August 31, 2010

Rowing Between Two Reefs

JAKARTA — It was 62 years ago this week—on September 2, 1948—when the principles underlying Indonesia’s foreign policy were first articulated. In a Cold War speech to the young republic just emerging from Dutch rule, future Prime Minister Mohammad Hatta asked, “Do we, Indonesians, in the struggle for freedom of our people and our country, only have to choose between Russia and America?” No, he answered: “We must reserve the right to decide our own destiny and fight for our own goal, which is independence for the whole of Indonesia.”

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July 9, 2010

India’s Maoist Insurgency

Military alone won’t bring poverty-stricken areas into the 21st century

On Thursday, heavily armed Maoist rebels attacked a police station and the home of a Congress leader in the state of Chhattisgarh in India’s heartland. On June 29, they assaulted and killed 26 members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The Maoist movement, tens of thousands strong, is active in more than half of India’s states, a red ribbon that stretches from the Nepalese border down the Bay of Bengal coast. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls the Maoists India’s top internal security threat; Home Minister P. Chidambaram terms Maoism “a graver problem than jihadi terrorism.” In U.S. terms, the rebels’ geographical reach extends from New York City to Key West, Fla., and Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis.

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June 2, 2010

Can ‘Pashtunistan’ End the Af-Pak War?

UDAIPUR, India – On the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains, tribesmen here know him as the “Afghan Warrior Poet.” Like thousands of his fellow Pashtun brothers from the surrounding Northwest Frontier Province, he stood as the first line of defense against troops invading from the West. Eventually, he grew disgusted by the corruption of leaders who lived in the capital cities and rebelled. Despite their armies, these leaders could do little to reach or control him in this rugged wasteland. In the name of Allah, he made it the cause of his life to unite his fellow believers, to create their own nation, and live by their own customs.

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May 3, 2010

The Danger of Benign Neglect

by Stanley A. Weiss

NEW DELHI – Imagine for a moment that 15 months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Indian authorities captured attack mastermind and Osama bin Laden henchman Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a raid in southern India. Imagine how loudly and quickly the American government and media would have demanded extradition from India to the United States. Now, imagine the outrage if India announced instead that it had struck a plea bargain with Mohammed and not only refused extradition, but refused to allow American authorities to interview him.

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April 28, 2010

Outside View: The United States, India and the politics of benign neglect

NEW DELHI, April 28 (UPI) — Imagine for a moment that 15 months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Indian authorities captured attack mastermind and Osama bin Laden henchman Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a raid in southern India. Imagine how loudly and quickly the U.S. government and media would have demanded extradition from India to the United States.

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March 21, 2010

Will a King’s Death Kill Democracy?

Sixty years ago this week, King Bhumibol Adulyadej arrived back in Thailand. The 22-year-old had lived abroad most of his life. Named king four years earlier on his brother’s death, he was coming home for his coronation. The royal navy was drawn up for review. A jet squadron soared overhead. Half a million people lined the streets in celebration. As one biographer writes, “To astrologers, the heavens proved the great event: three days before Bhumibol arrived, hail fell on Bangkok for the first time since 1933.”

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February 23, 2010

A First Step Toward Democracy?

YANGON — When British forces first floated up the Irrawaddy River in 1885 to depose King Thibaw of Burma, locals were startled to see a Burmese prince, in full regalia, sitting on the deck of one of the steamers. His presence reassured locals that the British planned to seat a new king, not overthrow the kingdom. As Thant Myint-U recalls in his book, “The River of Lost Footsteps,” it was only when a young student talked his way onto the ship and came face-to-face with the royal prince that the truth was discovered: The “prince” was an imposter, a former classmate of the student’s. By then, it was too late — the telegraph line to the palace in Mandalay had been cut.

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January 10, 2010

Rivals and Partners

BANGKOK — Last fall, a rare opinion poll was conducted across China. It asked a simple question: What do you perceive as the greatest threat facing China? The range of answers was interesting — but even more interesting was the way the survey was reported in India.

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September 4, 2009

Indonesia’s Security Burden

JAKARTA—Locals here quip that while Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation—by definition, a nation of islands—it is not a maritime nation. Imagine, they say, a stretch of land covering the distance from Seattle to New York, or Lisbon to Moscow. And now, imagine having fewer than 100 police cars responsible for patrolling that entire area—to respond to emergencies and protect national borders.

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