from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why political gridlock works for the U.S. economy, but not for Japan or EU

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 7, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

Is gridlocked government a betrayal of democracy? Or does it allow citizens to get on with their lives and businesses, unencumbered by meddlesome politicians?

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Nothing pacific about it: Japan pushes back on China

By Nicholas Wapshott
July 15, 2014

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF troop review ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka

China is on the march. Or, to be precise, China has made a strong push, militarily and otherwise, into seas nearby, setting off alarms among its neighbors. Now Japan has pushed back, announcing it will “reinterpret” its pacifist constitution so it can be more militarily aggressive in responding to China’s persistent territorial expansionism.

from The Great Debate:

Let Japan help defend America — and itself

By Clyde Prestowitz
June 2, 2014

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF troop review ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now following through on actions laid out in his recent bold speech calling for Japan to defend allies who might be under attack.

from MacroScope:

Will sanctions bite?

By Mike Peacock
April 30, 2014

Financial markets may view the latest sanctions against Russia as feeble, but the reaction from Moscow – Vladimir Putin threatened to reconsider Western participation in energy deals and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said they were the work of weak politicians – suggests otherwise.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Abe’s disturbing lack of focus

By Anatole Kaletsky
April 24, 2014

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week has focused mostly on Japan’s territorial disputes with China. On this issue, Obama seems to be repeating the same mistakes he made in Ukraine.

from Ian Bremmer:

Is the China-Japan relationship ‘at its worst’?

By Ian Bremmer
February 11, 2014

At the Munich Security Conference last month, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said the China-Japan relationship is “at its worst.” But that’s not the most colorful statement explaining, and contributing to, China-Japan tensions of late.

from MacroScope:

Iran and Japan in focus at Davos

By Mike Peacock
January 22, 2014

Lots of action in Switzerland today with the annual get-together of the great and good at Davos getting underway and Syrian peace talks commencing in Montreux.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Does Japan show us the way out of secular stagnation?

By Nicholas Wapshott
December 2, 2013

Is America’s economy adrift in the doldrums? Lawrence Summers, perhaps the nation’s most inventive applied economist, thinks so. Speaking to an IMF forum last month, he described America’s current condition as “secular stagnation” in which we are stuck in a rut of weak demand, low growth, and low employment. This is the “L-shaped” recovery, or -- strictly speaking, non-recovery -- some warned about after the financial freeze of 2008. It is also sometimes dubbed “the new normal.”

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Learning budget lessons from Japan and Britain

By Anatole Kaletsky
October 10, 2013

While the world is transfixed by the U.S. budget paralysis, fiscal policies have been moving in several other countries, most notably in Japan and Britain, with lessons for Washington and for other governments all over the world.

from Ian Bremmer:

The world leaders who are actually leading

By Ian Bremmer
August 15, 2013

Earlier this summer, as I watched the Pope attract millions as he toured Brazil, I noticed how rare the scene was. Here was a man in control of an embattled institution, and he had somehow rallied his troops. By going back to the basics of Catholic belief—embracing humility, supporting the downtrodden, asking for sacrifice— as well as pushing the envelope (with his more progressive stance on homosexuality, for example), Pope Francis had begun to rehabilitate the church. It was viable leadership: the kind that motivates, inspires, and unites.