Author Archive

Bangladesh: Two Independence Movements

Sheikh Mujib and his daughter, Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh Independence War Archives, https://www.flickr.com/photos/liberationwarbangladesh/31326840020/in/photolist

 

March 12, 2018: This article, the last that Howard and Teresita Schaffer wrote together, is adapted from a study commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C., to be published as part of a book called Independence Movements and their Aftermath: Self-Determination and the Struggle for Success. It is carried here by permission of CSIS. It summarizes Bangladesh’s two independence movements: the end of British rule in 1947, and liberation from Pakistan in 1971. It concludes that of the three biggest problems they confronted, Bangladesh’s early leaders succeeded beyond expectations in creating a unified and disciplined army and a dynamic economy, but the country is still struggling to craft a governing consensus.

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Book Reviews: India and Pakistan

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acmpix/12414927173/in/photolist

February 26, 2018: This year’s crop includes three masterful books about India. Shivshankar Menon, known to many of our readers as one of the leading lights of Indian foreign policy, has written a slim volume, Choices, about key points where India was forced, however reluctantly, to choose between two incompatible policy paths. This is a problem it will confront more frequently as its power expands. Vinay Sitapati’s Half Lion sketches the life of Narasimha Rao, whom the author regards as one of the unsung heroes of recent Indian history. Milan Vaishnav has brought political science to life with When Crime Pays, about the relationship between money and muscle in Indian politics. On the Pakistan side, Owen Sirrs has tried to demystify the ISI – Inter Services Intelligence Directorate. And Daniel Haines’ Rivers Divided looks at the Indus Waters Treaty – the most durable accord between India and Pakistan – from the perspective of the negotiating constraints on both sides.

 

Read the whole review here.

 

This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy ©, The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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In Memoriam: Howard Schaffer: 1929-2017

Photo by TCSchaffer

February 20, 2017: Howard and I started South Asia Hand together in late 2010. We had both retired from the Foreign Service, having spent much of our careers working in or on South Asia. He introduced me to the region. We took great joy in the friends and colleagues who hailed from the region or had joined us in making it a career focus. We hoped to convey to the next generation of South Asia hands our passion, as well as the remarkable change in the region’s ties with the United States since we first got involved.

 

By that time, Howard was 81, and had earned the title of “elder statesman.” He was the family historian, but above all, he was the master story-teller. He wrote about his legendary diplomatic colleagues, about how his own love of words played out in the subcontinent, about what had gone right and wrong in the tangled Read more

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The Importance of Being Ernest

From https://vernoncorea.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/vernon-coreas-brother-ernest-corea-played-a-key-role-in-the-commonwealth/

May 12, 2017:  We were saddened to learn of the death earlier this week of Ambassador Ernest Corea. A journalist turned diplomat, Ernest served with great skill in the 1980s as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United States. The feat of his we most remember among many is his adroit management of the state visit of Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene to this country in June 1984 during Ronald Reagan’s first term in the White House. Ernest was living in retirement with his wife Indra in suburban Virginia when he passed away in his mid-eighties.

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Pakistan and the U.S.: A More Turbulent Ride

https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelfoleyphotography/1926456687/in/photolist

The strategic drivers of U.S.-Pakistan relations with Donald Trump in the White House will be similar to those of the Bush and Obama years: Afghanistan, peace in the subcontinent, and terrorism. The style of the new administration is likely to make the policy process more volatile and aid more uncertain, and there will be less opportunity to develop economic relations as a buffer for turbulent political ties. The flag-waver in the picture expresses the hopeful side: his jacket says “Long Live Pakistan.”

See Teresita Schaffer’s article in Asia Policy, part of a Roundtable on U.S.-Asia Relations (Asia Policy, no. 23, January 2017; Pakistan essay starts on p. 49). Reprinted by permission of Asia Policy.

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India and the Trump Administration’s Agenda

From Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennharper/3827597220/sizes/m/in/photostream

February 7, 2017: Indians are optimistic about how their bilateral relationship with the United States will fare under the Trump administration. They expect important changes in the U.S. geopolitical outlook. The resulting disruption may bring dangers but also opportunities for India. In assessing its policies for a world of much greater uncertainty, the basic foreign policy goals we wrote about in India at the High Table will largely survive, though India, as we anticipated, may need to tweak how it thinks about strategic autonomy. Some aspects of the new administration’s approach to the U.S. domestic economy may wind up having an impact on international trade as well – and hence on India.

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Review of “India at the Global High Table”

Kishan Rana’s review of our India at the Global High Table appeared in the October 2016 issue9789350297858-1 of The Book Review, New Delhi. The book was published in India by HarperCollins in July 2016, and in Washington by Brookings Institution Press in April 2016. Read the review here. A short review from the September issue of Foreign Affairs appears here.

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Book Reviews: South Asia

from flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/rishibando/7666817406/in/photolist

from flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/rishibando/7666817406/in/photolist

September 21, 2016: Five interesting additions to the South Asia literature this year. Robert Crews’ Afghan Modern depicts Afghanistan as a nation formed by intense interaction with global powers – an arresting thesis, though he left out some important counterweights. A.S. Dulat, Indian intelligence chief with deep experience in Kashmir, gave us Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, an irreverent and surprisingly sensible account whose punch line was that talking to everyone is the only way out of today’s impasse. Mark Salter’s To End a Civil War goes deeply into Norway’s effort to resolve Sri Lanka’s two-decade ethnic conflict. Somini Sengupta, a New York Times reporter who spent years in India, provides an extraordinary picture of the “New India.” And Alex Vatanka’s Iran and Pakistan is, surprisingly, the first serious book I have seen on that important relationship.

 

Read my reviews of all five books here. 

 

This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy ©, The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

 

 

 

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India at the Global High Table: Remarks at Richmond

Photo: www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table

Photo: www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table

May 10, 2016: Introducing India at the Global High Table at the Richmond World Affairs Council, we discussed emerging India’s international role, focusing on the main themes of its foreign policy, the competing visions of India’s role in the world, and some examples of India’s negotiating Style. Books are available at Brookings (http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2016/india-at-the-global-high-table), at Amazon, and in book stores. The text of our remarks follows:

Good evening.  It’s a great pleasure for my wife and me to come here to Richmond to talk with you about India and the book we’ve written about the drivers of its foreign policy and diplomatic practices. The two of us have spent a good deal of time as State Department officials working in India and dealing in Washington with Indian Read more

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Harold H. Saunders: Remembering a Peacemaker

Photo by permission of Kettering Foundation

March 10, 2016: When Hal Saunders died last weekend, the world lost one of the most creative peace negotiators it has ever known. He is best remembered as the man who gave Jimmy Carter’s vision of an Israel-Egypt peace practical form at Camp David. Having worked for him both during and after his distinguished government career, we think it’s important to highlight two other characteristics that have been lost in most of the early remembrances. First, Hal was an extraordinary boss and colleague. Second, his government career – a couple of decades at the top of the official pyramid – was only the beginning of his contribution to both understanding and doing peacemaking.

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