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jerryking : vali_nasr   6

The Grand Strategy Obama Needs
SEPT. 10, 2014 | NYTimes.com | Vali R. Nasr.

What’s missing is a grand strategy — a road map not just for managing two crises but for ending them....But Eisenhower had a larger goal — not upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Cold War. Above all, he sought to avoid greater conflict, especially when he was trying to start arms control talks with Moscow.

In other words, he had a long-term global perspective.

By contrast, American policy today sees the world in fragments — ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Russia in Ukraine. But those crises have something important in common: Both trace to political fragmentation in weak states living within unsettled borders. That leaves those states prone to internal dissent, and America’s recent minimalist posture has given these brewing troubles room to explode into crises....American grand strategy should identify these weak countries before they turn on themselves; bolster their political mechanisms for living together in pluralism; declare our unyielding opposition to any outside forces that would seek to divide them. America’s military strength could assure the third part. The rest is work for our political and diplomatic experts.
Obama  Ukraine  strategy  geopolitics  '50s  Middle_East  Russia  strategic_thinking  nation_building  failed_states  long-term  weak_states  diplomacy  grand_strategy  roadmaps  Non-Integrating_Gap  Dwight_Eisenhower  crisis  Vali_Nasr 
september 2014 by jerryking
Hillary Clinton’s Diplomatic Legacy
February 11, 2013 | The New Yorker | by George Packer.

The criticism that there is no encompassing “Obama doctrine” misses the point. Geopolitics today is too complex, messy, and various to be bent to America’s will by an overarching doctrine like containment, or a massive initiative like the Marshall Plan, or a single breakthrough like Nixon’s trip to China. A doctrine was what put the country in a deep hole; climbing out required restraint, flexibility, and opportunism. A first-term Secretary of State with one grand strategic vision wouldn’t have matched the demands of the moment, which called for a fox, not a hedgehog....The standard debates in American foreign policy—realism vs. idealism, heavy footprint vs. light footprint—don’t get to the heart of the problem with Obama’s foreign policy. It’s not that diplomatic engagement is the wrong approach; it’s just that the President’s first four years have given us the idea of diplomacy more than the thing itself. In a forthcoming book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” Vali Nasr, a former adviser under Hillary Clinton and the late Richard Holbrooke, argues that, from North Africa to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the White House has relied too much on the military and the C.I.A. (mainly in the form of drones) to guide policy: “These agencies’ solutions were not, and could never be, a substitute for the type of patient, long-range, credible diplomacy that garners the respect of our allies and their support when we need it.” In Nasr’s view, a White House that feared being called soft and wanted to keep intractable foreign entanglements out of the news turned to Clinton only after things had fallen apart, as in Pakistan at the end of 2011, when she moved to repair a relationship that had degenerated into outright antagonism.

Obama and Clinton wanted to “pivot” away from the Middle East, toward the Pacific, but a bloody hand keeps reaching out to pull America back.
George_Packer  George_Marshall  U.S.foreign_policy  legacies  diplomacy  Middle_East  Mideast_Peace  Obama  Hillary_Clinton  geopolitics  Pakistan  complexity  messiness  restraint  flexibility  opportunism  U.S._State_Department  grand_strategy  Vali_Nasr  CIA  drones  Marshall_Plan  foxes  hedgehogs  long-range  books 
february 2013 by jerryking
In Pakistan, no more secrets -
May, 4, 2011 | The Washington Post | By Vali Nasr.

The CIA shattered Pakistan’s intelligence establishment’s confidence with its
ability to hunt and kill bin Laden right under the nose of the ISI. Yet
the ISI’s real worry is that the next item on the CIA’s agenda could be
one of the two Taliban leaders the .S. holds most directly responsible
for the insurgency in Afghanistan, and who are believed to be hiding in
Pakistan: Mullah Omar or Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of his eponymous
terrorist network. And if the CIA found bin Laden, then it could
probably find everything it wants to know about Pakistan’s nuclear
arsenal.

It has become clear that since 2009 the CIA has built an infrastructure
of intelligence gathering and operational capability that opened up
Pakistan’s underworld of jihadists, spooks and terrorists. There are no
more secrets. Worse yet, the United States can act at will to kill,
capture or destroy in Pakistan — even in an army town.
Afghanistan  CIA  covert_operations  duplicity  instrumentation_monitoring  ISI  OBL  Pakistan  secrets  security_&_intelligence  Taliban  Vali_Nasr 
may 2011 by jerryking
Shia Crescent rising
August 12, 2006, G&M book review by NADER HASHEMI of Vali Nasr's The Shia Revival:
How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future.
book_reviews  Sunni  Islam  conflicts  Shiites  sectarian  schisms  Vali_Nasr 
march 2009 by jerryking
A Faith Divided
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:01 A.M. EDT WSJ book review by MASOOD FARIVAR of Vali Nasr's "The Shia Revival."

Will Sunni-Shia war engulf the new Middle East?
book_reviews  Sunni  Islam  Shiites  sectarian  schisms  Vali_Nasr 
march 2009 by jerryking

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