Sunday, July 29, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 29,2018

INDO-PACIFIC BUSINESS FORUM. 7/30, 8:30am-3:30pm. Sponsor: U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speakers: Karan Bhatia, President, Government Affairs & Policy, General Electric; Hon. Katrina Cooper, Deputy Head of Mission, Australia; Amb. Jeffrey Gerrish, Acting President, EXIM Bank and Deputy United States Trade Representative; Mark Green, Administrator, US Agency for International Development; Tadashi Maeda, Governor, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; H.E. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador of Singapore to the US; Matt Pottinger, NSC Senior Director for Asia Affairs; H.E. Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to the US.

SPACE FORCE: THE PROS AND CONS OF CREATING A NEW MILITARY BRANCH. 7/30, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Deborah Lee James, Former Secretary, U.S. Air Force; Steve Jacques, Managing Partner, Velos CC; Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign policy, The Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair; Frank A. Rose, Senior Fellow, Security and Strategy, Foreign Policy; Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning, Secure World Foundation.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? ONE YEAR AFTER THE ROHINGYA CRISIS. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Heritage Foundation. Speakers: Amb. Kelley E. Currie, Representative of the United States on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager, Amnesty International; U Kyaw Min, Former Member of Parliament, Burma; Olivia Enos, Policy Analyst, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation; Moderator: Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MILITARY CLOUD: BEST PRACTICES, INNOVATION AND SECURITY. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: Roger Waldron, President, Coalition for Government Procurement; William Schneider Jr., Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; Tod Lindberg, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

HALLYU AT HIGH TIDE: KOREAN CULTURE TAKES OFF IN THE UNITED STATES. 7/30, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsors: KEI; Korea Society. Speakers: Tamar Herman, Billboard K-pop Columnist, Forbes Contributing Writer; Luz Lanzot, Program Officer for Education, Korea Society; Adam Wojciechowicz, Public Affairs Specialist; Korean Culture Center, Washington, DC; Moderator: Jenna Gibson, Director of Communications, KEI.

THE NUCLEAR FUTURE: CAN THERE BE ORDER WITHOUT TRUST? 7/30, 12:30-2:00pm. Sponsor: Stimson. Speakers: Heather Williams, Lecturer in Defense Studies, Kings College London; Justin Anderson, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Rebecca Gibbons, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Sara Kutchesfahani, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; Michael Krepon, Co-Founder, Stimson; Hannah Haegeland, Research Analyst, South Asia Program, Stimson.

BOOK LAUNCH: GOVERNING THE UNGOVERNABLE: INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS FOR DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN PAKISTAN. 7/30, 3:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Asia Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: author Ishrat Husain, Global Fellow, Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration (Karachi); Moderator: Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Monday in Washington July 23, 2018

ECONOMIC MOBILITY AROUND THE WORLD: NEW DATA AND EVIDENCE. 7/23, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Eric A. Hanushek, AEI; John McArthur, Brookings Institution; Ambar Narayan, World Bank; Scott Winship, Joint Economic Committee; Moderator: Aparna Mathur, AEI.

THE UNMAKING OF JIHADISM: THE CURRENT EFFORT TO COMBAT VIOLENT EXTREMISM. 7/23, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Transnational Threats Project, CSIS. Speakers: Mitchell Silber, Principal and Co-founder, The Guardian Group; Jesse Morton, Founder and Co-director, Parallel Networks; Dr. Seth G. Jones, Harold Brown Chair, Director, Transnational Threats Project, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS.

CELEBRATING NASA'S 60TH ANNIVERSARY. 7/23, 1:00-2:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: CSIS Aerospace Security Project. Speaker: Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, NASA; Sean O'Keefe, ​ Senior Advisor, CSIS, Former Administrator, NASA; Charlie Bolden, Former Administrator, NASA; Moderator: Todd Harrison, Director, CSIS Aerospace Security Project.

VERIFYING NORTH KOREAN DENUCLEARIZATION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? 7/23, 1:30-4:45pm. Sponsor: CSIS; International Crisis Group. Speakers: Andrew Schwartz, Chief Communications, Officer, CSIS; John Hamre, President and CEO, CSIS; Stephen Pomper, Program Director, United States, International Crisis Group; Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS; Richard Johnson, Senior Director, Fuel Cycle and Verification, Nuclear Threat Initiative; William Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; David Nakamura, StaffWriter, The Washington Post; Christopher Green, Senior Adviser, Korean Peninsula, International Crisis Group; General (Ret.) Walter “Skip” Sharp, Former Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea; Sue Mi Terry, Korea Chair, CSIS.

RINI SOEMARNO, MINISTER FOR STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES OF INDONESIA. 7/23, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Rini Soemarno, Minister for State-Owned Enterprises of Indonesia.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 16, 2016

ANNUAL HALEH ESFANDIARI FORUM WITH SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN. 7/16. 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Middle East Program, Wilson Center. Speaker: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Moderator: Jane Harman, Director, President, CEO, Wilson Center.

PULLING AT THE STRINGS: KREMLIN’S INTERFACE IN ELECTIONS. 7/16, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA); Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-FL).

WITH PARTNERS LIKE THESE: STRATEGIES AND TOOLS FOR COUNTERTERRORISM COOPERATION. 7/16, 3:00-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: International Security Program, CSIS. Speakers: Author, Dr. Stephen Tankel, Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University, With Us and Against Us; Alice Hunt Friend, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, CSIS; Colby Goodman, Director, Security Assistance Monitor, Center for International Policy; Moderator: Melissa Dalton, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, International Security Program, CSIS, Director, Cooperative Defense Project, CSIS.

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ENERGY TRENDS: NUCLEAR AND NON-NUCLEAR. 7/16, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Henry D. Sokolski, Adjunct Professor, IWP, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

INTERACTIVE ROUNDTABLE WITH LEADING MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. 7/16, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT), European Parliament Liaison Office in DC. Speakers: Emma McClarkin, member of European Parliament; Tanja Fajon, member of European Parliament. Moderator: Lisa Schroeter, President, WIIT.

EMBASSY OF UZBEKISTAN. 7/16, 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsor: World Affairs Council. Speaker: His Excellency Javlon Vahaboc, Ambassador of Uzbekistan.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Yes, Japan has an alt-right

July 2018, Langley Equire

American fascism: Reading the signs of the times

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By IAN BURUMA, AsiaTimes, JULY 13, 2018

Comparing today’s demagogues with Adolf Hitler is almost always unwise. Such alarmism tends to trivialize the actual horrors of the Nazi regime and distracts attention from our own political problems. But if alarmism is counterproductive, the question remains: At what point are democracies truly in danger? What was unimaginable only a few years ago – a US president insulting democratic allies and praising dictators, or calling the free press “enemies of the people,” or locking up refugees and taking away their children – has become almost normal now. When will it be too late to sound the alarm?

Great books have been written about this very question. Giorgio Bassani’s masterpiece, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, describes the lives of bourgeois Italian Jews under fascism. Slowly, step by step, a legal and social noose tightens around these cultivated Italians, who took their lives of comfort and influence for granted. And yet, in different ways, they are in denial. The narrator’s father even joins the Fascist Party, while the wealthier Finzi-Continis withdraw into their ever more isolated family circle. Pride and a lack of imagination blind them to the danger they are in until it is too late and they are deported to the death camps.

The human incapacity to see what is coming also animates Sebastian Haffner’s memoir Defying Hitler, written in 1939, a year after he left his native Germany. Haffner, later a journalist and author, was a law student who witnessed how the Nazi dictatorship became lethal, again incrementally, like the persecution of Jews in Italy. He saw how his fellow law students, none of whom were Nazis, came to accept each step – racial laws, abrogation of the constitution, and so on – precisely because they were couched in legal terms. There never seemed to be a point at which they recognized that an intolerable line had been crossed and only resistance or exile would do. Haffner, who was not Jewish, did recognize it; he left in the year that synagogues were torched and Jews driven from their homes.

Under most circumstances, there are probably more Finzi-Continis than Haffners. It is hard to sleep well in a state of alarm. Life is easier if the world seems normal, even if it is anything but.

There are many ways people stick their heads in the sand, and some parallels between our own time and Europe in the early 1930s can be seen. Quite a number of German businessmen and industrialists, who were conservatives but not Nazis, thought they could live with Hitler, as long as he benefited them financially. He was a vulgar upstart, whose manners might not have been the finest, but surely they would be able to control him.

Historical knowledge can help people to recognize certain patterns of behavior – attacks on an independent judiciary, for example – that have led to tyranny in the past. But historical memory, often blended with myth, can also stop people from reading the signs of what might come. In countries with a democratic history, it is easy to assume that “it could never happen here,” because “our institutions are too strong,” or “our people love freedom too much,” or they are “too civilized” or “too modern” to slide into barbarism.

Donald Trump may not be a reincarnated Hitler, but Republicans’ acquiescence in every step he has taken away from civilized democratic norms is ominous

Leftists can be just as blinkered as conservatives. Communists (instructed by Stalin), but also the non-communist left in 1920s Germany, refused to defend the fragile Weimar Republic when it was under assault from the right. Communists saw social democrats as a greater danger than Nazis, and left-wing intellectuals were distracted by the hypocrisy and corruption of mainstream parties they really should have supported.

Donald Trump may not be a reincarnated Hitler, but Republicans’ acquiescence in every step he has taken away from civilized democratic norms is ominous. And so is talk on the far left that the difference between Trump and Clinton or Obama is one of degree, not kind: he merely displays the iniquities of neoliberalism more blatantly than they did. In both cases, the particular dangers posed by today’s right-wing populism are underrated or ignored.

The much-maligned mainstream press – those “enemies of the people” – is still robust. But its influence is waning. What appears in The New York Times or the Washington Post matters less than presidential tweets that go straight to millions of people and are echoed in partisan radio or TV shows.

In a polarized society, politicians who stir up the mob by exploiting fear and resentment are probably more likely to be successful than less exciting figures who try to appeal to our more rational faculties. Political parties that oppose the anti-liberal trends are in a serious bind. If they respond to youthful anger and idealism and move too far to the left, they could lose essential votes in the center. If they choose centrist candidates, who look for reforms rather than radical change, they might lose the fired-up young.

And yet freedoms must be defended, which is possible only when the threats are seen clearly. The moment people stop believing that the demagogues can be prevented from doing their worst is the moment we can be sure that it is already too late.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Monday in Washington, July 9,2018



15 YEARS OF PEPFAR: ADVANCING STRATEGIC HEALTH DIPLOMACY. 7/9, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Amb. Deborah Birx, M.D., US Global AIDS Coordinator and US Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy; Sen. Tom Daschle, Co-Founder, BPC, Former Senate Majority Leader; Sen. Bill Frist, M.D., Senior Fellow, BPC, Former Senate Majority Leader; Michael Gerson, Senior Advisor, The ONE Campaign; Amb. Mark C. Storella, Former US Ambassador to Zambia.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why Steve Bannon Admires Japan

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In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found a home within the political establishment.

By Reto Hofmann, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Waseda University, Tokyo and an expert on the history of transnational fascism, conservatism, and right-wing movements. Author of The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915–1952.

The Diplomat, June 22, 2018

When Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former adviser, spoke at the conference of the Japanese Conservative Union [a brain child of Japanese new religion Happy Science and Trump adviser Matt Schlapp], he praised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calling him a “Trump before Trump.” Bannon is not the only Western right-winger to admire Japan. Simone di Stefano, leader of Italy’s neofascist Casa Pound, is dreaming of an alliance between Italy, Russia, and Japan. And for Jan Moldenhauer, an ideologue of the xenophobic Alternative for Germany, when it comes to immigration, “Japan is the alternative.”

Coming from the world’s self-appointed populist leaders, these statements deserve reflection. Right-wing populism is often seen as a threat to democracy because it challenges the political establishment from the margins, using high doses of nationalism and skillful manipulation of the media. This has happened in Europe, most recently in Italy and Slovakia. But this pattern should not make us forget that the political establishment is hardly immune to right-wing agendas.

Happy Science talks to Trump's
In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found an institutional home within the traditional conservatism of Liberal Democratic Party that aims for an authoritarian transformation of the political system — hence the effusions of the likes of Bannon.

Since 2012, Abe has gradually enforced a hard right-wing agenda from within. He has impeccable nationalistic credentials. He is a special adviser of the Nippon Kaigi, a right-wing organization that strives to reconstruct Japan on a nationalist basis. It is active, for example, in advising the government on education policies, promoting ideas about “morals” as well as revisionist history textbooks.

Nippon Kaigi is influential in the LDP. At some point 18 out of 20 of Abe’s cabinets were members, many of whom with clear ultra-right sympathies. One, Tomomi Inada, then party policy chief, had posed for a photowith Yamada Kazunari, the leader of a neo-Nazi group. Another, Taro Aso, the deputy prime minister, remarked that Hitler was wrong in murdering millions of people, but that “his motives were right.” He is also on the record for saying that the Nazis did a good job at gutting the Weimar Constitution — a remarkable statement for a government that wants to alter its own constitution.

Since 2012, Abe’s governments have been pushing policies that are still only on the agenda of many populists. Take the attacks on the media, for example. When Abe was appointed prime minister in 2012, he posted on Facebook that “my war with the mass media has started. I will fight my way through it together with your support.” Further, his government passed the State Secrecy Laws, one effect of which is to restrict the media’s news gathering capacity. Momii Katsuto, the former head of NHK, the public broadcaster, and a close friend of Abe, caused a stir when he said that NHK “should not deviate from the government’s position in its reporting.

Abe has a clear “Japan First” outlook, a desire to remake a “beautiful Japan” that is socially harmonious and ethnically homogeneous. Despite the country’s acute labor shortage, Abe does not welcome immigrants. He declared that “before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate.” In 2017, Japan granted refugee status to 20 people out of an applicant pool of 20,000. Xenophobia is not only an American or European problem. It is rampant also in Japan, where right-wing groups target Korean residents with verbal abuse. In response, the LDP leadership has been reluctant to legislate about hate speech. Abe preferred to “leave this matter to the good conscience of the average Japanese.”

Japan lacks the strident version of populism that has engulfed Europe, but we would be missing the point by not seeing the country as a link in the global chain of right-wing politics. Though refraining from the crassest expressions of xenophobia and authoritarianism, Abe’s deceptively polite right-wing politics may be heading in the same direction.