Perspectives on the Second Nuclear Age

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.   Continue reading “Perspectives on the Second Nuclear Age”

The Solution to Islamist Extremism Leads to Riyadh

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.

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Move On Pakistan, Let the Old General Go!

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.

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Whither “Savior” Musharraf Pervez?

The rrecent eturn to Pakistan of former dictator, Pervez Musharraf was at least for him was the begnning of his role as “savior” of his country. However, the hatred toward him swept his candidacy aside and almost got arrested. Now the question is what is his future: an ignominous arrest and jail term, or return to the life of luxury in London.

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.  Continue reading “Whither “Savior” Musharraf Pervez?”

The Future of the Garrison State in Pakistan: A Review Essay

The futue of Pakistan as a garrison state may only be protected if democratic rule is allowed to survive without any militarycoups. Then, the emergence of Pakistan as a stable democracy and a growing economy are likely to bring about the end of a garrison state in that troubled country.

The high visibility of Pakistan in regional and global affairs is one of the reasons for the publication of a number of excellent studies explaining the state of internal affairs as well that country’s regional and global strategic maneuvers.  Ishtiaq Ahmed’s book, Pakistan the Garrison State, is certainly one such book.  Borrowing the concept, “garrison state,” from one of the noted American Political Scientists, Harold Lasswell, Ahmed develops an engaging but complex narrative of Pakistan.  His account starts from the birth of that nation in a highly volatile environment and brings it to 2011.  Since the Indian top leadership never accepted Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s (founder of Pakistan) “two nation theory” as the basis of partition of British India, the chances of any cooperation between the two resulting states after their birth were minimal, to start with.  The outburst of the Kashmir conflict in 1947, almost immediately after their inception as separate nations, dealt a severe blow to the prospects of cooperation between the two countries for several decades. Continue reading “The Future of the Garrison State in Pakistan: A Review Essay”