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2011: On the U.S. Campaign Trail, a Deficit of Diplomacy

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain made headlines for the wrong reasons with his

The U.S. presidential campaign heated up in 2011, as Americans ready themselves to vote in November 2012. While the current fiscal environment demands candidates focus on domestic economic challenges and solutions, in our interdependent world, foreign policy has to take a top spot on the list of presidential priorities. Unfortunately, election season is rife with fire and brimstone foreign policy rhetoric, attempting to engage voters at the detriment of diplomacy.

Hassan Abbas: 'How Obama Can Fix U.S.-Pakistani Relations'

Local Pakistani kids await to be evacuated on a CH-60 Blackhawk in Khyber - Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on Sept. 13, 2010. Photo By Joshua Kruger. (Flickr/DVIDSHUB)

As Pakistan struggles with its democratic transition, Asia Society Senior Advisor Hassan Abbas writes in Foreign Affairs that Obama can help Pakistan help itself by taking a less unilateral approach and focusing instead on strengthening Pakistan's civilian government and investing in civil society. Abbas points out: 

2011: A Return to Roots? Lessons From This Year's US Engagement in Asia

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R) applauds with Southeast Asian leaders, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L), Philippines President Benigno Aquino (2nd L) and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (R), during a group photo session for the leaders of the East Asia Summit in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on November 19, 2011 following the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)

This is part of a series of year-end posts on Asia Blog written by Asia Society experts and Associate Fellows looking back on noteworthy events in 2011. You can read the entire series here.

Stumpf: Kim Jong Il's Death an Opportunity for US, China

The front pages of Tokyo's major evening newspapers report the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on December 19, 2011 in Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

It would be understandable if, observing the post-Kim Jong Il era, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan saw more peril than promise. However, the history of North Korean negotiation indicates a small possibility of progress toward peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea’s denuclearization.

Taiwan For Sale?

Flags of the United States and Taiwan fly outside Chinatown gate in Washington, D.C. (Flickr/Photo Phiend)

In today's New York Times, former Harvard academic Paul V. Kane writes that the United States should terminate its defense arrangement with Taiwan in exchange for China forgiving the $1.14 trillion of U.S. debt that it holds. Kane argues that this move would be:

Diwali Around the World, in Photos and Tweets


The 2011 Festival of Lights, Diwali, captured in photos and tweets from around the world.

Interview: Arvind Subramanian on a Dominant China

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) looks on as his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao answers a question during a press conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2011. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Author of Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance suggests the era of Chinese economic leadership may already be upon us.

Pakistan-India Relations Moving from 'Bombs' to 'Bombshells'?

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna (L) prior to a meeting in New Delhi on July 27, 2011. (Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images)

While the mysteries surrounding interactions between the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency continue to be partly entertaining and partly amazing, the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating — complicating U.S. withdrawal plans.

Hillary Clinton to Asia: Debt Ceiling Debate 'Intense,' But Don't Worry

US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton gives a speech at the American Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong on July 25, 2011. Clinton told Asian business leaders she was confident US lawmakers would reach a deal to avert a debt default. (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)

In Hong Kong yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton publicly addressed several major economic issues, chief among them the ongoing fracas in Washington over raising the U.S. debt ceiling before an August 2 deadline.

In a speech co-organized by several local branches of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Asia Society Hong Kong, Clinton conceded that "the political wrangling in Washington is intense right now."

Japan's Victory: A Triumph Bigger Than the World Cup

Japan's midfielder Homare Sawa celebrates after the FIFA Women's Football World Cup final match Japan vs USA on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

When Japan's women's soccer team fought back to a close victory against the United States in the World Cup final on Sunday in Germany, it broke a 26-game losing streak against the Americans. But the win was much more than just an underdog sports story, it was also a significant upturn for the nation's collective pride.