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Experts estimate that China’s re-education through labor programs holdanywhere from 300,000 to one million citizens, but beyond that, notmuch else is known. France24’s report looks at the secrecy of thesecamps and some of the their tenants’ more suspicious deaths. Someexperts believe Beijing is trying to do away with such camps, but ismeeting push-back from provincial government officials.

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Jeff McCausland, senior fellow at the Carnegie Council, wears many hats. As a retired Army colonel who’s on a first name basis with Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, he has an acutely military perspective on the war in Afghanistan. As an analyst, professor, and former dean of academics of the U.S. Army War College, he also sees the conflict through an academic lens. When McCausland spoke to a small group at the council’s headquarters in New York yesterday, he combined these two perspectives and outlined the unique challenges of this particular war. To surge or not to surge? […]

It is downright striking how little attention the wider American discussion over foreign policy pays to Japan. After all, Japan still claims the title of the world’s second largest economy (even if China is expected to overtake it next year). Its relationship with the U.S. has been as intimate as any other between major powers in the last 50 years. U.S. troops are still stationed there 64 years after the end of World War II. And to complicate matters, experts say there has been a longstanding worry on the Japanese side of being abandoned by the Americans. Past American presidents […]

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President Nasheed of Maldives and his cabinet held the first everunderwater cabinet meeting on Oct. 28. The spectacle was intended todraw attention to the issue that plagues the archipelago — climatechange. Outfitted in scuba suits and surrounded by fish, the Maldiviangovernment focused on the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference inCopenhagen in December.

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Jean-Dominique Merchet notes the latest example of civil law’s intrusion into warfare: The families of two of the French soldiers killed in an August 2008 ambush in Afghanistan are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the operation’s commanders for “deliberately endangering the life of another.” Now, two things worth noting here. The first is that the families are reacting in large part to the lack of any formal sanction of the unit’s officers, who even the army concedes committed “errors of evaluation” in the operation in question. The families also expressed dissatisfaction with the army’s account of the events that led […]

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Dare I say it? A few shards of optimism coming out of Iran and Afghanistan? Yes, according to two videos we posted in our video section today. The first video, from Al-Jazeera, looks at a new Persian film, “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” which tells the tale of a young man and woman who try to form a band after being released from prison. Their efforts take us through the underground rock scene of Tehran where the city’s youth fight for their jams. Though the story is fictional, actors from the film (now in exile in the U.K, after […]

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A new survey by the Asia Foundation shows that more people inAfghanistan feel the country is moving in the right directioncompared to the same poll last year. Those who felt that Afghanistanwas, in fact, worse for the wear, contributed the downfall to a lack ofsecurity and corruption. VOA News’ Meredith Buel reports on theresults.

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A few weeks back, I considered running an experiment here on the blog, where for a certain period of time, I would actually defend positions that were the opposite of my own. The idea was to challenge my own assumptions by adopting the point of view of haduJ — the anti-Judah that exists in some alternate reversed-pole universe. I increasingly wish I could say that my endorsement of an Afghanistan troop surge, even with all the caveats I put on the idea, is part of that experiment. But I wouldn’t do that sort of thing without announcing it first, and […]

In a landmark address to the U.N. Climate Change Conference last month, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced Beijing’s commitment to trim the explosive growth of China’s carbon emissions “by a notable margin.” But he also reiterated his country’s hackneyed dictum that industrialized countries should bear most of the burden for emissions-cutting. Hu’s headline-grabbing speech captured the essence of China’s Janus-faced climate change policy — which, despite remarkable progress, continues to be bogged down with implementation problems and overshadowed by China’s concerns with economic growth and its leadership role in the developing world. Currently the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, […]

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — In March, ordnance exploded on a home in Kapisa province, in northeast Afghanistan. One child died. Another, 6-year-old Razia, was badly burned. When Aziz, her father, took her in his arms, Razia’s scalp came away in his hands. In early interviews, Aziz blamed the explosion on the U.S.-led coalition. U.S. Air Force officers said the ordnance might have been white phosphorous, a specialized incendiary that the Taliban is unlikely to possess. Later, Aziz claimed the Taliban had, in fact, fired rockets on his home. Regardless of who actually caused Razia’s injuries, it was the Americans that evacuated […]

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As I mentioned to Hampton, only half-jokingly, it looks like I picked a bad week to come out in favor of an Afghanistan surge. Make that a really bad week. Seriously, I’m very conflicted about the way forward, and I think that comes through pretty clearly in this Bloggingheads segment I did with Michael Cohen. (The entire episode can be seen here.) We taped this early last week, before I’d read Tony Corn’s Small Wars Journal article (.pdf) that nudged my thinking past the tipping point. It’s easy to reduce my argument regarding the importance of political signaling to being […]

If you ask Spc. Daniel McBroom of the Army National Guard, the hardest part of war was the wind. “Physically and mentally, the wind was the worst,” he recalls. “This endless hot wind, like 100-degree fans turned toward your body.” But McBroom, 23, who returned in June after serving a year in Iraq, says that the toll of war will be different for everyone. “There’s no doubt it will mark you, change your body. But I don’t think anyone can predict what that change will be.” McBroom is one of nearly 1.5 million Americans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, […]

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