CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Presidential Inbox 2013"

Presidential Inbox: Integrating Global Health Into the Pivot Strategy

by Yanzhong Huang
U.S. President Obama is followed by his staff as he leaves the Plenary session of the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Obama is followed by his staff as he leaves the Plenary session of the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters).

Mr. President, as you begin your second term, you and your Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping both face the challenge of building a mature and mutually beneficial bilateral relationship.  There is no need to belabor the strategic importance of the Sino-American relations for the United States.  Indeed, one may argue that it is precisely the strategic dynamics driven by China’s rise that led to your critical decision to pivot to Asia. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: A Strategy to Counter North Korea’s Nuclear Defiance

by Scott A. Snyder
U.S. President Obama speaks during a joint news conference with South Korea's President Lee at the Blue House in Seoul. (Yuriko Nakao/courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Obama speaks during a joint news conference with South Korea's President Lee at the Blue House in Seoul. (Yuriko Nakao/courtesy Reuters)

Mr. President, your first administration played “small ball” with North Korea. The policy of “strategic patience” succeeded in weathering North Korean provocations and limited exposure to the political risks that would have accompanied a high profile effort to address North Korea’s nuclear development.  However, the crime and punishment approach to North Korea’s 2009 satellite launch and nuclear test through UN Security Council sanctions, statements, and resolutions has failed to stop North Korea’s growing nuclear and long-range delivery capabilities. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: U.S. Policy in Northeast Asia

by Sheila A. Smith
U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh alongside then Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao November 20, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama,

As you consider America’s foreign policy challenges, I would urge you to pay particular attention to Northeast Asia. I believe U.S. policy will be tested in this part of Asia, and that our maritime commitments in particular will require clear and committed action. There are leadership transitions there too that deserve some of your personal engagement in building trust.

Let me suggest three areas where I think significant policy attention is warranted. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: Top Priorities for U.S. Policy Toward China and Asia

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama,

You and your foreign policy team have steered the United States on a constructive course in Asia over the past few years. There is thus no need for a policy overhaul. However, the dynamics of the region—from exploding trade and investment to rapidly rising security tensions and emerging flashpoints—leave no room for complacency. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: The Constant Irrititant of Cybersecurity in Asia

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters)

Mr. President, as you look toward Asia in your second term, cybersecurity will be a grain of sand in the eye, a major irritant but not one that blocks the larger vision of what you hope to accomplish in the region. That grain, namely Chinese cyber espionage, is not going away any time soon, but there are things you can do to make it slightly less annoying. Moreover, many of the policies to mitigate the situation will overlap with other efforts to re-energize the U.S. presence and boost ties to allies and friends in the region. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: Balancing the Pivot with Supporting Human Rights

by Joshua Kurlantzick
President Barack Obama is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, DC January 20, 2013. President Barack Obama is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, DC January 20, 2013 (Brendan Smialowski/Courtesy Reuters).

Mr. President, as you start your second term, you have made clear that you will continue the “pivot” to Asia, which includes moving military assets to the Asian theater, bolstering relations with Asian partners, and generally re-establishing the United States as the major Pacific presence. Your new secretary of state, John Kerry, is a longtime advocate of closer ties with mainland Southeast Asia. Within the State Department and Pacific Command, support for the “pivot” is strong as well. Read more »