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Cutting Through the Fog of Mideast Diplomacy
March 20, 2010
Diplomats love ambiguity. It allows them to fuzz up the hard parts of a negotiation -- the "final status" issues, as they're often called -- and save them for later,...
Election Puts Iraqis in Charge of Their Future
March 13, 2010
Iraq is the country that refuses to die: Saddam Hussein tried to break his people by torture and poison gas, but he failed. America arrogantly mismanaged the first years...
China's Bubble Trouble
March 11, 2010
WASHINGTON -- The bubbly enthusiasm that many analysts express about the Chinese economy reminds me of the old-time variety show host Lawrence Welk, who banished worries...
Obama Rebuilding Trust with Pakistan
March 4, 2010
One of the problems with the U.S.-Pakistan relationship over the decades has been that the two sides tend to fall in and out of love like a tempestuous couple, rather...
Iran's Get Out the Vote Campaign... in Iraq
February 25, 2010
Iran is conducting what U.S. officials say is a broad covert-action campaign to influence Iraq's elections next month, pumping money and other assistance to its allies....
On Iran, All of the Above
February 14, 2010
WASHINGTON -- What did the world see as Iran celebrated the 31st anniversary of its Islamic revolution on Thursday? A hollowed-out regime that is better at repressing...
Europe Needs a Tea Party
February 11, 2010
At the risk of taking contrarianism to extremes, let me offer this suggestion: The global economy needs a "Tea Party" movement in Europe to lobby for fiscal conservatism...
Nudging India Into the Game
February 7, 2010
WASHINGTON -- The key to Kabul lies in Islamabad, Adm. Mike Mullen likes to say, meaning that success in Afghanistan will be impossible without Pakistan's help. But the...
U.S. Military Seeks Proxy Partners
January 28, 2010
Gen. Stanley McChrystal this week expressed a truth that military commanders know better than anyone: "A political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome,"...
Playing Beat the Clock in Afghanistan
December 20, 2009
MATA KHAN, Afghanistan -- Adm. Mike Mullen, the personification of American military power, is walking the streets of this dusty village in Paktika province when the...
U.S. and Pakistan Need a Big Idea
December 17, 2009
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN The United States and Pakistan, always prone to bickering, need a big idea to unite and sustain them through the testing battle in Afghanistan. So...
The Right Words for a War President
December 10, 2009
WASHINGTON -- For the past week, I have been mulling over two intriguing things President Obama said the day he announced his Afghanistan policy -- one about the...
Who Wins in Iran's Nuclear Game?
December 5, 2009
How will the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program evolve during the next year? If a simulation game played at Harvard last week is any guide, the situation won't...
Surge, Then Leave Afghanistan
December 2, 2009
President Obama has been deliberating for months over his Afghanistan strategy. But when it came time to explain that decision Tuesday, he was cool and analytical -- and...
Afghan Tribes to the Rescue
November 21, 2009
While military officers wait for President Obama to conclude his agonizingly slow review of Afghanistan policy, they've been reading a paper by an Army Special Forces...
How to Build a Palestinian State
November 19, 2009
Looking at this city, you can imagine what a Palestinian state could someday be like if folks got serious: The streets are clean, there's construction in every direction...
Karzai Regime Must Reform, or Die
November 4, 2009
With the "reelection" of President Hamid Karzai, if that's the right word for a process that featured fraudulent balloting and a canceled runoff, the United States now...
Soft and Hard Power Needed in Afghanistan
November 1, 2009
BARAKI BARAK, Afghanistan -- Hikmatullah, a tall Pashtun farmer dressed in turban and white cloak, looks slightly bewildered as a U.S. Army officer offers him tea and...
Afghanistan Needs More Troops
October 30, 2009
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Here's what you would see if you traveled this week to Kandahar and Helmand provinces, the two big battlegrounds of the Afghanistan War: This is...
A Resilient Baghdad on a Day of Horror
October 26, 2009
BAGHDAD -- From the air Sunday morning, this looked like a city restored. You could see paddle boats skimming the pond at Zahwra Park, and go-karts and waterslides. And...
History's Road to Waziristan
October 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD -- Talking with a Pakistani intelligence officer here last week about the army's invasion of South Waziristan, a visitor noted that troops have been marching...
Pakistan Gets Serious
October 22, 2009
Until a few months ago, Pakistani officials often used the term "miscreants" when they described the Taliban fighters operating from the western tribal areas. This...
Obama's Difficult Afghanistan Decision
October 15, 2009
Afghanistan could be the most important decision of Barack Obama's presidency. Maybe that's why he is, in effect, making it twice. What's odd about the administration's...
Afghanistan a Test for the Obama Doctrine
October 8, 2009
Is there an "Obama Doctrine" lurking among the zigs and zags of the president's foreign policy over these first nine months? I think there is, in his repeated invocation...
Pakistan's Model for Fighting Terrorism
October 4, 2009
SWAT VALLEY, Pakistan -- A visit to this battlefield of Pakistan's war against the Taliban left one indelible image -- of a teenage boy's beaming smile of relief -- that...
Pakistan Readies Assault on Waziristan
October 1, 2009
WANA, Pakistan -- The zigzag trip to this garrison town deep in the tribal area of South Waziristan tells a story that's more than a century old: The fierce Mehsud tribe...
The View from Pakistan's Spies
September 29, 2009
The headquarters of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence directorate is a black-ribbed stucco building in the Aabpara neighborhood of the capital. Its...
Seeing Afghanistan Through British Eyes
September 24, 2009
When it comes to Afghanistan, the British have a special perspective: Every mistake the United States has made recently, they made 150 years ago. So it's worth listening...
What if Ahmadinejad Refuses to Talk?
September 20, 2009
LONDON -- The central question about Iran, as Henry Kissinger has observed, is whether it wants to be a nation or a cause. In the case of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,...
Iraq's Security Depends on Its Neighbors
September 13, 2009
WASHINGTON -- How can America help a fragile Iraq as U.S. troops and influence there decline? The Obama administration should revisit one of the good ideas proposed by...
Iran's Spies Stage a Takeover
September 10, 2009
The political situation in Iran remains murky, to put it mildly, in the aftermath of June's turbulent election. But some clues can be found in the recent purge of the...
Finding a Middle Way for Afghanistan
September 2, 2009
It's the nature of Afghanistan that nothing there ever works out quite the way outsiders expect, and that certainly was the case with last month's presidential election....
Behind the Carnage in Baghdad
August 25, 2009
As security deteriorates in Baghdad, there's a new cause for worry: The head of the U.S.-trained Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) has quit in a long-running...
Leadership 101 for Barack Obama
August 23, 2009
It's crunch time for the Obama administration on two of its toughest foreign policy challenges -- the Arab-Israeli peace process and the war in Afghanistan....
Play the Waiting Game with Iran
August 2, 2009
Thinking about Iran policy these days can make you dizzy, so let's try a simple analogy: The neighborhood troublemaker has driven his car off the road and is stuck in a...
Obama's Foreign Policy Report Card
July 19, 2009
WASHINGTON -- Six months on, how is Barack Obama doing in foreign policy? Some leading experts give the new president high marks for improving America's battered image...
Russia Is Still a Declining Power
July 12, 2009
MOSCOW -- The un-modern face of Russia's economic "modernization" was evident in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's response to the nation's credit crunch. Last month he...
U.S.-Russia 'Reset' Won't Do Much
July 6, 2009
MOSCOW -- The Obama administration has talked about a "reset" in Russian-American relations. But a Russian analyst shrugs his shoulders when he's asked about the term....
Why Russians Love Putin
July 2, 2009
MOSCOW -- As Barack Obama packs for his trip to Russia next week, he should bring along a copy of "The Brothers Karamazov." For the modern Russia of Vladimir Putin is...
The Flaw in Obama's Israel Policy
June 28, 2009
WASHINGTON -- Israel's new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, seemed perplexed during his visit to Washington this month: At a time when America and Israel agreed on...
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