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Asia

Rethinking U.S. War in Afghanistan

  • By
  • Steven Clemons,
  • New America Foundation
September 8, 2010 |

Though President Barack Obama last week gave his “Combat Operations in Iraq Are Over” speech from the Oval Office, in the hope that anxious Americans would feel that nationally unnerving, messy foreign military entanglements are being reduced, his focus should have been Afghanistan – where the hemorrhage of U.S. interests and resources is only worsening.

Keeping Promises

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
August 12, 2010 |

One truism of counterinsurgency is that securing and winning over the population are the keys to success. So, what do the people of Afghanistan want? In December, ABC and the BBC conducted nationwide polling and discovered that one-third of Afghans said that poverty and unemployment were the biggest challenges confronting them.

The Politics of Floods

  • By
  • Steve Coll,
  • New America Foundation
August 23, 2010 |

Daniyal Mueenuddin had a terrific piece in this morning’s Times about how the flooding in southern Punjab and northern Sind is likely to play out in the lives of the marginalized farmers who predominately live there. It made me think about the politics of floods.

Stop Blaming the Afghans

  • By
  • Steve Coll,
  • New America Foundation
August 12, 2010 |

In September 1991, the president of Afghanistan, Muhammad Najibullah, a former communist secret police chief turned Islamic nationalist, delivered an emotional speech to the Afghan parliament. Najibullah knew the era of foreign intervention in Afghanistan over which he had presided was ending. The Soviet Union had pulled back from direct combat. Radical Islamist rebels covertly backed by Pakistan controlled much of the countryside. Before parliament, Najibullah begged for national unity.

What's It Like to Be a Tourist in North Korea?

  • By
  • Christina Larson,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2010 |

On special guided trips, arranged for tourists and permitted by Pyongyang, Patrick Chovanec, a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management in Beijing, has twice visited North Korea. On each trip, he and his fellow travelers were accompanied by official guides, only permitted in certain areas, and asked to delete "objectionable" photos from their digital cameras. Yet the visits afforded Chovanec a rare glimpse inside the Hermit Kingdom.

The Transformer

  • By Fred Kaplan, Foreign Policy Magazine
August 19, 2010 |

Late in 2007, a year into his tenure as George W. Bush's secretary of defense and just over a year before the end of Bush's second term as president, I asked Robert Gates if he'd thought of staying on in the next administration. Many Republicans and Democrats were hoping he would, seeing him as a moderate professional sweeping away the shambles left by his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. But Gates seemed uninterested, even hostile to the notion.

Chicago on the Yangtze

  • By
  • Christina Larson,
  • New America Foundation
August 19, 2010 |

Yan Qi spent most of her childhood living with her grandparents in a mountain village on the outskirts of what is now the world's fastest-growing city. It was always raining, she remembers, and nothing much seemed to happen. With no bridges to cross the fast-flowing Yangtze River, the nearby town center -- today a 40-minute drive away -- took several hours to reach by long-distance bus.

The Tenth Parallel

August 17, 2010

A riveting investigation of the jagged fault line between the Christian and Muslim worlds

The tenth parallel—the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator—is a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. More than half of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims live along the tenth parallel; so do sixty percent of the world’s 2 billion Christians.

Central Asia's New Silk Roads

  • By
  • Parag Khanna,
  • New America Foundation
August 12, 2010 |

The fate of the massive deposits of lithium recently discovered in Afghanistan is destined to be no different from that of landlocked Central Asia’s other natural resources: tapped by the West, and eventually controlled by the East.

Siberian timber, Mongolian iron ore, Kazakh oil, Turkmen natural gas and Afghan copper are already channeled directly to China through a newly built East-bound network that is fueling the rapid development of the world’s largest population.

Growing Shortages of Water Threaten China’s Development

  • By
  • Christina Larson,
  • New America Foundation
July 26, 2010 |

On a recent visit to the Gobi desert, which stretches across China’s western Gansu province, I came upon an unusual sign. In the midst of a dry, sandy expanse stood a large billboard depicting a settlement the government intended to build nearby — white buildings surrounded by lush, green, landscaped lawns, and in the center a vast, gleaming blue reservoir. The illustration’s bright colors were quite unlike the actual surroundings, which consisted of dull sky that faded into a horizon of undulating, parched-brown hillsides.

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