Crisis in Crimea: Implications for U.S. Response in East Asia
In the weeks since the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea first broke out, questions have emerged about how the United States might respond to future conflicts, including in East Asia. This debate is unfolding as President Barack Obama prepares for his upcoming trip to Asia later this month. While the president’s Asia trip is intended to show increasing U.S. commitment to the region, the president may face skepticism from Asia’s leaders and citizens.
On April 18, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion on what the Crimea crisis may portend in terms of a U.S. response to other international crises in the future — in particular for achieving the Obama administration’s objectives in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants included Brookings Senior Fellows Kenneth Lieberthal, Michael O’Hanlon, Steven Pifer and Jonathan Pollack. Jeremy Shapiro, visiting fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings, moderated the discussion.
On April 18, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion on what the Crimea crisis may portend in terms of a U.S. response to other international crises in the future — in particular for achieving the Obama administration’s objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.
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AAPI Heritage Month: Safeguarding Asian American inclusion and belonging
President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.