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  • Washington’s ‘Day After’ Policy
    December, 2009 By Rohit Honawar

    President Obama’s decision to deploy an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan has, for the most part, been welcomed by the Afghan government and the regional stakeholders India and Pakistan. The Taliban, whose presence several analysts believe will be required at the negotiating table for a long-term peaceful solution to the Afghan crisis, have rebuffed the new strategy – bluntly stating that there will be an increase in American casualties and more opportunities to attack US assets. On the surface, Obama’s decision, coupled with the pledge to strengthen governance and provide non-military aid/development is being widely held as a prerequisite towards regional stability. Despite objections by the Afghani people, more boots on the ground will ultimately increase the physical possibility of securing vast areas of the country, which have otherwise seen a spread of the Taliban’s influence. 

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  • Iraq Determines The Fate Of Afganistan
    December, 2009 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    It has been suggested by many analysts that after the initial efforts in Afghanistan, put forward by Operation Enduring Freedom, US focus on the Middle East, particularly Iraq, detracted from efforts to fight the Taliban and the insurgency along the Af-Pak border. As a result the Taliban was able to re-group and strengthen its foothold not just in Afghanistan but in the tribal administered areas of Pakistan as well. Several years later, the issues in Iraq still remain largely unsettled and even forebode a treacherous path ahead for US foreign policy. 

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  • No End In Sight
    December, 2009 By Anumita Raj

    In the weeks leading up to Barack Obama’s decision to send another 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan, he took care to ensure that several different expert opinions on the matter were heard. From military experts who explained the pros and cons of different options to him, to General McChrystal who vigorously and vociferously defended his plan, from the Vice President, Joe Biden, who is an expert on foreign policy, to domestic advisors like Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel whose job it was to give him an idea of how lawmakers in the Congress and the Senate would react. While he has been accused of ‘dithering’ and being indecisive, the fact is that Obama had to choose between the least of several difficult options, each as bad as the other. There are simply no good or easy decisions to be made on the war in Afghanistan. None of the options he was presented with came with simple consequences. 8 years in, this war is still no closer to being over than it was on 12th September, 2001. 

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  • The Somalian War Front
    December, 2009 By Sahiba Trivedi

    In an important speech in early December, US President Barack Obama laid out plans for the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan in 2011. This would mean an end to 10-year long operations in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda. Obama also mentioned in this speech that Somalia would be the next battleground against Al Qaeda. Does this mean that the allies intend to focus next on Somalia in the ‘war on terror’? If it does, then the question to be asked is, is Somalia capable of withstanding a US-led invasion against Al Qaeda-related terrorists? 

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  • India's Tryst with Soft Power
    December, 2009 By Joyanto Mukherjee

    In the past few months, the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. There have been reports that the construction will not be completed on time. This, coupled with the scuffle between the office bearers of the Commonwealth Games and the Indian delegation and then their media-friendly patch up, has given a lot of publicity to the event. 

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  • Exorcising the Ghost of Xunzi
    October, 2009 By Sundeep Waslekar

    Sundeep Waslekar examines the deeper social  malaise behind the triple crises faced by the world – financial meltdown, environmental degradation and climate change, and the spread of terror and weapons of mass destruction.

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  • Africa’s Time of Reckoning
    October, 2009 By Ambika Vishwanath

    Poverty, civil wars, pirates, environmental degradation, the highest number of HIV/Aids victims are some of the images conjured up when we discuss Africa. It is a land of high fertility and large families, where societies are under extreme stress and the young out number the old by almost double. The poorest region of the world, Africa rates low on the 2001 Human Development Index, where 29 of the 36 nations with the lowest human development are in Africa. The growth rate, at the lower end of the scale is 2.2 percent, as compared to the world average of 1.4 percent. In parts of Western Sahara, Niger, Uganda and Angola, fertility is the highest, with women having an average of 7 children. 

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  • Israel’s Future Dilemma: the importance of ‘final status’
    October, 2009 By Gitanjali Bakshi

    The last few months have seen a recent push from the Obama administration to speed up the Israel-Palestine peace process; a push that has not come without a fair share of resistance. The main challenge in the negotiation process has been the five final status issues – namely borders, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, water rights and lastly refugees and the right of return. These five issues -- aptly named ‘final status’ -- carry so much contention between the two-sides that during previous peace negotiations, discussing them in detail has often been deferred till the very end. 

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