The Taliban has outlasted the world’s most potent military forces and its two main factions now challenge the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. As U.S. troops draw down, the next phase of conflict will have consequences that extend far beyond the region.
As the deadline for an Iran nuclear deal approaches, the Obama administration’s security reassurances to Arab Gulf partners have fallen short of the mutual-defense treaty they seek, says expert Vali Nasr.
CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith says the Six Party Talks have built cooperation among Northeast Asian countries, which need to work together, particulary on North Korea, but also on growing tension between the United States and China over planned U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Richard C. Holbrooke interviewed by Lionel Beehner
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard C. Holbrooke says a Bosnia-like regional conference on Iraq is a “very good idea” but that “none of the major factors that occurred in Bosnia would apply here.”
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
"China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo."
"When asked if Karzai was concerned that the US might lose faith and withdraw altogether, the president's spokesman said: 'We don't believe there is a zero option.' This rock solid belief that the U.S. will not walk away from Afghanistan gives Karzai the confidence to hold out when the Americans, as well as everyone at the jirga...are pressing him to sign."
"[Locals and security experts] say that while the drone attacks are a legal issue for Pakistan and the global community, those residing in the tribal belt do not consider them as unpopular as Pakistani officials portray them to be."
"A strengthened security relationship between these unlikely partners would be mutually beneficial and allow the sides to combine their assets to counter shared threats while minimizing the risks of international blowback."
"[R]ecently a new political openness within China itself has allowed a different picture of the war years to emerge. Chiang and Mao are long dead, and the Chinese government has been trying to claim a greater international role by reminding the world of the benefits of its past cooperation with the West."
"For the United States, Asia is both important and potentially dangerous. It represents 56 percent of global economic output and an equal percentage of total U.S. trade. Five of the world's most powerful militaries are involved there. Four of them have nuclear weapons. The six largest armies belong to Asia-Pacific powers. Three of the five deadliest wars in American history took place in part or wholly in that region."
"When one of the 21's leaders, Barack Obama, fails to show up for their annual summit, it is taken as an important symbol of his administration's failure to live up to the promise implied in its much-touted "pivot" or "rebalancing" to Asia. It certainly is such a symbol; and the damage it has done to America's standing and credibility in the region may last rather longer than the memory of any concrete agreement that comes out of the summit itself."
"2013 is most significant for marking a return of Japan to the region. Although in the foreign policy context, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been most notable for his historical comments, military ambitions and dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, his reassertion of Japanese influence in ASEAN will perhaps have the longest-lasting consequences of all."
"Azerbaijan is arming to the teeth. Armenia is growing increasingly disillusioned with Russia, its main protector. And the potential for armed conflict in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region appears higher than it has been in years."
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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