Sunday, November 19, 2017

Monday in Washington, November 20, 2017

READINESS ON THE LINE: PREPARING TODAY'S FORCE FOR FUTURE FIGHTS. 11/20, 9:30-10:30am. Sponsor: Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Air Force Association. Speaker: Gen. Mike Holmes, Commander, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Force.

IRANIAN AND RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA: PURPOSES AND PROSPECTS.
11/20, 10:00-11:00am. Sponsor: Manama Dialogue 2017 Discussion Series, IISS-Americas. Speakers: Mark Katz. Professor, Government and Politics, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; Neda Bolourchi. Research Associate, Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE).

LUNCHEON WITH WORLD BANK PRESIDENT DR. JIM YONG KIM.
11/20, 12:30pm. Sponsor: National Press Club (NPC). Speaker: Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank.

COSTING U.S. NUCLEAR FORCES. 11/20, 1:00-2:30pm. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Michael Bennett, Analyst, National Security, Congressional Budget Office; Kingston Reif, Director, Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, Arms Control Association; Moderator: James Acton Co-Director Nuclear Policy Program, Senior Fellow, Carnegie.

NUCLEAR DETERRENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
. 11/20, 4:30-5:30pm. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Monday in Washington, November 13, 2017

MORAL INJURY: TOWARD AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. 11/13, 8:15-11:15am, Coffee. Sponsor: New America. Speakers: Brad Allenby, President’s Professor, Affiliated Faculty, Center on the Future of War, Arizona State University; Andrea Ellner, Lecturer, Defence Studies, King’s College London; David Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist, Author, What Have We Done, The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars; Moderator: Rosa Brooks, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center.

WINNING THE SECOND WORLD WARS: HOW THE FIRST GLOBAL CONFLICT WAS FOUGHT AND WON. 11/13, 9:00-10:00am. Sponsor: Project on Military and Diplomatic History, CSIS. Speaker: Victor Davis Hanson, Author, Senior Fellow, Hoover.

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AT THE TURNING POINT: ECONOMICS, SECURITY, AND AMERICAN POLITICS. 11/13, 12:30-5:00pm. Sponsors: Economists for Peace and Security and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Keynote speakers: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA); Heather Hurlburt, New America; William Hartung, Center for International Policy; Matthew Duss, Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Sanders.

PREPARING MILITARY LEADERSHIP FOR THE FUTURE. 11/13, 1:00-5:00pm, Coffee. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Rudy de Leon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, Former Deputy Secretary of Defense; General (Ret.) James Cartwright, USMC, Chair, Defense Policy Studies, CSIS; Moderator: Ray DuBois, Senior Adviser, CSIS.

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RELIGION AND FOREIGN POLICY: EXPLORING THE LEGACY OF "MIXED BLESSINGS". 11/13, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsors: Human Rights Initiative, CSIS; Georgetown University. Speakers: Shaun Casey, Director, Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University; Liora Danan, Former Chief of Staff, Office of Religion and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director, Office of Government Relations, Episcopal Church; Eric Patterson, Research Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University; Moderator: Shannon N. Green, Director and Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative, CSIS.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AS SEEN BY BARBIE AND MICKEY. 11/13, 6:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Intellectual Property Law Program, George Washington University Law School. Speaker: Jane Ginsburg, Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law, Columbia Law School, Columbia University.

UNRAVELLING THE KASHMIR KNOT. 11/13, 6:00-8:00pm. Sponsor: World Affairs Council. Speaker: Aman Hingorani, Author, Lawyer and Mediator, Supreme Court of India.  Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Horizon Ballroom. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Monday in Washington, November 6, 2017

CLINTON 25: GEORGETOWN REFLECTS ON THE VISION OF BILL CLINTON. 11/6, 9:00am-6:00pm. Sponsor: Georgetown University, Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Speakers: President Bill Clinton; Bruce Reed, former Chief Domestic Policy Advisor; Rahm Emanuel, former Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy; Minyon Moore, former Director of White House Political Affairs; Maria Echaveste, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff; Mike Bailey, Interim Dean, McCourt School of Public Policy (Moderator); Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State; President Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico; Strobe Talbott, former Deputy Secretary of State; Joel Hellman, Dean, Walsh School of Foreign Service (Moderator); Mack McLarty, former White House Chief of Staff, Clinton Administration; Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, Clinton Administration; John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff, Clinton Administration; Judy Feder, Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy; Faculty Liaison, Baker Center on Leadership and Governance (Moderator). 

THE NEW EURASIA ENERGY LANDSCAPE. 11/6, 9:00am-2:00pm. Sponsor: German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Speakers: Jonathan Katz, Resident Fellow, GMF; Steven Burns, USAID E&E Bureau Director of Energy and Infrastructure office; Will Polen, Senior Director, United States Energy Association; Robert Scher, Head of International Affairs, BP America; Jonathan Elkind, Former Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs, Department of Energy; John McCarrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. State Department.

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE NORTH KOREA? 11/6, 9:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: Bill Richardson, Former Governor of New Mexico and North Korea Negotiator; Joe Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund; Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow, New America. 

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ALLIES UNDER THE SHADOW: THAILAND, THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE STATE OF U.S. ALLIANCES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. 11/6, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Southeast Asia Program, CSIS. Speakers: Dr. John Blaxland, Director, Southeast Asia Institute; Richard Heydarian, Resident Political Analyst, GMA Network; Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery (Ret.), Policy Director, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee; Moderator: Dr. Amy E. Searight, Senior Adviser and Director, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS.

BRAZIL AND CHINA: A DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIP? 11/6, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Elliott School of International Affairs, GW. Speakers: André Soares, Counselor, Inter-American Development Bank's Board of Directors; David Shambaugh, Director, China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs. 

INDIA'S RESPONSES TO THE COMPLEX ROHINGYA CRISIS IN MYANMAR. 11/6, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: East-West Center. Speaker: Baladas Ghoshal, Secretary General, Society for Indian Ocean Studies.

NORTH KOREA PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. 11/6, Noon.. Sponsors: Monday Forums, joint project of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and Public Diplomacy Council. Speaker: Robert Ogburn, visiting State Department public diplomacy fellow, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU. Location: American Foreign Service Association, 2101 E St., NW. Contact:

ISLAM AND THE STATE IN CENTRAL ASIA - A FRIEDRICH EBERT FOUNDATION REPORT. 11/6, 2017, 12:30–2:00pm. Sponsor: Central Asia Program, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, GW. Speakers: Dr. Sanat Kushkumbayev, Deputy Director, Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

13TH ANNUAL ALVIN H. BERNSTEIN LECTURE WITH ROBERT O. WORK, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. 11/6, 4:45-7:00pm. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speaker: Secretary Work is the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security at the Center for a New American Security and the owner of TeamWork, LLC, which specializes in national security affairs and the future of warfare.

REALISM AND DEMOCRACY: AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AFTER THE ARAB SPRING. 11/6,
5:00-7:00pm, Sponsor: Hoover Institution. Speakers: Elliott Abrams, Author, Senior Fellow, Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Samuel Tadros, Visiting Fellow, Middle Eastern Studies, Hoover Institution. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

October Election No Mandate for Abe

By William Brooks, SAIS, Johns Hopkins Fellow and APP Senior Fellow

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) walked away with an easy win in the October 22 general election. The LDP, with its coalition partner the Komeito, attained a two-thirds majority (313) in the House of Representatives (Lower House). This “landslide victory,” however, should not be interpreted as a mandate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – who is now likely to stay in power until 2021. He is unlikely to implement the most controversial part of his policy agenda, that of amending Article 9 of Japan’s peace Constitution. Public and media opinion are not necessarily on his side, and the LDP arguably won because the opposition was poorly organized and unprepared.

Abe’s Calling Snap Election Had Little to Do with Policy

Prime Minister Abe cited the North Korean threat, which he deemed a “national crisis,” and demographic issues as his reasons for dissolving the Lower House and calling a snap election. In reality, his motive was purely political. Policy debates played a minor role in the election campaign. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso even joked after the election that the LDP won “thanks to North Korea,” no doubt knowing that such was not the case.

Abe used the election to shore up his base within the LDP. It had eroded due to plummeting approval rates brought on by two personal money scandals and his party’s ignominious loss in the July Tokyo assembly election. The Kochikai faction in the LDP was getting set to run former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in the party head election next year to prevent Abe from winning another three years as president and thus prime minister.

Abe also worried about the new opposition party led by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and her Party of Hope [PH] (the “Koike boom”). He was keenly aware that if the general election came a year later as scheduled, opposition parties could by then form a possibly undefeatable united front. An election took advantage of a still weak, fragmented, and ill-prepared opposition.

“Balkanization” of Opposition Forces
Democratic Party (DP) head Seiji Maehara’s sudden dissolution of his party, ostensibly to create a larger opposition party by joining the Party of Hope, failed. Koike, in a major tactical mistake, refused to accept the DP’s liberal wing. As a result, the progressives quickly organized the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) to run candidates in the election. Other DP members unwilling to join either side formed an unaffiliated group led by former Foreign Minister and DPJ president Katsuya Okada.

The collapsing DP in short split the opposition camp into conservative and liberal groups that ended up fighting each other in the election. Such confusion may have convinced voters to stay home, since the turnout rate in the election was only 55.6%, the second lowest in postwar history (the lowest being in the last Lower House election in 2014).

The LDP’s win still seems odd because the pre-election polls showed Abe’s lack of popularity, and a majority of the public not favoring him staying on as prime minister after the election. Reports of the LDP candidates campaigning across the country found no outpouring of support for Abe, as well. And yet, the LDP won handily. Why? The poor turnout as potentially anti-LDP voters stayed home must be linked also to the opposition camp’s disarray.

The conservative Party of Hope led by Koike, who did not run for a Diet seat, fizzled. It backed 235 candidates (trying to achieve a majority or 233 seats) but won only 50 seats. It turned out also that the popularity of Koike was primarily a Tokyo phenomenon. But even Koike’s choice to head PH, Masaru Wakasa, lost his seat in Tokyo’s District 10.

The liberal CDPJ, backed by Rengo, the labor union federation, outpaced PH to take 55 seats, emerging as the largest opposition party in the Lower House. The CDPJ, which campaigned on a platform of protecting the Constitution from revision and scrapping all nuclear power, not only captured the liberal vote (perhaps the last gasp of that dying movement), it also drained centrist votes from the Komeito, which lost in Kanagawa, ending up with 34 seats. The biggest loser in the election, though, was the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), which lost half its seats. Apparently, the protest votes that used to go to the JCP went to the CDPJ this time.

LDP Wins by Standing Still

The LDP won 284 seats in the election, but this is the same number it had before the election. In fact, the LDP has not attracted more votes in any election since 2005. The party’s absolute ratio of votes (ratio of votes to the total number of voters; not the turnout rate) in the latest election was 25.2%, about the same level as in 2009, when it lost to the DPJ. The party’s strength has been in the 22-25% range since 2005, when then Prime Minister Koizumi successfully attracted millions of unaffiliated voters to bring the ratio to 32% (and win 296 seats for the LDP).

Polls regularly show that between 40-50% of voters are unaffiliated (mutohasou) and able to swing elections, as in 2005 and 2009, when they did decide to vote. Strong issues in the campaign can mobilize them, but the low turnout in this election showed that a large number of unaffiliated voters were disinterested and stayed home.

Another way of looking at the election is the tally of votes in the proportional representation blocs, in which people vote for a party not a candidate. The CDPJ won about 11.07 million votes, and the PH won 9.66 million votes – a combined total of 20.73 million votes. The total of votes won by the LDP in the proportional representation blocs was 18.52 million votes, or about 2 million votes less than that of the two opposition parties combined. The conclusion reached is that the LDP owes much of its victory to the split in the opposition camp.

The results also show that the three way battles in most districts among the LDP, CDPJ, and PH favored the LDP. In 226 of the 289 single-seat districts, a single ruling coalition candidate took on multiple candidates from the opposition camp. The ruling coalition candidates won 183 of the 226 districts or more than 80%. A united front candidate from the opposition camp would likely have changed the results significantly.

Abe Has No Mandate for Constitutional Reform
Assuming that he will serve as Prime Minister until 2021, Abe now plans to move decidedly toward amending the Constitution, based on his own ideas and on proposals that the LDP is now preparing. For example, Abe would like a clause added to Article 9 to specify the legitimacy of the Self-Defense Forces.

He is counting on his popularity to recover, and indeed a Yomiuri poll released on October 25 showed the Abe Cabinet’s support rate is up 11 points to 52% from only two weeks earlier. But an Asahi poll on the same day has the support rate only up four points from a week earlier to 42%, with the non-support rate down a point to 39%. Moreover, asked about Abe’s desire to amend Article 9, 45% were negative and only 36 were positive. At best, the nation is split on amending the Constitution in the way that the LDP may want, and if that wariness continues, a future referendum to approve the Diet’s changes could fail.

In the Diet, although most LDP members are eager to amend the Constitution, the Komeito, which gives the ruling coalition the two-thirds majority needed to pass Constitutional changes, remains reluctant to tamper with Article 9. Komeito has the capability to put the brakes to Abe’s drive to reshape the Constitution.

The media is also skeptical. Editorials after the election, liberal and conservative alike, rejected that Abe had a mandate. The editorials were wary of Abe and the LDP having too much power in the Diet now and admonished the Prime Minister to “implement politics humbly” and take a cautious approach. They encouraged the administration and the LDP to “listen to the people’s voice” and to build a consensus with the opposition on contentious issues.

The LDP win is attributed to the “missteps of the opposition.” The voters and the press are concerned that he will be “high-handed” on constitutional revision or other issues with his Diet super majority. Yet, the election made Abe appear the more the canny politician than the reckless crusader. He knows will have to proceed cautiously with as monumental a task as changing Japan’s revered Constitution. After all Abe is a conservative in a country that does not like change.


Bill Brooks and Kent Calder, SAIS, Johns Hopkins, Washington, DC, October 25, 2017
Election Discussion