The Asymmetric State

I’m always a bit skeptical about triumphant military operations that encounter no resistance, especially when the operations are of he counterinsurgency variety. And sure enough, it turns out that one of the reasons the Pakistani sweep of the Khyber Pass turned out to be such a success was because “. . .there are indications that the militants had moved out of the area before the offensive was launched.” That, of course, is the nature of an asymmetric insurgency. What’s interesting is that we’re increasingly seeing the rise of the asymmetric state, by which I mean a state that can’t actually […]

Congressional Committee Roundup, June 23-27

Transcript WASHINGTON — On the Hill this week, the House considered the future of U.S.-India relations, while the Senate debated improvements to the United State’s strategic partnership with Pakistan. On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia discussed America’s evolving relationship with India. Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, who presided over the session, began the hearing with sweeping praise of the United States’ partnership with the South Asian nation: “[I]f there is one area in the subcommittee’s jurisdiction where President Bush got the policy right, it is towards India. . . . In the area […]

One of the major objectives of President Bush’s trip to Europe last week was to secure additional international support for the war in Afghanistan. Although European governments generally reaffirmed — and in several cases announced slight increases in — their military and economic commitments to the beleaguered Afghan government of Hamid Karzai, which remains entangled in a protracted insurgency with the Taliban, their declared level of support appears to fall short of that needed to allow the Afghan government to consolidate its control of the country. The members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) continue to reaffirm their commitment […]

CHITWAN and KATMANDU, Nepal — Four years ago, Hardik dropped out of his university-level science studies in the Nepali capital, Katmandu, to join Maoist insurgents in the bush. Admittedly scared sick at first, he said the rigors of guerilla warfare hardened his resolve to oust a ruling monarchy hopelessly out of touch with Nepal’s poverty. Today Hardik is one of more than 23,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army idling in U.N.-monitored ceasefire camps, where weapons are locked away and his free time is spent doing English grammar exercises or playing the flute. “There is no such thing as perpetual […]

With a whimper went President Bush’s last, best chance for a positive legacy in international affairs. Last week administration officials conceded to the Financial Times that India would not approve a nuclear cooperation pact with Washington during Bush’s tenure. In March 2006, President Bush signed a nuclear agreement in New Delhi designed to pull the world’s largest democracy closer to the world’s last superpower and dramatically alter Asia’s balance of power. With Asia’s economic rise, it is widely assumed that the continent’s political emergence will follow in the coming decades. By agreeing to cooperate with India on nuclear issues — […]

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal’s Maoist movement has no operational links with the leftist insurgents in India who also call themselves Maoists, the former guerilla army’s second-in-command said, dismissing the possibility of any future assistance for their political brethren to the south. “Political revolution is fixed within a border and we do not export it,” Commander Ananta said in an interview with World Politics Review earlier this month at Maoist party headquarters here. “The people of an independent country must decide themselves.” The Maoists’ landslide victory in last month’s general elections raised some concerns that leftist insurgents across the border in […]