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  • The President’s Words are Indeed Powerful—in Indonesia, too

    The President’s national security team prepared a solid speech for him to deliver at the University of Indonesia yesterday. The speech, intended as a follow up to his 2009 Cairo speech to the “Muslim world,” was first posted on the State Department’s America.gov website in its “as prepared for delivery” … More

    Thailand Comes Through on the Side of Justice and the U.S.

    It’s good to know who your friends are. In the case of “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout, it looks like Thailand knows. It also looks like the Obama Administration’s careful treading during Thailand’s ongoing political crisis has yielded some benefit. On Friday, a Thai appeals court ordered Viktor Bout, the … More

    Inaugurating a New Era in the U.S. Philippines Alliance

    Americans do not think about the Philippines as much as they have in eras past.  At the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th, we fought a war there, first to liberate the Philippines from Spain, and then to establish an American colony.  Over the last 100 years, … More

    Pull it Together, Mr. President

    So America’s first “Asia-Pacific President” who brought America “back” to Asia after eight years of supposed neglect under the Bush Administration has canceled his Indonesia-Australia-Guam trip yet again.  That makes an unprecedented four cancellations (“postponements”) for this particular Presidential trip.  Indonesians fully expected him there in November of last year at the end of … More

    Indonesian Finance Minister Departure No Win-Win

    The economic world for good reason is focused intently on Greece and the potential for financial contagion in Europe.  But there’s been another interesting development on America’s Pacific-side.  One of the of most talented public servants in Indonesia, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati – by some accounts, the world’s best … More

    Americanism vs. Islamism: The Other Side in the Battle of Ideas Takes the Field

    Yesterday, the same day news leaked that the Obama administration intends to abandon references to Islamist ideology in its review of U.S. national security strategy, the other team received a major boost. Tariq Ramadan, European Islamist superstar, arrived in New Jersey for a tour of the United States. Heritage Foundation … More

    "America is Back in Asia!".... Uh, about that...

    After hearing ad nausea from the Administration that America is back in Asia after a presumed absence under eight years of the Bush Administration, now comes the caveat.  President Obama will cancel his upcoming trip to Guam, Indonesia and Australia – in the interest of salvaging his near singular preoccupation … More

    Fine, Now Sell Taiwan the F-16s

    The Department of Defense today notified Congress on the sale of $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan, including patriot missiles, black hawk helicopters and assistance for its military communications network. This almost clears the books on sales committed to by President George W. Bush since 2001. President Bush himself closed … More

    Simple Fact for Malaysia: “Allah” Means “God”, Regardless of Religious Tradition

    The Malaysian “street” needs an education. The Malaysian High Court’s decision to overturn a three-year ban on the use by Christians of the word Allah was correct – based both on the freedom of Malaysians to practice their faiths, and also based on the facts. Unfortunately, public protests and violence … More

    Passing of an Indonesian Giant

    Most Americans do not know Abdurrahman Wahid (more affectionately known as Gus Dur) – Indonesia’s fourth President. To American eyes, his appearance alone could be a bit disorienting and difficult to rationalize with his towering influence. Even as President of one of the world’s largest, most consequential countries, Gus Dur … More