With the global spotlight unwaveringly focused on the momentous changes in the Arab world, subtle shifts taking place in another strife-torn Muslim-majority region in Asia have escaped the world’s attention. Jammu and Kashmir, the object of a longstanding territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, has been ravaged for the past two decades by a violent, Pakistan-backed Islamist insurgency that has exploited popular grievances among Kashmiris. But almost a year after turmoil in urban Kashmir led to the deaths of 112 unarmed civilians in police actions last summer, the situation has been completely peaceful this year. But there is more to […]

The second India-Africa Forum summit, held in Ethiopia last week and attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with the leaders of 16 African states, set out a fresh roadmap for further consolidation of the strategic partnership between India and the African Union (AU). Addressing the summit, Singh emphasized clearly, “Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole in the world. India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggles against colonialism, apartheid, poverty [and] disease.” With globalization increasingly shifting the international distribution of economic power in Asia’s favor, India has […]

Nuclear Pakistan, we are often told, is the Islamic-state equivalent of a Wall Street firm: In geostrategic terms, it is too big to fail. That explains why, even as the Obama administration begins preparing for modest troop withdrawals from Afghanistan this July, it dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Islamabad last week to smooth over bilateral relations with Pakistan’s paranoid regime, which were strained even before the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Clinton’s trip and the Obama administration’s instinctive embrace of Islamabad is a fool’s errand, doomed by history, geography and globalization itself. In fact, the U.S. should […]

DENPASAR, Indonesia — Assessing the Association of South East Asian Nations is always a tricky matter. The organization, which brings together 10 Southeast Asian countries, has been criticized lately for its inability to mediate the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia as well as for failing to put enough pressure on the Myanmar junta. These deserved criticisms also call into question a pillar of the association, namely the noninterference policy that prohibits intervention in members’ internal affairs. But “the ASEAN way” is unlikely to change anytime soon, and expecting the group to become the new European Union is unrealistic. Nevertheless, […]

Soon after U.S. special operation forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid deep into Pakistani territory, a journalist asked India’s army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, whether his nation’s armed forces had the capability to carry out a similar operation. The military man gave a straightforward answer. “If such a chance comes,” he said, “then all the three arms [of the armed forces] are competent to do this.” The domestic and international reactions to his statement exemplify the paradox of proximity: Having a fragile state in the neighborhood makes the capability to intervene important, but puts structural constraints on a […]

article card

Last week, the U.S. appointed its first ambassador to Turkmenistan in five years. In an email interview, Luca Anceschi, an expert in Turkmenistan’s foreign policy at La Trobe University, discussed U.S.-Turkmenistan relations. WPR: What is the recent background for U.S.-Turkmenistan ties? Luca Anceschi: The recent appointment of a new U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan represents a further step in the timid process of U.S.-Turkmen rapprochement that was initiated by the Obama administration in 2009. In the George W. Bush years, Turkmenistan went off the radar of U.S. policy in Central Asia, as Washington’s attention was almost entirely devoted to military and […]

BEIJING — The global financial crisis catapulted China into a position of international economic leadership a decade earlier than Beijing’s strategists had intended. That significantly increased the urgency of rebalancing the Chinese economy away from the low-quality, export model toward higher-value, domestically driven growth. One consequence has been new and accelerated patterns of Chinese trade and investment abroad. For the United States, China’s largest economic partner, the implications of this new multidirectionalism are significant. But with recent figures showing that bilateral investment between the two countries is contracting, the U.S. must adapt its approach to this issue to ensure it […]

article card

Since even before the controversy surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistani territory, analysts have been assessing whether China would exploit the growing tensions between Islamabad and Washington to expand its own influence in Pakistan. The results of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s four-day official visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) suggest that Chinese officials are pondering one potential option, a naval base in Pakistan, even if they do not seem eager to displace U.S. influence in Pakistan entirely. Upon Gilani’s return, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar told the press […]

In recent months, news outlets in Japan and the U.S. have reported that Mongolia is negotiating with those two countries to serve as a regional depository for spent nuclear fuel. The proposed plan would permit geographically constrained countries in the region, such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, to dispose of their spent fuel in the spacious Central Asian state. The veracity of the reporting on the negotiations is still unknown. When the story first broke in March, the Mongolian Foreign Ministry was quick to dismiss the notion that Mongolia would host Asia’s nuclear waste. The statement went on to […]

The International Monetary Fund is in an unexpected state of flux. The shocking sexual assault charges, arrest and subsequent resignation of former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn have turned the institution’s leadership on its ear. As the surprise of last week’s events dissipates, the focus now becomes selecting Strauss-Kahn’s replacement. In the coming weeks, a highly political process will unfold behind the scenes as the Europeans wrangle with a group of emboldened emerging-market countries for the fund’s top slot. In the middle lie the Americans, who hold the key to the success of either group. If the U.S. is shrewd, it […]

article card

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited Russia earlier this month for broad-ranging strategic talks. In an email interview, Rouben Azizian, a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, discussed Russia-Pakistan relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Pakistan-Russia relations? Rouben Azizian: For decades, Moscow and Islamabad viewed each other as adversaries because of the Cold War’s impact on South Asia, Russia’s special relations with India and the U.S.-Pakistan alliance. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan briefly opened the door for improved bilateral relations, but Pakistan’s support for the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the presence of Chechen […]

article card

After the whirlwind of headlines surrounding last week’s high-level talks between China and the United States, few seemed to notice this week that senior Chinese military leaders have been touring a variety of sensitive U.S. military bases. The visits came at the invitation by the Obama administration and have prompted some to question the extent to which military relations between the two powers — which were frozen by China amid tension over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan — may finally be turning around. “I don’t think it’s a turnaround, I think it’s a continuation of where we were before China […]

The Stuxnet computer worm, WikiLeaks and the social-media-facilitated revolutions of the Arab Spring have already provided ample reason for a high-level U.S. policy on cyber issues. Now the killing of Osama bin Laden has provided an opening for a broader strategic dialogue in Washington, one that includes cyberspace in its proper context. This policy discussion has been a long time coming, and it has now arrived in the form of the Obama administration’s “International Strategy for Cyberspace” (.pdf), which presents concepts and ideals on a cluster of diplomatic, commercial and security issues related to the global information space that the […]

As the American media breathlessly reported the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, several observers pointed out an error made by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, among others: Abbottabad is not a suburb of Islamabad, as he described it, but rather a garrison city located about 35 miles from the Pakistani capital. Blitzer’s mistake, though minor in the scheme of things, is emblematic of a broader failure by Americans to understand Pakistan. Much more is made of the outlandish conspiracy theories held by many Pakistanis about the U.S. than of Americans’ misconceptions about Pakistan. With the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in dire straits following […]

article card

China is calling for the international community to help fight what it calls a homegrown terrorist problem in mostly Muslim Xinjiang. The Chinese government accuses the region’s Uighur minority population of seeking independence through violence, while the Uighurs blame Beijing for suppressing their culture and religion.

The term of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which was already extended for an extra year in May 2010, will likely come to an end on May 28 without the assembly having fulfilled its mandate to write a new constitution. Though it is easy to blame the country’s bitterly divided political parties for the failure, there is actually some merit to the politicians’ claim that they faced significant obstacles. Nilamber Acharya, a leader of the opposition Nepali Congress party and chair of the Constitutional Committee, which was entrusted to finalize the first draft of the constitution, blames the delay on “so many […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 591 2 3 4 Last