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  • Author: Ruchir Sharma
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When Nitish Kumar became chief minister of the dirt-poor Indian state of Bihar in 2005, kidnapping was said to be the leading industry in the capital city of Patna. People searching for stolen cars were advised to check the driveway of a leading politician, who reportedly commandeered vehicles for “election duty.” Although known for his soft-spoken manner, Kumar cracked down hard. He straightened out the crooked police, ordering them to move aggressively against all criminals, from the daylight robbers to the corrupt high officials. He set up a new fast-track court to speed the miscreants to jail. As Biharis gained the courage to go out on the street, even after dark, Kumar set about energizing a landlocked economy with few outlets for manufactured exports. He focused on improving the yields of Bihar's fertile soil and ushered in a construction boom. Within a few years, a state once described by the writer V. S. Naipaul as “the place where civilization ends” had built one of the fastest-growing state economies in India. And Kumar was recognized as a leader in the new generation of dynamic chief ministers who are remaking the economic map and future of India.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: India, Patna
  • Author: Henry Farrell, Martha Finnemore
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, India
  • Author: Pankaj Mishra
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to Perry Anderson's new book, The Indian Ideology, India's democracy -- routinely celebrated as the world's largest -- is actually a sham. It is fatally compromised by its origins in an anticolonial struggle led by the “monolithically Hindu” Congress party, which Anderson holds largely responsible for the bloodiness of the partition of the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947. Anderson describes India's most famous leader, Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Gandhi, as a crank and a “stranger” to “real intellectual exchange.” Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi's political disciple and India's first prime minister, was a mediocrity. And both of these upper-caste maladroits were considerably inferior to their sharpest critic, B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of the Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and the main framer of India's constitution.
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama articulated his vision for the future of American space exploration, which included an eventual manned mission to Mars. Such an endeavor would surely cost hundreds of billions of dollars -- maybe even $1 trillion. Whatever the amount, it would be an expensive undertaking. In the past, only three motivations have led societies to spend that kind of capital on ambitious, speculative projects: the celebration of a divine or royal power, the search for profit, and war. Examples of praising power at great expense include the pyramids in Egypt, the vast terra-cotta army buried along with the first emperor of China, and the Taj Mahal in India. Seeking riches in the New World, the monarchs of Iberia funded the great voyages of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. And military incentives spurred the building of the Great Wall of China, which helped keep the Mongols at bay, and the Manhattan Project, whose scientists conceived, designed, and built the first atomic bomb.
  • Political Geography: China, America, India, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Cohen, Micah Zenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Last August, the Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney performed what has become a quadrennial rite of passage in American presidential politics: he delivered a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His message was rooted in another grand American tradition: hyping foreign threats to the United States. It is “wishful thinking,” Romney declared, “that the world is becoming a safer place. The opposite is true. Consider simply the jihadists, a near-nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, an unstable Pakistan, a delusional North Korea, an assertive Russia, and an emerging global power called China. No, the world is not becoming safer.” Not long after, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta echoed Romney's statement. In a lecture last October, Panetta warned of threats arising “from terrorism to nuclear proliferation; from rogue states to cyber attacks; from revolutions in the Middle East, to economic crisis in Europe, to the rise of new powers such as China and India. All of these changes represent security, geopolitical, economic, and demographic shifts in the international order that make the world more unpredictable, more volatile and, yes, more dangerous.” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred in a recent speech, arguing that “the number and kinds of threats we face have increased significantly.” And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reinforced the point by claiming that America resides today in a “very complex, dangerous world.”
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Middle East, India
  • Author: Stephen P. Cohen, Sunil Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With India planning to buy $100 billion worth of new weapons over the next ten years, arms sales may be the best way to revive Washington's relationship with New Delhi, its most important strategic partner in the region.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Washington, India, New Delhi
  • Author: Christophe Jaffrelot
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Many comparisons of India and Pakistan attribute India's democracy to Hinduism and Pakistan's autocracy to Islam. Philip Oldenburg's new book steers clear of this argument, focusing on historical, political, and external factors to explain how India came out ahead.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, History
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: There is no longer any question: wealth and power are moving from the North and the West to the East and the South, and the old order dominated by the United States and Europe is giving way to one increasingly shared with non-Western rising states. But if the great wheel of power is turning, what kind of global political order will emerge in the aftermath? Some anxious observers argue that the world will not just look less American -- it will also look less liberal. Not only is the United States' preeminence passing away, they say, but so, too, is the open and rule-based international order that the country has championed since the 1940s. In this view, newly powerful states are beginning to advance their own ideas and agendas for global order, and a weakened United States will find it harder to defend the old system. The hallmarks of liberal internationalism -- openness and rule-based relations enshrined in institutions such as the United Nations and norms such as multilateralism -- could give way to a more contested and fragmented system of blocs, spheres of influence, mercantilist networks, and regional rivalries. The fact that today's rising states are mostly large non-Western developing countries gives force to this narrative. The old liberal international order was designed and built in the West. Brazil, China, India, and other fast-emerging states have a different set of cultural, political, and economic experiences, and they see the world through their anti-imperial and anticolonial pasts. Still grappling with basic problems of development, they do not share the concerns of the advanced capitalist societies. The recent global economic slowdown has also bolstered this narrative of liberal international decline. Beginning in the United States, the crisis has tarnished the American model of liberal capitalism and raised new doubts about the ability of the United States to act as the global economic leader.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Aqil Shah
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has a major stake in Pakistan's stability, given the country's central role in the U.S.-led effort to, in U.S. President Barack Obama's words, "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" al Qaeda; its war-prone rivalry with India over Kashmir; and its nuclear arsenal. As a result, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been dominated by concerns for its stability -- providing the reasoning for Washington's backing of the Pakistani military's frequent interventions in domestic politics -- at the expense of its democratic institutions. But as the recent eruption of protests in the Middle East against U.S.-backed tyrants has shown, authoritarian stability is not always a winning bet. Despite U.S. efforts to promote it, stability is hardly Pakistan's distinguishing feature. Indeed, many observers fear that Pakistan could become the world's first nuclear-armed failed state. Their worry is not without reason. More than 63 years after independence, Pakistan is faced with a crumbling economy and a pernicious Taliban insurgency radiating from its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the semiautonomous seven districts and six smaller regions along its border with Afghanistan. It is still struggling to meet its population's basic needs. More than half its population faces severe poverty, which fuels resentment against the government and feeds political instability. According to the World Bank, the Pakistani state's effectiveness has actually been in steady decline for the last two decades. In 2010, Foreign Policy even ranked Pakistan as number ten on its Failed States Index, placing it in the "critical" category with such other failed or failing states as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. The consequences of its failure would no doubt be catastrophic, if for no other reason than al Qaeda and its affiliates could possibly get control of the country's atomic weapons. The Pakistani Taliban's dramatic incursions into Pakistan's northwestern Buner District (just 65 miles from the capital) in 2009 raised the specter of such a takeover.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Middle East, India, Kashmir
  • Author: Karen Brooks
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Indonesia is in the midst of a yearlong debut on the world stage. This past spring and summer, it hosted a series of high-profile summits, including for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in May, the World Economic Forum on East Asia the same month, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July. With each event, Indonesia received broad praise for its leadership and achievements. This coming-out party will culminate in November, when the country hosts the East Asia Summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama and world leaders from 17 other countries will attend. As attention turns to Indonesia, the time is ripe to assess whether Jakarta can live up to all the hype. A little over ten years ago, during the height of the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia looked like a state on the brink of collapse. The rupiah was in a death spiral, protests against President Suharto's regime had turned into riots, and violence had erupted against Indonesia's ethnic Chinese community. The chaos left the country -- the fourth largest in the world, a sprawling archipelago including more than 17,000 islands, 200 million people, and the world's largest Muslim population -- without a clear leader. Today, Indonesia is hailed as a model democracy and is a darling of the international financial community. The Jakarta Stock Exchange has been among the world's top performers in recent years, and some analysts have even called for adding Indonesia to the ranks of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). More recent efforts to identify the economic superstars of the future -- Goldman Sachs' "Next 11," PricewaterhouseCoopers' "E-7" (emerging 7), The Economist's "CIVETS" (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), and Citigroup's "3G" -- all include Indonesia.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Indonesia, India, East Asia, Brazil, Island