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  • Author: Ramesh Thakur
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: India's nuclear breakout in 1998, foreshadowed as early as 1974, may have been understandable for reasons of global nuclear politics, a triangular regional equation between China, India and Pakistan, and domestic politics. Yet the utility of India's nuclear weapons remains questionable on many grounds. Nuclear deterrence is dubious in general and especially dubious in the subcontinent. Nuclear weapons are not usable as weapons of compellence or defence. They failed to stop the Pakistani incursion in Kargil in 1999 or the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. They will not help India to shape the military calculations of likely enemies. And India's global status and profile will be determined far more crucially by its economic performance than nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, they do impose direct and opportunity costs economically, risk corrosion of democratic accountability, add to global concerns about nuclear terrorism, and have not helped the cause of global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Because the consequences of a limited regional war involving India could be catastrophic for the world, others have both the right and a responsibility to engage with the issue. For all these reasons, a denuclearized world that includes the destruction of India's nuclear stockpile would favourably affect the balance of India's security and other interests, national and international interests, and material interests and value goals.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India
  • Author: Zia Mian
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the four decades since Pakistan launched its nuclear weapons program, and especially in the fifteen years since the nuclear tests of 1998, a way of thinking and a related set of feelings about the bomb have taken hold among policy-makers and the public in Pakistan. These include the ideas that the bomb can ensure Pakistan's security; resolve the long-standing dispute with India over Kashmir in Pakistan's favour; help create a new national spirit; establish Pakistan as a leader among Islamic countries; and usher in a new stage in Pakistan's economic development. None of these hopes has come to pass, and in many ways Pakistan is much worse off than before it went nuclear. Yet the feelings about the bomb remain strong and it is these feelings that will have to be examined critically and be set aside if Pakistan is to move towards nuclear restraint and nuclear disarmament. This will require a measure of stability in a country beset by multiple insurgencies, the emergence of a peace movement able to launch a national debate on foreign policy and nuclear weapons, and greater international concern regarding the outcomes of nuclear arms racing in South Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: David Milne
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The 2012 US presidential election inverts the relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidates in 2008: Barack Obama is now tough and experienced, Mitt Romney a diplomatic neophyte. One of John McCain's more memorable assertions in 2008 was that he would 'follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell'. Obama's actions have spoken louder than McCain's hyperbole. On 2 May 2011, the President sanctioned a navy SEAL raid that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan. The boldness of this decision—in declining to inform Pakistan of US intentions and in using ground forces instead of launching an air strike—has largely armoured Obama against Republican attacks on his alleged lack of fortitude. So where can Romney land meaningful blows now?
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Burhan Wazir
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A lesser known independent strand in Indian cinema that is prepared to talk seriously about politics
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Pakistan, India, London
  • Author: Gareth Price
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The death of Osama bin Laden, and the manner in which it was carried out, will have major repercussions for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The coming weeks will reveal whether these will take the form of threats or opportunities.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Claire York
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: John Maynard Keynes once wrote: "when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" The recent death of Osama bin Laden on May 1 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, has prompted a reassessment of the facts regarding the west's fight against international terrorism and its involvement in Afghanistan and the wider region.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Abbottabad
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It has been almost ten years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon led President George W. Bush to proclaim a 'war on terror'. This article focuses on the difficulties faced by his successor, Barack Obama, as he has attempted to move away from much of the Bush rhetoric and practice of counterterrorism. Obama came to office determined to 'reboot' US counter-terrorism policy so that it would not only be more effective but also more in keeping with what he perceived as the core moral values and principles at the heart of American political culture. For many observers, Obama has not lived up to expectations as he has not made wholesale changes to counter-terrorism policy. This article argues, however, that he always intended to not only maintain but, in fact, deepen Bush's war against terrorism, not because he was trapped by Bush's institutionalized construction of a global war on terror, but because he agrees fundamentally with the core assumptions and imperatives of that war on terror narrative. Nonetheless, Obama promised to continue combating terrorism in ways that were distinctive from his predecessor, not least because a higher moral standard would be applied to the conduct of counter-terrorism. By addressing his policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and torture, and the use of unmanned drone attacks, it is argued that Obama's 'war' against terrorism is not only in keeping with the assumptions and priorities of the last ten years but also that, despite some successes, it is just as problematic as that of his predecessor.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America
  • Author: Rudra Chaudhuri, Theo Farrell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Success in war depends on alignment between operations and strategy. Commonly, such alignment takes time as civilian and military leaders assess the effectiveness of operations and adjust them to ensure that strategic objectives are achieved. This article assesses prospects for the US-led campaign in Afghanistan. Drawing on extensive field research, the authors find that significant progress has been made at the operational level in four key areas: the approach to counterinsurgency operations, development of Afghan security forces, growth of Afghan sub-national governance and military momentum on the ground. However, the situation is bleak at the strategic level. The article identifies three strategic obstacles to campaign success: corruption in Afghan national government, war-weariness in NATO countries and insurgent safe havens in Pakistan. These strategic problems require political developments that are beyond the capabilities of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In other words, further progress at the operational level will not bring 'victory'. It concludes, therefore, that there is an operational- strategic disconnect at the heart of the ISAF campaign.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: C Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article explores the prospects for civilian governance over Pakistan's military in the policy-relevant future. After reviewing the Pakistan army's past interference in the country's judicial and political affairs, it turns to the ongoing political maneuvering of the current Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, despite Pakistan's ostensible democratic dispensation. The article dilates on the impact of US engagement on the robustness of the Pakistan army's dominance and questions the newfound US commitment to promoting democratization and civilian control. The article argues that while conventional wisdom places the onus disproportionately upon the military's penchant for interventionism, the army has intervened only with the active assistance of civilian institutions, which are subsequently further eroded with every military takeover. It concludes with a consideration of whether or not genuine civilian control would result in a significant change in Pakistan's foreign and domestic policies, particularly Pakistan's well-known utilization of Islamist militants in India and Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India
  • Author: Irene Khan
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's son Bilawal became the leader of her Pakistan People's Party, following her assassination, he told the crowds that 'My mother always said democracy is the best revenge'. Yet, despite the fact parliamentary elections are now scheduled for February 18, Amnesty International sensed a general mood of hopelessness during a recent visit to the country. 'Pakistan is lost' was a refrain heard in many places.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan