Tag Archives: India

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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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Is Religious Moderation Dying in Pakistan?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 6, 2011, No Comments

The recent assassination of the Governor Salman Taseer of Punjab, the most populous state of Pakistan and the state that formulates a large chunk of its Army, raises that perennial question:  Is religious moderation dying in Pakistan?  Assassin's bullets are notorious about leading to major cataclysmic events, and one should be careful about reading too much into such events.  However, in Pakistan's case no amount of broad sweep of analytical thinking may be regarded as exaggeration.  (more…)
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Replacing the Current AfPak Strategy with a New One

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 4, 2010, No Comments

With the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, President Barack Obama appears to be writing his own edition of "lessons in disaster," a book of the same title that he so publicly read and supposedly drew lessons from before committing 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. One wonders whether he knows it, but Afghanistan is increasingly looking like a disastrous place for his administration as long as he sticks to the current AfPak strategy. (more…)
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Al-Qaida’s Long Reach and the Need for a “Smart” American Approach Toward Terrorism

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 4, 2010, No Comments

In my lectures and speeches all over the world on the issue of transnational terrorism, I used to proudly point out that American Muslims are immune to any contagious influence by al-Qaida or any other terrorist group. I had many reasons for saying so, but the foremost of which was the fact that American Muslims were much more integrated in the American achievement-oriented culture than their counterparts anywhere in the West. But in my heart, I had uneasy feelings about my own claim, because I have not seen the kind of cultural integration among the Muslim community that I think is a precondition of emerging as an American. The recent incidents involving Major Hasan Nidal, Colleen LaRose ("Jihad Jane), Najibullah Zazi, Faisal Shahzad and other American-born Muslims proved that my unease was not unfounded. As much as I have been emphasizing the propaganda power of the Internet in my lectures and writings, I was caught off guard about its deleterious role in radicalizing American Mu
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The Topsy-Turvy Nature of South Asian Power Games

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 29, 2010, No Comments

The strategic debates in Washington on the fortunes of Pakistan are undergoing a palpable degree of modification. The Obama administration has initiated a strategic dialogue. There is no reason for anyone to think that Pakistan will emerge as a strategic partner of India anytime soon; however, the fact that the Obama administration has decided to conduct such a dialogue speaks volumes about its earnest commitment to pragmatism. That might be viewed as bad news in India, largely because one of the many egregious rules of South Asia is the high relevance of the zero-sum game between India and Pakistan involving the United States. (more…)
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Afghanistan as Obama’s “War of Choice”

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 2, 2009, 1 Comment

President Barack H. Obama's announcement of his new strategy on December 1, 2009, conclusively makes the war in Afghanistan "Obama's war of choice." The President spoke from one of the hallowed symbols of America's military power--the United States Military Academy at West Point. Gone is the rhetoric of the wastefulness of Bush's war of choice in Iraq, when candidate Obama was "speaking truth to power." (more…)
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America’s Irrational Expectations About China’s Rise

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 21, 2009, No Comments

President Barack H. Obama's recently concluded trip to East Asia has created an irrational buzz in the American media about how the declining hegemon is increasingly behaving as such, and how China seems to be exploiting that perception to further its own advantages. The second part of this buzz is not contentious, since all great and small powers operate to maximize their advantages. However, the first part of that buzz is indeed controversial. This type of analysis may not be highly conducive to Obama's palpable desire to promote multilateralism, both regionally and globally. (more…)
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Turbulent Aspects of A Proposed “Grand Bargain”

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 19, 2009, No Comments

The Indian Press was recently full of stories that Chinese naval officials have proposed to Admiral Timothy J. Keating, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) that the two countries ought to divide the world oceans into two camps: China would take Hawaii West and Indian Ocean and the U.S. would be in charge of Hawaii East. The Chinese officials were reported to have told their American counterparts "… you will not need to come to the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean and we will not need to go to the Eastern Pacific. If anything happens there, you can let us know and if something happens here, we will let you know." Admiral Keating shared that story with the Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, in the context of China's high interest in developing aircraft carriers. (more…)
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The Obama Factor and the World of Islam

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 16, 2009, No Comments

President Barack H. Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo on June 4, 2009.  Symbolically, that day will always be remembered every time someone raises the issue of the United States' relations toward the world of Islam.  The following statement he made that day will go down in history as a memorable one:  The United States is "not and never will be, at war with Islam."  He made the same statement for the first time in Turkey two months prior.   (more…)
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The Making of a New Global Strategy

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 8, 2009, No Comments

.!.  The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world.  Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America's traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully.  This is a huge agenda.  But Obama's administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.   (more…)