Category Archives: Strategic Affairs of South Asia

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So Long, 2013; Welcome 2014…I Think!

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 2, 2014, No Comments

Happy new year to all my global friends and contacts! 2013 has been an okay year for the United States, in terms of its foreign policy in the Middle East and in the Asia-Pacific.  (more…)
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The Synonymity Between Dispensability and Decline

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 22, 2013, No Comments

In his second inaugural address in January 1997, President Bill Clinton stated, "America stands alone as the world's indispensable nation."[1]  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…)
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Hillary Clinton’s Legacy

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 1, 2013, No Comments

One great American political tradition is to evaluate major public officials when they depart from the political scene.  Presidential scholars have transformed  this issue into an art.  One of them–Professor David Barber of Duke University–even developed categories of "presidential types."  Secretaries of State and Defense receive quite a bit of assessment and evaluation when their terms end.  Today is Hillary Clinton's last day in office as America's Secretary of State, thus an evaluation of her career as America's chief diplomat is timely.  The uppermost question is what kind of a Secretary of State was she?  The US media is also paying a lot of attention to her because she is expected to remain a major presidential candidate for the presidential election in 2016. (more…)
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Comments on “The Non-Unitary Model and Deterrence Stability in South Asia” by George Perkovich

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 23, 2012, No Comments

George Perkovich's essay, "The Non-Unitary Model and Deterrence Stability in South Asia," is a brilliant piece of scholarship.  In this essay, the author discusses the most menacing yet the most ignored issue of nuclear deterrence between the two intense rivals of South Asia–India and Pakistan. (more…)
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Book Review: Ahmed Rashid’s Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 14, 2012, No Comments

Allah, Army, and America used to be catchphrases to describe the internal political dynamics, as well as the foreign policy behavior, of Pakistan in the previous several decades.  That reality has undergone palpable erosion regarding the influence of the United States on Pakistan under the presidency of Barack Obama.  That is certainly not good news for him, since his political stakes are high.  The Afghan war is a "war of choice" for him as much as the Iraq war was a war of choice for George W. Bush.  Obama cannot lose the war in Afghanistan.  However, for him to win, he needs Pakistan's cooperation and help, which has been getting increasingly hard to come by in the past several months.  Since the support for the Afghan war is steadily in the American domestic arena, Obama has deftly set a date of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.  He is hoping that such a decision would help him win his reelection campaign. However, wars have their own logic, in determining the winner
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The Culprit in Afghanistan is Occupation

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 29, 2012, No Comments

The ongoing Quran burning controversy in Afghanistan is wrongly described as "inadvertent."  That was not an inadvertent incident.  At the same time, the purpose behind that incident was not to insult Islam, but, like all things related to the military, the issue of security got the upper hand.  The US soldiers suspected the Afghan prisoners of passing some sort of secret messages to each other through the copies of the Quran that they were using for their daily recitation in the prison library.  Those copies were confiscated by the US military authorities.  What do you do with any material that is regarded as a breach of security?  You destroy it.  So, please don't insult the intelligence of average Afghans (or anyone else) by telling them it was an inadvertent incident. (more…)
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Say It Again, Jim, About Pakistan!

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 7, 2011, No Comments

I watched former General James (Jim) Jones, Jr. on the Charlie Rose Show.  He was President Barack Obama's ineffective National Security Advisor; not ineffective because he was not fit for the job, but because he was not one of the Obama groupies. As such, he remained in the outermost circle of the concentric rings established every time a new president enters the White House. Frustrated about his lack of effectiveness, he resigned after serving the administration for two years. (more…)
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Afghanistan: The Enduring Battlefield of the ‘Weak’ and the ‘Strong’

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 9, 2011, 1 Comment

India and Pakistan are two strange countries in a number of ways.  I will mention only one such trait here, to get the discussion going.  Despite India's denial to the contrary, Pakistan is its chief obsession.  Pakistan feels similarly toward India, but it has many reasons to feel that way.  First, on the scale of economic development, these two countries are really a world apart.  Despite India's intricacy as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, it is relatively trouble free, while Pakistan is a simmering cauldron of sectarian and ethnic hatred.  The Takfiri extremism – which was prevalent in Egypt, post-Saddam Iraq, and Saudi Arabia – has found a home in Pakistan throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.  India is envisaged worldwide as a secular democracy and an up-and-coming cradle of modern education and technological development, while Pakistan is a place where Islamist-driven obscurantism is running rampant.  In view of these contrasting featur
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With Friends Like You…

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 24, 2011, No Comments

"With friends like you, who needs enemies?" is an adage that both the Pakistanis and the Americans seem to be hurling at each other.  The outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has recently stated that the Haqqani group is the "veritable arm" of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service.  Even though that was a known U.S. position, officials of the Obama administration were careful not to state it publicly.  Now the gloves are off.  Pakistan shot back.  General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's Army Chief, as well as Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, strongly denied the charge.  In the meantime, deteriorating ties (which the American side still mindlessly refers to as an "alliance") promise to get even worse.  I even foresee a limited U.S. military action across the Pakistani borders to eradicate the Haqqani fighters. (more…)
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Why Al-Qaida Never Was an Enduring Organization or a Movement

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 2, 2011, No Comments

Two themes that emerge from the material that the US Special Forces captured when they killed Usama Bin Laden (UBL) in Abbottabad, Pakistan, are worth considering.  First, we are told that the al-Qaida (AQ) leader was obsessed about carrying out another major attack on the United States.  He might have concluded that that might be the only way his organization could regain its rapidly dwindling popularity among Muslims.  Second, it seems that UBL also came to the conclusion that AQ's goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate was too idealistic and impractical, even under the best of circumstances, for its continued operation.  He might have also concluded that, because of the sudden and awesome popularity of the Arab Awakening in bringing an end to two of the oldest dictatorships of the Arab world, his organization also faced a bleak future in the context of regaining popularity or gaining relevance among Muslims.  (more…)