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Economic Policy

China Anxiously Faces a Future of Rising Prices

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, October 5, 2007

Inflationary pressures have been building in China for the last year, and they erupted into the open in July. Policymakers have responded strongly, and the issue has taken center stage. After recounting current events, this article examines the economic background and implications of the recent changes and then looks at some of the political implications. The emergence of inflation heightens the economic and political dilemmas facing China’s leaders in the run-up to the 17th Party Congress.

The Civilian Side Of the War on Terror

by Dana Dillonvia Policy Review
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Managing the interagency for better results


by Alan W. Dowdvia Policy Review
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Three centuries of gloomy forecasts about America

Making Intelligence Smart

by Elbridge A. Colbyvia Policy Review
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Some necessary reforms


Do National Security and Environmental Energy Policies Conflict?

by Gary S. Beckervia Defining Ideas
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prospects for consensus on energy policies are dim for the many approaches that put the environment ahead of national security.

Economic Policy

Strengthening the Center, and Premier Wen Jiabao

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

In recent months, several important initiatives to strengthen central government authority have moved ahead under Premier Wen Jiabao’s supervision. Three particularly important efforts were apparent as of mid-2007. First, a long-anticipated decision to have central government state-owned enterprises begin paying dividends to the government was finally made in May 2007. Second, a recent series of industrial policy measures has given the central government a more coherent, but also more intrusive position. Finally, the center has continued to strengthen its monitoring of local land use and planning. These initiatives together make up an important trend in policymaking that complements the general “left” or populist tilt to policymaking in the Hu-Wen administration. These initiatives also have an impact on Wen Jiabao’s political fortunes. Wen has shored up his position and made himself nearly indispensable in the run-up to the 17th Party Congress.

Military Affairs

Make Talk Not War: Strategic U.S.-China Military-to-Military Exchanges in the First Half of 2007

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

Following key leadership transitions in the Pentagon and Pacific Command (PACOM), strategic military-to-military meetings have continued apace in 2007 with visits to China by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Pace and PACOM Commander Admiral Keating; reciprocal visits by PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli to the United States; and an exchange between Deputy Chief of the General Staff Zhang Qinsheng and DoD leaders at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, where China announced that it would finally agree to a military hotline. While the regular conduct of these exchanges is a net positive for strategic U.S.-China relations, the externals highlight persistent tension and misperceptions about intent and capabilities. Further, the lack of demonstrable progress in some spheres, such as the establishment of any “incidents at sea” protocol under the Military Maritime Cooperative Agreement framework or the scheduling of Second Artillery Commander Jing Zhiyuan’s reciprocal visit to the United States, requires analysis and explanation.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Election 2008 and the Future of Cross-Strait Relations

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

With the nomination of Frank Hsieh Chang-ting as the Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate to oppose Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan’s March 2008 presidential election, and with the PRC gearing up greater pressure on Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, this is an appropriate moment to think about how the election will affect cross-Strait relations. The policies adopted by the next Taipei administration will, of course, be decisive in determining the course of those relations over the next four or even eight years. However, the campaign itself will shape both the way the next administration approaches cross-Strait issues and the mindset of Mainland policymakers as they prepare to deal with the new Taiwan leadership. It will also condition U.S. attitudes toward the winner.

Political Reform

The Political Implications of China’s Growing Middle Class

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

China’s middle class has developed rapidly over the past three decades. If one assumes that there was no one, or at least very few people, who could be considered middle class in 1978, there are now probably around 50 million people who can be considered middle class. Although the emergence of such a group in three decades is impressive, given the size of China’s population, it will be many years until we can speak of China as a middle-class society. In the meantime, despite indications that the middle class is more participatory than their economically less well off neighbors, there is no indication that the middle class—much less the wealthy—desires to challenge the political status quo. The fact that many more people identify themselves as middle class than can be reasonably classified as such by sociological criteria indicates that large swaths of Chinese society identify with middle-class aspirations. Alongside many fissiparous tendencies in China, this is one trend that suggests social cohesion.

R. James Woolsey is the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

Ending the Oil Era: An Interview with R. James Woolsey Jr.

via Defining Ideas
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Reliance on oil is a major environmental concern and national security issue among industrialized nations, particularly the United States, which uses and imports more oil than any other country. Former CIA director and Hoover Institution senior fellow R. James Woolsey Jr. talks about his take on ending the oil era.