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Pakistan: Will the Youth Bulge turn into a Democratic Dividend?

Pakistan: Will the Youth Bulge turn into a Democratic Dividend?

I argued in an earlier post that much of Pakistan’s future direction will hinge on events unfolding this year.  The first of these are the national elections scheduled for May 11, which could be decided by a large number of first-time voters.  These voters are the product of one of the world’s largest youth bulges […]

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The Iraq Endgame and the Lessons for Afghanistan: An Update

The Iraq Endgame and the Lessons for Afghanistan: An Update

Washington is in a rush and everyone knows it The U.S. commentariat spent much of last month ruminating over the lessons of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Left unexamined were the important lessons relating to the U.S. endgame in that country and how they should be applied to the accelerating withdrawal from Afghanistan.*  I […]

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U.S. Strategic Credibility in Asia: An Update

U.S. Strategic Credibility in Asia: An Update

In a post two weeks ago, I argued that the Obama administration confronts a serious credibility gap in Asia and cited as one example the small but growing number of influential South Koreans calling for their country to develop its own nuclear weapons because of renewed doubts about Washington’s commitment to South Korea’s security.  This […]

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The Desi Factor in U.S.-India Relations

The Desi Factor in U.S.-India Relations

According to a new Gallup survey, more than two-thirds of the U.S. public has a positive impression of India, a score that even edges out Israel’s traditionally high favorability rating.  This is the latest indicator of how decisively American perceptions about the country have changed.  Not too long ago, India was regarded as the very […]

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The Asia Pivot Has Credibility Problems

The Asia Pivot Has Credibility Problems

Tom Donilon, the U.S. national security advisor, was at the Asia Society in New York last week to talk (transcript here; video here) about the Obama administration’s effort to shift Washington’s strategic focus away from the military quagmires of the Greater Middle East to the dynamism of Asia – a region where, as the president […]

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Sino-Indian Relations Full of Contradictions

Sino-Indian Relations Full of Contradictions

The following post is based on an address I delivered at the Shanghai Maritime Strategy Research Center two weeks ago. The punditry gods were smiling when Beijing and New Delhi declared 2012 as the Year of Sino-Indian Friendship.  After all, it was a most curious designation, and not just because 2006 had received the same […]

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Obama’s Afghan Dysfunctions

Obama’s Afghan Dysfunctions

Earlier posts have commented on the Obama administration’s defective foreign policy apparatus as well as its highly dysfunctional management of the war in Afghanistan (here and here).  Both problems are conjoined, a point that is amply underscored in Vali Nasr’s forthcoming book, The Dispensable Nation.  Nasr served as a key adviser to the embattled Richard […]

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Kargil Disclosures and the Nuclear Proliferation Debate

Kargil Disclosures and the Nuclear Proliferation Debate

My last post focused on the domestic implications in Pakistan of the latest revelations about the 1999 Kargil mini-war.  Since the crisis is a key point of contention – a sort of Rorschach test, really – in the debate over whether the proliferation of nuclear weapons in South Asia has stabilized or aggravated the India-Pakistan […]

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North Korea, Iran and Obama’s Big Bluff

North Korea, Iran and Obama’s Big Bluff

North Korea’s nuclear test this week, coming on the heels of last December’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile along with reports (here and here) that Pyongyang is developing a mobile missile launcher, underscores a point I’ve argued in earlier posts (here and here): It is exceedingly difficult for Washington to stop a rogue regime […]

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Pakistan: The Kargil Debate Resurfaces

Pakistan: The Kargil Debate Resurfaces

My last post noted how skirmishes in the disputed Kashmir region last month have put a spanner in the promising rapprochement between India and Pakistan.  This is a familiar theme in bilateral affairs.  The exemplar of how military tussles in Kashmir can escalate into a wider confrontation and subvert important diplomatic initiatives is the 1999 […]

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India and Pakistan: The Ties that Bind vs. The Line that Divides

India and Pakistan: The Ties that Bind vs. The Line that Divides

Despite the promising rapprochement (here and here) that gathered pace between India and Pakistan last year, disruptive military tensions are never far from the surface.  This point was amply demonstrated by last month’s skirmishes along the 450 mile-long boundary – known as the Line of Control (LOC) – separating the two armies in the disputed […]

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America the Energy Superpower: An Update

America the Energy Superpower: An Update

A regular theme on this blog (here, here, here and here) is how the marked surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past several years is reviving America’s strategic prospects.  The energy boom, which is due largely to innovations in extraction technology – namely, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal drilling – that […]

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McDonough’s Elevation and the Obamians’ Ascent

McDonough’s Elevation and the Obamians’ Ascent

The pending appointment of Denis R. McDonough, currently President Obama’s deputy national security advisor, as White House chief of staff will have major ramifications for how the administration formulates foreign policy.  First, it underscores the argument in my last post about the subtle but significant policy disconnects between cabinet-level nominees Chuck Hagel and John F. […]

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Pakistan in 2013: The Year of Living Dangerously

Pakistan in 2013: The Year of Living Dangerously

In earlier posts (here and here), I argued that Pakistani politics would be fraught with turbulence in 2013, with one of the key casualties being the fragile détente process that has recently emerged between New Delhi and Islamabad.  Two weeks into the year, events are already conspiring to validate this assessment. Pakistan, the most important […]

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Hagel, Kerry and the Ghost in Their Heads

Hagel, Kerry and the Ghost in Their Heads

President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as his Defense Secretary has sparked a raging debate over whether the views held by the former Senator from Nebraska are sufficiently in the U.S. foreign policy mainstream.  Lost in the tumult, however, is how his appointment (along with John F. Kerry’s as Secretary of State) is in an […]

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About the Author

David J. Karl
David J. Karl

David J. Karl is president of the Asia Strategy Initiative, an analysis and advisory firm that has a particular focus on South Asia. He serves on the board of counselors of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and previously on the Executive Committee of the Southern California chapter of TiE (formerly The Indus Entrepreneurs), the world's largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

David previously served as director of studies at the Pacific Council on International Policy, in charge of the Council’s think tank focused on foreign policy issues of special resonance to the U.S West Coast, and was project director of the Bi-national Task Force on Enhancing India-U.S. Cooperation in the Global Innovation Economy that was jointly organized by the Pacific Council and the Federation of Indian Chambers & Industry. He received his doctorate in international relations at the University of Southern California, writing his dissertation on the India-Pakistan strategic rivalry, and took his masters degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

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