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Asia Ready for Obama

WSJ: China’s rare earth policy will backfire. FT: Myanmar election might hold a flicker of hope. Asia Times: India’s Look East efforts worry China.

China’s rare earth policy will backfire

Author Jasper Becker writes in the Wall Street Journal that China’s export quota on rare earths will backfire, just as such restrictions have done in the past. These kinds of policies force other nations to find alternative sources.

QUOTE: China's rulers sought to monopolize the production and trade in all these products. When they restricted trade, Central Asian nations like the Huns or the Mongols who controlled the trade routes turned to war.

High unemployment and low inflation pushes the US Federal Reserve to act

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors, writes in the Washington Post that because the United States faces high levels of unemployment and low inflation, Fed policymakers decided to further support the economy by purchasing additional longer-term securities.

QUOTE: This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth.

Myanmar election might hold a flicker of hope

Columnist David Pilling writes in the Financial Times that all hope should not be lost on Myanmar’s upcoming election. He argues that there is a flicker of a chance that it could be the first step towards reform because the junta might want better relations with the international community, some opposition candidates have had the space to at least discuss democracy, and now there will be more than one center of power.

QUOTE: Instead of a single military hierarchy there will be competing poles of power. If nothing else, there will be a tussle between a parliament stuffed with former generals and an army stuffed with serving ones.

The US needs a closer strategic partnership with India

Richard Armitage, president of Armitage International and former US Deputy Secretary of State,and R. Nicholas Burns, professor at Harvard University and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, write in the Wall Street Journal that President Obama will have the chance to chart a new and deeper strategic relationship with India this week. The US and India should expand their military relationship and trade ties.

QUOTE: The US has a vital interest in forging a closer strategic partnership with India, ranging from ensuring a stable Asian and global balance of power, strengthening the global trading system, protecting the global commons, countering terrorism, bolstering the international nonproliferation regime, and promoting democracy and human rights.

Governments must support innovation for nations to grow

George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, write in the Daily Telegraph that innovation determines the success of companies and countries. To support innovation and entrepreneurialism, governments must promote bottom-up models.

QUOTE: The Government's job should be to create the right ecosystem for ideas and firms to flourish, and to make it easier for businesses to start up, employ people, grow and thrive.

Obama must capitalize on Asian hopes and fears

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Daily Beast that President Obama’s trip to Asia this week could change the balance of power between the US and China. He argues that Obama must take advantage of Asian nation’s fears of an increasingly aggressive China without scaring them off.

QUOTE: To capitalize on both Asian hopes and fears, Obama needs a strategy—one that strengthens ties with old allies like Japan, builds bonds with new partners like India, and sets more equitable terms for US-China relations.

India’s Look East efforts worry China

Journalist Peter Brown writes in the Asia Times that China is worried about India’s Look East policy. India’s recent talks with Japan caused fears in China that the two nations are trying to contain it.

QUOTE: As anti-Chinese sentiment in the halls of the US Congress is likely to intensify, and as it becomes more noticeable in the coming weeks, the challenge for [Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh] will be to harness this energy to India's and Japan's advantage - and at Pakistan's expense.

Obama must outwit and outmaneuver the Republicans

Columnist Joe Klein writes in TIME that President Obama must fight back after the US Democrats faced bad losses in Tuesday’s mid-term elections. In addition to altering his policies he must “outwit and outmaneuver” the Republicans so he can win reelection in 2012.

QUOTE: He will have to make concessions — graciously, as if he believed in them (as Clinton did with welfare reform). But he'll also have to sense when to stand firm, when to push back (as Clinton did after he allowed the Republicans to shut down the government).

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin’s fight to bridge differences

Former US President Bill Clinton writes in the New York Times that on the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the international community should remember the leader’s lessons of striving for peace and security. The Middle East must continue his fight for reconciliation.

QUOTE: We must all take up the cause for which Yitzhak Rabin gave his life: building a shared future in which our common humanity is more important than our interesting differences.

China tries to boost its image abroad with charm diplomacy

John Hughes, former director of the VOA, writes in the Christian Science Monitor that China has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to convince the international community that it is benign. However, despite this “charm diplomacy,” Asian neighbors fear China’s growing powers.

QUOTE: China has launched an ambitious program of charm diplomacy to boost its image abroad even as such government actions have the potential to undermine it.