Articles and analysis

Statistics can be misleading. In territorial size, Pakistan is the 33rd largest country in the world. In population size, it is the world's 5th largest country and the Muslim world's 2nd largest country. It has the 6th largest, and 15th most powerful, military in the world. It is one of only nine states in the world possessing nuclear weapons. And Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is rated as one of the top intelligence agencies in the world, writes Joseph E Fallon.

Despite such statistical strengths, Pakistan lacks security. It lacks security because it lacks strategic depth "the distances between the front lines or battle sectors and the combatants' industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centers of population or military production." From Islamabad, its capital, in the east to Peshawar in the west, Pakistan's width is 115 miles. The distance between Islamabad and the Indian border is 60 miles.

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s200 joseph.fallon"As Napoleon said, to know a nation's geography is to know its foreign policy."

To understand Russia's foreign policy, its drive for strategic depth, first understand Russia's geography of exposure, writes Joseph E Fallon. Russia is an open plain stretching 6,000 miles from St. Petersburg on the Baltic to Vladivostok on the Pacific. Most of its population, agriculture, industries, and transportation networks are located in its west in a triangle bounded by the Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas. This is Russia's heartland. Except for the Caucasus Mountains in its southwest, Russia lacks formidable mountains or deserts to defend its western and eastern borders or protect its core. There are no Alps like Italy, no Gobi like China.

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Robin confJL703589 10151321812591122 745318061 oArkitka is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear icebreakers. She's designed to smash through Arctic ice up to 3 metres thick or more. But her long-delayed maiden voyage followed on a series of failed trials – and was marred by an inability to find thick enough ice to demonstrate her full potential, and equipment failures.
Instead of sailing the Northern Sea Route in splendour, last November she was back in her home port of Murmansk for more repairs. Like much in modern Russia, she has over-promised, under-delivered, and finding out what really happened is obscured by an anxious State, writes Robin Ashby.

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