Making China Great Again

The final of the World Snooker Championship took place this week in Sheffield, the hardscrabble town in England’s north perhaps best known as the setting for the movie The Full Monte. Sheffield is a former industrial center so snookered by globalization that the laid-off steel workers in that 1997 film decide to become male strippers to make ends meet. Twenty years later, Sheffield’s steel...
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China and the Opportunity Costs of 9/11

“The upcoming summit between China and the United States will feature a major plan for reducing the military arsenals of the two countries, an initiative to stabilize and grow the global economy, a follow-up effort to further reduce carbon emissions, and a brand new proposal to address global poverty and health pandemics.” Oops, wrong press release. Let me see, ah, here it is: “The summit...
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The Missing

There are several types of missing persons. Some missing people are missed so publicly that their absence is a presence. Vanished children reappeared on milk cartons and then later in amber alerts. American soldiers, killed in action or MIA, look out at us from rows of photos like headstones in the newspaper on Memorial Day. Mothers assembled with signs and photos in Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires...
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Asia Smiles for the Cameras

It wasn’t long ago that certain pundits were predicting war in Asia. Back in the spring, the conflict over the South China Sea was heating up as China sparred with Vietnam over an oil exploration rig and with the Philippines over disputed reefs. Japan and China, meanwhile, were butting heads over a string of uninhabited rocks in the ocean between them. South Korea and Japan, both U.S. allies,...
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The Dance of Superpowers

By now, the phrase “Pacific Pivot” gives off a whiff of nostalgia. The Obama administration’s announcement of its intention three years ago to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward Asia seems to belong to an entirely different era. It was a time when the United States had the luxury to think geopolitically: to craft long-term policies rather than simply respond to immediate crises. The United...
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Is China’s Rise Still Peaceful?

Last month I visited Ningxia province, in China’s northwest. It is a relatively poor region, with a large Muslim population, a considerable stretch of desert, and a growing petrochemical industry. It is far from the unrest of Xinjiang province to the west and the maritime disputes of the South China Sea to the east. Ningxia is leveraging its Muslim heritage to attract investment from the Arab...
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