Yes they can, but what will they do?

Change is coming to Japan Or at least it’s very likely. The Financial Times has a poll projecting a landslide for Japan’s opposition Democratic Party. The DPJ is expected to win 321 of the Diet’s 480 seats. So a party that has never been in power is close to having an overwhelming majority. So what … Continue reading

Walt: Townhall Crazies Worse than Taliban?

Okay, my heading is definitely sensationalist, but over at Stephen Walt’s FP blog, he has two recent posts that should really get people questioning the blinders that go hand in hand with committing oneself to a particular IR theory. Last Friday, he wondered about the international implications of the messy healthcare debate going on in … Continue reading

The U.S. Doesn’t Need Congress for Cophenhagan…for Politics or Policy

I’ve read mentions of EPA regulating GHG emissions before, but I hadn’t ever found a comprehensive explanation of what exactly EPA has the power to do.  Most articles and blogs dismiss EPA regulation as a second-best solution to legislation passed by Congress.  The only reason why most pundits will defend EPA regulation is that it … Continue reading

A Marshall Plan for Africa (And Not Just a Good Speech Line This Time)

Everytime someone wants to propose a new major aid initiative, it seems throwing around the term “Marshall Plan” is necessary.  Gordon Brown applied the term quite a bit several years ago in arguing for a big aid push to Africa from the G8.  Thabo Mbeki somewhat nonsensically used the term when he called for Africa to develop … Continue reading

Hollywood Wins at the WTO, Chinese Culture Never to be the Same

Today, the WTO released a ruling in favor of the U.S. in its complaint against Chinese restrictions on imports of U.S. entertainment and media products. The ruling addressed a number of contentious trade issues.  For example, are intellectual goods to be treated as manufactured goods under trade law? Also at stake is the use of … Continue reading

Read A Good Book (and my quick follow up to Nick’s post on Paul Farmer)

I just read Nick’s post on Paul Farmer at USAID and had to add my quick input (which knowing me turned into something a bit longer.) As an incoming college freshman, I read MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS, an excellent work of nonfiction on Paul Farmer’s unprecedented HIV/AIDS work in Haiti.  Along with Jeffrey Sach’s END OF … Continue reading

Vet this . . .

A quick post while I’m on vacation on beautiful Cape Cod . . . USAID still doesn’t have a director. I understand that the Obama Administration wants to have a strong stance on ethics, but the vetting process for some positions are just ridiculous. Apparently Paul Farmer had to name every foreigner he came into … Continue reading

Sayonara, Mr. Yen

Before China kept its currency artificially devalued, Japan was the biggest advocate of a weak currency. Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan’s vice minister of finance for iternational affairs, was such a staunch proponent of a weak currency that he earned the nickname Mr. Yen. Japan’s export led growth was predicated on a weak yen, so its interesting … Continue reading

Update: When Barack Met Chuck…

Following up on Nick’s rant about Chuck Grassley… The Obama administration relented and gave the senator assurances (courtesy of Secretary Clinton and U.S. Trade Rep Ron Kirk) that the tariff on sugarcane-based ethanol, mainly from Brazil, will not be lifted. I had seen a couple of indicators that I thought were hopeful signs for progress … Continue reading

Another Perspective on Biden

From Daniel Larison at the Week. Larison offers an interesting perspective that follows up on a post I made a little over a week ago on the vice-president’s trip to Ukraine and Georgia.  Still, I think his commentary could use a little clarity. His main point is that Biden has not been making gaffes or … Continue reading