|Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
New York Times
Just Say No
Indian nuclear scientists are trying to bully their government into testing a nuclear weapon. That would be a huge setback — for India's relations with Washington, for the battle against terrorists, and for global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
Obama's Prize, Wilson's Legacy
President Obama's surprise Nobel Peace Prize is only the second in the last century that a sitting president has received. The first was presented in December 1920, when the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament awarded Woodrow Wilson the peace prize for 1919. Beyond the coincidence of both men residing in the White House, however, Presidents Obama and Wilson look like the starkest study in contrasts in when and how each received this prize.
Beijing's Afghan Gamble
In Afghanistan's Logar Province, just south of Kabul, the geopolitical future of Asia is becoming apparent: American troops are providing security for a Chinese state-owned company to exploit the Aynak copper reserves, which are worth tens of billions of dollars. While some of America's NATO allies want to do as little as possible in the effort to stabilize Afghanistan, China has its eyes on some of world's last untapped deposits of copper, iron, gold, uranium and precious gems, and is willing to take big risks in one of the most violent countries to secure them.
I Didn't Tell. It Didn't Matter
I was 18 years old when I landed in the kingdom of Bahrain, off the coast of Saudi Arabia, in the winter of 2005. It was the first time I'd ever left the continental United States. My joints ached after more than 24 hours of travel, but I knew that a new life of service and adventure awaited me on the other side of that aircraft door.
Obama Wanted a Petraeus. Buyer Beware
It is hard not to look at Stanley McChrystal without seeing David Petraeus. Both generals are fitness freaks, capable of running soldiers half their age into the ground. Within hours of taking command of faltering wars, both were vowing to remake their forces. "We must change the way we think, act and operate," McChrystal wrote in September instructions to his troops in Afghanistan.
What Failure in Afghanistan?
At the heart of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for a major surge in troops is the assumption that we are failing in Afghanistan. But are we really? The United States has had one central objective: to deny al-Qaeda the means to reconstitute, to train and to plan major terrorist attacks.
The military and politics: Off to the Tower
Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall brilliantly recreates a Tudor world of power, frustration and betrayal. Sir Richard Dannatt slipped into it yesterday. The good news for Gordon Brown was that his troublesome former army chief was dispatched to the Tower. The bad news was that he was handed the gold master-keys by the Lord Chamberlain.
America has yet to grasp the cost of losing in Afghanistan
General Stanley McChrystal has all but admitted defeat in Afghanistan. Unless he gets an additional 40,000 troops, the game is up. Unusually for a commanding officer in the middle of a war, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan has gone public with his thoughts. Equally unusual, he is pleading for a "new strategy". His appeal falls on strangely deaf American ears.
Fight this war in Afghanistan, not Whitehall
Public rows between the military and their political bosses are seldom edifying and usually only stir up resentment. As a rule, generals do not take kindly to having their advice rejected by politicians, and ministers dislike being told what to do by a man in a well-pressed uniform and polished shoes.
Who's Running the Afghanistan War, Anyway?
Unlike the chattering classes, senior military officers didn't raise an eyebrow when General Stanley McChrystal recently said he had only spoken once to President Obama since assuming command in Afghanistan. The military chain of command is there for a reason, and Obama seems to be sticking to it more faithfully than President George W. Bush did. But tensions are inevitable as the troop needs of U.S. commanders on the ground come up against the reservations of a political leadership increasingly leery of being trapped in an Afghan quagmire.