Asia and Pacific

Must Read

Harper's Magazine: The Pious Spy: A Taliban Intelligence Chief's Death and Resurrection

Author: Mujib Mashal

"Perhaps Ahmadullah no longer feels that his life is at risk. Unlike al-Qaeda, the Taliban have emerged from the past decade remarkably unscathed. Many of the group's leaders have vanished into tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and others live in urban areas—such as Quetta and Karachi—where U.S. drones could not reasonably operate. Still, if Ahmadullah who is no older than forty-seven, has any hope of playing a role in Afghanistan's future, he will have to emerge at some point from 'under the grave.'"

See more in Afghanistan; Intelligence

Must Read

Monkey Cage: How Hard Is it to Win Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan? Very Hard.

Author: Jason Lyall

"While a key policy takeaway—avoid civilian casualties—seems obvious, even taking great pains to minimize civilian suffering is no guarantee that civilians can be won over. Cognitive biases that predispose individuals to favor (or excuse) the actions of their fellow in-group members, while simultaneously using negative actions by the out-group (like ISAF) to confirm prior prejudices, are powerful frameworks not easily overcome during wartime. Without engaging these underlying psychological biases, however, efforts to win hearts and minds are likely to be expensive, protracted, and, in the end, fleeting."

See more in Afghanistan; Defense and Security

Primary Sources

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Marciel's Testimony on the Rebalance to Asia

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Scot Marciel, testified on December 18, 2013 about the economic aspects of the Obama Administration's rebalance to Asia, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Grand Strategy; Economic Development

Ask CFR Experts

Does North Korea pose a credible threat to the United States?

Asked by Jonathan Crouse, from Coastal Carolina University

North Korea's capability to threaten the United States comes in two forms:

The possibility that North Korean-origin fissile material could be sent to the United States, either through sale to terrorist groups or by delivering a nuclear device to a U.S. harbor by boat, or;

The ability to threaten U.S. interests abroad, including through renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula, where 28,000 U.S. forces are stationed with the mission of defending South Korea from North Korean aggression.

Read full answer

See more in North Korea; Defense and Security

Must Read

NYT: Samsung: Uneasy in the Lead

Authors: Eric Pfanner and Brian X. Chen

"Samsung's sales are equal to about one-quarter of South Korea's economic output. Samsung Electronics, the flagship, posted $190 billion in sales last year—about the same sales as Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook combined."

See more in South Korea; Technology and Science