More Bad News on the Afghan Front

March 13, 2012 by

While U.S. officials insisted their counterinsurgency strategy is still working, Sunday’s pre-dawn massacre by a U.S. staff sergeant of 16 people, including nine children, in their homes in Kandahar province has dealt yet another body blow to Washington’s hopes to sustain a significant military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

Following Shooting in Afghanistan, Overall Question is Whether the Mission is Doable

March 12, 2012 by

The shooting of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday by a U.S. soldier and the Koran burning on the Bagram air base several weeks ago have American officials questioning whether these two events will make it next to impossible for coalition forces to carry through with the mission as planned until 2014, when the U.S. is expected to leave Afghanistan.

Just Plain Stupidity Or A Failure By Design?

March 4, 2012 by

The explosion of national anger in Afghanistan after the revelation that U.S. soldiers dumped and burned copies of the Quran in an incineration pit has an uncanny familiarity with the history of previous foreign occupations of the country. Despite the ceaseless official media campaign through the decade of the U.S.-led war to convince us how well things were going for NATO, the battle for the hearts and minds in Afghanistan has not been won.

Growing Pessimism on Afghanistan After Quran Burning

February 29, 2012 by

While top officials in the Barack Obama administration insist that U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is working, the violent aftermath of last week’s apparently inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran at a military base is fuelling growing pessimism about the U.S. and NATO mission there. Some three dozen Afghans were killed in anti-U.S. protests that drew tens of thousands of people into the streets in Kabul and other cities around the country following news of the incineration at Bagram Air Base and despite a series of apologies from U.S. commanders all the way up to President Obama himself.

Bagram riots expose Afghanistan’s shifting allegiances to the masters of war

February 22, 2012 by

The only thing surprising about yesterday’s riots outside of Afghanistan’s Bagram air base is that these things don’t happen more often. What is fascinating about Afghanistan is how its infrastructural capacities – hardware, pools of unskilled labour, airports, marketplaces – add to the country’s tacit support for each new game-player on its territory: be it Britain, Soviet Russia, the US or the Taliban.

Why is Iran interested in Latin America?

February 20, 2012 by

In January of 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted a four nation tour of Latin America, with stops in Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba. From the time that this trip became public, US government officials began asking “Why Latin America?”

Revealing the Obvious

February 12, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria continues to take lives on both sides in what increasingly looks like a civil war. The bloodshed in Homs has captured most attention in recent days, but we should not forget violence in the capital Damascus and other Syrian towns, under government control, where lives have been lost and a climate of fear prevails. Twenty-four hour news coverage means unlimited hunger for detail, factual, exaggerated or invented.

The Continuation of Unnecessary American Nation-Building Missions

February 9, 2012 by

A common occurrence within the discipline of international relations is various schools of thought being subjected to criticism. A school of thought that has faced a considerable amount of scrutiny in recent years is realism. One of the reasons why realists have been inundated with criticism is because they place so much emphasis on the state. This preoccupation with the state is thought to be unnecessary in the eyes of realism’s detractors since this actor is not as influential as it used to be.

When Clouds Appear…

January 8, 2012 by

The year gone by has been one of civil protests, upheaval and violence in many parts of the world. Old wars continued, most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. Peaceful awakening movements that sprang up with much hope in Algeria and Tunisia turned violent as they spread east from North Africa to the Gulf region. A brief and bloody war in Libya, with an overt display of NATO’s military power on behalf of the anti-Gaddafi forces, resulted in his overthrow and brutal killing.

Neoliberalism in Post 9/11 Afghanistan

December 25, 2011 by

The prevailing view of neoclassical liberalism which calls for privatization and the tearing down of statist systems and ushered the way for financial leverage, the use of derivatives, and unfettered deregulation has been misguided. After the recent crisis in global capitalism, we know that a policy where profit is linked to risk and speculation and debt accumulation is the way to keep the economy running is inimical to liberty.

Foreign Aid Spared Drastic Cuts for 2012

December 17, 2011 by

Despite the budget cutting and anti-U.N. frenzy that seized Republican lawmakers over the past year, U.S. foreign aid and support for multilateral institutions emerged in somewhat better shape than many observers had expected. After negotiations by conferees from the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate, agreement was reached late this week on a diplomatic and foreign-aid package totalling 53.3 billion dollars for fiscal year 2012.

The US-Pakistan Duo: A Fading Alliance?

December 16, 2011 by

The Obama administration is increasingly facing a new foreign policy challenge, which could seriously derail America’s grand strategy in Central Asia. Crucially, as America struggles to stabilize the volatile landscape in Afghanistan, assert a long-term strategic presence in Iraq, and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is gradually confronting a new foreign policy challenge: a precarious and consequential estrangement from its long-term strategic ally, Pakistan.

Mission accomplished? America withdraws from Iraq

December 15, 2011 by

Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is reported to have advised President Bush concerning his planned invasion of Iraq that, “you break it, it’s yours.” The implication was that America would be responsible for restoring Iraq to political, social and economic health following the invasion.

A Passage to Kabul

December 6, 2011 by

A recent reading of E. M. Forster’s novel, A Passage to India, prompted me to reflect on the West’s drawn out engagement in Afghanistan. The centerpiece of this prescient narrative is an incident in an ancient cave in Northwestern India between an Indian doctor and an English woman during the heyday of the British Raj.

Pakistan: Anatomy Of A Crisis

December 3, 2011 by

In the aftermath of the Nov. 26 NATO attack on two border posts that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the question being asked is whether the assault was a “fog of war” incident or a calculated hit aimed at torpedoing peace talks in Afghanistan? Given that the incident has plunged relations between Washington and Islamabad to a new low at a critical juncture in the 10-year war, the answer is vitally important.

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