrarie@gmail.com

OPEC AND GOD

OPEC is reducing its production by 2.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d).  That is a desperate attempt of the oil cartel to firm up the declining oil prices, which stand at $41.99/bbl.  Recall that only three or four months ago, the same barrel of oil was going for around $140/bbl. 

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Last Call: Denuclearizing Iran and North Korea

The Bush administration has thus far failed to resolve the nuclear conflict with two so-called “rogue states”–Iran and North Korea.  In the final three months of his tenure, George W. Bush is making last-ditch deals with Russia and China to put pressure on Tehran and Pyongyang, respectively.  The focus of those deals is to persuade North Korea, through China, to unravel its nuclear weapons program and dismantle its nuclear weapons.  Though the Six-Party Talks–involving the U.S., China, South and North Korea, Russia and Japan–have been helpful, they have not succeeded in extracting a political solution to the conflict.  In the case of Iran, Washington is persuading Russia to cooperate in passing tough U.N. sanctions unless Iran agrees to abandon its nuclear program.  Even though Iran has been insisting that it has no aspirations to develop nuclear weapons, the Bush administration continues to pooh-pooh that explanation and states that Iran’s real intentions are to do just that. 

 

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