In This Issue
A Vision for Multilateral Security in Northeast Asia. While the Bush administration is right that direct bilateral talks won't solve the North Korean nuclear crisis, ad hoc multilateralism won't get the job done either. The time has long since passed for a concerted effort to create a permanent multilateral security framework for the Northeast Asia region, writes Stanley Foundation program officer Michael Schiffer in this recent article published in PacNet, the newsletter of Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies.
What the Public Wants: A New Direction for US Foreign Policy. At standing-room-only forums nationwide, American citizens have made their views loud and clear: they want a new direction for US foreign policy. Over the past three months, Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) has coordinated more than 300 town hall meetings on the US role in the world as a part of "The People Speak," an initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Foundation. In an article written for this month's think., AID president and founder Seth Green describes how these town hall meetings have given the public a voice.
Poll Says US Public Supports Diplomacy. A recent opinion poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and commissioned by the Stanley Foundation shows that the American people understand the challenges of international leadership in today's interconnected world much better than they are given credit for. "Large majorities of Americans see a vital need to earn international goodwill, keep the terrorist threat in perspective, talk to other governments we view as threatening, and see past our self-interest to the broader needs of the world," writes Stanley Foundation program officer David Shorr in this recent Op-Ed article for The Des Moines Register.
Beyond the Headlines
International Status of Kosovo Nears Final Decision. Kosovo is the final "breakaway" dispute still unresolved out of the old Yugoslavia. But resolution appears imminent. Since NATO forces ended the oppression of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority in 1999, the region—still technically part of Serbia—has been under complete United Nations control. A long series of internationally facilitated negotiations between Kosovars (seeking independence) and Serb representatives (seeking to keep the region part of the larger republic) has failed to produce a final status agreement. Recommendations from the mediator, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, will be delivered to the UN Security Council as early as January 21. And a Kosovo decision from the council could follow very soon. The widely respected, nongovernmental organization International Crisis Group urges quick action. They write, "Further delay would be taken in Belgrade not as a cue to cooperate with an orderly Kosovo process but as a further opportunity to wreck it." And they warn, "The longer the Kosovo Albanians are forced to wait, the greater the chance they will discredit themselves with unilateral independence moves or riots."
China's Global Engagement. China's economic rise and increasing financial linkages with other countries is only one part of its growing international influence. Major new initiatives from supporting loans and aid in Africa to funding a hydro-electric project in Cambodia are a major component of China's international policy strategy. Unlike the World Bank or other countries, China usually does not attach rigorous conditions or requirements to aid packages. Outside of aid, China is also increasing its soft power in the region through activities such as student exchanges and initiatives to fund Chinese language courses. Many Asian countries welcome China's style of aid in contrast to the United States' rules-bound aid structure. However, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs Christopher Hill insists, "having more China does not mean less U.S. in Southeast Asia."