Fighting patriarchal Japan: Few politicians in recent decades have made patriarchal Japan queasier than Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s first female governor. William Pesek writes that Koike, a charismatic politician fluent in English and Arabic, is the country’s real female role model and she has told Japan’s male-dominated business culture that gender equality is an economic necessity.
Afghanistan-Pentagon in charge: US President Donald Trump’s reported decision to delegate the Afghan war to Defense Secretary James Mattis reflects smart thinking, argues M.K. Bhadrakumar. Trump’s decision to pass management of the war to the Pentagon generals is one that Obama should have taken eight years ago, when he was hustled by his inner circle into sanctioning the famous “surge”.
Indonesia’s corruption battle: A parliamentary move to weaken Indonesia’s state-run Anti-Corruption Commission coincides conspicuously with a US$173 million scandal implicating top ruling coalition politicians. John McBeth reports that members of Indonesia’s Parliament, widely considered the country’s most corrupt institution, are seeking to withdraw the Commission’s prosecutorial powers in a gambit that would render the agency impotent.
China America war? Graham Allison’s new book, Destined for War, addresses the question: “Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?” George Koo writes that the book is a tour de force in its identification of all the different ways powers can head to war and, given the state of tension between the two powers, its publication is timely.
Silk Road troubles: China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors. Pepe Escobar writes that it will be gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff as it cannot but translate into major trouble ahead for the New Silk Roads.