How China could counter Obama's Asia 'pivot'
Chinese President Hu Jintao gestures the way forward for visiting U.S. President Barack Obama in Beijing in November of 2009.
April 5th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

How China could counter Obama's Asia 'pivot'

Editor's Note: Robert E. Kelly is a Senior Analyst at Wikistrat and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University, South Korea. A longer version of this essay may be found at his website, Asian Security Blog.

By Robert E. Kelly - Special to CNN

For all the talk about how the US might ‘pivot’ to Asia, there is little Western discussion of how China might respond to its semi-encirclement. Here are five possibilities:

1. China might pull South Korea into its orbit

China’s regional problem is that no one really trusts it. Its allies are weak – North Korea and Myanmar. The best way to head-off encirclement is to break the ring with some decent allies. Nasty, dependent dictatorships are not enough. South Korea is a central link in any semi-containment ring around China, but one where China has a lot of leverage. FULL POST

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Topics: Asia • China • East Asia • Foreign Policy • Military • Strategy • United States
Millennials prioritizing productivity over purpose
March 19th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Millennials prioritizing productivity over purpose

Editor's Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter @priyaparker.

By Priya Parker - Special to CNN

In the last few weeks alone, we’ve heard this rising generation called everything from the Go-Nowhere Generation and the MacGyver and DIY Generation to Generation Stuck and Generation Flux. In recent years, the generation most commonly known as the Millennials has also been described as Generation Me, Generation We, the Trophy Kids, the Boomerang Generation and the Dumbest Generation. (Ouch).

If one theme runs through these different pieces, it’s that people really like to name this generation. (I am guilty of injecting my own label into the mix last week, when I wrote a piece on the Global Public Square casting my cohort as Generation FOMO. We are held together, I argued, by a shared tendency to make decisions based on the fear of missing out on something around the corner.)

As part of my job, I work with talented Millennials on building alternative future strategies. They often come to me feeling burned out and unsure how to make their mark in the world. We work together to think strategically and soulfully - yes, you can do both! - about the kind of future they wish to build.

In this work, I’ve found that, whatever you call them, many Millennials are inhibited by anxieties peculiar to our time. I’ve already spoken of the FOMO problem. In this post, I want to share some of the other blockages that Millennials tell me afflict them. Next week, I will share techniques that I’ve found helpful in overcoming FOMO and these other inhibitors of building, creating and doing. FULL POST

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Topics: Culture • Innovation • Strategy
March 17th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Zakaria: Deterring Iran is the best option

Editor's Note: Be sure to tune in to GPS this Sunday at 10am and 1pm ET.  Also, don't miss my special episode of GPS, "Global Lessons – The GPS Road Map for Saving Heath Care", which airs Sunday night at 8pm and 11pm ET/PT.  The special will run again Saturday, March 24th, at 8pm and 11pm ET/PT.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

When I was in college, in the early 1980s, I invited Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to give a speech on campus. At the time, U.S. colleges were hotbeds of opposition to the Reagan administration, especially to its defense policies. Sure enough, as Weinberger began to speak, a series of students stood up and began to heckle. One after another, they rose and chanted a single line, “Deterrence is a lie!”

I am reminded of that turbulent meeting as I listen to the debates over Iran’s nuclear ambitions because it highlights a strange role reversal in today’s foreign policy discourse. It used to be the left that refused to accept the idea of deterrence - searching instead for options such as a nuclear freeze. And it used to be those on the right who would patiently explain the practical virtues of deterrence.

The conservative thinker Charles Krauthammer wrote in the New Republic in 1984. "Deterrence, like old age, is intolerable, until one considers the alternative." FULL POST

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Topics: Fareed's Take • From Fareed • Iran • Military • Nuclear • Strategy • United States
Zakaria: Deterring Iran is the best option
March 14th, 2012
10:11 PM ET

Zakaria: Deterring Iran is the best option

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from an op-ed in The Washington Post.

By Fareed Zakaria

In 1989, Margaret Thatcher said in a toast to Mikhail Gorbachev, “Both our countries know from bitter experience that conventional weapons do not deter war in Europe, whereas nuclear weapons have done so for over 40 years. As a deterrent there is no substitute for them.”

If deterrence doesn’t work, then why are we not preparing preventive war against Russia, which still has a fearsome arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles? Or against Pakistan, home to a military-intelligence regime that has been implicated in more major acts of terrorism in the past 10 years than Iran has in the past hundred? The argument that Iran would be deterred does not rest on its reasonableness but on the regime’s desire to survive. “Rulers want to have a country that they can continue to rule,” says Kenneth Waltz, one of the most distinguished theorists of international relations. FULL POST

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Topics: From Fareed • Iran • Israel • Military • Strategy • United States
March 10th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

Colombia's lessons for counterinsurgency - and Afghanistan

Editor's Note: Michael O’Hanlon is coauthor with Martin Indyk and Kenneth Lieberthal of the new book, Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign PolicyYou can read more from him on the Global Public Square.

Michael E. O'Hanlon

By Michael O'Hanlon – Special to CNN

How do successful counterinsurgencies tend to evolve over time? This question is paramount as the Obama administration tries to sort out next steps on Afghanistan. Most have heard by now the rule of thumb that even successful campaigns against insurgent groups typically take a decade or longer. But the recent Iraq experience, in which substantial military progress occurred in the short space of 18 to 24 months, still skews expectations among many Americans. In fact, Colombia’s ups and downs of the last two decades provide a more useful guidepost, as I was reminded on a recent trip to Bogota.

Colombia has been a major success story in the fight against drug cartels and industrial-scale insurgencies over the last two decades. A good deal of progress against the big cartels occurred in the 1990s, but since the Alvaro Uribe presidency starting in 2002, remarkable things have happened in dealing with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) insurgencies as well. FULL POST

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Topics: Latin America • Strategy
Why Iran sanctions won't work
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Getty Images)
February 29th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Why Iran sanctions won't work

Editor's Note: Ali Vaez is the director of Iran Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

By Ali Vaez - Special to CNN

The Iranian nuclear crisis is nearing its tenth anniversary. All attempts to resolve the standoff during the past decade have come to naught. There are simply no easy solutions to this conundrum.

For some in the West, however, firm belief in the elixir of crippling sanctions has congealed into a doctrine. It is only a question of time, they argue, but Tehran will eventually give in to “overwhelming force.” The Obama administration’s mastery in marshaling international support for imposing a panoply of draconian sanctions on Iran is beyond doubt. Yet the fundamental premises of this policy are misguided at best, misleading at worst.The first presumption is that by pushing the Iranian theocracy to the brink of economic meltdown with unprecedented sanctions, the regime will capitulate and forfeit its nuclear program to secure its survival. Advocates of this coercive policy evoke historical precedent as a testament to propensity of the custodians of the Iranian revolution to surrender under pressure. FULL POST

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Topics: Foreign Policy • Iran • Strategy • United States
February 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

The ball is in Iran's court

Editor’s Note: Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst and the coauthor of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and The State of Iran. He teaches the Contemporary Iranian Politics course at the Interdisciplinary Center, in Herzliya, Israel. 

By Meir Javedanfar - Special to CNN

“Will Israel attack Iran?” That’s the question of the hour. Pundits and policymakers are asking it. But the real existential threat to Iran’s leadership lies elsewhere and the question we should be asking is: “Are the tough economic sanctions against Iran's central bank working?”

To Iran's rulers, regime survival is of utmost importance; there is nothing more important to them - not even the nuclear program. The Iranian regime can live and survive without its nuclear program. But it cannot survive without its economy.

In recent months, the value of the riyal has collapsed, portending greater troubles for Iran’s economy ahead. More and more countries are turning away from Iran to buy oil. This is bad news for the regime, which relies heavily on oil income.

Those countries that continue to import oil from Iran are taking advantage of its diplomatic isolation to squeeze it for all it’s worth. China has halved its monthly oil import from Iran and is demanding discounts on the other half. The Turks are asking Iran to reduce the price it charges for gas and are threatening to take Iran to the International Arbitration Court over this matter. FULL POST

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Topics: Iran • Nuclear • Strategy
10 strategic issues with Obama's East Asia "pivot"
A paramilitary policeman guards in front of an emblem of the Communist Party of China at Tiananmen Square on June 28, 2011 in Beijing, China. (Getty Images)
January 15th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

10 strategic issues with Obama's East Asia "pivot"

Editor’s Note: The following piece, exclusive to GPS, comes from Wikistrat, the world's first massively multiplayer online consultancy.  It leverages a global network of subject-matter experts via a crowd-sourcing methodology to provide unique insights.

The Obama Administration recently released a military strategic guidance document, which calls for a strategic “pivot” from the Middle East to East Asia. This bold move replaces President George W. Bush’s “long war” against violent Islamic extremism with a new, ongoing effort to shape China’s military rise.

What are the strategic, military trade-offs of this historic shift? Wikistrat, the world’s first massively multiplayer online consultancy, recently tapped its global network of several hundred analysts to ponder this question. This online network offers a uniquely powerful and unprecedented strategic consulting service: the Internet's only central intelligence exchange for strategic analysis and forecasting, delivered - for the first time - in a real-time, interactive platform. Exclusive to GPS, here are Wikistrat’s top ten strategic, military issues to bear in mind as this “pivot” unfolds:


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Topics: East Asia • Military • Strategy • United States
The real power behind North Korea
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao accompanies Premier of Democratic People's Republic of Korea Choe Yong Rim to view a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People on September 26, 2011 in Beijing, China. (Getty Images)
January 13th, 2012
01:41 PM ET

The real power behind North Korea

Editor's Note: Neil K. Shenai is doctoral candidate in International Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, writing his dissertation on the global financial crisis. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter. Kevin Kim is a Research Fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, where he is an Editor of the SAIS Review

By Neil K. Shenai and Kevin Y. Kim - Special to CNN

In the weeks following Kim Jong-il’s death, many North Korea observers questioned whether his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong-un, could successfully consolidate power in the wake of his father’s death. According to this view, understanding what happens inside of North Korea is instrumental in forecasting its behavior.


November 25th, 2011
01:10 PM ET

Slaughter: The future of foreign policy is public-private partnerships

Editor's Note: Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009 to 2011, she was the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. Follow her on Twitter at slaughteram.

By Anne-Marie Slaughter – Special to CNN

On Black Friday, the apotheosis of consumerism and the celebration of private enterprise (entrepreneurial on-line marketers are targeting in-line consumers with ads sent to their cell phones while they wait to purchase goods in physical stores), it’s a good time to consider the power of harnessing private incentives to public goals.

Newt Gingrich made this point in the CNN national security debate for Republican presidential candidates on Tuesday night, arguing about how he would shave $500 billion out of the federal budget. “There are lots of things you can do,” he said, including giving foreign aid “in a way that we actually help people even more effectively and at a much lower cost by having public/private partnerships.”

Gingrich was unwittingly signing on to the Obama mantra. The Obama National Security Strategy mentions public-private partnerships over 30 times. Over the past 3 years both the White House and the State Department have set up offices to reach out to the private sector.

Notable successes include the Global Clean Cookstove Alliance, which brings together over 175 government agencies, corporations, NGOs and foundations around the world to secure the adoption of 100 million clean cookstoves by 2020, thereby reducing carbon emission, improving the health of tens of millions of families and increasing the security of millions of women. FULL POST

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Topics: Foreign Policy • Global • Ideas • Strategy • United States
From 'War on Terror' to 'New Silk Road'
(Getty Images)
October 7th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

From 'War on Terror' to 'New Silk Road'

Editor's Note: Parag Khanna is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, visiting senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Second World and How to Run the World.

By Parag Khanna - Special to CNN

Parag Khanna

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks passed, Americans are searching for a new narrative to understand their country’s role in the world. But far more than declared principles or personalities, America’s place in the world is shaped by what it does in other places. Especially overseas, societies judge us by our actions rather than our words.

October 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-UK invasion of Afghanistan - the first major undertaking of the “War on Terror.” The Obama administration was quick to jettison the term “War on Terror” upon entering office. But more importantly, it has begun to take a series of concrete steps that genuinely constitute a new narrative for the region where that war began: “New Silk Road.” It is a decade overdue, but New Silk Road is more than just a re-branding of the “War on Terror,” and more than a hodge-podge of announcements to cover American tracks as it begins a drawdown from Afghanistan. It is nothing less than a new grand strategy for the U.S. both for Central-South Asia and beyond. It re-frames much of U.S. policy as a two-way street of shared responsibilities and mutual benefit.


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Topics: Central Asia • Foreign Policy • Global • Strategy • Terrorism
What should America's goal be in Afghanistan?
M16 American assault riffle cartridges lie among boot prints in the earth during Afghan National Army (ANA) training with the French army within the framework of Epidote progamme at the Kabul Military Training Camp near the capital on January 13, 2010. (Getty Images)
September 29th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What should America's goal be in Afghanistan?

Editor's Note: Melissa Labonte is an assistant professor of political science at Fordham University. Peter Romaniuk is an associate professor of political science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

By Melissa Labonte and Peter Romaniuk - Special to CNN

Recently, after militants undertook a 20-hour assault on the U.S. embassy and NATO compound in Kabul, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, downplayed the implications. “This really is not a very big deal,” he said, adding that, “If that’s the best they can do, I think it’s actually a statement of their weakness.” Following the recent assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan President and leader of the government’s efforts to negotiate peace with the Taliban, the ambassador should rethink his poorly chosen words.

The uptick in violence in Afghanistan includes multiple attacks in the capital (the British Council, the Inter-Continental Hotel, and the Afghan Defense Ministry), as well as the recent assassinations of four of President Hamid Karzai’s closest advisers: his half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai; Kandahar city mayor, Ghulam Haidar Hameedi; long-time mentor, Jan Mohammad Khan, and outspoken Taliban opponent, Mohammed Daud Daud. These events have occurred against the backdrop of a particularly deadly summer for U.S. forces – at 70, U.S. casualties in August set a record for any month in America’s near-decade long engagement. By any measure, the current situation in Afghanistan is a very big deal. FULL POST

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