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President Obama and Thai Prime Minister Shingluck on Climate Change

President Obama’s historic trip to Asia, which included the first visit to Burma by a sitting U.S. president, is clearly a watershed moment for U.S. foreign policy, human rights and democracy promotion. But it also marks an important development in addressing the global climate crisis. The U.S. is reconsidering its national security priorities and “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific for a number of reasons. One of those reasons, though it often goes unsaid, is to compete (and sometimes cooperate) with China for influence in this key strategic region. However one feels about that strategy, this momentum should be harnessed in order to address the current and future effects of climate change on the vulnerable places and nations of Asia-Pacific (see here for our piece on this subject from last February, A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific). (more…)

Room for Climate Diplomacy: Secretary Clinton’s Trip to Asia and the Future of U.S. Engagement in the Region

A recent New York Times article covering Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s current diplomatic travels in Asia focused on her efforts to ramp up trade with the region. This move is seen by some analysts as the softer side of the Obama administration’s so-called “pacific pivot” or “rebound,” where the spotlight has until now shone primarily on plans to expand the U.S. military presence in the region. (more…)