Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Nov. 10, 2009, as part of the WPR feature “China’s Once and Future Rise.” It is made available here for free as part of a promotion that ends Jan. 5. To experience more of WPR”s subscription service, sign up for 30-day free trial. On Oct. 1, the People’s Republic of China celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding, most notably with an air show and military parade along Beijing’s Orwellian-sounding Avenue of Eternal Peace. The event showcased China’s arsenal of indigenously made fighter aircraft, tanks and newer-generation Dongfeng missiles, capable of delivering […]
More than 56 years after the end of the Korean War ushered in a long period of relative military isolation, South Korea is finally taking steps towards a regional security role commensurate with the country’s advanced economy. But South Korea’s rise as a military power is complicated by its domestic politics — and a belligerent North Korea. Despite a technologically advanced military and a Gross Domestic Product that, at just shy of $1 trillion, makes it the world’s 15th-wealthiest country, the Republic of Korea has rarely deployed troops outside its borders. In 1999, Seoul sent 400 soldiers to boost a […]
Guam is preparing for its largest military build up since World War II.The U.S. territory is expecting an increase of 8,000 marines by 2014,as personnel and their families are transferred from the Okinawa base in Japan. The massiveexpansion is expected to cause an economic boom in Guam, providing jobsto around 30,000 of the island’s unemployed, but concerns about drasticpopulation increase and weak infrastructure worry some.
In the next six years, all diesel in India will have to be blended withbiofuel, like that found in Jatropha, a fruit which grows wild incentral India. The mandate has fueled a boom in rural farming of thefruit’s seeds, creating jobs and revenue for local Indians as they selltheir product to both public and private enterprises.
WorldFocus’ Daljit Dhaliwal interviews Dan Rather, who recentlyreturned from his eleventh trip to Afghanistan. Rather toured Kunarprovince, one of the violent eastern regions of the country near thePakistani border. He said, cautiously, that he did see someimprovements over previous visits. Rather says the military effort hasfocused on consolidating military operations while soft power diplomacyhas worked to empower local villagers.
Julia Mahlejd makes some thought-provoking observations about the difference between Afghan and American perceptions and understanding of just what constitutes corruption. This adds some substance to my abstract reflections on the relationship between corruption and legitimacy, as did Kari’s smart post on the Asia Society event featuring Ashraf Ghani she attended two weeks ago. My point wasn’t that corruption isn’t a problem in Afghanistan, nor that there is no connection between perceptions of corruption and perception of legitimacy. I just suspected that the Stateside policy discussion about corruption was lumping together a wide range of behaviors that in fact have […]
It has become an article of faith that American counterterrorism policy — especially as practiced in Afghanistan — is a failure, and that as a consequence a new approach is required. This perception served as a major justification for the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan by the Obama administration, while the associated elevated sense of risk explains much of the resistance to closing the detention center in Guantanamo and holding terrorist trials in federal courts. Fortunately for the United States, the real story is quite different, as the American Security Project’s latest annual report (.pdf) on terrorism trends documents. […]
If you thought the neocons were vanquished, disappearing along with theBush-Cheney administration, better think again. Their mindset stillanimates most of what the GOP offers in opposition to President BarackObama’s magical apology tour. For while the president won a Nobel PeacePrize for his heartfelt mea maxima culpa, Charles Krauthammer & Co. see no reason to surrender America’s two-decades-and-counting “era ofmaximum dominance” to the Chinese simply because Beijing holds the pinkslip on our national economy. First, some details. Atthe heart of this struggle lie two diametrically opposed views oftoday’s world: one that accepts globalization as the all-powerfulshaper of human destiny, and one […]
ISLAMABAD — It is often noted that the outcome of the war in Afghanistan may well determine who gains access to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. Pakistan, being a gateway to the mineral resource wealth of Central Asia, has been a key participant in the Afghan conflict. But what is generally less well-known is that Pakistan’s own oil and gas reserves have also attracted significant attention from large multinational energy corporations. According to government sources, Pakistan possesses reserves of 27 billion barrels of oil and 280 trillion cubic feet of gas. Yet most of that wealth remains […]
Spain has agreed to send 500 additional troops to Afghanistan, including combat troops, but otherwise mainly in a training capacity to the Afghan army. This is more welcome news, politically speaking. But I think it lends weight to the charge made by French Defense Minister Hervé Morin, in defending the Afghanistan war before the French Parliament, that Europe has undermined its political weight by announcing its various troop increases one by one, as opposed to adopting a common position in a coordinated manner. In essence, the immediate declaration by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, following President Barack Obama’s speech […]
From Art Goldhammer, taken out of context from a post worth reading in its entirety on French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s grandstanding at the Copenhagen summit: China, meanwhile, insists on remaining inscrutable — and jealous of itssovereignty. In post-sovereign Europe this smacks of archaism, whereasin imperial America it is perceived as a threat. The EU countries, who have experience hammering out impossible compromises at “post-sovereign” summits, probably find the Chinese position a bit distasteful, too. A hard deal? Sure. A meaningless deal? Why not. But no deal? That’s simply uncivilized. I’d probably replace “imperial” with “unilateral.” And I’d note that there’s […]
In discussing my proposal last week for a Sino-Indian Convention that would define 21st century spheres of influence in Central Asia, a colleague suggested that it was an idea that Otto von Bismarck would have been proud of. They didn’t mean it as a compliment. We think of Bismarck as a caricature of the old European warlord, peering through a monocled eye while croaking about decisions forged in “blood and iron.” Most of all, we see him as someone whose policies were designed for personal and imperial aggrandizement, not the betterment of the people. We distrust his approach to the […]
For some reason, coverage of the intelligence failures involving U.S. drones in Iraq as well as the U.S.-South Korea defense plans is insisting on framing the lapses as “hacking” and “cyberintelligence,” when both were the result of human error. In the case of the drones, as the Danger Room piece above points out, a known security loophole was left unchecked, and in the latter, the plans were apparently made vulnerable because they were downloaded to an unsecured USB key. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: If I could do it, it ain’t hacking. And I’m pretty sure I could have […]
After signing a deal in Moscow, reportedly for the purchase of six submarines to shore up its South China Sea claims, Vietnam’s defense minister made back-to-back visits to Washington and Paris to discuss further military hardware purchases. In France, the subject of discussion was helicopters and air transport. For all the talk in Asia of regional integration, military budgets don’t seem to be suffering much. If Reagan’s famous formula for U.S.-Soviet arms talks was “Trust, but verify,” the contemporary Asian version would seem to be, “Trust, but cover your . . . back.”
NEW DELHI — India has a long history of deferring critical choices for its armed forces, with defense buildups occurring always after military emergencies, rather than in anticipation of potential ones. The same is true today, when severe deficiencies in equipment and inventories have put archaic Indian acquisition norms in the spotlight, particularly in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks last year. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged problems with India’s defense acquisitions in a recent speech to the Combined Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, saying, “I am aware that procedures for defense acquisitions and procurements are a matter of […]
Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan have hacked U.S. military droneswith inexpensive software sold by a Russian company. The software,initially intended to enable users to download pirated music andvideos, has been used to see what the drones see as they go out for spymissions. The military is working to encrypt the drone’s feed so theproblem does not persist, but for now has to deal with the damagealready caused.
Paul Beckett, WSJ’s bureau chief in New Delhi speaks with Dr. AmartyaSen, Nobel laureate for economics at the Aspen India Institute’s 2009Ideas Conference. Sen says that India without question has madedevelopments in bringing justice to its citizens over the past twentyyears. However, he says there is no reason that India cannot movefaster toward reforms in areas such as child nutrition, medicine anderadicating poverty. Sen says the responsibility of the left in government is tochampion the underdog. br>