Analysis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out a new vision for American economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific on July 30, announcing the rollout of a new US regional infrastructure initiative, which, while not explicitly targeting China’s growing economic power in the region, will attempt to provide Indo-Pacific countries with an American financial alternative to Beijing.  

In his opening remarks, made at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Pompeo announced new Department of State infrastructure and connectivity projects worth $113 million in the Indo-Pacific region. These programs, intended to promote development in the digital economy, energy, and traditional infrastructure sectors, “seek to capitalize on economic opportunity with the spirit of freedom and openness,” with partners who share “democratic values.”
The apparent victory of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in the July 25 parliamentary election marks a new inflection point in Pakistan’s politics and external policies.  This election, though marred by allegations of tampering and violence, marks Pakistan’s second consecutive transition from one civilian-led government to another through an election.  Additionally, PTI’s ascent is a break from the dominance of Pakistan’s two, dynastically controlled, political parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).  As negotiations to form a government under PTI leadership take place over the coming weeks, observers should watch a few factors for signs of what is to come.
In August 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill designed in part to sanction countries doing business with Russia’s defense industry. Like some other US partners, India is at risk of CAATSA sanctions because the bulk of its defense inventory is from the former Soviet Union and it maintains substantial defense ties with Russia.
US President Donald J. Trump on May 8 pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal saying the agreement did not satisfactorily address the Islamic Republic’s ability to build a nuclear bomb or limit its “malign activity.” He also signed a memorandum to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Trump’s decision will likely strain Washington’s ties with its European allies who had urged him to remain in the deal.
Compassion and cooperation are key to dealing with global conflict, one of India’s renowned spiritual leaders, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 19.

“The value of compassion, of cooperation…should be emphasized more than aggression,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.

“When we speak to people, we make them understand that we understand them,” said Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. He called for world leaders to apply this principle to their politics. According to Shankar, in the midst of conflict, opposing parties must be made “to feel they are part of [a] dialogue. You cannot accuse someone and expect them to come forward.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 1 boasted that Russia has developed “invincible” nuclear-capable missiles that can render existing missile defense systems “completely useless.”

Putin used his annual state of the nation speech—delivered just weeks before the March 18 presidential election that he is guaranteed to win—to tout Russia’s military might.

This article is part of a series that reflects on the first year of the Trump administration.

US President Donald J. Trump reversed former President Barack Obama’s policy to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was right when he recently told an audience at the Atlantic Council that Pakistan’s leadership must eliminate terrorist safe havens, warning that a failure to do so could cause them to “lose control of their own country.”

Tillerson said that the US-Pakistan relationship has “really deteriorated” over the past decade and that “now we’re engaged with Pakistan in a conversation to ensure our expectations of them are clear, that our concern is really about Pakistan’s stability.”

“Pakistan has allowed so many terrorist organizations to find safe haven within its territories, and these organizations are growing in size and influence, that at some point, I have said to the leadership of Pakistan, you may be the target, and they turn their attention from Kabul and decide they like Islamabad as a target better,” the secretary of state said at the Atlantic Council on December 12.
Diplomatic negotiations with "no preconditions" will be the US approach to solving the problem of North Korea, while working in concert with friends and allies, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council on December 12.

“We’re ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk,” said Tillerson, “and we’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions.”

“Let’s just meet and let’s – we can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face?” he added.


    

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