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?”
I don’t like to make predictions, for predictions are mostly for soothsayers or palm-readers. But in this case, I will make an exception, based upon my reading of a number of clues. My prediction is that the first (or at least one of the major) foreign policy crisis of the Obama administration is likely to be Iran. In a style much more benign than that of his predecessor, President Barack Obama has been incessantly harping on the nuclear issue involving Iran. Such a presidential near obsession develops its own blinders that can easily make a military option much more feasible than it really is. One of his top national security advisers, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, insists that all options – including military ones – are on the table. That persistence forces one to think that there is more involved about Iran than meets the eye. Obama’s National Security Advisor, General Jones, has issued a comprehensive memo reported by the New York Times. That memo reports the use of Special Operations to destabilize Iran. This is a highly uneasy reminder of the tactics that the Bush administration used before invading Iraq in 2003.
Continue reading “The Only Option Worth Pursuing: Negotiate, Negotiate, or Negotiate with Iran”
Published in Foreign Policy in Focus (30 Dec 09) – Click on link to read entire article
The real test of President Barack Obama’s dealing with China and Russia will be whether he can persuade them to support U.S. pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations. Obama is reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached the topic with Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies wanting to join the nuclear club, but Washington has no faith in those denials.
The real test of President Barack H. Obama’s dealing with China and Russia will emerge in his success to persuade those countries to support the U.S. in pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations. Obama has reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies having such aspirations, but Washington has no faith in those denials.
Continue reading “Obama’s Challenge: Building Sino-Russian Support on Denuclearizing Iran”
On the front page of Saturday’s Financial Times (September 26, 2009) there was a somber looking picture of the American President Barack H. Obama, U.K.’s Premier Gordon Brown, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy heading toward a podium to address the world press condemning Iran’s secret uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom. The United States and its allies believe that Iran is getting closer to making nuclear weapons. However, the how much closer is still a matter of speculation.
Continue reading “Getting Serious About Denuclearizing Iran”
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.
Continue reading “The Making of a New Global Strategy”
The continuing public spat between Hezbollah and Arab states is a mixture of old and new styles of power play. The “old” part implicitly involves Iran–the chief supporter of Hezbollah–while the new aspect of this power play is between the antiquated monarchies and the nexus between Iran and Hezbollah. Iran is the “rising power” of the Middle East, while the Sunni Arab states belong to the category of “declining” powers. Hezbollah’s status will be determined most significantly after the impending elections in Lebanon. As an example of how the U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East is more of an expression of continuity than change (despite President Barack H. Obama’s rhetoric of “change’) Vice President Biden was dispatched to Lebanon to influence the outcome of the Lebanese elections, an action that is likely to backfire and, in the process, only enhance the political clout of Hezbollah.
Continue reading “The Shia-Sunni Power Play in the Middle East”
There comes a time in the history of nations–even for the lone superpower–when it needs a fresh start. Today is just that day. America is going to have a fresh start. As President Barack H. Obama stated, America is ready to lead the world once again. This is not an appropriate time to dwell on the past, but a cursory look is vital, if nothing else, for the sake of some sense of perspective about where the United States is heading as a nation.
Continue reading “America’s Fresh Start”
The United States is number one in the realms of nuclear and conventional weapons. Its conventional superiority is so awesome that no nation-state would dare challenge it. Yet it has no intention of reducing the size of its huge nuclear arsenal.
Continue reading “Different Meanings of Nuclear Deterrence”