The conventional wisdom in Washington these days is that a newly empowered president, freed from the political constraints of reelection, will have more discretion, drive and determination to take on the Middle East’s most intractable problems.
from Expert Zone:
The opinions expressed are his own
In his victory speech to a rapturous crowd in Chicago following his re-election, President Barack Obama affirmed that America’s "decade-long conflict" in Afghanistan will now end. The line was greeted with prolonged applause -- and understandably so. In fact, this ill-advised war -- launched on the basis of a United Nations Security Council resolution -- has been grinding on for 11 years, making it the longest in American history.
from India Insight:
Racing through the deserted streets of Kabul at nighttime, you are likely to be stopped at street corners by policemen once, twice or even more. If you are a South Asian, as I am, their guard is up even more. "Pakistani or Indian?" the cop barks out as you lower your window. When I answer "Indian", he wants me to produce a passport to prove that, and as it happens, I am not carrying one. So I am pulled out of the car in the freezing cold and given a full body search, with the policemen muttering under his breath in Dari that everyone goes around claiming to be an Indian, especially Pakistanis.
from The Great Debate:
Foreign policy attempted to take center stage at the presidential debate Monday evening but failed resoundingly. For the candidates agreed to agree on a number of key issues -- the timeline for ending America’s longest war, support for Israel, and the importance of diplomacy and sanctions in Iran. Nation-building at home trumped nation-building abroad, and small business won as many mentions from the nominees as the death of Osama bin Laden. It was no accident that the contenders talked about teachers more than Libya.
from Ian Bremmer:
There will always be a wide gap between what candidates promise and what they deliver once elected, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. After all, this is an area where U.S. presidents have less control than either candidate will ever admit near a microphone. But this year, there are contradictions that cut straight to the heart of debates over American power and how it should be used. With that in mind, here are the questions I would like to see each candidate answer.
from Expert Zone:
(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)
from Photographers' Blog:
By Lucas Jackson
One of the ubiquitous presences when traveling through Afghanistan on an embed with U.S. soldiers is that of scores of children either watching the soldiers passing in convoys or patrolling their villages. It is not uncommon for dozens of faces to be staring at you, often while standing mere feet away from the obvious out-of-towners.