It is curious that presidents possess such unaccountable power at all. America’s founders rejected absolute monarchy and its trappings (such as noble titles), and yet the pardon power is descended from just such a monarchical power, the royal prerogative of mercy. Trump’s blatant violation of the original intent of the presidential pardon was just one of many challenges he posed to the political system established by the US Constitution. Johnson displays similarly worrying traits. Faced with such threats, courts and legislatures need to recall their true purpose: preventing the unchecked exercise of executive power. By Nicholas Reed Langen.
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Results for Op-Ed World Affairs
Thursday 18 March 2021
London, United Kingdom
Monday 22 February 2021
East Asia Forum: The United States abandoned economic leadership in Asia four years ago. Rather than promote and strengthen the multilateral institutions and frameworks that underpin Asia’s prosperity, the United States under President Trump began systematically undermining them: from the WTO, WHO and Paris Agreement, to military alliances with Japan and South Korea, bilateral trade ties and cooperation in regional forums. What can Biden do to instil confidence in a region still battered and bruised from four years of the Trump administration waywardness? - By the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.
Tuesday 12 January 2021
Though mainstream observers were shocked that Donald Trump increased his support among many ethnic minority groups in the 2020 election, this should not have come as a surprise. The common thread linking the Trump base has little to do with demographics, and much more to do with a personality type. As president, Trump not only deployed racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic rhetoric, but actually baked it into his policies. So why does the 45th president appeal to so many voters whose ethnic, religious, and sexual identities he has mercilessly disparaged? Unless we improve our understanding of these voters’ overriding identification with those able and willing to exercise power, and their own latent thirst for power, we risk being blindsided by it again. By Yasheng Huang.
Tuesday 3 November 2020
Whoever claims victory in the US presidential contest this week, Washington’s grasp over Asia’s future is on the wane. The world’s confidence in US power and the moral authority it once commanded and the capacity to deploy it are much diminished. Even the most energetic and driven administration won’t restore it easily, soon or perhaps ever. ...The reality is that small and middle powers in Asia now have to play an unfamiliar leadership role. This ominous responsibility will remain long after the 46th President of the United States settles into the White House. By East Asia Forum editors.
Tuesday 27 October 2020
London, United Kingdom
For those who have only ever known America as a champion of democracy and the rule of law, it has been tragic to witness the country's descent into corruption and bad-faith partisanship. And nowhere is the rule of "dark money" more evident than in the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court. By Chris Patten.
Monday 26 October 2020
Throughout US President Donald Trump's first term, there has been constant hand wringing over a "constitutional crisis" that never arrived. The irony is that an administration led by Joe Biden would almost certainly confront such a crisis, owing to Trump's transformation of the Supreme Court into a right-wing redoubt. A constitutional crisis, properly understood as a turning point that might lead to collapse or transformation of the system, has not occurred. But such a crisis does now appear increasingly likely. By Eric Posner.
Thursday 2 July 2020
On 22 June, the first summit took place between the new EU leadership team, headed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, and China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, but there was little time for small talk. One official remarked, ‘the gloves were off from the start’ with no attempt to secure a traditional joint statement, let alone a joint press conference. The EU side accepted that EU–China relations ‘were crucial in many areas’ but at the same time stated that ‘we have to recognise that we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism’. The Chinese side appeared surprised at these blunt words but they stemmed from the March 2019 EU policy document which stated that China was a ‘systemic rival’ in certain areas. By Fraser Cameron. East Asia Forum.
Tuesday 31 March 2020
Washington DC, USA
A pandemic is enveloping the world, endangering the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. As US President Donald Trump desperately seeks to shift blame for his own ineptitude, China is laying the groundwork for global leadership in the post-COVID-19 era. Thanks to Trump, the US will almost certainly lose the great-power competition – and countless lives. By Vali Nasr
Monday 6 January 2020
Washington DC, USA
Before US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw his country from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and the nuclear agreement’s chief Iranian architect, was the most popular public figure in his country. A year after the withdrawal, a University of Maryland poll shows, Zarif’s popularity was far surpassed by that of General Qassem Suleimani, the hardline Revolutionary Guard commander who was just assassinated in Baghdad on Trump’s order. Trump says he authorized the drone strike that killed Suleimani to “stop a war.” It is far more likely that he has started one – or at least the march toward one. By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani.
Monday 29 July 2019
New York, USA
How did the world’s two most venerable and influential democracies – the United Kingdom and the United States – end up with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson at the helm? Trump is not wrong to call Johnson the “Britain Trump” (sic). Nor is this merely a matter of similar personalities or styles: it is also a reflection of glaring flaws in the political institutions that enabled such men to win power. By Jeffrey D. Sachs.
Monday 10 June 2019
After decades as an unconsidered backwater, the South Pacific Islands have become a strategic frontline in a multi-nation contest for power and influence in Greater Asia. A report this week by the British-based global risk assessment company, Oxford Analytica, says China has four objectives in extending its reach into the South Pacific. By Jonathan Manthorpe.
Wednesday 5 June 2019
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has outlined a framework to help member countries investigate and prosecute corruption offences, which cost the global economy around $2 trillion a year. She was speaking at the fifth annual regional meeting of the Caribbean heads of anti-corruption agencies, hosted in the Cayman Islands from 3-7 June.
Tuesday 4 June 2019
Since the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago, China has achieved extraordinary economic development. Yet, contrary to the expectations of many Western leaders and analysts, the country has not gradually embraced press freedom or respect for civil rights. On the contrary: as a recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report shows, China today is actively working to build a repressive “new world media order” – an initiative that poses a clear and present danger to the world’s democracies. By Wu’er Kaixi and Christophe Deloire.
Friday 3 May 2019
New Haven, USA
This is a big year for anniversaries in China. On May 4, the People’s Republic will commemorate the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, the student-led protests in front of Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate in 1919 that marked the birth of Chinese nationalism. And then, one month later, on June 4, will come the 30th anniversary of the violent suppression of pro-democracy student protests on the same site. This milestone, by contrast, will not be officially acknowledged, much less commemorated, in China.
Saturday 27 April 2019
New Delhi, India
The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka rank among the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history, and underscore the metastasizing scourge of Islamist violence in Asia. Radical Islamic groups, some affiliated with larger extremist networks, have been quietly gaining influence in an arc of countries extending from the Maldivian to the Philippine archipelagos, and the threat they pose can no longer be ignored.
Monday 18 March 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
I arrived in New Zealand on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, which became a day of massacre. Like the assassination of Olof Palme in Sweden in 1986, the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the murderous rampage of Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011, March 15 will mark the day New Zealand lost its innocence and entered the age of postmodern mass terror. By Ramesh Thakur
Friday 15 February 2019
London, United Kingdom
The philosopher Bertrand Russell believed the Cold War nuclear standoff resembled a high-risk game played by "youthful degenerates." British Prime Minister Theresa May is playing a similar game, and if her Brexit brinkmanship goes wrong, the victim would be Britain. By Chris Patten
Wednesday 2 January 2019
New Delhi, India
America’s decision to abandon the global system it helped build, and then preserve for more than seven decades, marks a turning point, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike. By Richard N. Haass.
Tuesday 13 November 2018
On his week-long tour of Asia, US Vice President Mike Pence has been promoting a vision of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region, characterized by unimpeded trade flows, freedom of navigation, and respect for the rule of law, national sovereignty, and existing frontiers. The question is whether this vision of an Indo-Pacific free of “authoritarianism and aggression” is achievable. One country that seems willing to contribute to realizing this vision is Japan. By Brahma Chellaney
Tuesday 16 October 2018
Arab countries have a long history of rewarding journalists who toe the official line, while punishing those, like Khashoggi, who dare to speak truth to power. Such behavior is not limited to dictatorships. It does not help that many of those press-freedom violators – including Saudi Arabia – are among America’s closest allies. President Donald Trump’s attacks on the US press, together with his silence on attacks occurring elsewhere, have gone a long way to embolden violators of press freedom around the world. By Daoud Kuttab