Archive for the ‘Regional’ Category

Book Review: Sri Lanka – “Nation-Building”

In late May 2009, I happened to be visiting Rome, walking on a Sunday afternoon with my Rome-based brother near one of the city’s

Photo by Marcus Spring, http://www.flickr.com/photos/springm/3542590882/sizes/m/in/photostream/

lovely parks, when we noticed a huge and apparently cheerful crowd of people at the nearby Sri Lankan embassy… We spent about 45 minutes enjoying Sri Lankan hospitality and some delicious kiri-bath. In that short time, the Ambassador and two members of his staff each pulled me aside and spoke earnestly of the importance of creating genuine reconciliation in the country. It was a moment of honesty and hope.

Gnana Moonesinghe’s wide-ranging collection of essays is another response to that moment, in the same spirit. She sets the tone in the Editor’s Note that begins the volume: “This publication is a response to the post war dilemma of how best to bring together the different communities and build a nation on strong foundations, of inclusivity, fairness, justice, equality and contentment for all.”

Read my review of Gnana Moonesinghe’s book Nation-Building, published in the Colombo Sunday Times July 10, 2011.

Leave a reply

Afghanistan and Pakistan: Perspectives from Russia

ISAF photo, courtesy Flickr

Russia’s concerns about Afghanistan stem mainly from its impact on their neighborhood through narcotics trafficking and the export of Islamic radicalism. China’s growing economic footprint is also a worry. There seems little Russian interest in a major policy role .
Read our article, published in The Hindu, July 8, 2011.
Leave a reply

Bangladesh: Supreme Court Decision Heats Up Politics

Bangladesh Parliament, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/abrinsky/5563720751/sizes/m/in/photostream/

June 12, 2011:  For over a month, Bangladesh’s always contentious political scene has been dominated by partisan controversy sparked by a May 11 Supreme Court that declared illegal the country’s constitutional provision for holding parliamentary elections. Adopted in 1996, this mandates that on the completion of its normal five-year term in office, the government of the day must transfer power to a caretaker administration responsible for overseeing a fresh parliamentary election.

  Read more

Leave a reply

Remembering the Eagle

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/saucy_pan/5737667991/

June 8, 2011: Lawrence Eagleburger’s death on June 4 took away one of the giants of American diplomacy, as well as one of the great characters of the U.S. Foreign Service. Generations of U.S. diplomats were professionally reared on Eagleburger stories. He inspired terror, admiration and pride in more or less equal parts. His concern for South Asia was ordinarily limited, but he left his imprint – and some great stories – nonetheless.

  Read more

Leave a reply

India and the U.S. Moving Closer on Afghanistan?

The U.S. and India are getting more interested in negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. Their evolving policies could benefit from closer U.S.-India consultations, and from back-channel India-Pakistan talks on Afghanistan.

Read the full article, first published in The Hindu, June 1, 2011.

Leave a reply

Sri Lanka – Small Steps Forward

Sri Lanka: Small Steps Forward

Photo by Caramel, Flickr, 5443200902_992ddda12c

March 31, 2011: Sri Lanka’s appearance in the World Cup cricket finals in Mumbai on April 2 will make hearts beat faster all over the island. In South Asia, cricket is given extraordinary power to symbolize and even foretell larger trends. So the World Cup finals put a glow in Sri Lanka’s mood, contrasting with what many Sri Lankans see as the world’s sour reception of their victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009. We offer you a brief snapshot of some recent developments, under three headings: tackling Sri Lanka’s ethnic polarization; rebuilding bridges to the West; and pursuing the economic peace dividend.

Leave a reply

Bangladesh’s Grameen Saga

March 3, 2011: If an annual prize was given to the government that most effectively shoots itself in the foot, Bangladesh would be the odds-on favorite to win the award for 2011 for its sacking of Mohammed Yunus as managing director of the Grameen Bank.

Read full article at Bangladesh’s Grameen Saga.

Leave a reply

The present situation (in Kashmir) favors India

Teresita C. Schaffer and Howard B. Schaffer speak with Samyukta Lakshman about the relationship between the U.S. and South Asia.

On Kashmir, I think the U.S. government does not favor Pakistan. It has taken a long time for Indian opinion to believe that view. I think it goes back to the Kargil attack by the Pakistanis across the Line of Control in 1999. To Pakistan’s dismay and India’s surprise, [the U.S.] supported the Indian position and declared that the sanctity of the LoC must be recognised by Pakistan.

Originally published by Gateway House on February 8, 2011.

Leave a reply

Indian Ocean Geostrategic Environment: The View from South Asia

A paper by Teresita C. Schaffer on the Indian Ocean’s geostrategic importance.

For the countries of South Asia, three themes dominate the way they look on the Indian Ocean: India; China; and economics. Beyond that, their interest reflects geography, economics, political relationships, and each country’s extra-regional role. For India, the Indian Ocean has huge and growing strategic significance, and it figures importantly in relations with the United States.. For Pakistan, it is an arena in their epic rivalry with India. The strategic perspectives of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are more inward-looking, but the major significance of the Indian Ocean is economic.

Dated February 1, 2011. Read the entire paper.

Leave a reply

Richard Holbrooke, an American Legend

An obituary by Teresita C. Schaffer of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, highlighting in particular his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Indians probably remember Holbrooke’s last assignment—Afghanistan and Pakistan—principally because of what it excluded: he did not have responsibility for India. He avoided any role on India-Pakistan issues, recognizing that this could only complicate his exceptionally difficult mandate. In a way, it is a shame he never had any direct involvement in U.S.-India ties. In the years before he took up his Afghanistan-Pakistan job, he visited India frequently, and was fascinated by the way it was emerging on the global scene. His twin passions for peacemaking and for power responded to different aspects of India’s post-Cold War foreign policy at a time when the United States and India were discovering how close their international interests had become.

Originally published by the News India Times on December 17, 2010.

Leave a reply
Page 4 of 6« First...«23456»