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World

Iran is Not a Bulwark

An unnamed American diplomat told the Sunday Times in Britain that President Barack Obama “believes a peaceful Iran could be a bulwark against ISIS in the Middle East and the key to peace there.” The Iranian people and government strongly oppose ISIS, no doubt about it. They are predominantly Shias while ISIS is the most deranged Sunni Islamist terrorist organization in the world. Its attitude toward the Shia is outright genocidal. It’s easy, then, to see why a powerful Shia bloc might act as a “bulwark.”   The problem here is that the Iranian- led Resistance Bloc—which includes the Assad regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a smorgasbord of Iraqi Shia militias—is the primary instigator of ISIS. Look: ISIS is jus...

August 21, 2015 at 5:59 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbor’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of h...

August 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm | News Desk

Australian Government Looks to Threat of Terrorism to Save Itself

Looking from abroad at the statements of the Australian government regarding security, one would be forgiven for thinking the country had just suffered a 9/11 scale attack or was currently engaged in a war for its very survival. The country’s hard right Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has over the past six months employed increasingly shrill and fearful language to address the threat posed by terrorism and the Daesh in particular. The government’s increasing use of such loaded language began last year, in the months after the release of its first Federal Budget. The Government had fought its election campaign around the issues of illegal immigrants and the budget deficit, with the latter in particular being spoke of as a “debt ...

August 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm | News Desk

Modi-fication?

  Aakar Patel        Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be congratulated for his brave move in announcing he will visit Pakistan. I do not only mean brave from the point of view of physical courage. I have been to Pakistan many times and not felt unsafe, and it is clear that Modi will find that he is given security of the highest standard. But even so, Pakistan’s most protected man, former president Pervez Musharraf had his convoy bombed twice and its former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was killed not that long ago. So Modi is brave in agreeing to go where even cricket teams have refused. The second way in which he has been brave is that he has defied many in our media and also our strategic affairs experts in reachi...

August 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm | News Desk

Prisons across Pakistan

After the bloodied partition of United India, two new countries emerged on the surface of the earth, namely Pakistan and India. As with various laws and systems, India and Pakistan inherited the same prison system from the British as a colonial legacy. The system of prisons was designed to detain freedom fighters, and those who voiced their views against British Imperialism in United India. While the history of Western society’s use of punishment dates back to tortures and public executions at the scaffold till the 17th. century, it was characterized by legally approved discrimination, violence, revenge, and penitence during Medieval and Ancient times. Prison, as a place of punishment after conviction, is an 18th century in...

August 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Sarmad Ali

Donald Trump: The Democrats’ Best 2016 Asset

Hillary Clinton’s campaign may not develop the sizzle the would-be first Madam President and her team has long planned for. But the race has already created its first, truly searing image in the skin of the American nation. To the Democratic Party establishment’s great relief, this is not the result of any of Hillary Clinton’s missteps, of which there have been some. Rather, the problem emerged from the inside of the tent of the Republican Party. It is commonly called the “Donald Trump problem.” The worst part for the Republicans is that Trump has the same effect as a Trojan horse. (Beware of the “Greeks” bearing gifts, Republicans of the United States!) Trump’s emergence in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire gives the D...

August 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm | News Desk

Afgan-Pak: Why China is Playing Mediator

Fanny Ragot Recently, a new strategic dialogue was held between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership in the hill city of Murree, Pakistan. These negotiations were coordinated by China, illustrating Beijing’s recent commitment to support Kabul in pacifying its country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, elected in mid-2014, has been reaffirming his willingness to set the wheels of negotiations in motion. It implies engaging in negotiations with Pakistan to resolve the problem of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, across the Durand Line. While the dialogue is still new, China appears to be brokering these discussions. That Beijing is evidently involving itself in shaping the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan mor...

August 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbour’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of ...

August 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm | News Desk

Vyshinsky In The Sudan

In 1940, Stalin sent his strongest political operative, Andrey Vyshinsky, to bring the Baltic States to heel under the boot of the Soviet state.  Vyshinsky arrived in Latvia on June 18th, installed  as Stalin’s special envoy.  The president of Latvia, Karlis Ulmanis, was forced to appoint a “people’s government”. Within days, the president and key members of his administration were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union.  A hastily scrambled election took place on July 14-15, with a single list of Soviet-picked candidates on the ballot.  The results gave 97.8 percent of the vote to the previously unknown and unheralded candidates. Vyshinsky preened for the press corps and expressed hope the newly elected “people’s...

August 15, 2015 at 11:46 am | Tammy Swofford

Afgan-Pak: Why China is Playing Mediator

By Fanny Ragot Recently, a new strategic dialogue was held between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership in the hill city of Murree, Pakistan. These negotiations were coordinated by China, illustrating Beijing’s recent commitment to support Kabul in pacifying its country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, elected in mid-2014, has been reaffirming his willingness to set the wheels of negotiations in motion. It implies engaging in negotiations with Pakistan to resolve the problem of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, across the Durand Line. While the dialogue is still new, China appears to be brokering these discussions. That Beijing is evidently involving itself in shaping the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan ...

August 15, 2015 at 10:54 am | News Desk

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Securing President Obama’s legacy

History shows us that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles. It shows we are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together."  ~President Barack Obama The historic and monumental Iran Nuclear Talks have finally concluded successfully on July 14, 2015. This is a highly significant factor which lays the foundation in establishing President Obama's legacy. [caption id="attachment_6253" align="aligncenter" width="500"] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva January 14, 2015. Zarif said on Wednesday that his meeting with Kerry was important to see if progress could be made in narrowing differences on hi...

August 14, 2015 at 3:18 pm | News Desk

The right lessons from Greece

THE implosion of the Greek economy, the rise of Syriza and the implicit blaming of Greece’s creditors for the country’s woes present important lessons that should be drawn upon. The danger is that many people, including in Pakistan, are preparing to draw the wrong set of lessons. Greece got itself into a mess by not taxing sufficiently its richest elites, and by overspending on a bloated, overpaid and underworked public sector. Poor choices by politicians for decades, fully supported by a complicit populace that was only too happy to condone the perpetual postponement of serious structural reform, have finally caught up. Despite the massive and heartrending current suffering of ordinary Greeks, the foregoing is the sorry story of the...

August 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm | News Desk

Pakistan, India to join China security bloc

BEIJING (Reuters) - Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India will start the process of joining a security bloc led by China and Russia at a summit in Russia later this week, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, the first time the grouping has expanded since it was set up in 2001. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) groups China, Russia and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers. "As the influence of the SCO's development has expanded, more and more countries in the region have brought up joining the SCO," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a news briefing."...India and Pakistan's admission to the SCO...

July 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm | News Desk

Greece enters uncharted territory after referendum ‘no’ vote

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece lurched into uncharted territory and an uncertain future in Europe's common currency Sunday after voters overwhelmingly rejected demands by international creditors for more austerity measures in exchange for a bailout of its bankrupt economy. Results showed about 61 percent voted "no," compared with 39 percent for "yes," with 100 percent of the vote counted. The referendum — Greece's first in more than four decades — came amid severe restrictions on financial transactions in the country, imposed last week to stem a bank run that accelerated after the vote was called. Thousands of jubilant government supporters celebrated in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament, waving Greek flags and chanting "No, ...

July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm | News Desk

F-35, Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever, Can’t Dogfight Well

The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dogfighting against a decades-old, much cheaper legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.”The report in question, posted on the national security news website War Is Boring, was based on an internal five-page brief in which an F-35 test pilot wrote a scathing criticism of the next-generation jet’s abilities in a January dogfight with an F-16, one of the planes the F-35 is designed to replace. Essentially, the pilot reportedly wrote, the F-35 was no match for the F-16 in close-up, high maneuvering fighting -- whether the F-35 was trying to get the F-16 in its si...

July 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm | News Desk

Swedish woman gets $18M in sex harassment suit

NEW YORK (AP) — A young Swedish woman who sued her former Wall Street executive boss over lurid allegations of sexual conquest, betrayal and stalking was awarded $18 million by a federal jury Monday. Hanna Bouveng, 25, accused Benjamin Wey in an $850 million lawsuit of using his power as owner of New York Global Group to coerce her into four sexual encounters before firing her after discovering she had a boyfriend. The jury in federal court in Manhattan awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages plus $16 million in punitive damages on sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims. It rejected a claim of assault and battery. Bouveng, who was raised in Vetlanda, Sweden, testified that soon after Wey hired her at New York...

July 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm | News Desk

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