Foreign Policy Blogs

South Asia

The Next Showdown in U.S.-Pakistan Relations

The Next Showdown in U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Fresh tests await the epically dysfunctional partnership Last month’s agreement on NATO supply routes provided some hope that the two-year long free fall in U.S.-Pakistani relations was at an end.  But new serious tests await the epically dysfunctional partnership. One sign of the tensions that remain is Islamabad’s mounting accusations that the U.S.-led NATO coalition […]

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India Definitely Not Shining

India Definitely Not Shining

Last week’s blackouts illuminate three fiascoes holding India back The massive, cascading power outages that left the northern half of India in the dark for two days last week bring to mind a telling juxtaposition of events in mid-1998.  India had just concluded a momentous series of nuclear weapon tests, code-named “Operation Shakti” in reference […]

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Memo to TIME magazine: The Problem is not Manmohan

Memo to TIME magazine: The Problem is not Manmohan

Whatever Singh’s own faults as a government leader, India’s economic malaise is due to more basic problems. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on the receiving end of a barrage of slings and arrows these days.  The most recent salvo comes from Time magazine, whose Asian edition this week has a cover story labeling him “The […]

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Who’s Sorry Now?

Who’s Sorry Now?

The agreement reopening NATO supply routes lays bare Pakistan’s strategic isolation.  But is anyone in Islamabad paying attention? Some are spinning last week’s deal ending Pakistan’s seven-month closure of key NATO supply routes into Afghanistan as a triumph of Islamabad’s resolve.  The reverse is much closer to the mark, however.  Pakistan overplayed its hand in […]

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Moment of Truth in New Delhi

Moment of Truth in New Delhi

We’ll soon find out whether Prime Minister Singh can salvage something positive from his final two years in office A previous post focused on the recent political crisis in Pakistan that resulted in Prime Minister Gilani’s removal and in the process further destabilizing the civilian government as well as complicating efforts to repair spiraling U.S.-Pakistan relations. […]

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The “Smart Power” Approach toward Pakistan Needs Work

The “Smart Power” Approach toward Pakistan Needs Work

Winning over Pakistani hearts and minds is proving difficult Two new reports provide further insight into the breakdown of U.S.-Pakistan relations. The first, put out by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, charts the growing hostility of Pakistani public opinion toward the United States. The second, issued by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a respected non-governmental […]

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Blood Feud in Islamabad Complicates U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Blood Feud in Islamabad Complicates U.S.-Pakistan Relations

A long summer of political turmoil has begun that makes harder the search for a new equilibrium with Washington A tale of two capital cities in the grip of political uncertainty unfolded in South Asia last week.   Islamabad was the scene of a fast-paced soap opera that throws into further doubt the future of the […]

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Empowering the World’s 6th Most Populous Country

Empowering the World’s 6th Most Populous Country

Even though the big news in Pakistan right now is about the newly elected Prime Minster, deteriorating diplomatic relations with the United States, and match fixing charges on star cricketers, there is a less publicized–but important story–that CNN published last week, “Family’s 20 Kids Highlight Pakistan’s Population Explosion.” The article warns that Pakistan is currently among the […]

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Time to Cool the Rhetoric on Pakistan

Time to Cool the Rhetoric on Pakistan

However justified, the public berating of Islamabad has become counterproductive. The comments made by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta during his swing through South Asia last week once again raise the question of how coordinated the Obama administration’s regional policy is.  An earlier post flagged this issue two months ago by noting the curious timing […]

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A Tough Week for Pakistani Diplomacy

A Tough Week for Pakistani Diplomacy

Events lay bare just how strategically isolated Islamabad has become. As my last post noted, the events of the past week show that New Delhi is sitting pretty diplomatically, being courted ardently by both Washington and Beijing.  Conversely, they also laid bare just how strategically isolated Islamabad has become. Pakistan’s most recent troubles began with […]

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India Shining, At Least in Geopolitics

India Shining, At Least in Geopolitics

New Delhi is being wooed by both Washington and Beijing, though its ultimate choice is becoming increasingly clearer A previous post focused on the unexpected improvement in India’s strategic position in its own neighborhood.  Events this week brought evidence of how New Delhi is emerging as an important pivot point on Asia’s broader geopolitical stage.  […]

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Glimmers of Hope in Pakistan

Glimmers of Hope in Pakistan

Pakistan’s prospects careen from bad to worse, but there is still some possibility that it might one day evolve in a more liberal and moderate direction Events over the last few weeks have amply demonstrated the growing decrepitude of the Pakistani state, providing fresh justification for its perennial ranking at the top of the world’s […]

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Pakistan’s Nukes: How Much is Enough?

Pakistan’s Nukes: How Much is Enough?

The time has come to question why the country needs tactical nuclear forces Marking the anniversary of Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests, Nawaz Sharif on Monday boasted of the key role he played as prime minister in bringing about this achievement.  Sharif, who now heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the main opposition party, asserted that his […]

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Rather Unexpectedly, India’s Near Abroad is Looking Up

Rather Unexpectedly, India’s Near Abroad is Looking Up

Things are going bad domestically, but at least India’s regional position is improving   A regular concern of this blog is the internal constraints on India’s rise as a great power.  But for decades the country’s global aspirations also have been encumbered by a quite problematic regional environment.  Unlike China, India has had the misfortune […]

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Afghanistan is Key to India’s Iranian Connection

Afghanistan is Key to India’s Iranian Connection

Washington grumbles about the Indian relationship with Iran, but the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan leaves New Delhi little choice The striking juxtaposition this week in New Delhi is a nice illustration of how Tehran has become a complicating factor in U.S.-India relations.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in town to exhort Prime Minister […]

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