All of them are unlikely rebels. They are quiet, mostly unassuming, and doggedly hopeful. “The strong hand over society will never protect any dictator forever,” Mohamed Zaree said, shortly after a hearing at which the assembly-law case was adjourned yet again. “At some point, however hard a fist is clenched, it comes apart.” The price to be paid in the meantime is the endurance of thousands of disillusioning setbacks. Dissidents do not have the luxury, as guerillas do, of living outside society and periodically striking at it. They remain in the midst of things, witnessing crimes and abuses too numerous and commonplace to note. Having lived so long with the contradictions of their lives, Egypt’s dissidents have forgotten that they are courageous, if they ever knew it. They just persevere, sustained by the belief that there is something in man that must be defended, and that the current state of affairs is beneath their dignity.
A well-written piece on what the end of cold war could mean. But, I doubt if the cold war has really ended. Maybe it has just morphed into something else, which will be clearer in the years to come.
THE UNITED STATES is in a remarkable place: for the first time, we are living in a truly post-cold-war political environment. For those on the center-left and center-right, there remains a desperate hope that if Trump were to be removed from the scene, through impeachment or defeat, the US could somehow return to its previous trajectory. And for all the past year’s politics of despair, a likely electoral outcome, because of popular revulsion toward Trump, is that centrist politicians in both parties will gain another shot at power. Given the razor-thin margin of Trump’s victory—despite institutional advantages like the electoral college and voter suppression—there is little reason to assume that Trump the politician will enjoy lasting political dominance. But as long as party stalwarts persist in recycling cold-war tropes, they will remain trapped in the same cycles of social crisis and popular disaffection. Even if this combination of nostalgia and outrage works for a couple of election cycles, it cannot work indefinitely. This is not 1989.
Sorry, another needull on India China. But, this one is really good.
The strategies employed by both China and India are intended to lead to growth and influence. Clearly, however, these strategies do not always benefit their countries as intended, especially with regard to international legitimacy. China’s policies have largely done so militarily and economically, while India has the advantage politically and culturally. Even should these countries devise strategies that maximize their power, however, their ability to ascend to the top is not assured. Indeed, John Ikenberry argues that while “it may be possible for China to overtake the United States alone… it is much less likely that China will ever manage to overtake the Western order.” Should this come to pass, the future China or India will likely be forced to operate in an international community defined by Western values. If either country is to become a power beyond its respective regions, it will need to ensure good relations with the West as well as the rest of world.
A third party perspective on the Doklam dispute between India and China.
If China regards Doklam as a success, it may be tempted to reuse the same template elsewhere, whether at an atoll in the Pacific or at a copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is why Washington mustn’t relax now. It should pay close attention to the aftermath of the dispute, which is the most serious Sino–Indian confrontation in a generation. Although troops are backing off their mountain-top positions, only time will tell whether their rumblings have actually subsided or rather, created the conditions for an avalanche.
A good run-down on all the parallel crises playing out currently.
All of the trend lines between India and Pakistan point toward another crisis. Public diplomacy is absent. Extremist groups that focus on Kashmir are unlikely to sit idly by as Kashmiris resist Indian rule. They can expect help from Pakistan’s military and intelligence services that view Modi as unalterably hostile, despite his attempts to improve relations. There is deep resentment directed at Washington’s embrace of India, topped off by Trump’s public invitation to New Delhi to play a more prominent role in Afghanistan. The Trump administration’s strong warnings directed at Rawalpindi might induce caution – but I wouldn’t bet on it.
With what is going on in the Middle East, it is important to understand the conflict better. Today’s needull explains the Qatar issue in detail starting from origin of Islam to the present socio-political and religious factors.
Islam’s schism, simmering for fourteen centuries, doesn’t explain all the political, economic, and geostrategic factors involved in these conflicts, but it has become one prism through which to understand the underlying tensions. Two countries that compete for the leadership of Islam, Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, have used the sectarian divide to further their ambitions. How their rivalry is settled will likely shape the political balance between Sunnis and Shias and the future of the region, especially in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.
Dear Readers, today, I present to you the story of Robin Raphael who worked for state department as diplomat. In a career spreading over four decades and 5 countries, Robin distinguished her self in a profession dominated by male. She was from generation where information was gathered not by electronic surveillance but by rubbing shoulders with Politicians, Journalists, Military Officers over tea, dinner and cocktail parties. This also included working through informal channels to bypass government bureaucracy. Lest she knew that her traditional diplomacy will result in her being branded as mole by FBI
“Pakistan is a country of 200 million people. But its leadership is like a deck of cards,” said Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washington. “However you shuffle them, the same 52 people will show up in one hand or another. Robin understood that.”
The FBI is very structured about communications. Agents see things as binary—on or off, authorized or unauthorized, black and white. State has a bunch of informal communications channels. Things are gray. It’s just the way State is.
The agents investigating Raphel didn’t have extensive experience dealing with State Department diplomats. They had even less exposure to diplomats of Raphel’s generation. By the way she spoke, Raphel sometimes made it sound as if she was giving Lodhi and other Pakistani contacts extremely valuable information.
Image Source – Wall Street Journal