central Asia

Dubai for Borat? Bad Idea.
December 10, 2009

Dubai is faltering. With its gleaming towers, indoor ski slopes, man-made islands, and other luxury projects, the city had epitomized the wealth that the global economic boom of the 1990s and early 2000s produced. It was even pronounced "too big to fail." But then, the boom went bust, and Dubai wasn't immune. And yet, despite glaring warning signals emanating from the Persian Gulf, some unusual suspects are moving forward with plans for their own Dubais.

DISPUTATIONS: Root Causes
October 29, 2009

The "strategic" debate over Afghanistan is a diversion that serves chiefly to distract attention from the condition of strategic bankruptcy that President Obama inherited. The issues in Afghanistan do not qualify as strategic. They barely rise to the level of operational. To the extent that the war in Afghanistan can claim to have any purpose, that purpose derives from its relationship to the larger struggle variously called the global war on terror or World War IV or the Long War. To the extent that it ever made sense for U.S.

Hillary in Moscow: Will the New START Treaty Cripple Conventional U.S. Military Power?
October 13, 2009

The news surrounding today's meeting between Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is pretty bad. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has taken the opportunity to dump cold water on our hopes for more Iran sanctions and to trumpet a Sino-Russian gas pipeline deal that would weaken our hand in Central Asia. But, despite all that, it's worth keeping in mind that the "New START" treaty that Hillary is in Moscow to negotiate is a solid one. The deal would supplant both START I, the arms-control treaty signed by George H.W.

The Best and the Fastest
August 31, 2009

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome By Christopher Kelly (W.W. Norton, 350 pp., $26.95) Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia From the Bronze Age To the Present By Christopher I. Beckwith (Princeton University Press, 472 pp., $35) The extraordinary reputation of Attila and his Huns requires an explanation, because they had so much competition.

Hillary's State
March 04, 2009

The seventh floor of the U.S. State Department is a generally dreary place. Its employees roam hallways so long and confusing that they are color-coded for guidance. Fluorescent lights throw down a harsh hospital glare. But, to most State employees, the "real" seventh floor is a secure area, protected by armed guards and doors that require electronic keys, where the department's top staffers, including the secretary herself, spend their days.

Red Herring
November 19, 2008

Why did Russia really invade Georgia? In late September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and offered a rather stunning explanation. Lavrov--who previously spent a decade as Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, where he mastered the body of international precedents and U.N.

The Analogists' Ball
August 11, 2008

  So there is historical memory in America! In fact, the American discussion of the Russian war on Georgia seems to consist mainly in remembering, or misremembering. The most pressing question of all is not how to stop Putin's vicious attack on an independent democratic state with a dream of the West, but whether or not we are witnessing a repetition of the Cold War. Who wants a repetition of the Cold War? Welcome back to the analogists' ball. If you are disgusted by Putin's war, then you are a grandchild of rollback and the sort of liberal lemming who would invade Iraq all over again.

The End of the End of History
April 23, 2008

  I. In the early 1990s, optimism was understandable. The collapse of the communist empire and the apparent embrace of democracy by Russia seemed to augur a new era of global convergence. The great adversaries of the Cold War suddenly shared many common goals, including a desire for economic and political integration. Even after the political crackdown that began in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the disturbing signs of instability that appeared in Russia after 1993, most Americans and Europeans believed that China and Russia were on a path toward liberalism.

Going Down
December 05, 2007

Most days, the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel in Manila caters to a cross-section of elite Philippine society. Politicians in sharp suits swap stories in the coffee shop, while society ladies with bouffant hairdos and glittery mobile phones take their usual tables for lunch. But last week, a different crowd crashed the Peninsula, as a group of army officers barged into the hotel and commandeered the place to call for the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Crude Joke
February 12, 2007

IF THERE WAS one thing George W. Bush and his clique were supposed to know, it was oil. That, at least, was the widespread consensus back in 2000, when Bush first sought the White House, and it was easy to understand why. Bush’s grandfather was an oilman. His father was an oilman. He himself had worked in oil. His vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, was the former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. His campaign’s chairman, Donald Evans, was CEO of the oil company Tom Brown.

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