Sunday, December 31, 2017

Better to Be a Dog in Days of Peace: a Look at 2018

(links to original articles in red)


Chinese politics, North Korea: the economic dark clouds to watch for in 2018 - South China Morning Post: Talks with Kim regime going pear-shaped, blowback from Chinese pressure on foreign firms, challenges to Indian economic modernization, structural reforms in Japan, and Najib wearing out his welcome in Kuala Lumpur are the issues with major economic impacts as outlined by a report by consultancy Control Risks

Which way for US foreign policy in 2018? Don’t look to Trump’s national security strategy for answers - South China Morning Post: The NSS reflects the White House ambivalence toward Beijing and Moscow and keeping the blinders on when dealing with North Korea. Lip service to quadrilateral cooperation simply isn't enough

China and Japan

China: 7 big things to watch in 2018 - Axios: Bill Bishop says it's all about the CPC's reassertion of power - military, sharp diplomacy, and trade abroad, and consolidation of social control at home

Politicking over and team in place, 2018 is when China’s Xi has to deliver on reforms - South China Morning Post: 2017 was a successful year for Xi Jinping. He's consolidated power and gained China a greater global profile. Now he has to deliver on expectations at home - reducing economic uncertainty, inequality, and pollution. Good Luck With That

China’s Belt and Road Initiative Faces New Security Challenges in 2018 - The Diplomat: BRI remains a primary tool for Xi to meet those economic expectations at home. It, and particularly CPEC,  face major challenges from terrorism and the manifold political problems in South and Central Asia

‘New start’ to China-Japan ties faces big obstacles in 2018 - Asia Times
: Shinzo Abe wants to strengthen economic ties, but sovereignty issues will provide inevitable obstacles

Japan's defense buildup to come under scrutiny in 2018 - Japan Today: North Korea crisis spurs exploration of deep strike capabilities, already a sore point with both opposition parties and certain neighbors

'Kurodanomics' is 2018's biggest question mark - The Japan Times: The Bank of Japan will likely keep its foot on Japan's economic gas pedal, in the hope that the Abe government will see that the rapidly approaching light at the end of the tunnel is structural reform

South Asia

India-US ties: 2017 was ‘Kabhi khushi, kabhi gam’. How will 2018 pan out? - Hindustan Times: The honeymoon will likely be over as immigration, trade, and Pakistan land on the table

India-China relations: Can't change India's mentality on OBOR, but doors of cooperation open: Chinese media Times of India: After Doklam, and realising that CPEC can't work without Indian quiescence, Beijing will offer a Thousand Flowers in 2018. Okay, so we'll have peace in the Mountains; but what about the Sea?

Pakistan awaits a political transition - Despite having put himself over a barrel, Nawaz Sharif isn't going away. The "Game Changing" CPEC and other purported economic successes are unraveling. Coming elections will likely be characterized by public disenchantment with the political class, leading to wins by populists like Imran Khan or the military

Elections Might Make Things Worse for Afghanistan - The Diplomat: Past elections have led to less stability and more corruption. Unless genuine efforts at restoring public confidence are accomplished first, it will be more of the same

Myanmar’s 2018 foreign policy outlook | The Myanmar Times: Balancing China and India will be difficult. But at least both want to help sweep the Rohingya crisis under the rug

Into uncharted waters - The Kathmandu Post: Nepal faces many challenges, not the least of which are ethnic divisions and economic pressure from the Belt and Road


Will there be a war on the Korean Peninsula in 2018? - Nikkei Asian Review: If Kim pulls an atmospheric test, James Stavridis says You Betcha

North Korea in 2018: Kim Jong-un may shoot missile horizontally - A more likely scenario will be another missile test - this time to demonstrate terrestrial range

[Editorial] Still hopeful - Korea Herald: South Korea continues to face strong regionally-based political divisions which will likely express themselves in June local elections. Moon will need to grow further into his job and lighten up on the payback

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang might have a new problem — it's too cold for everyone

Southeast Asia

Events in Southeast Asia to Watch in 2018 | Council on Foreign Relations: Populism is on the march. Human Rights are in retreat. The Rohingya crisis, Daesh, and an equivocating Singapore as Asean chair are are just a few of the issues to deal with

2018 will be ′dangerous′ for the Philippines - DW: "Duterte has succeeded in making people believe that human rights are Western values and we have seen human rights and civil liberties pushed over the line." Is a Revolutionary Dictatorship in the offing? Will Maute regroup? Will capital fly out the window? Take a guess

Do or die battle for Najib and BN in ‘father of all elections' - TODAYOnline: It increasingly looks like Malaysia's ruling clique has taken clientelism too far for the public's taste. UMNO will likely win the election, but lose legitimacy

Prospects for improved Asean security in 2018 grim - Free Malaysia Today: A two-or-more-front counterinsurgency in Mindanao, with old faces and new, means the theater will become an Islamist Whack-A-Mole game


2018 is shaping as a danger year in the Asia-Pacific - The Australian: Despite acknowledging risks from North Korea and China's Pacific expansion, Australia should continue to balance economic ties with China and security ties with US - As usual, the view from Murdoch is to stay where the money is. He might want to look to Japan to see how well that goes

What to expect from Australian politics in 2018 - The New Daily: Everything is ace, right? Not really. The Coalition and Labour will both likely see more stumbles in 2018. Abbott and other figures on the Right will continue to stalk the government, the Greens will continue to stalk Shorten, and infighting will continue to hobble both sides. If the new budget forces Turnbull to renege on promised income tax cuts, expect an election

Parliament's citizenship saga looks set to drag into 2018 - AusBC News:What started out as a novel way to undermine the other side has taken on a life of its own. It's not going away. If the Bogan constituency can be distracted, perhaps an amendment is in order?

Some economic uncertainty, possible political turbulence for Australia in 2018, Australia/NZ News & Top Stories - The Straits Times: The country's economic winning streak is being tempered by slow wage growth, high prices and China's own slowdown. Inequality is set to become a major political issue

New Zealand and Pacific

Can New Zealand’s unlikely coalition deliver in 2018? - East Asia Forum: Inexperience, lack of policy compatibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the public tend toward gridlock ruling the day in Wellington. Economic issues will hopefully provide common ground

Pacific News Projections for 2018: Decolonization - Hawaii Public Radio: While New Caledonia is set for a referendum on independence this coming year, loyalty to the metropole will likely rule. Restiveness over sovereignty will also be an issue in US possessions. The struggle in West Papua will also gain a higher profile

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