The Af-Pak Train Wreck

When President Barack Obama laid out his plan for winning the war in Afghanistan, behind him stood an army of ghosts: Greeks, Mongols, Buddhists, British, and Russians, all whom had almost the same illusions as the current resident of the Oval Office about Central Asia. The first four armies are dust. But there are Russian … Continue reading “The Af-Pak Train Wreck”

Blood and Oil in Central Asia

In the past month, two seemingly unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint: an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world’s energy resources. Increasing Competition … Continue reading “Blood and Oil in Central Asia”

The Afghan Rubik’s Cube

Afghanistan is a gatherer of metaphors: "crossroads of Asia," "graveyard of empires," and the "Great Game," to name a few. It might be more accurate, however, to think of it as a Rubik’s Cube, that frustrating puzzle of intersecting blocks that only works when everything fits perfectly. The trick for the Obama administration is to … Continue reading “The Afghan Rubik’s Cube”

Danger in South Asia

If most Americans think Iran and Georgia are the two most volatile flashpoints in the world, one can hardly blame them. The possibility that the Bush administration might strike at Tehran’s nuclear facilities has been hinted about for the past two years, and the White House’s pronouncements on Russia seem like Cold War déjà vu. … Continue reading “Danger in South Asia”