Foreign Policy Blogs

South Asia

Shahbagh: Politics and Demagoguery in Bangladesh

Shahbagh: Politics and Demagoguery in Bangladesh

My previous attempt to get ahold of Shahbagh, its recent history and its politics has left many questions answered, many issues untouched. In this present attempt to gather some understanding of the currents in Shahbagh, I’ll address the political resonances of the protests begun February 5th, 2013, on the heels of Abdul Qader Mollah life […]

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Three Pictures About India, Yesterday

Three Pictures About India, Yesterday

A picture of Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde; a picture of murderer and rapist Ram Singh; a picture of a guileful, fatal bus ride, caught on CCTV. Ram Singh, age 34, the leader of the gang of six that raped and murdered a 23 -year-old physiotherapist, was found dead yesterday, hanging in his jail cell […]

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Shahbagh: Populism and Liberalism in Bangladesh

Shahbagh: Populism and Liberalism in Bangladesh

Shahbagh: The Set Up (Part 1 in a 3 Part Series about the Shahbagh Movement, its Politics and its Moral Content) Since this past February 5, now for the past month and more, the “youth” of Bangladesh have ebbed and flowed in the hundreds of thousands from the neighborhood of Shahbagh, in Dhaka. An occupying […]

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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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Regional Peace to Settle Violence in the DRC Shows Progress? Not so Fast

Regional Peace to Settle Violence in the DRC Shows Progress? Not so Fast

On Sunday, February 24, 2013, a regional peace accord was agreed upon in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by 11 African nations from both the Great Lakes region and Southern Africa in an attempt to finally end two decades of conflict that have plagued most sections of the war-riddled country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly its mineral-rich eastern provinces. Appropriately labeled […]

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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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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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The United States, China and India: Unintended Consequences of Great Power Politics

The United States, China and India: Unintended Consequences of Great Power Politics

October 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Communist China launched a surprise attack across the Himalayas to “teach India a lesson,” according to Chinese Premier, Zhou Enlai.  After 32 days of fighting and embarrassing Indian defeats, the Chinese announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew behind the McMahon Line, the de-facto boundary […]

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Pakistan: Will Doctrinal Shifts Lead to Changes toward India?

Pakistan: Will Doctrinal Shifts Lead to Changes toward India?

According to new media reports (here and here), the Pakistani army has revised its doctrinal handbook to give priority to the country’s burgeoning internal security challenges.  The change appears, at least on the surface, to represent a fundamental shift away from the “India-centric” orientation that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the powerful army chief, has long […]

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Is the India-Pakistan Thaw Losing Momentum?

Is the India-Pakistan Thaw Losing Momentum?

A maladroit visit to New Delhi is a harbinger of things to come The headline visit to India this past weekend by Pakistan’s de-facto interior minister, Rehman Malik, was supposed to celebrate the latest milestone in the détente process that has picked up speed between the two countries over the last year and a half.  Instead, […]

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India-Pakistan Rapprochement: How Long Will It Last?

India-Pakistan Rapprochement: How Long Will It Last?

The cross-border bonhomie is likely to reach its limit as 2013 unfolds Last week’s signing of a landmark visa agreement making cross-border travel easier between India and Pakistan, especially for business people, is the latest sign of how economic engagement is driving the peace dialogue the two countries launched last year.  It follows last month’s […]

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Beware the Benchmarks to India

Beware the Benchmarks to India

The country really isn’t a global competitor to the United States “The Competition that Really Matters,” a new report jointly released by the Center for American Progress (a think tank with close ties to the Obama administration) and the Center for the Next Generation, contends that America’s competitive position is being eroded by the emergence of […]

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U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Thinking about the Long Term

U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Thinking about the Long Term

It’s Time for a New Smart Power Approach To chart the deterioration of ties between Washington and Islamabad over the last two years, as well as the conundrums gnawing at Obama administration officials, consider the following: Despite Pakistan’s official designation as a “major non-NATO ally,” its egregious double game in Afghanistan is increasingly fueling talk […]

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Pakistan: The White Stripe Withers

Pakistan: The White Stripe Withers

What would Jinnah think about what the country has become? South Asia last week harkened back to the events of August 1947.  The 65th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence brought forth the expected homage to the ideals that accompanied the dissolution of the British Raj.  Yet even amid the high-minded rhetoric, unanticipated developments in […]

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