Klein's Commentary

Go beyond the headlines

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What the China Stock Market Crash Really Tells Us (and What It Doesn’t)

Monday morning headlines were more sobering than a double shot of espresso, adding anxiety to an already tumultuous few weeks in China. The Shanghai index dropped 8.5%, in one day, again. This after a see-saw struggle to regain momentum with similar drops from mid-June’s dizzying peak of over 5,000. The consequences of such a serious…

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China Devaluation Latest Sign of Market Weakness

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) devalued the renminbi yesterday in the latest sign that market forces continue to weaken in the world’s second largest economy. Exports have fallen. Growth is likely far slower than the official 7% rate. Electricity usage is down. Steel production has declined. Infrastructure investment yields less impact. Even demographics highlight…

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Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is In North Korea?

In yet another bizarre move by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, official time in Pyongyang will officially roll back 30 minutes on August 15th. While not unheard of in the annals of geopolitics (New Delhi and Islamabad diverge by half an hour as well), the move is a decidedly cold war maneuver that matters…

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U.S. Needs an Asia Re-Pivot

Legacy must be on Obama’s mind these days as his two-term presidency nears an end. It might seem early, but the approaching 2016 election cycle starts in earnest as soon as Hilary Clinton announces her candidacy. That could be only months away. Then the media cycle fills with coverage of every presidential hopeful’s latest utterance…

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India Poised to Gain as China Troubles in South China Sea Escalate

The recent Philippine-Vietnam announcement on a coordinated response to China’s latest ocean drilling marks a significant shift in regional relations. Strains have been growing for some time. An unenforceable territorial dispute process has failed to resolve competing claims and anti-foreign sentiment is on the rise (in both Vietnam with riots against foreign factories and changing…

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What Does Xi Want?

For so many years now the rhetoric coming out of China was “peaceful rise” and “non-intervention”. And then by stealth, diplomacy and economic might a shift occurred turning a policy of biding one’s time into action. This new muscular foreign policy, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, increasingly fractures a status quo that has maintained stability in…

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“Road to Fame” Explores China’s Youthful Aspirations and Angst

Six pairs of eyes follow each single child in China says a teacher at Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Drama – parents and two sets of grandparents. That puts a lot of pressure on them to succeed. In an economy undergoing dramatic change and slowing growth, the culture of competition long thought to be an…

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Asia Tensions Reach New Highs

North Korea’s rounds of provocation tempered with inaction continue to challenge regional powers. Sanctions appear to have had little affect on the new regime, but perhaps some additional pressure from China, one of their last remaining allies, has put the fear of complete isolation into the minds of Pyongyang’s leadership. Now that the new Kim…

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Red Lines in the East China Sea

[Short version on CNN GPS] In many parts of the world the long curve of history continues dragging nations back to the brink of war. Take Northeast Asia where recent tensions between China and Japan risk erupting into conflict. The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, home to rocky outcroppings and resource rich waters nearby has become the latest…

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The Once and Future Beijing Blues

Remember the Beijing Olympics of 2008? A world-renowned stadium. An opening ceremony of unparalleled power and vibrancy. Beautiful blue skies. It was a picture-postcard moment. At the time visiting reporters regaled the wonderfully clean air, some even claiming the government could make the skies rain on command to wash away the pollution. But to Beijing…

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