Sunday, September 26, 2021

Monday Asia Events, September 27, 2021

TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION: SHAPING THE FUTURE TOGETHER IN UNCERTAIN TIMES. 9/27, 8:30-9:30am (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Speakers: Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, European Commission, Trade Commissioner, EU; Moderator: Dan Hamilton, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS. 

LEADING OIL AND GAS INTO A NET-ZERO WORLD. 9/27, 8:30am (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: H.E. Mohammad Barikindo, Secretary General, OPEC; Helima Croft, Managing Director, Global Head of Commodity Strategy, RBC Capital Markets; Majid Jafar, CEO, Crescent Petroleum; Moderator: Alex Dewar, Senior Director, Center for Energy Impact, Boston Consulting Group. 

INTERPRETING THE 2021 GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS. 9/27, 9:00-10:30am (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Isabelle Borucki, Interim Professor - University of Siegen; Yascha Mounk, Associate Professor of the Practice - SAIS, Johns Hopkins, Senior Fellow - Council on Foreign Relations; Daniela Schwarzer, Executive Director for Europe and Eurasia - Open Society Foundations; Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe Fritz Stern Chair on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations; Rieke Havertz, US Correspondent - ZEIT ONLINE. 

WILL THE REVAMPED US TRADE POLICY BE READY FOR GLOBAL CHALLENGES? 9/27, 10:00-11:00am (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Global Development Policy Center, Boston University. Speakers: Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, Globalization and Development Strategies, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, Ambassador, South Africa Mission to the WTO; Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); Todd Tucker, Director, Governance Studies, Roosevelt Institute; Moderator: Kevin P. Gallagher, Director, Global Development Policy Center, Boston University. 

ENERGY MARKETS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. 9/27, 10:00-11:00am (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Michael Cohen, Chief U.S. Economist, Head of Oil Analysis, BP; Carole Nackhle, Founder and CEO, Crystol Energy; Moderator: Karen E. Young, Senior Fellow and Director, Program on Economics and Energy, MEI. 

STATE OF THE SPACE FORCE! 9/27. 10:00am-12:30pm (EDT), DIGITAL EVENT. Sponsor: DefenseOne. Speakers include: General John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force; Paul Ferraro, Vice President, Air Power, Raytheon Missiles & Defense; Jeffrey Schrader, Vice President, Raytheon Intelligence and Space; Steve Butow, Director of the Space Portfolio, Defense Innovation Unit; Jim Westdorp, Chief Technologist, Ciena Government Solutions Inc.; Dr. Derek Tourner, Director, Space Development Agency. 

TAIWAN IN THE INDO-PACIFIC REGION 2021 ANNUAL CONFERENCE. 9/27, 11:30am-1:00pm and 6:00-6:40pm (PDT), LIVESTREAM. Speakers: Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations; Lee Hsi-min, Adm. (Ret.), Senior Fellow, Project 2049 Institute; Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan). 

PAKISTAN’S DESTABILIZATION PLAYBOOK: KHALISTAN AND THE U.S. 9/27, Noon-1:00pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, Hudson Institute. Speakers: Dr. C. Christine Fair, Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Michael Rubin, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Sam Westrop, Director, Islamist Watch, Middle East Forum. Moderator: Dr. Aparna Pande, Director, Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, Hudson Institute. 

JAPAN’S DEFENSE EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE U.S.-JAPAN ALLIANCE. 9/27, 5:00-6:00pm (EDT), WEBCAST. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Atsuo Suzuki, Commissioner, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency, Ministry of Defense of Japan; Moderator: Dr. Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia, Japan Chair, CSIS.

POLITICAL EXTREMISM IN JAPAN. 9/27, 9:00-10:00pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsors: Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS). Speaker: Nathaniel M. Smith, Associate Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Moderator: Michael Okamoto, Director, Getting to Know Japan Series, YCAPS. 

CHINA'S PERCEPTION OF THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN. 9/27, 11:00am-Noon (JDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Speakers: Ichiro Inoue, Professor, Graduate School of Policy Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University; Akio Takahara, Professor of Contemporary Chinese Politics, Graduate School of Law and Politics and Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo; Bonji Ohara, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What election?

While The LDP Battles Intensify In Tokyo, Washington Barely Notices

By Daniel Sneider, Lecturer, International Policy at Stanford University and APP member

Toyo Keizai, The Oriental Economist, September 22, 2021

American President Joe Biden will host a much touted first time in-person summit meeting of the leaders of the Quad – the U.S., India, Australia and Japan – at the White House on September 24th.

For the American President, this is the frontline of a foreign policy clearly aimed at confronting China. The announcement of a secretly negotiated deal to provide nuclear submarines to Australia only underscores the importance of this event.

No one seems to have noticed, however, that the man representing Japan, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, will be gone from office within days of the White House summit.

Japan is in the midst of one of the most turbulent political moments in recent years, with the leadership of the country completely up in the air. Even after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) makes its choice at the end of September, two elections will follow, with the ruling coalition facing an unhappy electorate and a rejuvenated opposition.

But in the halls of power in Washington, even in the pages of major media, hardly a mention can be found of the events in its most important Asian ally. In discussions with several leading American Japan hands who are in touch with senior officials in the Biden administration, all report an almost complete absence of interest in the events in Tokyo.

“I hope they are paying attention,” says Japan expert Tobias Harris, based at the Washington think tank Center for American Progress. But, he admits, “I don’t know if the administration is really watching this now. I have not heard anything.”

In large part, this is because the attention of the administration is focused elsewhere – first of all on the continued battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and on economic recovery, and even in the realm of foreign policy, on the devastating defeat in Afghanistan and its aftermath.

Of course, Japan is important to the Biden China policy – as one Washington insider put it to me, “Japan is the non-China.” But there is a deeply held belief among American policy makers that their faithful partners in the LDP, backed by the mandarins of the Japanese bureaucracy, will be in power forever.

“The standard view is that we want stability,” says George Washington University Japan expert Mike Mochizuki. “We might not have stability in who is the Prime Minister but the system is stable. Are we entering a period of revolving door Prime Ministers? Isn’t that a problem in terms of developing a partnership? They don’t think so. Basically, it is the same ruling class.”

This view of Japan leads to a lack of interest in who might succeed Suga that might surprise some Japanese. “There is a complacency that the LDP is not going anywhere,” says Harris, the author of the first biography of former Premier Abe Shinzo published in English. There is a belief that “we don’t have to worry about Japan.”

But Harris cautions against that overconfidence, pointing not only to the possible challenge from the opposition alliance but also from extremist elements within the conservative party, now mobilized around the candidacy of Takaichi Sanae, backed by Abe. “Questions about the underlying stability of Japan should not be underestimated,” he warns.

Who Does Washington Favor in the LDP battle?

Now that the field of candidates in the LDP is set, does Washington, or at least the small circle of Japan hands, have a preference? Two of the leading candidates are well known there – former Foreign Ministers Kishida Fumio and Kono Taro. Given his popularity and his command of English, there is a presumption that American policy makers would prefer Kono as Prime Minister. But that may be wrong.

“I don’t sense any preference for Kono,” says James Schoff, a former senior Obama administration defense official who has recently moved from the Carnegie Endowment think tank to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Washington.

“Basically, American policy makers would be happy with either Kishida or Kono. The number one concern is political strength and sustainability. There was a little bit of a collective sigh when Suga decided not to run, a concern about momentum lost and nervousness about where Japanese politics is going.”

There is a belief that Abe established a blueprint that is now firmly established – both in the realm of basic economic policy and a foreign policy that is anchored in the alliance with the U.S., improvement of relations with Europe and a broad consensus on seeing China as a strategic competitor. “None of them is deviating from that,” says Harris. The differences are more a “question of style and execution.”

The exception to that may be Takaichi whose hardline views on wartime history, vowing to visit the Yasukuni shrine to Japan’s war dead, would effectively end hopes in Washington to restore trilateral cooperation between the U.S., Japan and South Korea. “That door would shut,” says Harris. A Takaichi Premiership would be a “propaganda boon for China…and make Japan a more challenging partner for Washington to work with.”

While Takaichi’s prospects are still considered slim, if a runoff is forced between Kono and the rightwing stalwart, there is some worry that the mainstream faction leaders Abe and Aso Taro might unite behind her. Unlike Kono, who has widespread personal appeal, an LDP led by such a hardliner might lead to a serious setback in the upcoming elections for the Lower and Upper houses of the Diet (parliament). “If Takaichi wins, that means more trouble,” says Schoff.

American experts are unclear why Abe put his weight behind Takaichi. In part, this is seen as reward for her personal loyalty to Abe, and an attempt to position himself as the shadow power behind whoever emerges as the Prime Minister.

More troubling is the sense that this reflects Abe’s own ideological views, some of which he had to submerge or put aside when he was Prime Minister for both political reasons and also in response to American pressure.

“There are two Abes,” says Professor Mochizuki. “the pragmatic Abe and the ideological Abe. Now that he is out of power, this is the ideological Abe talking. This has put a monkey wrench into the process.”

Abe, in his view, was unhappy with Suga for his failure to push constitutional revision and his reluctance to embrace a doctrine of carrying out retaliatory attacks on adversary bases in North Korea and even China. When Takaichi declared her candidacy, Mochizuki noted, she went out of her way to endorse both policies. And while Kishida has tried to appeal as well to the conservative wing, “Abe doesn’t trust Kishida that he will follow through on this,” he observes.

Who is Kono Taro?

While American policy makers would be most clearly troubled by a Takaichi-led LDP, in some ways Kono may pose the greatest potential challenge. He has a well-deserved reputation as a bit of a maverick, very attuned to public opinion in Japan, and with an independent streak.

While Kono is a strong supporter of the security alliance, he has shown that he does not unquestionably yield to American views. The clearest evidence of this was his decision, as Defense Minister, to cancel the controversial Aegis Onshore missile defense system contract after it ran into serious domestic opposition.

In his own book, Kono embraces the concept of “strategic autonomy” for Japan, including in areas like economy, energy and technology policy. “I don’t think he will be as assertive on offensive strike and on Taiwan commitments,” believes Schoff, who has met him a number of times, “but I don’t know if Kishida would be either.”

Within the ranks of the more hardline conservatives of the LDP, there is a fear that Kono shares the views of his father, Kono Yohei, a former LDP leader. The elder Kono is reviled on the right for his efforts to acknowledge responsibility for Japan’s wartime coercion of Korean, Chinese and other women to serve in the brothels of the Imperial Army.

“There is a suspicion that he is like his father,” says Mochizuki. “He is aware of that and went out of his way to show that he is not soft on China, not soft on Korea. Abe appreciated that but instinctually, Kono has a more balanced foreign policy.”

Uncertainty ahead

No matter who wins the LDP election, policy makers in Washington foresee a period of uncertainty in Japan which may slow the implementation of the kind of grand strategies that will occupy the Quad meeting. Down at the level of officials who are seeking to forge concrete policies on science and technology innovation, supply chain cooperation, cybersecurity and economic security more broadly – the key building blocks of the competition with China – things are already stalled.

“We have had a lot of meetings but I haven’t seen a whole lot of momentum,” says Schoff, who will lead a new initiative on alliance relations at Sasakawa’s Washington office. People are now waiting to see who the next cabinet minister will be and little is getting done.

“We can’t sit around for two months waiting for this to be settled,” he worries. “We are already late to get out of the gate.”

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Monday Asia Events, September 20, 2021

RESPONDING TO THE UYGHUR GENOCIDE: ASSESSING POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE OPTIONS FOR THE U.S. 9/20, 9:00am (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University. Speakers: Rushan Abbas, Executive Director, Campaign for Uyghurs; Brett Hansen, Foreign Service Officer, United States Department of State; Ewelina Ochab, Co-founder, Coalition for Genocide Response; Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch; Nury Turkel - Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute. 

OCEAN NATIONS: AN INDO-PACIFIC ISLANDS DIALOGUE - DAY 2. 9:30am-5:45pm (EDT) New York, NY and Virtual. Sponsor: Carnegie and Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Speakers Include: Jayanath Colombage, Foreign Secretary, Sri Lanka; Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Research Fellow Ocean Policy Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation; Teburoro Tito, Permanent Representative, Republic of Kiribati; Hiroyuki Suzuki, Chief Representative of the Washington Office, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Inia Seruiratu, Minister of Defense and National Security, Fiji; Randall G. Schriver, Chairman of the Board, Project 2049 Institute. Location: Japan Society, 333 E 47th St. 

INVESTIGATING COVID-19 AND THE CHINA COVERUP. 9/20, 9:45-10:45am (EDT), Online. Sponsor: Hudson. Speakers: Kevin Brock, Senior Fellow, Center For Financial Stability; Diane Cutler, Detailee, House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Tom Dinanno, Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute; David Asher, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; John P. Walters (Moderator), President and CEO, Hudson Institute. 

THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND THE ROLE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN ATROCITY PREVENTION. 10:00am-Noon (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsors: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect; Government of Costa Rica; Government of Croatia; Government of Denmark. Speakers: Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Wai Wai Nu, Burmese human rights activist, Founder, Executive Director, Women’s Peace Network; H.E. Mr. Rodolfo Solano Quirós, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica; H.E. Mr. Gordan Grlić-Radman, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Republic of Croatia; H.E. Mr. Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark. Moderator: Savita Pawnday, Deputy Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Contact: Ms. Juliette Paauwe,

AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN ADVANCING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS. 1:00-2:30pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsors: Brookings; UN Foundation. Speakers: Cynthia Yue, UNA-USA Youth Observer, United Nations; Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO, Chicago Community Trust; Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink; Carmen Villar, Vice President, Social Business Innovation, Merck. Moderator: Ana Marie Argilagos, President and CEO, Hispanics in Philanthropy. 

ELECTIONS, PROTEST, AND AUTHORITARIAN REGIME STABILITY: RUSSIA 2008–2020. 2:00-3:00pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center. Speaker: Regina Smyth, Professor, Political Science, Indiana University. Moderator: William E. Pomeranz, Deputy Director, Kennan Institute. PURCHASE BOOK:

UNCONTROLLED SPREAD. 5:30-6:30pm (EDT), LIVESTREAM. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: author, Scott Gottlieb, Senior Fellow, AEI; Robert Doar, President, AEI. PURCHASE BOOK:

CHINA, THE US AND CLIMATE DIPLOMACY: A CONVERSATION WITH FORMER PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD. 6:00-7:00pm (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Center on Global Energy, Columbia SIPA. Speaker: Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australia. 

PINK GLOBALIZATION: CHALLENGING HELLO KITTY’S TREK ACROSS THE PACIFIC. 8:00-9:00pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: 21st Century Japan Politics & Society Initiative, Indiana U. Speaker: Christine Yano, Professor, Anthropology, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Moderator: Prof Adam P. Liff, Associate Professor of East Asian International Relations, Founding Director of its 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (“21JPSI”), Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, Associate-in-Research, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University. PURCHASE BOOK:

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Monday Asia Events, September 13, 2021

9:30-11:00am (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsors: Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS); Carter Center. Speakers: Paul Triolo, Practice Head, Geo-Technology, Eurasia Group; Amy Karam, Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Instructor, Stanford University and Duke Corporate Education; Yang Nan, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science; Denis Simon, Senior Advisor to the President for China Affairs, Professor, Duke University; Moderator: Dr. Yawei Liu, Director, China Program, Carter Center. 

U.S. INNOVATION COMPETITIVENESS SUMMIT - DAY 1: BOOSTING INNOVATION. 11:00am-3:00pm (EDT), LIVESTREAM. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Dr. Walter Copan, Senior Adviser and Co-Founder, Renewing American Innovation Project, CSIS, former Director of National Institute of Standards and Technology; Dr. Lisa Cassis, Vice President for Research, University of Kentucky; Dr. Betsy Cantwell, Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Arizona; Dr. Kevin Gardner, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Louisville; Erik Iverson, CEO, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Almesha Campbell, Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Jackson State University; Christina Orsi, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, University of Buffalo; Ian McClure, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact, University of Kentucky. Additional Speakers TBA. 

FUTURE SECURITY FORUM - DAY 1. Noon-4:45pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: New America. Speakers Include: Anne-Marie Slaughter, DPhil, CEO, New America, former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State; General John W. "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force; Dustin Gard-Weiss, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Policy and Capabilities, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Sir David Omand, Visiting Professor, King's College London, Former Director, U.K. Government Communications Headquarters; Commander (ret) Theodore Johnson, DLP, 2017 Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, New America, Director, Fellows Program, Brennan Center for Justice, Former Speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

RETHINKING AMERICAN GRAND STRATEGY. 4:00-5:30pm (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: co-author, Christopher McKnight Nichols, Director, Center for the Humanities, Sandy and Elva Sanders Eminent Professor, Oregon State University; co-author, Andrew Preston, Professor of American History and Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge University; Christian F. Ostermann, Director, History and Public Policy Program, WWC; Eric Arnesen, Former Fellow, WWC, Professor of History, George Washington University, Director, National History Center, American Historical Association; Julia Irwin, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of History, University of South Florida; Daniel Bessner, Joff Hanauer Honors Associate Professor of Western Civilization, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. PURCHASE BOOK: