Articles

Trashing the ASEAN Brand

CANBERRA – Having a reputation for integrity and decency matters as much in international relations as in professional and personal life. States that are so regarded consistently punch above their weight – witness the Scandinavians. By contrast, those that never earn – or fritter away – such a reputation can seriously endanger their own interests, jeopardizing trade, tourism, foreign investment, political support in international forums and negotiations, and the security of their own nationals abroad.

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No Hiding From Sustainable Development

NEW YORK – One year ago, I was in Brazil to launch the Brazilian chapter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The main message I heard that day was that São Paulo was suffering from a mega-drought, but that state and local politicians were keeping it quiet. This is a reality around the world: too many political leaders are ignoring a growing environmental crisis, imperiling their own countries and others.

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Obama Steps Up

WASHINGTON, DC – For the past six years, US President Barack Obama’s administration has, more often than not, sided with the interests of big banks on financial-sector policy. But this week, announcing a new proposal to prevent conflicts of interest in financial advising, Obama seemed to turn an important corner.

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Why is Monetary Policy Underrated?

TOKYO – Last month – just a few days before the European Central Bank announced its intention to initiate quantitative easing (QE) – I attended a seminar in Geneva with international journalists, policymakers, and investors. The discussions there, much like those in Japan before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his groundbreaking economic-reform strategy in 2012, reflected an inadequate understanding of unconventional monetary policy's transformative potential.

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Managing the ISIS Crisis

NEW YORK – One day, historians will have their hands full debating the causes of the chaos now overtaking much of the Middle East. To what extent, they will ask, was it the inevitable result of deep flaws common to many of the region’s societies and political systems, and to what extent did it stem from what outside countries chose to do (or not to do)?

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