As the Trump administration completes its review of policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, public debate is focused on the war’s military component, including President Trump’s decision to delegate decisions on troop levels to the Pentagon. Yet a few thousand more troops alone will be insufficient to end the war. A security plan, including the anticipated troop increase, must be combined with a political strategy that addresses Afghan domestic and regional factors fueling the war.
In five months in office, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has so far publicly avoided challenging new US President Donald Trump.
But on Tuesday, he threw the equivalent of a last-minute "Hail Mary" pass during a speech at New York University -- making the case for the US to remain committed to the Paris climate accord in terms that he hoped would change Trump's mind, by warning of a drop in the US's global influence if it pulls out of the agreement.
India’s decision to boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum has reinvigorated the much-needed debate on the strategic relationship between the two Asian giants. This debate comes on the heels of the February 23, 2017 India-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing, where the two states found, among their divergences, a convergence on Afghanistan that contradicts some of Delhi’s received wisdom.
Whether launching a few missiles at a Syrian air base, sailing an aircraft carrier toward North Korea (or not), dropping MOAB, or sending more troops to Afghanistan, tactical demonstrations of U.S. strength not tied to strategic objectives sooner rather than later deteriorate into bloody demonstrations of futility.
Considerable policy analysis has been devoted to bilateral strategic relationships between Pakistan and India, India and China, and China and the United States. But the strategic dynamics among these four nuclear powers cannot be understood or effectively addressed on a strictly bilateral basis. While Pakistan responds strategically to India, India responds both to Pakistan and China, which in turn responds both to India and the United States.
The election of Donald Trump as US president was a seismic event for Americans – those who celebrated and those who wept – and for the rest of the world. The currents that underpinned the result are neither new nor confined to the US: discontent with politics and economics as usual, lack of trust in elites and populist nationalism have been on the rise in many parts of the world. These were clearly expressed through the Brexit vote but also in social protests and electoral upsets worldwide, from the Philippines to South Africa to the Colombia referendum. For the United Nations, an organization that is in some ways both the elite club to end all elite clubs and the global voice of “we the peoples”, the new administration is likely to bring significant change.
The United States’ presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific is transforming from a traditional alliance network (of Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand) into a web of strengthened alliances, new partnerships and creative linkages.
Washington must manage this transformation carefully, so its alliance network maintains a deterrent function and reassures allies, but does not exacerbate USChina tensions.
The India-U.S. relationship is presently stronger than at anytime in their history. The twin summits – less than six months apart – in September 2014 and January 2015 between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have repaired, revived and revitalized the strategic partnership. Yet there remain several hurdles to deepening the relationship, notably, geopolitical differences over Iran, Russia, Syria and India’s membership of various nuclear and missile export control regimes.