Archive for the ‘Regional’ Category

South Asia After 9/11

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The events of 9/11 had contradictory results in South Asia: in Pakistan, first the reestablishment of a big relationship with the United States after a 20 year hiatus, and then a crisis in relations owing to a strategic disconnect; in India, the continuation of the expansion in US ties that started at the turn of the century.

Watch interview by Teresita Schaffer and other Brookings scholars on “Meet the Press at Brookings”, September 8, 2011.

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India Next Door, China Over the Horizon

NBR, Cover of "Strategic Asia 2011"

Strategic Asia 2011-2012 examines the impact of the rise of India and China on the rest of Asia, and on global powers in ten chapters, each by a recognized expert. This is the latest volume in the annual Strategic Asia series put out by the National Bureau of Asian Research.

For Pakistan, the rise of India is a strategic nightmare, while the rise of China
is an opportunity to curb India’s advancement and reduce dependence on
the United States. Afghanistan sees its ties with India and China, as well
as with the U.S., as vehicles for blunting interference by its immediate
neighbors, especially Pakistan.

Read summary of Teresita Schaffer’s chapter on how the rise of India and China looks from the rest of South Asia.

See preview of table of contents, and order the book.

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Indian Ocean Rivals Better Served with Cooperation

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The Indian Ocean is the lifeline of the UAE – and of many other countries around the region and the globe. As old rivalries become more prominent in these waters, it is time to lay the groundwork for real collaboration on the issues that pose the greatest threat to Indian Ocean security. Stronger and broader anti-piracy cooperation would be a good place to start.

See op-ed published in The National, UAE, August 23, 2011.

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Capacity and Resolve: Foreign Assessments of American Power

The United States is not seen in India as a declining power. [Indian commentators] do, however, express concern that the United States is not mobilizing its sources of power as effectively as it might. Indian elites with a range of backgrounds and interests fervently hope that the United States will remain powerful and will use its power wisely.

Read assessments of how ten key countries evaluate shifting patterns of U.S. power in the world. Teresita Schaffer’s chapter on India, “Continued Primacy, Diminished Will,” is on pp. 56-65. Full text, published on the CSIS web site June 2011.

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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,

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.

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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.
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Bangladesh: Supreme Court Decision Heats Up Politics

Bangladesh Parliament, from

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.

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Remembering the Eagle

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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.

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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.

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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.

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