John J. Metzler

For John J. Metzler's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Jan 4, 2013

Results for 2013 rely perilously on leadership

It’s time once again to peer ahead at the global political and economic horizons this year. The political landscape offers both promise and peril, but much of the problem is that many of the outcomes will fall to the judgment of leadership. Afghanistan: The ...

Sep 17, 2012

Quebec vote signals uncertainty for Canada

Political uncertainty shadows Quebec in the aftermath of a contentious provincial election campaign. Since the vote, the specter of separatism has re-emerged in the multiethnic Canadian province where political rhetoric by the French-language-focused Parti Quebecois could bring about the return of economic instability and ...

Aug 27, 2012

French never blase about the American arts

One of the more instinctive knee-jerk comments in trans-Atlantic relations is that the “French don’t like Americans.” Proof that this is a common misperception is in the American music heard on French radio, the American programs found on a considerable segment of prime-time French ...

Jun 22, 2012

Cold War shadows Serb's win of key U.N. post

Shadows of the Cold War returned to the United Nations in the recent elections for president of the General Assembly, where a previously agreed candidate from Lithuania was challenged and subsequently defeated by a Russian-backed contender from Serbia. What was expected to be a ...

May 9, 2012

Somali pirates see their ambitions trimmed

There has been a significant drop in ship seizures and hijackings by Somali pirates in the troubled waters off East Africa. Despite last years spike in piracy with 28 vessels captured in the first half of 2011, there were only three ships seized in ...

Apr 25, 2012

Pyongyang's next move after the missile fizzle?

In the bizarre ritual of North Korea, a recent rocket launch was intended to put the icing on the dynastic cake of the centennial birthday celebrations of the late dictator Kim Il Sung. The world press had been invited to the reclusive neo-Stalinist state, ...

Mar 19, 2012

Syrian crisis shadowed by outcome in Libya

As the conflict in Syria churns out a ghastly human carnage, diplomatic efforts to halt the violence are shadowed by last year’s intervention in the Libyan conflict, which resulted in a six-month-long military operation to topple a tyrant. So, when the U.N. Security Council ...

Mar 16, 2012

Is Burma's reintegration with the West for real?

In a world beset by war, ethnic conflict and humanitarian disasters, Burma (aka Myanmar) seems one of those rare places where diplomats can say they are making a positive difference. Maybe that’s precisely because this Southeast Asian land was until recently a pariah state, ...

Feb 7, 2012

Egypt muddies waters of relationship with U.S.

When the government of erstwhile U.S. ally Egypt shut down 17 Western prodemocracy groups, trashed their Cairo offices and slapped travel bans on some of their staff, political relations between Washington and Cairo hit a new and unexpected low. Just a year after a ...