Does the U.S. Really Want Talks With the Taliban to Succeed?

Peace talks involving the Taliban and its allies are apparently underway, according to the Asia Times (AT), and from most accounts a deal appears doable. AT’s Pakistan bureau chief Syed Saleem Shahzad reported Sept. 11 and 15th that, under the auspices of the...

Why Don’t Iraqis and Afghans Embrace Democracy?

“What’s wrong with those people?” many Americans — and not just those on the right — think about Iraqis. “We got rid of their tyrant and gave them their freedom. But look what they did with it — mowed each other down and blew...

Beating Swords Into Ploughshares

In last month’s blitzkrieg tour of Central and Southeast Asia, two of the four stops Secretary Clinton made share the unfortunate bond of enduring an invasion by U.S. air and ground forces. In the space of a few days, Clinton visited both Vietnam and...

A Way Forward: Reexamining the Pentagon’s Spending Habits

What is a trillion? It is a big number for sure. The best explanation I have found for this mind-blowing figure is from children’s book author David Schwartz. “One million seconds comes out to be about 11½ days. A billion seconds is 32 years. And a...

Petraeus Harbinger of Peace, Not Another Surge?

Firing Gen. McChrystal and replacing him with Gen. Petraeus raises many questions. For example, some say that when he accepted the post as top commander in Afghanistan, it was made clear to Gen. Petraeus that he’d come away with no great success like he...

Are Foreign Lives of Equal Worth to Ours?

When a U.S. civilian is murdered in a foreign land or in the United States, we rightfully feel angry, sad, and some of us demand vengeance. These are normal, primordial, and instinctive feelings of group loyalty and herd mentality that have bound communities and...
Question: Will Lithium Be Good For Afghanistan?

Question: Will Lithium Be Good For Afghanistan?

Answer: Only if US policymakers ingest enough of it. The mainstream media is all agog over the ‘discovery’ of ‘at least $1 trillion in mineral wealth‘ in Afghanistan. Never mind that this is not ‘news’. (The data has been public for...
A Lesson on Nonviolence for the President

A Lesson on Nonviolence for the President

In Oslo last week, President Barack Obama ironically used his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize to deliver a lengthy defense of the “just war” theory and dismiss the idea that nonviolence is capable of addressing the world’s most pressing...
The AfPak Train Wreck

The AfPak Train Wreck

When President Barack Obama laid out his plan for winning the war in Afghanistan, behind him stood an army of ghosts: Greeks, Mongols, Buddhists, British, and Russians, all whom had almost the same illusions as the current resident of the Oval Office about Central...

Iraq Throws Obama a Curve Ball, Key 2010 Elections in Peril

Reminiscent of the political problems in Afghanistan that have plagued the Obama White House, on Monday Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi vetoed a set of amendments to Iraq’s election law approved by the Iraqi parliament. The veto may lead to a delay of the...

Dissidents Make NoiseOops, News

U.S. government hypocrisy has grown so pervasive over the last decades that it provokes yawns and glazed looks. Senators denounce government interference in health care while partaking in their own top-of-the-line government health insurance that they designed —...

Time for Change in Afghanistan

Regarding the Oct. 6 editorial “If We Lose Afghanistan“: The Post tells us that a Taliban victory would allow al-Qaeda to return to its Afghan planning sanctuary. That, The Post intoned, would be a “catastrophe” — implying another Sept....
FPIF Summer Film Series: Taxi to the Dark Side

FPIF Summer Film Series: Taxi to the Dark Side

The Foreign Policy In Focus Annual Summer Film Series gets underway with the Academy-Award-winning Taxi to the Dark Side. Please join us and our two guest speakers, Farrah Hassen, Newman Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, and Andy Shallal of Iraqi Voices for...