India continues to burnish its international image with initiatives like Brand India, a public-private campaign whose stated mission is to “build positive perceptions of India globally.” But when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged the country’s undernourished children as a “national shame,” it highlighted how India’s economic success co-exists with its persistently high rates for hunger, malnutrition, and income poverty. According to the World Bank, 46 percent of Indian children below the age of five are underweight, and the World Food Program says that 230 million Indians are living with hunger. Clearly India’s robust 8 percent growth in GDP does […]

McKiernan as ISAF Roadkill

If you’re wondering how to say, “scathing,” in blog-ese, look no further: The Security Crank, at his cranky best, counts the ways in which former ISAF commander Gen. David McKiernan got majorly shafted. (And believe me, there are more than you probably realize.) All of which reminds me of the one-year window of opportunity often referred to last July to turn things around in Afghanistan. Six months later, the information ops campaign, at least, seems to be on track to deliver.

Tokyo Calling

Kari and I have been following the Futenma base issue in the Leading Indicators roundup for a while now. After initially appearing to put the screws on the Hatoyama government now that the issue has become a domestic hornets’ nest, the U.S. appears to be giving Tokyo the breathing room it requires to navigate the wreckage. Tobias Harris explains why this is a smart move, as well as what’s driving Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Asia-centric vision of a renovated U.S.-Japan alliance. The choice isn’t between a close or distant bilateral relationship, but rather between one that is relevant to the […]

Going Global as Alliance Management

In his WPR column a few weeks back, David Axe called attention to South Korea’s promised troop deployment to Afghanistan, and it bears repeating, because I think it’s actually one of the more significant “quiet moves” to emerge recently. For more background on Seoul’s decision in the context of the U.S.-ROK alliance, see this March 2009 WPR briefing by Nirav Patel (itself based on this CNAS report). For a more ROK-centric analysis, there’s also this Asia Foundation article by Michael Finnegan — who notes that the operational capabilities the deployment will provide could have potential applications on the Korean Peninsula […]

NEW DELHI — Fly three hours in just about any direction from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, and you’re likely to land in a zone of either ongoing or recently resolved armed conflict — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma for the former, Sri Lanka and Nepal for the latter. What might be surprising, though, is that those odds are not diminished if you travel by road within India. As a result of structural complexities inherent to the Indian state, New Delhi faces internal security challenges that range from terrorism and militant Naxal extremism to insurgencies and proxy wars. Violence, […]

Miliband Visits Pakistan Ahead of Conference

Success in Afghanistan heavily relies on the successes of its neighbor,Pakistan. Recognizing this important relationship, British ForeignSecretary David Miliband visited Pakistan ahead of the AfghanistanConference in London. During his time in Pakistan, Miliband heldmeetings with Pakistani government officials as well as private sectorprofessionals.

Will Google Pull Out of China?

Due to “cyber-attacks” on Google’s products in China, the search enginegiant is considering pulling its business from the burgeoning consumermarket. The move, rare for a multi-national company, is rooted inGoogle’s suspicions of the Chinese government’s involvement in therecent attacks. In addition to possibly pulling out of Chinaaltogether, Google says it will no longer filter its search results forChinese users as it has done in the past.

Bereft of an ally since the collapse of monarchical rule in Nepal nearly four years ago, China has been struggling to secure its place in the buffer state, wedged between China’s volatile Tibet region and its regional rival, India. Hardly a month goes by now without a high-level Chinese delegation arriving in Kathmandu seeking assurances on its security interests. In February 2005, China offered then-King Gyanendra a lifeline by calling his seizure of power, which otherwise prompted widespread international condemnation, an internal matter. A year later, when the royal regime no longer seemed tenable, China scrambled to build ties with […]

North Korea’s Call for Peace Talks is Rejected

North Korea wants peace talks with the UnitedStates and an end to sanctions, but the U.S. has rejected the request. U.S. officials say thatNorth Korea must return to six-party denuclearization talks before itcan consider any other issues. VOA’s Robert Raffaele reports.

Just 12 days into 2010, Chinese government representatives have already made more than a half-dozen official statements warning the Obama administration against selling additional weapons to Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) may respond in several ways to the announced sales, with the freezing of Sino-American military relations likely to be one means of retaliation. The Obama administration should accept a temporary suspension to educate Chinese policymakers that the defense dialogue is not something that Beijing can employ as a source of leverage over Washington. The immediate catalyst for Beijing’s anger came on Dec. 23, when the Defense Department […]

India-Bangladesh Relations Warm Up

Bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India have recently improvedas Bangladesh clamps down on separatist rebels. Indian officials wereoptimistic during the first official visit of the Bangladeshiprime-minister to Indian soil while both nations have interests inimproved relations that could facilitate trade and securitycooperation. Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi.

The U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement, signed in October 2008 after intense bilateral negotiations, is a crucial trade deal for both nations, offering India’s fledgling civilian nuclear industry the opportunity to access sophisticated U.S. technology, while providing American companies with the possibility of significant commercial benefits from the engagement. However, despite the deal’s obvious benefits and the urgency displayed by both countries to get it signed over a year ago, obstacles still remain to making it operational. To finalize the agreement, the Bush administration overruled longstanding U.S. non-proliferation policy by implicitly recognizing India as a nuclear power. The deal was also […]

Thanks to the recent global financial crisis, we’ve heard much talk about the coming “de-globalization,” defined by some as the reversal of the now decades-long push to further integrate trade among national economies by disintegrating production and spreading its means across the planet to the cheapest sources. In the past, all forms of growing supply chain connectivity could be justified on price, buttressed by just-in-time delivery capacity. But the market woes of the last year-and-a-half supposedly threw all that logic into question. Price risk is one thing, supply risk quite another. Specialization depends on supply: the greater the specialization, the […]

The chaos in Copenhagen offered a powerful, and sobering, illustration of how far the world’s governments are from negotiating an accord to bring climate change under control. Those who believe that a robust and binding climate framework is essential have been left depressed and demoralized. Many now fear that a global governance system that is unable to respond to one of the toughest threats the world faces must, in fact, be broken. History suggests (.pdf) that the climate change priesthood will soldier on, insisting that a deal needs just one more push. Meanwhile, they’ll bury the process ever further in […]

A year ago, Christian Brose penned a provocative article for Foreign Policy entitled “George W. Obama.” In it, the former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice asserted that “Obama ran against a caricature of Bush’s first term” during the 2008 election, rather than the Bush foreign policy of the second term. Moreover, of the latter, he predicted that Obama would “largely continue it.” In large measure, Brose has turned out to be right. Despite the rhetoric of “change we can believe in,” there has been a high degree of continuity between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Take the most […]

COIN in Berlin

In a WPR Briefing from earlier this week, Nicolas Nagle discussed some of the tensions Germany’s Afghanistan deployment is causing within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition government. This Der Spiegel article offers some further detail, and suggests that there’s essentially open warfare between Foreign Minister Guido Westerwalle, who is hostile to any troop increase, and Defense Minister Theodor zu Guttenberg, who is pushing to add up to 2,000 more troops. This goes a long way to explaining why Germany insisted on waiting until the Afghanistan Conference in London later this month before responding to President Barack Obama’s call for more […]

Last month, the West officially lost the new “Great Game.” The 20-year competition for natural resources and influence in Central Asia between the United States (supported by the European Union), Russia and China has, for now, come to an end, with the outcome in favor of the latter two. Western defeat was already becoming clear with the slow progress of the Nabucco pipeline and the strategic reorientation of some Central Asian republics toward Russia and China. Two recent events, however, confirmed it. On Dec. 14, Chinese President Hu Jintao and the heads of state of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan personally […]

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