The Great Debate

Afghan elections redefine U.S. role

By Senator Robert Menendez
April 4, 2014

On Saturday, Afghans will go to the polls to elect a new president, marking a critical turning point in Afghanistan’s history and our role in the country.

Afghanistan votes on its future

By Anja Manuel
April 3, 2014

The coverage on the impending Afghan presidential elections has been filled with death and chaos — the tragic shooting at the Serena hotel where an international election monitor was killed, the shocking attack on the Afghan Election Commission’s headquarters, the killing of a provincial council candidate and the news that several international monitoring groups are pulling out.

How to fix foreign aid

By Paul A. Brinkley
February 25, 2014

All war-torn countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, share a common characteristic — the absence or destruction of economic infrastructure. The lack of opportunity fuels frustration and unrest, giving violent actors an opening to destabilize fragile institutions.

Is there a ‘right’ path for the U.S. in Syria?

By Anja Manuel
January 21, 2014

Key parties to the conflict in Syria are meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday. The participants have been downplaying expectations that the “Geneva II” peace conference — which will bring together for the first time representatives from the Assad government and various rebel groups along with major international players — will resolve the conflict, or even bring about a ceasefire.

Can Obama ever close Guantanamo?

By Daphne Eviatar
November 21, 2013

Twelve years ago this month, President George W. Bush issued an order authorizing the U.S. military to detain non-U.S. citizen “international terrorists” indefinitely, and try some of them in military commissions. Within two months, those seized in the “war on terror” following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan were being sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Fighting for democracy in South Asia

By Nisha Biswal
November 15, 2013

For the first time in post-colonial history, all of the countries of South Asia are democracies.

Let Pakistan’s Taliban talks fail without us

By Daniel Markey
October 22, 2013

Adding to an unenviable list of challenges that already includes earthquakes, sectarian violence and an economy teetering near collapse, Pakistan’s leaders are attempting to open a new round of high-stakes peace negotiations with homegrown insurgents, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

from David Rohde:

For Obama, a contradiction too many

By David Rohde
September 6, 2013

President Barack Obama will have to deliver one of the finest speeches of his presidency next Tuesday if he hopes to win Congressional support for a strike against Syria. Out of nowhere, the Syria vote has emerged as one of the defining moments of Obama’s second term.

A fragile peace with Taliban if school attacks escalate

By Gordon Brown
June 25, 2013

In the week in which America opened the door for negotiations with the Taliban, three bloody massacres of school children — shot down simply because they wanted to go to school — raise grave questions about what kind of peace the Taliban offer.