Stories about Russia

Why Afghanistan is Pakistan’s principal enemy

It may seem counter-intuitive to claim that a perennially failed state with illogical borders, an ethno-demographic ticking time bomb for a population, and a traditionally ungovernable periphery is the primary enemy of a nuclear-armed and exponentially militarily superior neighbouring state. But in the case of the failed state of Afghanistan’s relationship with nuclear Pakistan, this is the reality. Although traditionally India and Pakistan are considered supreme rivals, ultimately, modern Pakistan can handle India’s random acts of aggression, as was seen in the aftermath of February’s Pulwama incident. Moreover, if India truly seeks to take its place as a leading global ...

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The international response to Sudan: just another day in ‘Dictatorland’

Rarely does Africa make American headlines. Briefly we may hear about Boko Haram, or read about pirates off the coast of Somalia. Occasionally, a rich American game hunter murders an animal in Africa which, while heart-breaking, triggered more outrage than the unremitting plight of human beings across the region. Sometimes we learn of military losses in Mali, never asking why American soldiers are deployed there to begin with. Beyond that, Africa is perceived much like it was during the time of Joseph Conrad – a “heart of darkness”. This disinterest persists even during the current upheaval in Sudan, where ordinary citizens have ...

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History in the making: What to expect from Imran-Putin’s first meeting?

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will reportedly have their first ever meeting later this week during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek. While the symbolism of this possible meeting shouldn’t be downplayed, observers also shouldn’t get their hopes up for unrealistic outcomes. A monumental meeting A news outlet disclosed that the country’s foreign minister, minister of external affairs, and other officials will also attend the prospective meeting, suggesting that their Russian counterparts will probably be in attendance as well. In the run-up to this event, the prospects look very promising for taking ...

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Vladimir Putin ‘snubbing’ Imran Khan – why all the fuss?

When Pakistan failed to secure a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent Belt and Road Forum, a report in the Express Tribune called it a major “diplomatic setback”. Sure, many would have expected Prime Minister Imran Khan to have at least had a casual meet up with the president of Pakistan’s new “regional ally on Afghanistan,” however, it seemed that Putin had other, and more important, commitments. In light of this failure, should it really be seen as a major “diplomatic setback”? Sure, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is already going through a series of governance and public ...

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Why did Pakistan release Indian prisoners when India is not interested in peace?

US President Ronald Reagan was fond of using the Russian proverb “Doveryai, no proveryai” (trust, but verify). If Prime Minister Imran Khan hasn’t heard of this then he has probably seen the movie, The Italian Job, where the heist gang’s mantra is to trust everyone but not the devil inside them. In the interest of honesty, PM Imran must understand that India is not just the devil from inside, for the rhetoric emanating from within it is absolutely devilish as well. Pakistan has now released 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, in four phases as a goodwill gesture amidst very tense relations between the ...

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Is Marvel another tool for the US to project its power?

One major pop culture phenomenon taking over the world today is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Based on comic books created by Stan Lee in 1961, the MCU has come out with several movies, TV shows, short films and digital series since 2008, with its films alone generating revenue of over $17 billion worldwide. I have been an absolute fan of both the comics and the movies for almost seven years now, primarily because the MCU combines action, drama, science fiction, romance, friendship, history, diversity, extra-terrestrial life forms and politics in a single platform. That being said, I am also a ...

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How the Kashmir crisis threatens Russia’s interests in Pakistan and India

The world watched with bated breath as Pakistan and India narrowly escaped full-blown military conflict last week. But the Kashmir crisis demonstrates more than a bitter dispute between two nations. This volatile frontier provides a springboard from which a historic rivalry between two nuclear states could culminate, with potentially seismic consequences for its surrounding neighbours. Moscow’s readiness to mediate the tensions therefore comes as no surprise, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcoming Russian Foreign Minister Viktorovich Lavrov’s offers to host talks. As an ally of both countries, pressure mounts on Russia in particular, to abate tensions in ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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With a possible rise of the Taliban regime, should Afghanistan’s neighbours be worried?

When US President Donald Trump, in his uncanny political demeanour, announced he had decided to pull out half the US military personnel from Afghanistan, not many people, even within his own defence establishment, anticipated such an abrupt announcement. However, the buck didn’t just stop there! Trump further asked Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional players, including India, Pakistan and Russia to play an active role in “rebuilding Afghanistan”. He is of the view that it is the duty of Afghanistan’s neighbours and not the US to fight the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS). However, staying true to his (lack of) ...

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