YALA, Thailand — After more than five years, Thailand’s Muslim insurgency shows no signs of abating. But neither is there any sign of it expanding or joining the ranks of international terrorism. Instead it remains localized, which is where the Thai government hopes it will remain. Some security analysts had been concerned about the possibility of connections to al-Qaida-linked extremist groups, especially the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). JI was responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people on the resort island, and is dedicated to establishing an Islamic state encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the southern Philippines and […]

TOKYO — Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) knew that this weekend’s general election was going to be tough. But despite consistently dismal polling, many members likely didn’t expect quite the pummeling they took. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Sunday romped to a landslide win, taking more than 300 seats in the 480-seat House of Representatives. The victory brought more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted rule by the LDP to a dramatic end, and has left the DPJ not only holding power for the first time, but also as the biggest party in both houses of […]

One thing I’ve discovered from writing columns over the years is that they’re a great way to elicit invitations to sit down and talk with various players in the national security establishment. All you have to do is mention somebody’s office and you’re likely to get an e-mail from their public affairs officer eager to set your thinking straight. And so it was last week that I had the chance to converse with Ambassador John Herbst, three years in the job now as the State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. I earned the invitation by describing the CRS job […]

Among the more than 20 top posts at the State Department that have yet to be filled is the director of foreign assistance. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice created the post in 2006 to consolidate responsibility for the country’s nearly $30 billion foreign aid budget. What follows is a letter to the still-to-be-named nominee. To the incoming director of foreign assistance, As you well know, for more than six decades, foreign aid has played an indispensable role in the conduct of the United States’ foreign affairs. Today, 154 countries benefit from some kind of financial assistance. Along with defense […]

President Barack Obama came to power with a not-so-secret plan to reshape the Middle East. His team envisioned a fundamental realignment in the region, with an eye towards resolving a host of longstanding conflicts that made it a global focal point of political instability. A key element of that plan centered on one country: Syria. By reconstituting Washington’s relationship with Damascus, the reasoning went, Obama would manage to radiate improvements outward to a host of regional disputes. Seven months into the Obama administration, Washington’s efforts to pry Syria from its tight alliance with Iran and persuade it to start working […]

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In August 2008, Russia and Georgia fought a brief, bloody war over Georgia’s pro-Russian region of South Ossetia. After hundreds of casualties, Georgia withdrew its forces, essentially ceding the breakaway province to Russia. Moscow’s overall aim was to ensure “that Russia’s power is respected both within and outside the post-Soviet space,” according to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Hamilton, a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. While the bulk of the fighting in South Ossetia pitted tanks against tanks and infantry against infantry, the conflict also featured sophisticated propaganda efforts, on both sides. Russian and Georgian […]

The U.S. Cyber-Consequences Unit has recently issued a report documenting how Russia supplemented its conventional war against Georgia last August with a massive, well-integrated and pre-planned information warfare campaign against Georgia’s Internet structure. The techniques were so successful that the unit has restricted distribution of the full report to U.S. government and certain other Internet security professionals. Only the executive summary (pdf) has been made available to the public. The U.S. Cyber-Consequences Unit is independent, non-profit research institute affiliated with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. The report’s main author, John Bumgarner, directs research at the […]

World Politics Review’s new special report on the Afghanistan warcompiles news, analysis and opinion from WPR’s pages to provide insightinto the situation on the ground, as well as the strategic questionsfaced by U.S. and coalition policymakers. Non-subscribers can purchase individual copies at the Scribd store, while subscribers can download the report free from our document center. Not a subscriber? Sign up for a four-month free trial. (The four-month trial offer expires Sept. 30). Below is the report’s table of contents: -Introduction from the WPR Editors -ABU MUQAWAMA ON AFGHANISTAN: AN IN­TERVIEW WITH ANDREW EXUMBY JUDAH GRUNSTEIN July 29, 2009 Policy […]

When the global financial crisis struck roughly a year ago, the blogosphere was ablaze with all sorts of scary predictions of, and commentary regarding, ensuing conflict and wars — a rerun of the Great Depression leading to world war, as it were. Now, as global economic news brightens and recovery — surprisingly led by China and emerging markets — is the talk of the day, it’s interesting to look back over the past year and realize how globalization’s first truly worldwide recession has had virtually no impact whatsoever on the international security landscape. None of the more than three-dozen ongoing […]

Editor’s Note: The following is a letter to the World Politics Review editor from Simon Shercliff, first secretary for foreign security and policy at the British Embassy in Washington. To the Editor: It’s important that I set the record straight on David Axe’s World Politics Review column entitled “Afghanistan Could Portend British Pull-out” and his subsequent and related blog post on Wired’s Danger Room, both of which wrongly argued that the 200th British soldier killed last week in Afghanistan could potentially weaken the U.K.’s resolve and long-term commitment to Afghanistan. No one can doubt the U.K.’s commitment to this mission. […]

In one of the most quoted aphorisms in international relations, the Prussian political philosopher Carl von Clausewitz said that “war is merely a continuation of politics.” In other words, for every war that has been waged, we can point to political aims underpinning its waging. Take some recent examples. In large part, the 1991 Persian Gulf war was about exerting power: It sought to prevent an invasion of Saudi Arabia and oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. However, in Vietnam, the end goal was political influence: The war was fought to keep the south from falling to the communists. The examples […]

The small piece of land on the eastern Mediterranean known as the Gaza strip has seen its share of violence over the decades, with a series of conflicts fought along its narrow alley ways and on its sandy beaches. The latest round of fighting, gun battles that left two dozen men dead last weekend in a mosque in southern Gaza , opened yet another chapter in Gaza ‘s troubled history. Unlike other recent clashes, the fighting this time did not pit Israelis against Palestinians. It did not involve loyalists of the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas competing for power. […]

On Thursday morning, a bomb exploded in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, injuring a British soldier. Two days later, the soldier died at a hospital in Great Britain. He was the 200th U.K. fatality in the eight-year-old Afghanistan war. British newspapers marked the milestone with a flurry of grim news reports. And in short order, fighting claimed four more British troops. Great Britain has around 9,000 troops in Afghanistan — the biggest national contingent, after the U.S. British forces are concentrated in the restive south, especially in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates […]

In his address during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue late last month in Washington, President Barack Obama personally appealed to the visiting senior Chinese officials for assistance in achieving his nuclear nonproliferation agenda. Based on the speech Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made on Aug. 12 at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, it appears that his message was only partly received. Yang made clear that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would provide only limited assistance with respect to several of the most important U.S. goals. President Obama stressed the need for concerted action with respect to curbing the […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Back to the Future” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trialto gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer willend Sept. 30.This free sample article will be available only for a limited time. Tolink to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. Upon taking office in January 2009, in addition to inheriting ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Barack Obama also inherited twin nuclear crises with North Korea and Iran. North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in May […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Risk and Resilience in a Globalized Age” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trialto gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer will end Sept. 30. This free sample article will be available only for a limited time. Tolink to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. In 1946, George Kennan keyed the famous “Long Telegram,” which identified the Soviet Union as an enemy of the United States. In 1947, the original telegram was reworked and published in Foreign Policy […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Road to Zero” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trial to gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer will end Sept. 30.This free sample article will be available for only a limited time. To link to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. An Alternative to Arms Control Every Washington wonk dreams that a new president will pick up his or her agenda. When it comes to advocates for nuclear arms control, that dream seems to be coming true. […]

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