Muslim Protesters Think Locally, Rage Globally
September 21, 2012
“When someone says something derogatory against our religion Islam or against our Prophet,” said a mild mannered religious scholar on a Pakistani TV channel recently, “even an ant becomes a lion.” There was a brief delay here after the latest deliberate provocation—last Friday, expectant foreign correspondents gathered outside the usual mosques to watch only a few dozen protestors turned out to burn American flags—but eventually the ants did their duty. As I write these lines, violent protests have broken out across Pakistan on the occasion of a newly-declared national holiday, the Day of
Is Pussy Riot’s Persecution Getting Too Much Coverage?
August 17, 2012
Is the Pussy Riot story the human-rights equivalent of one of those missing-white-vacationer stories that dominates morning TV?
What the Islamist Takeover of Northern Mali Really Means
July 20, 2012
Until a few weeks ago, Al Farouk, the patron djinn of Timbuktu, protected the ancient city in northern Mali. For centuries, from astride a winged horse in center of the city, the stone genie kept watch over the houses so that children didn’t sneak out at night. Legend had it that if Al Farouk caught you getting up to anything naughty, he’d warn you the first two times. If he nabbed you a third time, you’d disappear forever. Now Al Farouk has disappeared.
Afghanistan Reconsidered: What the U.S. Should Do Now
March 22, 2012
Back in July of 2010, TNR asked nine experts to explore what the United States should do next in Afghanistan. In the twenty months since that symposium, much has changed. Tragic developments—such as the downing of a military helicopter that claimed 38 Americans and the recent massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant—have stoked widespread discontent with the current course of action, and have many rethinking their commitments to the mission.
State of the Union - As Prepared
January 24, 2012
THE WHITE HOUSE Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery State of the Union Address: “An America Built to Last” Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 As Prepared for Delivery – Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.
Did Hawkish Mitt Flap Too Far On Taliban?
January 17, 2012
It's easy to imagine the anxiety of Mitt Romney's advisers when debate crowds get as rowdy and bloodthirsty as the one attending last night's Republican affair in Myrtle Beach. Romney has shown that, even more than most politicians, he is unable to resist the gravitational pull of what he imagines his audience's id to be, which has led to some of his more unfortunate pronouncements.
Silliest Sentence of the Year
December 05, 2011
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] This comes courtesy of Jordan Michael Smith in Salon, from a piece about America and Pakistan titled 'America: The Ally From Hell.' According to Smith, American arrogance explains why Pakistan has been such a poor ally; what do you expect after demanding that another country follow your interests rather than its own?
Why Are We Still Backing Hamid Karzai?
November 19, 2011
“The lion doesn’t like it if a foreigner intrudes into his house. The lion doesn’t like it if a stranger enters his house. The lion doesn’t want his children to be taken away by someone else in the night, the lion won’t let it happen.” Thus spoke Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday to the loya jirga, his country’s traditional council of elders and notables. He warmed up to the theme and the image. “They should not interfere in the lion’s house: just guard the four sides of the forest. They are training our police.
Why Pakistan and the United States Are on a Collision Course
October 10, 2011
Pakistan and the United States have been engaged in a virtual war over the past several weeks. In a barrage of television and radio interviews in both the Pakistani and American media, top politicians of these “allies” in the fight against terrorism have hurled accusations at each other, issued warnings, sought out new alliances to replace the bilateral partnership, and even threatened military action. Television advertisements aired by a private channel in Pakistan show images of the Pakistan Army preparing for combat, and warn the United States not to challenge a God-fearing nation.
Why Negotiations With the Taliban Aren’t Hopeless
October 10, 2011
Are Afghan negotiations hopeless? In the wake of last month’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the country’s High Peace Council, the mood in both Afghanistan and the United States is pessimistic, to say the least. But negotiations are still possible, and understanding why that’s the case, as well as the difficulties of succeeding, requires understanding the history of similar negotiations, quieting Afghan suspicions, and abandoning myths that cloud public discussion. Saying negotiations are possible is a long way from saying that they will necessarily succeed.