Tag Archives: Soviet Union

PAKISTAN

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…)
UNITED STATES

“Hell” Must be Where Extremism Mushrooms

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 12, 2009, No Comments

Looking at the tepid global reaction to the massacre of the civilians in Gaza, one wonders whether the conscience of the international community is half asleep or is suffering from something called sympathy fatigue.  Hundreds of civilian casualties, incessantly escalating human misery, and with no end in the Israeli military action in sight, even God seems to have abandoned them.  At the same time, it should be said unequivocally that Hamas' indiscriminate firing of missiles on Israeli cities is a repulsive act.  One U.N. official involved in rescue attempts stated that Gaza has turned into hell.  That, alas, seems to be the fate of Muslims in many places.    (more…)
TIDBITS AND MORSELS

Tidibits and Morsels (3)

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 31, 2008, No Comments

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, RESTART THE BARMY ARMS RACE!   The Cold War in its old form disappeared when the Soviet Union imploded.  But the U.S.-Russian competition did not.  The United States continued a strange policy of expanding the NATO membership and bringing that Alliance all the way to the Russian borders, despite strong and continued protestations from Mosow.  It was highly irrational on the part of the United States to think that Russia should only listen to its rhetoric–which went along the lines that "we are no longer adversaries"–and totally ignore its near obsession with the NATO enlargement.   (more…)
SYRIA

The Dubious Hillary Choice

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 23, 2008, 2 Comments

The reported choice of Hillary Clinton as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State does not make much sense. All presidents come to office with a definite worldview and a vision of America's foreign policy during their term. Assuming that Obama shares these characteristics with his predecessors, his worldview was not quite similar to that which Hillary conveyed during her campaign to defeat Obama for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. (more…)
UNITED STATES

Au Revoir, Indonesia!

by Ehsan Ahrari on November 15, 2008, No Comments

Indonesia has always been a place "way out there in Southeast Asia" for me.  My world travels took me all over the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Europe, but East Asia remained a place that did not capture my professional interest until 2005, when I visited Singapore.  During that trip, I remember the distinct feeling of ambivalence among a lot of Singaporeans on all issues related to Indonesia.  That further aroused my curiosity.  Since then, Indonesia was the most interesting place for me in East Asia.  Strangely enough, however, my first visit to that country didn't happen until October 2008.   (more…)
PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s Gift to America: Turbulence Unlimited

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 3, 2008, No Comments

The saga of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship may best be described by the phrase "use and abandon."  That happened during the years following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when Pakistan eagerly became America's ally.  But when the Soviets were defeated and ousted from Afghanistan, the U.S. went home.  Pakistan was left alone to deal with the consequences of militant Jihad, which America was too happy to revive in order to defeat the communist superpower.   (more…)
PAKISTAN

From “Mr. Ten Percent” to Mr. President: Zardari’s Shifting Fortunes

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 6, 2008, No Comments

It is hard to decide whether the news of the victory of Asif Ali Zardari for the presidency of Pakistan should be celebrated as a victory for democracy, or be viewed as a cause for concern.  Better known as "Mr. Ten Percent" for allegedly receiving his cut from contractors doing business with the Pakistani government during the administration of his wife, Benazir Bhutto, his sudden prominence is only an historical accident.  Otherwise, he has been known as Benazir Bhutto's "insignificant other."  Zardari spent many years in jail, while his wife was in exile.  Throughout the stormy career of his wife, he largely stayed in the background.  As daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, she was supposed to be the "daughter of destiny," and was to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.  However, her life was cut short when she was assassinated on December 29, 2007.   (more…)
GREAT POWER RELATIONS PAKISTAN RUSSIA

The Birth Pangs of A Multipolar World Order

by Ehsan Ahrari on August 27, 2008, No Comments

The confluence of the waning months of the Bush presidency–when the lameduck factor is looming large– the continued insistence of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the U.S. set a timetable of withdrawing from Iraq, the Russian invasion of Georgia, and the forced resignation of General Pervez Musharraf–President Bush's favorite strongman in Pakistan–are creating a new buzz globally.  That buzz can be highlighted along the lines that "Washington is forced to watch other powers shape events," that a superpower is reborn (in reference to Russian military action against on Georgia), that a new world order is emerging, and that America's decline will not easily be reversed.   (more…)
GREAT POWER RELATIONS

The “End” or The “Return” of History: When Will History Make Up Its Mind?

by Ehsan Ahrari on August 26, 2008, 2 Comments

There is something imprudent about strategic thinkers when it comes to history.  For some reason, for some of them, it has to come to an end when an idea experiences a temporary–but significant–success.  But when that idea appears to fail, they make an equally rash extrapolation, and start talking about the "return" of history.  Francis Fukuyama became ebullient regarding the "end" of history when the Soviet Union–the archetype of communist totalitarianism–collapsed.  For him, the triumph of liberal democracy in a dialectical sense was an end of history, where no idea emerged as a superior one.  Robert Kagan, in his new book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, argues that history did not come to end when the Soviet Union imploded or when the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989.  The triumph of liberal democracy–which then appeared as a shining example of success–proved illusory.  In this sense, he sees a "return" of history.  The end of dreams might be another h
IRAQ

Iraq: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 24, 2008, No Comments

If either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton wins the net presidential election, there is going to be a radical change at least in the current size of American troop presence in Iraq.  But if John McCain were to win, the present U.S. commitment would remain the same or would even increase.  But the bottom line regarding Iraq is that making a clean break from there is well nigh impossible for America.  At least three explanations are being offered for not getting out of Iraq.  The first one is that the terrorist-extremists would takeover Iraq.  The second one is that America's withdrawal means its defeat and soiling of its reputation as hegemon (not used pejoratively here).  And that such an eventuality would permanently damage its presence and interests in that region.  Finally, it is argued that America's withdrawal from Iraq would lead to an immense boosting of Iran's clout and influence in the Middle East.  A closer look at these explanations is in order.   (more…)