Shadow Government

Beijing's Allies in Hong Kong are Only Adding Fuel to the Protesters' Fire

The Hong Kong protests have kept us guessing as to their intensity and longevity. Last week it appeared that they just might fade into oblivion. Then ham-handed police were caught on video brutally beating a bound protestor and that brought out thousands again. At this writing, the Occupy Central movement, having revived itself and gotten the authorities to talk with them formally, seems to be a long term effort. They have had continuing support among many frustrated sectors of society, not just students, even if some Hong Kong citizens oppose them as disruptors of the economy. Politicians, office workers, religious, young, old, students (and some parents), and professionals: the protests were started by students but they cut across Hong Kong's demographics.

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The U.S. Needs a New Foreign Policy Agenda for 2016 (Part Four)

In our three previous installments we discussed how President Obama's six year experiment in retrenching American power has failed. It has created more global disorder, magnified threats to American security, and has shifted America's strategic posture in damaging ways that diminish our ability to shape the international environment. We also took stock of America's resources across the full spectrum of national power, and identified areas needing bolstering as well as areas of strength.

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How to Know if We're Winning Against the Islamic State

Are we winning or losing Operation Inherent Resolve, the name given the new war against the Islamic State? This is not a gotcha question designed to embarrass the Obama administration, though it is a very difficult one to answer, as this awkward exchange with Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby makes clear. Reasonable people can disagree -- check out the optimist's case and the pessimist's case. And while I lean in the direction of the pessimists, I think the Obama administration is absolutely correct to say that it is too early to tell for certain and that even a war that is ultimately going to be won might experience tactical setbacks along the way.

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Why the U.S. Should Worry About the Global Education Problem

I just finished Gabriel Zinny's Educación 3.0, which covers the changing landscape of education both in the United States and in Latin America. The radical changes needed have major implications on U.S. foreign policy and development policy and should also be considered what my colleague Carl Meacham calls an "intermestic" issue, of both domestic and international concern. Zinny's book makes a robust case for education and human capital to be placed far higher on the agenda with the same level of focus as transnational health threats, migration, or trade. While focused on the United States and Latin American regions it has larger implications in a world with a youth bulge in the Middle East and Africa and growing youth unemployment. Young people can elect to use their energies either productively or not -- we ought to work towards channeling those energies or we will all pay a heavy price.

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Obama’s Staff is Not the Problem

There have been a great many stories over the last few weeks about the state of Barack Obama's presidency. His poll numbers are terrible, his party's candidates are running away from him, and those around the world that warmly embraced him when he entered office now decry his leadership and criticize his policies and impact on the world. Whether we examine his domestic, foreign, or economic policy, Obama has plenty of critics. Inevitably, the criticism has led to calls for a staff shake-up, particularly in his foreign policy team.

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