Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Game Theory: Fuck You, Buddy

Chinese officials seem to recognise that volatile leaders can swing in more than one direction. Moreover, anti-China nationalist sentiment is widespread in the Philippines and among the military leadership, constraining Duterte’s ability to compromise. His high approval ratings – 91% at the end of July – do not ensure that his harsh domestic policies or swings in foreign policy will not come back to haunt him.

China can do away with the sense of physical ownership of real/property assets; it can focus on the services attached to production factors they need not have title to, and thereby rise to be a world power peacefully in the 21st century.

The Japanese business community clearly believes that political and security issues do affect Japan’s economic relationship with China. Only 8 per cent of Japanese support Japan’s long-standing principle of ‘keeping politics and economics separate’ (seikei bunri). In contrast, 40 per cent believe Japan should scale down its business interests in China if the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute deteriorates over the long term.
Amy King on the hardening Japanese business consensus towards China (East Asia Forum, link)

Yet there is no nation in southeast Asia better positioned to provide the counter-weight to China and Russia that America needs in the South China Sea than the world’s fourth-most populous country, one that’s not only strategically located in the region but growing economically in ways that will increase its ability to assert its interests. And there is no nation in the world that provides a more powerful example in this era of global extremism and instability than the world’s largest Muslim-majority democracy which, at 250 million strong, proves every day that democracy and Islam can not only co-exist, but thrive. 
If the story of the Obama years was about America’s supposed pivot to Asia - which critics say is sinking—the story of the next eight years needs to be America’s pivot to Indonesia. And after two years of false starts and concerns about his leadership, Jokowi is ready for his close up. And not a moment too soon.

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