Ian Bremmer is in Tokyo, Japan, to check in on America’s “pivot to Asia.” How’s that going? Given that neither Ukraine nor Israel is located in the Asia Pacific, it is not so great!
In 2011, then-President Obama announced on a trip to Australia that US foreign policy would be shifting its focus away from costly wars in the Middle East and towards strengthening partnerships in the Asia-Pacific to curb a rising China. Twelve years later, we’re still pivoting. But if we ever do get there, we will have to take Japan, one of our closest regional allies, along with us. To talk about US-Japan relations, as well as a whole host of sticky policy issues, foreign and domestic, Ian is joined by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. Ian will also get his take on the Israel-Hamas war and the fighting in Ukraine.
How worried should China be about slowing economic growth?
To which my answer is, quite a lot. Communist Party credibility hangs on China being able to sustain growth in and around 6%. And these growth numbers, at least from the state statistical bureau bring us down to 6% in the most recent quarter. So, what China will now be seeking to do is to change its domestic economic policy settings to encourage the private sector back into investing for the future. That's critical, because in the last 18 months they've been sitting on their cash.
How worried should Xi Jinping be about Hong Kong?
The answer to that is from his perspective, the best play is simply to allow this to play itself out over time. The alternative strategy is for China to militarily intervene or use paramilitaries. There are so many arguments against that. One, the logistics of simply doing it - Seven million people, complex geography. Number two, massive loss of life. You've already seen two million protesters in the streets. Three, the risk of financial and economic sanctions. And four, so long as China stays removed, then it's Carrie Lam's problem and not Xi Jinping's.
15: In an early primary vote held over the weekend, Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his austerity policies were walloped by 15 percentage points (47-32) by the opposition ticket helmed by Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former president Cristina Kirchner. The scale of the defeat that polls had predicted would be much closer bodes ill for Macri's chances in the first round of national voting in October.
60,000: An estimated 60,000 people hit the streets in Moscow over the weekend to protest the government's move to ban opposition politicians from the Russian capital's upcoming elections. Vladimir Putin, who spent the weekend meeting a right-wing biker gang in Crimea, has remained silent about the protests, which have dragged on for a month and are the biggest in Russia in eight years.
9: In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 9% of youths are enrolled in vocational colleges or universities. That's double the percentage in 2000, but governments continue to face challenges delivering good jobs once graduates hit the labor market. Around 1 in 9 Africans with higher education live abroad in an OECD country; just 1 in 30 Asians with similar qualifications do so.
5: Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific airline saw its shares tumble almost 5% on Monday as Hong Kong protests rolled into their eleventh week and forced the cancellation of all flights as protestors occupied the city's main terminal. Meanwhile, Beijing warned that the protests had begun showing "early signs of terrorism."
Does the leader of Hong Kong appear weaker withdrawing the extradition bill?
Well as we'd say in Australia, "Is the Pope a Catholic?" Of course. This means that Carrie Lam's authority within the Hong Kong SAR is reduced and her standing in Beijing is reduced as well. But I think the bottom line is that China will resist any efforts to remove her from office, despite local pressure.
Is the US – China trade war coming to an end anytime soon?
Depends Dr. Bremmer on what your definition of "any time soon" happens to be. My prediction is simply this: once they get to the G20 meeting in Osaka Xi Jinping and President Trump will agree to reboot the negotiations process but then it's a question of the substance of the deal. My prediction is A) there will be a deal sometime between now and the end of the year. And secondly, the nature of the deal will be America yielding on the questions of tariffs to the Chinese and China yielding to the Americans on the amount that President Trump expects in the purchasing order of future American goods by the Chinese. That's my bottom line. Both countries need the economic outcome. Both countries therefore have a deep interest in securing a deal. Doesn't mean the end of the economic war however, technology reigns supreme.
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