Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eikenberry will be the next U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan

General Retires, Readies to Become Ambassador to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry retired today, 24 hours before being sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Until today, Eikenberry served as the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. Tomorrow he will be sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as ambassador.

"I'll make this very brief. [My wife] and I are very eager to enjoy our 24-hour vacation," the general joked during his retirement ceremony held at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon. (Here)

For those who are not around back in the "good-ole-days" General Eikenberry's work was the topic of discussion; he was one of the few US flag officer with an advanced degree in Chinese history from Nanjing University and wrote number of very good articles related to China.

The following was what he wrote back in 2005 for National Defense University and of course there were skeptics who dismissed the idea of an assertive China and a stationary Japan. I, myself included.

McNair Paper 36, Explaining and Influencing Chinese Arms Transfers, February 1995


With a continuation in current growth trends, China's GNP is expected to surpass Japan's by the year 2010, and become the second largest in the world. (Note 96) Because of its still relatively low standard of living, of course, this does not imply the PRC's global reach will soon only be surpassed by that of the United States. Still, a fundamental shift in the distribution of world power is clearly underway. If China manages to sustain its extraordinary rate of development, it will demand a larger role in shaping the international order. Concomitant with such claims will be an increased use of arms transfers to realize security, versus strictly economic objectives. But such a time is yet distant, and given the unpredictability of world affairs, we should discount concerns about the possible consequences appropriately. This paper, rather, is relevant to the more immediate future, a period when China will primarily assert itself as a regional power, but whose economic clout will, nevertheless, start to be felt worldwide. Thus, we can anticipate Beijing adopting a more assertive role on questions of weapons sales within Asia, and a more entrepreneurial approach to business elsewhere. While the latter portends for occasional bilateral discord with the world's remaining superpower, the United States, the means for the peaceful resolution of such differences unquestionably exist.

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