Saturday Readings

Snowden Leaks Inflict Damage On American Influence
Edward Snowden continues to leak classified data, including recent information documenting US surveillance of foreign leaders, that has caused further embarrassment of official Washington. But how much damage have his actions had?

James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provides his answer.

Lewis believes the damage could be “short lived” because, for one reason, there is evidence Europe engages in its own spying and to maintain outrage would be a hypocritical stance that has no legs.

but it could be lingering in terms of the damage to American influence.

“We are again in a contest of ideas and values. It is not a military contest. A new grand strategy cannot rely on military preeminence, since force and coercion are counterproductive when pursuing political goals that require winning agreement from nations with whom we are unlikely to ever find ourselves at war. Nor can defeating terrorism serve as an organizing principle. While only the United States has the means or the ideas to pursue a world ruled by law rather than force, being irreplaceable does not guarantee leadership, particularly when we face a skeptical global audience that includes powerful nations eager to challenge American ideas on how international relations should work and ready to assert regional authority against the global power,” he contends.

Nervous About China, Russia And Japan Forge New Ties
On November 2, Japan and Russia defense ministers agreed to establish a bilateral conference on cybersecurity with the first meeting scheduled for next year.

“Boosting cooperation in the field of security, and not just in the field of economic and people exchanges, means that we are improving overall Japan-Russia ties,” the Japanese Foreign Minister told a joint news conference with the Russian ministers.

Both Japan and Russia have strategic interests in taking action to limit China’s influence. Over the last year, territorial tensions have marred relations between China and Japan.

“Japan is seeking to broaden its defense ties, in addition to its key security alliance with the United States, in response to China’s growing military presence and threats from North Korea. Russia has been expanding its trade ties in Asia and President Vladimir Putin has actively sought closer relations with Japan, partly as a counter to China’s rising military power,” reports BusinessWeek.


Con Coughlin of London’s Telegraph believes Saudi Arabia is engaged in a dangerous game by taking a more assertive stance internationally.

Nikolas Gvosdev wonders whether Obama can prevent a decline in US power.

American Enterprise Institute fellow Michael Barone examines the lasting legacy of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.






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