central Asia

The New Hegemon
December 18, 2006

Vali Nasr on life under a nuclear Iran.

Crude Awakening
October 02, 2006

Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China—and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for “impartial and independent experts” to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.

Regime Change, Inc.
April 25, 2005

When the Rose Revolution began in the fall of 2003, there was little reason to hope for a happy ending. Twelve years earlier, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia had stepped from communism into civil war. The old Communist eminence Eduard Shevardnadze may have brought greater stability when he took over the government in 1992, but his corrupt rule also generated huge new pools of ill will among the populace. Some of this disgust manifested itself in small, peaceful street protests.

Identity Crisis
December 20, 2004

Franklin Foer on Persia and the neocons.

The Ungreat Washed
July 07, 2003

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.

Drop Zone
September 09, 2002

At 10:15 a.m. on April 17, President George W. Bush demonstrated just how much his foreign policy outlook has matured since September 11. Honoring the winners of the Virginia Military Institute's (VMI) George C. Marshall ROTC Award, Bush summoned the spirit of the architect of U.S. postwar nation- building to signal his newfound appreciation for such tasks. Where during the campaign Bush had dismissed nation-building as glorified social work, at VMI he outlined an expansive vision of America's continuing commitment to post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Home Alone
June 24, 2002

As TNR went to press, John Ashcroft's revelation that the United States had captured an Al Qaeda operative seeking to build a dirty bomb was distracting attention from President George W. Bush's dramatic unveiling of his plan for a Department of Homeland Security. That announcement, in turn, had distracted attention from whistle-blower Coleen Rowley's testimony about FBI bungling, which, in turn, had distracted attention from the Democrats' call for a blueribbon commission to investigate the intelligence failures preceding September 11. All of which is fine, as far as it goes.

Flacks Americana
May 20, 2002

  It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.

Black Hawk Up
March 25, 2002

Thermobaric, thermoshmaric: The Battle of Shah-i-Kot Valley has established what should have been perfectly plain from the beginning of the American action in Central Asia, which is that victory—that is, the destruction of the forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and the subsequent stabilization of Afghanistan—is not possible without the commitment of American ground troops. The momentous mistake of Tora Bora, where the climax of Operation Enduring Freedom turned into its anti-climax, as we gave control of the porous border with Pakistan to a bunch of lethargic and corruptible Afghan irregulars—

Our Reasons
November 05, 2001

It is an old truth that language is an early casualty of war, especially official language. Despite the grumbling of the press about the Pentagon's secrecy in the conduct of its campaign in Central Asia, we have no reason to believe that the country is being fed lies; and yet there are reasons to worry about an evolution of strategic will, a change of military tone. The development is disguised in the administration's unexpected passion for nation-building in Afghanistan. "Nation-building" is a term with an intense and interesting history in recent times. The story comes in three chapters.

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