Stories about United States

The US may withdraw its troops from Syria but the war is far from over

Not too long ago, US President Donald Trump shocked the world when he made the announcement that just this once, the US would decide to act in accordance with international law. The announcement in question was that US troops stationed in Syria would now be returning home to their families. This declaration in turn shocked what has become a war-loving media that never once questioned America’s military presence in a sovereign nation to begin with. Not many Americans appear to know this (nor do they appear to care, by some accounts) but the US military has occupied approximately one third of Syria for some time now. Conveniently, the ...

Read Full Post

How the US pushed Pakistan into the arms of China and Russia

The US has always had a curious but quietly spoken relationship with Pakistan. At one point, Pakistan was the third largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving over $3.5 billion from the US in 2011 alone. While this aid has been steadily decreasing since the aforementioned peak in 2011, US-Pakistan relations took a sharp turn for the worse at the beginning of this year when US President Donald Trump decided to herald in the new year by launching a Twitter tirade against Pakistan. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 ...

Read Full Post

“Nothing changes here! Pakistan was, is, and will always be the same”

In 2015, I left to pursue my Fulbright scholarship aspiring to conquer the world and change the landscape of research in Pakistan. I have always found the general pessimism that prevails in our country to be severely problematic. For instance, how we as a country lack unity amongst ourselves and can never rise above gender differences, religious discrimination amongst the people and the innate negativity against the government. Two years of Fulbright gave me a whole new perspective on life. I discovered a world where things such as age, race, colour, gender and other such superficial constructs were irrelevant and ...

Read Full Post

The war on Twitter: Did Imran Khan just school Donald Trump on foreign policy?

In the one-on-one tirades between state premiers that now often substitute bilateral exchanges between nations, I tend to find free entertainment. However, when President Donald Trump recently poked Prime Minister Imran Khan by once again downplaying Pakistan’s role in the War on Terror, and the latter took the cue to respond with a fitting rejoinder, it wasn’t the average Twitter war that ensued. Before getting into what exactly catalysed the quick escalation of this heated exchange, something needs to be set in stone. Trump has become the face of the rapidly emerging ‘Twitter politics’, having personally typed many of the ...

Read Full Post

Banned Books Week: Rahi Masoom Raza’s fight to never stop swearing

This week (September 23rd-29th) is being celebrated as the Banned Books Week around the world, especially in the United States, where this tradition took inception during the Ronald Reagan era back in 1982. Concerned about violation of freedom of speech, rights activists raised the issue of banning books and their censorship, as well as the persecution of writers. Hence, it was decided that every year, the last week of September would be celebrated as the Banned Books Week. Perhaps it is no coincidence that International Translation Day falls immediately after Banned Books Week, on September 30th. At least for this humble scribe, ...

Read Full Post

Tough guy syndrome: Ragging is not ‘shugal’ or some rite of passage – it has consequences

Underneath Barry Block’s ominous tress, at the grand Aitchison College, the “premier school in Pakistan”, they stand in a row. Five of them, those unimportant, annoying juniors. “Murgha ban kar beth jao saare ab,” the seniors order. (All of you sit in the chicken position now)   “Yeh tumhara baap hai. Tameez se beth, aur Sir ya Daddy bol. Yaar nai hain hum teray,” another senior exclaims pointing towards one of his batch mates. (This is your father. Respect him. Call him Sir or Daddy. We’re not your friends.) Amongst the hundreds of crises that every teenager faces, there are many fuelled by ignorant, toxically ...

Read Full Post

Considering torture is illegal as per US law, how is a brutal torturer appointed as the new CIA chief?

The CIA occupies an almost mythic space in the minds of those of us who watch Hollywood movies. Time and again, we come across movies that show a direct link between the CIA and various atrocities around the globe. Movies such as the Bourne series and the Mission: Impossible series bubble up plenty of theories regarding how the CIA operates. Specifically for Pakistan and the Muslim world in general, such movies are proof for drawing room analysts that the CIA has a one-point agenda: defeat the Muslims. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty showed a heroic account of the CIA ...

Read Full Post

Will Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un finally take their thumbs off the nuclear button?

Much of the world is still coming to grips with the news that US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un. Fortune described the news as being “nothing short of a miracle”, which aptly describes how the rest of us, who do not want a nuclear holocaust, feel. That being said, it must be asked, what is behind Trump’s intention of meeting with Kim, and why now, at this particular juncture in history? It wasn’t too long ago that reports were emerging that the US was secretly considering a direct military strike on North ...

Read Full Post

Afghanistan can accept the Taliban, but not recognise the Durand Line?

In an unprecedented move, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani surprised the world by proposing peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. He made this offer in his opening speech at the Kabul Process Conference, which was attended by the representatives of around 25 countries, signalling a major policy shift from his earlier belligerent stance. Ghani expressed his government’s willingness to accept the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and insinuated that factions of the Taliban will have to recognise the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, suggesting, “We are making this offer without preconditions in order to lead to a peace agreement.” The Taliban, who dominate a ...

Read Full Post

The Pakistan Army and Iran: A new dawn or a message for the Saudis?

The Pakistan Army has been drawing closer to Iran under its new chief, General Qamar Bajwa. Is Pakistan moving out from under Saudi Arabia’s orbit? Something quite remarkable happened with regards to Pakistan’s defence diplomacy recently – Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, made an official trip to Iran. It was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief in almost three decades. General Pervez Musharraf visited; not in his capacity as head of the armed forces, but rather as a president attending a regional summit. Similarly, General Raheel Sharif visited in January 2016, but it was just for a couple of ...

Read Full Post