The military operation that the U.S., the U.K. and France have launched against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi thus far lacks a clear set of strategic goals. The coalition partners cannot agree regarding whether the operation is intended to remove Gadhafi, to support rebel operations against Gadhafi loyalists or simply to protect civilians from attack by Gadhafi’s military forces. The lack of a strong, well-defined set of strategic objectives means that military operations in and over Libya are likely to be incoherent. All this is bad enough, but perhaps worse is that there is little indication that France, the U.K. or […]
For many years, the United States has been the world’s most powerful nation. It remains the undisputed global leader in military power and still possesses vast economic and cultural influence. And while Washington’s ability to combine both hard and soft power to influence world events — what Joseph Nye calls “smart power” — has diminished somewhat, it is still in a far superior position relative to any other country. U.S. primacy, however, comes with opportunity costs. An alternate path might have delivered a comparable level of security at far less expense and risk. Even many who unabashedly celebrate our 20-year […]
The American commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, Army General David Petraeus, says security responsibility will begin to be transferred to Afghan forces in the coming months and that U.S. troops will begin to withdraw in July as planned.
The story reads like a spy novel. The setting is Kyrgyzstan. The U.S. government pays billions of dollars to a mysterious American businessman known to the public only as the owner of a burger-and-beer joint. His mission: grease the right wheels in order to purchase and transport large volumes of fuel for the U.S. military. Accusations that the Kyrgyz government took kickbacks from these shady deals lead to the toppling of its leader. The Russians, as top fuel suppliers in the region, get involved, followed by the Chinese. Relations among governments grow strained. Meanwhile, dogged journalists find that the mysterious […]
Nine children have been killed in a NATO air raid in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. They were out collecting firewood on Tuesday when a they were hit. General David Petraeus, the international forces commander, has personally apologised to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the deaths.
In Islamabad gunmen have shot dead Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities. Shabaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the government cabinet, was murdered on Wednesday in the gun attack on his car. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killing, calling Bhatti a blasphemer. He had been calling for changes to the country’s blasphemy law under which anyone who speaks ill of Islam can face the death penalty.
The Middle East Institute recently presented a lecture and discussion with Andrew Exum, Fellow at the Center for A New American Security, assessing the possibility of a new Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and its ramifications for U.S. strategy there. The below video is the first of several parts of Exum’s talk. Additional parts can be found at the Middle East Institute. A related World Politics Review interview with Exum conducted as part of WPR’s special report on the Afghanistan war can be found here.