Blogs

The Return of the Native

Thoughts on The Return of the Native A British immigrant reluctantly decides to escape the tumult of Trump’s America By Rebecca Mead The New Yorker, August 20, 2018...

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Opinion Pieces at the News International Pakistan

America and the Middle East – published on March 2, 2021

Americans often fret at the never-ending US entanglements in the Middle East. The region is considered “beyond repair”, with little regard to the US role in the dysfunction. There appear to be several seemingly disconnected episodes in the Middle East that keep drawing the US into its vortex.

On February 25, the Biden Administration launched an air attack on an Iranian-backed militia in eastern Syria, killing 22 and destroying infrastructure. This in response to recent rocket attacks by these militias against American contractors at the Erbil airport in Iraq which killed and injured several contract employees. These attacks and the American response take place against the backdrop of delicate posturing about the Iran nuclear deal. Read more…

 

US in Afghanistan – Published on February 16, 2021

Very soon after taking office in 2009, President Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This ‘Af-Pak’ setup showed a lack of understanding of how Pakistan-India tensions factor into any resolution of the Afghanistan crisis. US policy in Pakistan’s neighborhood is again starting to take shape as key players in the new administration are settling into their roles. Many of them are carry-overs from the Obama Administration. Read more…

Pakistan and the US – Published on February 2, 2021

Most of the key foreign policy posts in the Biden administration have now been filled. A conversation has started in Pakistan as to how best to manage this important relationship to the advantage of Pakistan. Many are talking about how much ‘leverage’ Pakistan has over the US, particularly given their continued presence in Afghanistan.

This would be the wrong place to start. Incoming US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan recently said that three countries of prime foreign policy significance to the US are Afghanistan, Iran and China. This places Pakistan in a critical geographical position. Read more…

Trump’s Legacy – Published on January 19, 2021

At noon on January 20 the presidency of Donald Trump will have come to an end and this one-term, twice-impeached president will be gone.

From the day he launched his campaign in 2015, it was clear he was going to be an unconventional president, the likes of which the country hadn’t seen. He launched his candidacy with a hateful tirade against Mexican immigrants and promised to ban the entry of all Muslims. He repeatedly attacked the media when he felt they were not sufficiently supportive of him. Yet, it was felt that, should he win, the honor and prestige of the office would moderate him. Read more…

America’s week of shame – Published on January 12, 2021

Throughout its history and certainly in modern times, the US has been through many crises – including some resulting in significant violence and unrest; from the civil rights and anti-war protests of the 60s and 70s to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. However, through it all there has never been any doubt about the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next.

This started to change when following the presidential election of last November, President Trump refused to accept the results and commit to a peaceful transition. Using the vast reach of his Twitter account, he announced the election was totally rigged – without providing any evidence. All lawsuits brought by his campaign were dismissed and election results were certified by all fifty states in mid-December as required by law. Read more…

Good for Pakistan – Published on January 7, 2021

Every time a US presidential election approaches, a discussion begins in the Pakistani-American community. Which of the two candidates will be good for Pakistan? What exactly is meant by ‘good for Pakistan’ isn’t always clear.

Why would any US president be inherently good or bad for Pakistan? A US president after all, is elected to look after the interests of the United States – domestically and in the global sphere. It is often said that Republican presidents have been better for Pakistan than Democrats. This is hardly backed by any reliable facts. Read more…

Democracy Moves Along – Published on December 23, 2020

On December 14, the US Electoral College cast their votes. As expected, Joe Biden received 306 votes against Donald Trump’s 232. While this is not news, Trump’s obstinate refusal to accept the voters’ verdict had created much angst. Given Trump’s hold on Republican voters, most Republicans in the US Congress have been reluctant to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect.

Following the vote in the Electoral College, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Joe Biden on his election and urged his fellow Republicans to do the same. Read more…

Forty Nine Years On – Published on December 17, 2020

In recent months there has been an improvement in relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh. A couple of months ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan called Bangladesh Prime Minister Mrs Sheikh Hasina, and more recently the Pakistani ambassador in Dhaka also called on the Bangladesh prime minister.

These moves came as we approached the date of December 16, which will mark 49 years since the end of the civil war that led to the declaration of Bangladesh as an independent nation. East Pakistan was no more. The events leading up to the breakup of Pakistan are too painful to recount. Suffice it to say there was tremendous suffering on all sides. Read more…

The Real American Carnage – published on December 10, 2020

“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” With these words on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Trump had come from a business background and had been a reality TV star. His populist campaign – anti-immigrant, hateful of Muslims and other minorities – attracted a devoted following among whites. His base soon consisted of people from rural states, white Christian evangelicals and others who felt left behind in the new globalized world. Read more…

The war within – published on November 24, 2020

The US presidential election is mostly over and in a couple of weeks the results will be certified by each state and submitted to Congress. While outgoing President Trump refuses to acknowledge his defeat, most serious observers have accepted the results and are looking forward to the new Biden administration which will be sworn in on January 20. Almost all lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign have been dismissed for lack of merit.

The vote count shows Joe Biden with almost 80 million votes while Trump has received about 74 million. Both are the highest vote counts ever received by a winning candidate as well as by the losing one. The Electoral College similarly shows a clear win by Biden of 306 votes, versus a minimum of 270 needed to win. Read more…