Stories about Russia

For Syria, it is Armageddon

Slowly and ominously, the war drums started beating in America last week. The media warmed up with news of Donald Trump telling congressmen he was considering retaliation for the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. The pace picked up when Hillary Clinton told the ‘Women in the World Summit’ that America should “take out Assad’s air fields”. By the time the Tomahawks were flying, the media had reached its 2003 pre-Iraq invasion jingo mode. The stench of war was not restricted to conservative media either. Since 2001, there has not been an invasion, bombing or regime change that the so-called ...

Read Full Post

Why didn’t the FBI disclose the Trump-Putin investigation pre-election?

While my heart goes out to the latest victims of the continuing global mass carnage, here in Washington, the cat is officially out of the bag! With an emphatic ‘yes’ (to Russian hacking) and a firm ‘no’ (to Barack Obama ordering Donald Trump’s wiretapping), FBI Director James Comey sealed the deal of what could turn out to be the most controversial presidency in US history. This is not a left-wing conspiracy against Trump. This is not even the fulsome fake news. This is all really real. On March 20th, the FBI director testified in the Congress that Trump has been under investigation for a possible collusion with the Russians who might have helped ...

Read Full Post

Russia will never sabotage its alliance with Iran for Donald Trump

As I write these lines, Washington is abuzz with the news of Donald Trump’s top security advisor, Michael Flynn’s resignation. The White House is trying to clean up the mess Flynn’s rather over-zealously erratic act created, ending up in critics looking at the election victory in a whole new light.  Ironically, Trump saw in Flynn the capability to penetrate the Russian iron curtain by virtue of his connections with Moscow. Ironically also, it was Flynn who had put Iran on an unexplained and unelaborated ‘notice’ early February – an ill-conceived, rhetoric ridden, flash in the pan type of a half-step that really just reiterated Washington’s unsavoury ...

Read Full Post

Trump’s #MuslimBan: A realist’s take

Recently, the UAE foreign minister defended Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, claiming that it’s not Islamophobic. The unconvincing statement, perhaps given in relief or gratitude for the UAE having avoided the ban itself, only goes to highlight the unscrupulous foundations of the ban. Rich, influential Muslim countries that are financial or strategic allies like the Gulf States and Pakistan have been spared, whereas those with little utility to the US have conveniently been scapegoated to appease Trump’s right-wing populism. Perhaps Abdullah Bin Zayed’s words have some truth to them after all. Perhaps the ban isn’t merely a coup against Muslim countries, but ...

Read Full Post

Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

Read Full Post

What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

Read Full Post

What is so similar about Pakistan and Turkey?

You have a neighbouring Islamic country whose government you don’t seem to like much. You would appreciate if its rulers changed. The United States of America shares the same opinion as you. They want you to help settle a few scores of their own. You collect motivated youth from around the world, all aligned in a certain sectarian direction. You provide them with military know how, modern weapons and defence strategies, in your own backyard. You send them charging to your neighbour, hoping that these motivated proxies will overthrow their government for you. While doing all this, you never calculate the ...

Read Full Post

Myth of Russian power

It is fair to say that Russia is doing its best to be the biggest thorn to prick the US and NATO in recent years. It is almost as if Russia was offended by how little attention the world was paying to them in the 90s and early 2000s, after the West spent half a century fearing and dreading them. And now they are doing their best to frustrate and annoy “Western interests” wherever they find them. President Vladimir Putin likes to claim that this is purely defensive, of course. In the wake of the Iron Curtain collapse, the Western sphere expanded substantially into ...

Read Full Post

Are you ready for what awaits you in 2017, Pakistan?

The year 2016 has been a rollercoaster for the world over. From Brexit to Trump, there have been setbacks aplenty. But while the world has gone topsy-turvy this year, I feel that 2016 has been a better year for Pakistan. Due to the operations taking place in various areas of the country, crime rate has decreased exponentially; terrorism attacks have been fewer and far between and Pakistan has established itself as a growing nation, both in terms of international relations as well as economics. Keeping this in mind, I cannot help but feel positive about the year ahead. Here are the top 10 things Pakistanis can look forward to in 2017: 1. The ...

Read Full Post

Do we need to bribe our way out of Pakistan and Kazakhstan?

A recent article was brought to my attention about Kazakhstan airport officials refusing to accept the existence of New Zealand, instead insisting that it was in fact a state in Australia and thus detaining one of their nationals overnight. Map of Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Google Maps   The story has the sort of happy ending that all Pakistanis are used to: “Yaar, bas mein ne usey haath milaney key bahaney 1000 ka note pakra diya, aur us ney mujhey janey diya.” (I shook his hand as an excuse to hand him a 1000 rupee note and he let me go.) Of ...

Read Full Post