Browsing All Posts published on »September, 2011«

Striking Pakistan

September 26, 2011

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Since the September 13th attacks in Kabul, relations between Pakistan and the United States have become so bad that it is rumoured the baddies in the next Indiana Jones film will be the ISI, which is much more damaging to a country’s reputation than being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Thursday, Admiral […]

What’s in the name of a fascistic, oppressive, unjust foreign policy…?

September 19, 2011

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Last week, when Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey toured the Middle East, aligning himself with the Arab Street despite his dodgy credentials to do so, a Turkish analyst on Twitter rejected that this was ‘neo-Ottomanism’ on his country’s part. If the region had anything to worry about, it was the neo-colonialism of the Western powers, […]

How do you solve a problem like the Haqqanis?

September 13, 2011

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I came to study Afghanistan because of a Big Idea, which was counterinsurgency. One of the earliest things I wrote about the war, in the summer of 2009, was an article about how wonderful this new doctrine was and the ways in which it would win us this war. Had I written it now, I […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and the perils of bad history

September 7, 2011

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The political use of history, including bad history, has always interested me, and the way bad history can persuade a politician to make bad decisions. In his survey of the British Foreign Secretaryship, Douglas Hurd warns that the most dangerous form of ignorance ‘is that smidgeon of shallow knowledge which lacks any understanding of the […]

A plea for honesty in the aid debate

September 1, 2011

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Many years ago, David Cameron pledged to protect the international aid budget from cuts if he became Prime Minister, and, since then, there has been a recurring debate in Conservative circles about the wisdom of this commitment. It appears on the horizon like a cloud promising rain; supporters of the pledge become very Wet; and […]