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  • Author: Conn Hallinan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: In the 5th century BC, the Greek tragic playwright Euripides coined a phrase that still captures the particular toxic combination of hubris and illusion that seizes many of those in power: Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad. What other line could better describe British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent address to his nation's troops hunkered down at Camp Bastion, in southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province? Here, Blair said. In this extraordinary piece of desert is where the fate of world security in the early 21st century is going to be decided. While Blair was turning Afghanistan's arid south into the Armageddon of terrorism, the rest of the country was coming apart at the seams. Attacks by insurgents have reached 600 a month, more than double the number in March, and almost five times the number in November of last year. We do have a serious problem in the south, one diplomat told Rachel Morarjee of the Financial Times on November 22, but the north is a ticking time bomb. Suicide bombers have struck Kunduz in the north, where former U.S. protégé Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e-Islami organization are hammering away at the old Northern Alliance. The latter, frozen out of the current government following the 2001 Bonn Conference, is busy stockpiling arms and forming alliances with drug warlords. According to the Associated Press, opium poppy production is up 59%. While Blair was bucking up the troops, their officers were growing increasingly desperate. Major Jon Swift, a company commander in the Royal Fusiliers told the Guardian that casualties were very significant and showing no signs of reducing, and Field Marshall Peter Inge, former chief of the British military, warned that the army in Afghanistan could risk operational failure, military speak for defeat. The Brits don't have a monopoly on madness, however. Speaking in Riga, Latvia on the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting, President George Bush said, I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete. We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren. In the meantime, the Iraq War that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said would cost $50 billion at the most, was burning up more than twice that each year. The Pentagon just requested $160 billion in supplemental funds for the Iraq and Afghan wars for the remainder of fiscal 2007. Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz says the final costs may exceed $2 trillion.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The latest recruitment brochure from the Central Intelligence Agency, which beckons the uninitiated to be a part of a mission that's larger than all of us, opens to reveal an image of the red-roofed entrance to Beijing's Forbidden City. From an oversized portrait on the ancient wall, Chairman Mao and his Mona Lisa smile behold the vast granite expanse of Tiananmen Square. The Cold War is over, and the Soviet Union is gone. The cloak-and-dagger games of Berlin and Prague have been replaced by business and tourism. But Chinaland of ancient secrets, autocratic leaders, and memories of suppressed uprisingsstill holds out the promise of world-historical struggle that can help the CIA meet its recruitment goals.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Rachel Stohl
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: On June 4, 1989, the world watched in horror as the Chinese government's crackdown on student protestors took a deadly turn. As Chinese soldiers fired their weapons indiscriminately and Chinese tanks rolled through Tiananmen Square, an unknown number of students and soldiers were killed. The Chinese military continued its campaign of terror throughout the summer of 1989, drawing strong international condemnation.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Foreign Exchange
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, James Nolt
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: As part of our China Focus, we asked two leading scholars to reflect on the tensions and possibilities in U.S.-China relations. Bonnie Glaser is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. James Nolt is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute. We asked them first about the potential for a strategic security partnership between the United States and China, then about their economic relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: North Korea's decision to return to the negotiating table is a win-win-win situation, at least temporarily. The United States, China, and even North Korea gain from the announcement. However, the boost given to each country—a modest “October surprise” for the Bush administration, a diplomatic achievement for China, and a stronger negotiating position for North Korea—will not carry over into the negotiations themselves. A decision to talk, after all, does not translate automatically into a decision to compromise.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Michael T. Klare
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The common wisdom circulating in Washington these days is that the United States is too bogged down in Iraq to consider risky military action against Iran or—God forbid—North Korea. Policy analysts describe the U.S. military as “over-burdened” or “stretched to the limit.” The presumption is that the Pentagon is telling President Bush that it can't really undertake another major military contingency.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Asia
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Five years ago, when George W. Bush took office, North Korea didn't claim membership in the nuclear club. Its plutonium reprocessing facilities were frozen. It was even willing to negotiate away its missile program.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Jeff Feffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: This paper was produced under the auspices of a research project sponsored by the Sejong Institute. It will be published in book form later this year. The author would like to thank the following people for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts: Ruediger Frank, Sang-jin Han, Chuck Hosking, Karin Lee, Wonhyuk Lim, Marcus Noland, and Kie-duck Park. He would also like to thank Randy Ireson, Erica Kang, Rajiv Narayan, Richard Ragan, and Sun-song Park for agreeing to be interviewed.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: John Gershman
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: President Bush is in Asia this week for a series of meetings, including bilateral meetings in Japan, South Korea, China, and Mongolia and attending the economic leaders meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. This trip comes on the heels of a disastrous trip by President Bush to Latin America, but there is little sign this trip will do much to rescue the President's sinking foreign policy reputation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Wade Huntley
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Nuclear nonproliferation advocates worldwide welcomed the joint agreement issued September 19 by the participants in the "Six-Party Talks" process aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. The agreement evinces not only a commitment by North Korea to end all nuclear weapons development, but also a validation of a negotiated approach to the current Korean nuclear crisis which both North Korea and the United States have, at various times, resisted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea