Shadow Government

Beijing Memo: What America's Halfhearted 'Pivot' to Asia Must Look Like from Afar

MEMORANDUM: Strategic Planning

To: Central Military Commission Chairman, Xi Jinping

From: Vice Chairman, Gen. Fan Changlong / Vice Chairman, Gen. Xu Qiliang / Minister of National Defense, Gen. Chang Wanquan / Chief of PLA General Staff, Gen. Fang Fenghui

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Scotland and the Centrifugal Force of Globalization

The possibility that Scotland may vote this Thursday to withdraw from the United Kingdom threatens to upset some of the most basic economic and political structures of the current world order. It is remarkable that this tumult could emerge from a region with a population just over half that of metropolitan Chicago. It is also remarkable that this could happen at a time of supposedly inexorable globalization.

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If Somalia Is a Success, What Does Failure Look Like?

President Obama laid out a strategy for "degrading and destroying" the Islamic State (IS) on Wednesday night. He called for targeted airstrikes, training local security forces, and more intelligence. Interestingly, he said, "This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us while supporting partners on the front lines is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years." The analogy with Somalia is troubling because it suggests the Obama administration is committed to endless military strikes with no political strategy.

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Obama's Cuba Problem

The last time President Obama met with his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts was not a particularly memorable affair.  The 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was overshadowed by an embarrassing Secret Service scandal that saw members of his advance team soaking in a little bit too much of the historical city's Caribbean nightlife.

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The Real Obama “Pivot”: Back to the Middle East

As Oval Office addresses on national security go, President Obama's remarks Wednesday night were pretty sound. He identified the enemy as the Islamic State, stated a goal to "degrade and ultimately destroy" it, and described four components of that campaign. But taken in the context of his serious and serial mishandling of foreign policy over the last six years, the president's speech also struck an oddly discordant note, one that throws into sharp relief just how much the tenets of his speech contrasted with his previous policies. In short, this speech represents the real Obama's "pivot" -- not to Asia, but back to the Middle East.

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