Commentary / World Jun 28, 2006

Japan needs better PR, less whale meat

LONDON -- Every year on my annual visit to Tokyo I spend at least one evening drinking sake in a small bar in Shibuya. And every year after I have finished eating one of the dishes the mama-san has put in front of me, ...

Commentary / World May 30, 2006

Putin fantasizes like a czar

LONDON — In his recent State of the Nation speech, President Vladimir Putin said that "Russia's modern foreign policy is based on the principles of pragmatism, predictability and the supremacy of international law." That seems clear-cut if you forget that recent events have shown that ...

Commentary / World May 25, 2006

Evidence portrays Russia as failed state

LONDON -- Have you read Russian President Vladimir Putin's 2006 State of the Nation message yet? The one he gave last week? You should. You may have seen some references to it in the press. A lot was made of his statements that the Cold ...

Commentary / World May 17, 2006

An 'OPEC' with nuclear weapons?

LONDON -- When I was in Moscow a few months ago I got into an argument with a retired high-level NATO official. I was arguing that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), despite its humble origins, had become an important multilateral institution of global geopolitical significance. My ...

Commentary / World May 5, 2006

Chinese reoccupying Russia

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- 2006 is the Year of Russia in China; 2007 will be the Year of China in Russia -- if the current friendly relationship of the leaders of the two countries lasts that long. Friendly relations are not something that the peoples ...

Commentary / World Feb 12, 2006

A yen to help a dictatorship

LONDON -- So Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are now working to help support the dictatorship of the people in China -- as managed on their behalf by the Chinese Communist Party. So are most of the world's multinational companies -- as well as you ...

Commentary / World Jan 14, 2006

The Russians are coming

LONDON -- Analysts and journalists have been trying hard to find something interesting to say about the first East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Kuala Lumpur in mid-December. The most frequent comment is that China was prevented from hijacking the summit, but they have ...

Commentary / World Dec 11, 2005

Invest in Russia now? Forget about it

MOSCOW -- I recently attended a conference in Moscow aimed at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to Russia. It was a high-level conference, organized by Interfax and Chatham House and attended by ministers, senior bureaucrats and leading businessmen, both Russian and foreign. For a conference ...

Commentary / World Nov 22, 2005

Cry for about-face in China

BEIJING -- These are interesting times in China. The political climate is changing; it has been for some time, but now the direction of change is becoming clear. The man who provided the intellectual underpinnings for Deng Xiaoping's dramatic post-Cultural Revolution reform and opening-up program, ...

Commentary / World Nov 3, 2005

A sign of Japan's decline

LONDON -- He didn't clap his hands, he did not wear a frock coat and he did not sign the visitors' book as "prime minister." So what? Until recently I would have described Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi as a clown if he thought that any ...