In his second inaugural address in January 1997, President Bill Clinton stated, “America stands alone as the world’s indispensable nation.” Since then, that phrase has been used on a regular basis. America, as an indispensable nation, underscores its dominance in resolving conflicts of all portions since the end of World War II. It has been a major enabler of global economic stability and prosperity of Western Europe and Japan, and, most important of all, it contained the former Soviet Union—playing a crucial role in bringing about its eventual implosion. (more…)
Pakistan and Washington’s deadly drone campaign: To what degree does the military in Islamabad still call the shots? Where do Pakistani-US relations go from here? Will the authorities finally stand up against the illegal US drone attacks? CrossTalking with Marvin Weinbaum, Ehsan Ahrari and Judy Bello.
Dr. Hasan Rouhaney’s election as Iran’s next president is, indeed, a positive development for the future of democracy in Iran. By not officially organizing vote rigging this time, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has restored substantial aspect of legitimacy for the Islamic Republic. As much as I celebrate Rouhaney’s victory, which I also predicted last week, I am hoping that Iran’s hardliners will stay out of the way and let him do his job for the development of a stable and democratic Iran. (more…)
We now know for sure that, not just Americans, but the whole world is under the constant surveillance of the “Surveillance State of America.” However, if you are living in Congo, Guatemala, China, or another autocratic hell, you will not be surprised by this news, because most of us have assumed that the “security state” is everywhere. (more…)
When it comes to the issue of America’s alleged decline, please count me as a skeptic, or, at the most, ambivalent. Yes, in the realm of economics, we are not doing well. However, compared to the EU—another supposed erstwhile economic giant—we are certainly much better. Yes, China is doing better in the realm of economics. However, the zealots of Asia rise, like Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani, forget that even as a declining hegemon, there is no power that is even remotely capable of realistically replacing the United States. (more…)
The government of Bishara al-Assad, while predicted to have fallen many months ago, is hanging on, and is causing an agonizing dilemma on the part of the United States and Israel. Both of them want to see the end of Assad’s regime; however, neither of them wants to see Assad replaced by a nexus of Islamists and pro-AQ Jihadists in that country. The sustained hesitation of the United States regarding Syria made John Kampfner of the Guardian wonder whether this is the first conflict of “the post-superpower era.” My sense is that Kampfner is not far off the mark, especially since the PRC is reported to be demonstrating a heightened interest in playing some role in the PLO-Israeli conflict.
The threat of the outbreak of a nuclear war between the two superpowers has ended with the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. However, the threat of a military conflict escalating into a nuclear conflagration remains quite palpable in the “second nuclear age.” That is the basic theme of Paul Bracken’s, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics. There are not too many books that are more persuasive in establishing the argument involving the end of one historical era—the first nuclear age—and the beginning of another—the second nuclear age than this one. It is also insightful in describing how distinctive the second nuclear age has already been from the first one and why it is going to be more conflict prone and trickier to “manage” than the previous one. (more…)
The Boston bombings only underscore a reality that has been quite apparent to the Obama administration: the scourge of extremism is constantly seeping into the Internet through the so-called Saudi-trained or Wahhabi-influenced “imams” who have nothing better to do but to propagate anger and hatred toward everything Western, including democracy, Islamic moderation, the Shias, the Ahmadiyas, and even Harry Potter movies! The international dissemination centers for Islamic extremism are located in Riyadh as well as in other major cities of Saudi Arabia. So, a global solution for stemming the tide of extremism must initiate from Saudi Arabia, and the Obama administration has to prompt an acute campaign toward that end.
Watching General Pervez Musharraf’s humiliating treatment in Pakistan is a painful experience. The vibrant Pakistani press is full of all sorts of stories. Al Jazeera had an interesting discussion with a number of prominent Pakistanis on the subject. I have been a long-time watcher of General Musharraf from Washington. I find him interesting but more paradoxical than that Islamist General Zia ul-Haq. My personal preference is that, if Pakistan were to really mature into a democracy, it needs to let the old General leave the country, with a promise not to return anytime soon. This is a crucial time for Pakistan to move on with its business of conducting its next general election.
My surprise was second to none when I saw that the former dictator of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, had arrived in his native land with the audacious self-depiction of himself as a “savior.” My estimation was that it was too soon for him to return to Pakistan; there were too many angry politicians and persons in the legal community and institutions chomping at the bit to get even with him. One angry lawyer even hurled his shoe at him. The ultimate “Bush welcome” in Baghdad of December 2008 has become a permanent symbol of popular contempt for unpopular politicians in Muslim countries. Besides, the people of Pakistan had shown no affinity for the idea of his return. The professional commando decided to go on a “suicide mission” on his own. (more…)