All posts tagged: Obama

Talking to the Taliban

By Rasul Bakhsh Rais Published: June 26, 2011 The writer is professor of political science at LUMS rasul.rais@tribune.com.pk When, how and on what terms will the Afghan war end? If we go by the political rhetoric of the warring sides, the Taliban and the United States and its Nato allies, there will be no solution until each side achieves its central objectives. The problem is that both sides in any conflict cannot achieve their objectives until they reach some middle ground by recognising that the other side has some legitimate concerns, interests and can be acknowledged as a party with whom some political business can be done.

The Pakistani Elephant in the Room

What President Obama didn’t say about the other South Asian country where we’re at war Reuters In his speech Wednesday night announcing the beginning of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Obama mentioned only three times the country that, in a November 2009 Oval Office meeting, he said was the source of the “cancer” that had spread into the Afghan war: Pakistan. Though the U.S. has spent much of the last year expanding its assault on the Taliban across the border into Pakistan, sending drones and special forces teams against the militants based there (recently, Osama bin Laden, who appeared to be living in relative comfort with support from Pakistani military elements), Obama took a slightly softer tone toward this ostensible U.S. ally.

Calling America’s bluff

By Kurt Jacobsen and Sayeed Hassan Khan Published in Dawn HAS Obama unwittingly called his own bluff? The spooky so-called mastermind Osama Bin Laden is rubbed out, courtesy a Hollywood-style hit squad operation. What more is there to say? Everything, actually. But nervous authorities want to curb jubilation so as not to give the exasperated American public any funny ideas about pulling their stupendously expensive military apparatus out of battered Afghanistan.

Pakistan is Sinking: Time For Tough Love?

Walter Russell Mead The news from Pakistan remains dire.  The flood waters now sweeping toward the Arabian Gulf have been far more devastating and the destruction more widespread than anyone predicted.  They have cruelly exposed many of Pakistan’s glaring weaknesses: its corrupt feudal elite, its corrupt and ineffective bureaucracy, its lack of infrastructure, its weak civil society, and the presence (unsurprising given the decades long failures of the country’s public and private institutions to do their job) of radical religious extremism and terrorism emerging from the rage and despair of a people betrayed by its leaders. The long term outlook is not good.  Pakistan has failed yet again to educate a rising generation of children and the population is rising faster than the country can find jobs.  While the IPCC may have overstated the problem of glacier melt, long term trends point to a decline in the flow of the rivers on which Pakistan depends.  The growing power gap between Pakistan and India (the world’s two most hostile nuclear powers) is likely to destabilize the …

The Identity Conundrum

DynaNama- The Global Kaleidoscope Who am “I” among the myriad of all of “we” and many of “them”? The question is not a new one. And it’s definitely not something that has annoyed and perplexed the philosophers, sociologists and psychologists alone. The matter at hand has been lingering on some conscious and most unconscious minds for ages now. Identity, or perhaps crisis of it, is the indictment of our modern world. I’m not saying it did not exist in preceding generations. Yet, the intensity of the crisis and its implications are alarming as never before. I came to this somewhat dismal conclusion as I sifted through April’s articles. The identity struggle is everywhere. This was most evident in James Estrin’s article “Listening to (and saving) the World’s Languages” published in The New York Times on April 28, 2010. The author asserts the virtual need of language diversity in modern times. Language is perhaps the greatest symbol of consciousness. It represents the world we live in. It is the identity. Yet numerous languages are nearing extinction …

The GlObal KaleidOscOpe…DunyaNama

The world is constantly changing at pace that often leaves us bewildered. There are astonishing breakthroughs in science, new discoveries in technology and innovative advancements in our ways of communication every day. However, where does Pakistan stand amidst all these new discoveries and developments? Are we following the world as it advances or have we lagged behind? The purpose of our new weekly section “Global kaleidoscope … DunyaNama” posted on our website is to know and analyse this. We want to bring our readers’ attention to the ways of our global world. Hence, by reflecting on the global discourses propagated in form of news, articles, blogs and researches we will attempt to create a holistic picture of worldly affairs in a given week and the possible implications for our own development. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 8th Feb 2010 In today’s modern times we have a large plethora of information available to us, thanks to the worldwide web. Still, there were some articles that stood out. Some that forced us to think about where we’re headed. We plan to …

Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

Nick Grono and Candace Rondeaux in the Boston Globe Boston Globe   AS WASHINGTON rolls out its latest troop surge in Afghanistan, all eyes are on the violent south and east of the country to see whether the additional military muscle will bring stability. But outside observers are looking in the wrong place: They ought to focus on the backroom deals the United States is preparing to make with some notorious warlords, as these will determine the long-term effectiveness of President Obama’s strategy. While the White House has paid lip service to the importance of good governance in Afghanistan, the reality is that co-opting violent warlords is at the heart of a plan that will likely result in further instability. One of the warlords who may soon star in the new US efforts to rebrand fundamentalists as potential government partners is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a brutal Afghan insurgent commander responsible for dozens of deadly attacks on coalition troops. As a mujahedeen commander during the civil war in the 1990s, Hekmatyar turned his guns on Kabul, slaughtering …