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  • Author: Bruce Riedel
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IN DECEMBER 2007 Benazir Bhutto said, "I now think al-Qaeda can be marching on Islamabad in two to four years." Before this interview could even be published she was murdered, most likely by the Pakistani Taliban, an al-Qaeda ally. Benazir's words now look all too accurate. A jihadist victory in Pakistan, meaning the takeover of the nation by a militant Sunni movement led by the Taliban, would have devastating consequences. It would create the greatest threat the United States has yet to face in its war on terror. Pakistan as an Islamic-extremist safe haven would bolster al-Qaeda's capabilities tenfold. The jihadist threat bred in Afghanistan would be a cakewalk in comparison. The old Afghan sanctuary was remote, landlocked and weak; a new one in Pakistan would be in the Islamic mainstream with a modern communications and transportation infrastructure linking it to the world. The threat would be almost unfathomable. The implications would be literally felt around the globe. American options for dealing with such a state would be limited and costly.
  • Topic: Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Michael T. Klare
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has often stated that one of his highest priorities is to vanquish the "tyranny of oil" by developing alternative sources of energy and substantially reducing America's reliance on imported petroleum. But we will not be energy independent for the next thirty to forty years, even with a strong push to increase energy efficiency and spur the development of petroleum alternatives. During this time, America will remain dependent on oil derived from authoritarian regimes, weak states and nations in the midst of civil war.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
26123. Two Indias
  • Author: Ramachandra Guha
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: I LIKE to think of India as a "fifty-fifty" democracy. I owe this formulation to a Bollywood film I once saw which featured a great comic actor named Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi, whose screen name was Johnny Walker (after an alleged fondness for that brand of whiskey). In this particular film he played the sidekick of a mafia don, who used him as a sounding board. Will I be able to successfully raid the bank? asked the boss of the sidekick. Will this moll of the other gangster come over to me? To every such question Johnny Walker would rub his hands and answer, "Phiphty-phiphty, boss, phiphty-phiphty." Every project or endeavor, felt the sidekick, would have a 50 percent chance of success, 50 percent of failure.
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Douglas S. Massey
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IT IS commonly accepted that the United States was "invaded" by an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants beginning in the 1980s. According to the Department of Homeland Security, by 2008 there were 11.6 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, 61 percent from Mexico. The next-closest source was El Salvador, at just 5 percent. Hence the "invasion" was framed as a Mexican issue, with pundits from Lou Dobbs to Patrick Buchanan warning of dire consequences for America if it was not checked, by force if necessary.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Mexico
  • Author: Charles A. Duelfer
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IN LIGHT of the costly tragedy in Iraq, some have commented that inspections would have been an alternative to war. They were not. It was not that simple. Moreover, even with the most intrusive and extensive inspection system ever implemented, we still did not know the extent of Iraq's WMD capacity. Arms inspections are no substitute for war or political compromise, or good independent intelligence. Too often, too many have expected too much from such mechanisms. Inspections are not a goal in themselves. As the urgency and perils of North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs continue to escalate unchecked, attention repeatedly turns to inspections as the remedy of all ills. Yet, the invasiveness of the Iraq inspections was unique. We will never again be able to cajole another country to the extent we did Baghdad. And still we see the limits that even these intrusive inspections had. But, there are untold lessons to be learned from this bizarre case. More than anything else it goes to show that, in spite of their failings, inspections have a purpose and can be wielded to gain information and to deter WMD programs.
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, North Korea
  • Author: Barry Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: HOW DOES one escape a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting in their own rational self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared limited resource-even when it is clear this serves no one in the long run?
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Author: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: IRAQ HAS never been left alone. The late British travel writer and Arabist Freya Stark writes: "While Egypt lies parallel and peaceful to the routes of human traffic, Iraq is from earliest times a frontier province, right-angled and obnoxious to the predestined paths of man."1 For Mesopotamia cut across one of history's bloodiest migration routes. It was the subject of foreign invasions and the by-product of ethnic conflicts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Egypt
  • Author: H. W. Brands
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: "EVERYONE IS entitled to his own opinion," Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, "but not to his own facts." Samuel Butler, the nineteenth-century English author, wrote that "though God cannot alter the past, historians can."
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The National Interest
  • Institution: The Nixon Center
  • Abstract: AMERICA'S BLOODY encounter with Islam is a failure. At heart there is an inability to understand the context and dynamics of Arab and Muslim politics; the conceptual differences and boundaries between moderate Islamists, nonviolent radical activists, local jihadists and global jihadists like al-Qaeda. For eight years, the dominant U.S. narrative blurred the lines between "Islamist," "radical," "militant," "extremist," "jihadist" and "terrorist." The United States equated Islamists' offensive speech with jihadists' violent action. But there are stark differences between locally and regionally based political groups like Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah and borderless, transnational and globalized jihadist groups like al-Qaeda that have been waging war against the United States and its close allies since the mid-1990s.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Paradorn Rangsimaporn
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: While the desire to counterbalance US unilateralism informed Russian perceptions and advocacy of multipolarity globally, the complex and fluid balance of power in a multipolar East Asia complicates Russian perceptions and policies of multipolarity regionally and counterbalancing US power became not the sole goal. Russia's aim in East Asia was to reassert its influence while ensuring a stable regional environment in order for Russia to restore itself as a great power. However, the relatively stabilizing US regional role, the rise of neighboring China, the prospects of Japanese remilitarization and strengthened US–Japanese military alliance, and the lack of a Northeast Asian security structure are factors that pose both challenges and opportunities for Russian policymakers in pursuing Russian interests and great-power aims. Such factors have served to make Russian perceptions and policy in East Asia somewhat contradictory. While Russia's great-power aspiration was relatively clear, the policies to achieve this remained vague and inconclusive.
  • Topic: Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Asia