Archive for April, 2011


China’s Search for a Grand Strategy A Rising Great Power Finds Its Way

By Wang Jisi
Foreign Affairs, March-April 2011, Volume 90

Any country’s grand strategy must answer at least three questions: What are the nation’s core interests? What external forces threaten them? And what can the national leadership do to safeguard them? Whether China has any such strategy today is open to debate. On the one hand, over the last three decades or so, its foreign and defense policies have been remarkably consistent and reasonably well coordinated with the country’s domestic priorities. On the other hand, the Chinese government has yet to disclose any document that comprehensively expounds the country’s strategic goals and the ways to achieve them. For both policy analysts in China and China watchers abroad, China’s grand strategy is a field still to be plowed.
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Finish the Job: How the War in Afghanistan Can Be Won

By Paul D Miller
Foreign Affairs, January-February 2011, Volume 90

Pessimism abounds in Afghanistan. Violence, nato casualties, corruption, drug production, and public disapproval in the United States are at record levels. Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Pakistani journalist and an expert on the region, declared the U.S. mission in Afghanistan a failure in his scathing 2008 book, Descent Into Chaos. Seth Jones, the leading U.S. scholar on the Taliban insurgency, has argued that the United States had an opening to make a difference in Afghanistan after 2001, but that it “squandered this extraordinary opportunity.” U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attempted to manage expectations when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January 2009. “If we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of Central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose,” he argued, “because nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience, and money.” U.S. policymakers and the public increasingly doubt that the war can be won. These assessments are based on real and credible concerns about the rising insurgency, the drug trade, endemic corruption, and perennial government weakness.
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Sudan’s Secession Crisis: Can the South Part From the North Without War

By Andrew S. Natsios
Foreign Affairs, January-February 2011, Volume 90

Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the 2005 deal that ended the lengthy civil war between the north and the south of Sudan, voters in the south are supposed to vote on January 9, 2011, to decide whether their region should secede and form the world’s newest country. The civil war, which lasted 22 years and during which an estimated 2.5 million southerners died, was fought over several issues: the central government’s long-standing neglect of Sudan’s periphery; the excessive concentration of jobs, wealth, and public services in the region known as the Arab triangle, along the northern part of the Nile River valley; the government’s brutal attempts to impose Arab culture and Islam on the south, where Christianity and traditional religions prevail; its persistent refusal to grant the south any autonomy (except for a brief period in the 1970s); and its exploitation of the south’s resources, particularly its oil, to fill government coffers. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed by Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, and John Garang, the leader of the southern rebellion, who was killed in a helicopter crash soon after the deal, was intended to correct some of these problems. It gave the south its own semiautonomous government and an independent standing army and required the upcoming referendum on secession. But now Khartoum’s stalling tactics are threatening to delay the vote, with potentially disastrous consequences.
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A Globalized God Religion’s Growing Influence in International Politics

By Scott M. Thomas
Foreign Affairs, November-Deccember 2010, Volume 89

Around the world-from the southern United States to the Middle East-religion is on the rise. It is growing in countries with a wide variety of religious traditions and levels of economic development, suggesting that neither poverty nor social exclusion is solely responsible. The religious resurgence is not simply defined by the growth of fundamentalism-rigid adherence to a particular set of rituals and doctrines-but is occurring through a variety of renewed rituals and practices, both public and private.
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