This is the first of a recurring feature, in which I'll share some of what I'm reading today. It's meant to highlight some of the best foreign affairs coverage from other media outlets, blogs, academic institutions and think tanks. It's also meant to give you a sense of what might end up driving the foreign policy conversations for the day. I hope you enjoy it and check back tomorrow.
We've come to regard Japanese pacifism – the country's stated post-war ideology – as just part of the furniture in Asian politics. But that might not always be the case, as newly reelected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has hinted. A pillar of Japanese pacifism is the U.S. commitment to essentially manage the country's security. What if, as the U.S. cuts budgets and gives up on President Obama's "pivot to Asia," that pillar falls away?
Melissa Chan, who like many journalists with experience in China says she was the target of hacks while there, points out that Chinese cyber-espionage might be getting so much more effective in part because the hackers appear to have vastly improved language skills. It's an interesting insight into the complex nature of cyber-security, which at times is simply about tricking people.
It turns out that it's not a coincidence that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been so effective at staving off the revolutionary movements that have shaken the rest of the Arab world. The two countries have used a number of tactics, including sheer spending. A fascinating study in how governments can keep popular uprising at bay.
Being invited by the Chinese police for a cup of tea, in typical cases, actually means being interrogated by the police. This is meant as a guide for Chinese bloggers who find themselves in that spot, but it's also a fascinating glimpse into the struggle in China for freedom of speech.