August 2008 Archives

Guest Voice  |  August 9, 2008 4:03 PM

Georgia's Risky Move

By Dmitri Trenin

For months, Russia's tactic was to prove to the west that Georgia was too irresponsible to be considered for admission to NATO. Georgia, for its part, sought to impress on the western publics and governments that Russia, in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, was an aggressor and occupier. All parties to the conflicts in the two breakaway regions tried to provoke the other side into "showing its true colors".

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Guest Voice  |  August 9, 2008 4:05 PM

Georgia's Miscalculation

By Anatol Lieven

I was in Georgia as a stringer for The Times (London) when the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict first erupted at the end of 1990, in the context of the gathering decay of the Soviet Union. I must say that I never could have imagined then that this obscure dispute would one day hold the potential for creating a major international crisis.

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Guest Voice  |  August 15, 2008 2:25 PM

Pakistan Politics on the Brink Again

By Shuja Nawaz

As Pakistan lurches into another paroxysm of power politics with the threatened impeachment and expected resignation of President Pervez Musharraf, the post-Musharraf picture is not as clear or rosy as the authors of this move may want it to be. The unelected leaders of the coalition government of the Pakistan Peoples' Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Messrs. Asif Ali Zardari and M. Nawaz Sharif respectively may yet find themselves facing a political mess even after Musharraf is gone. There is much that may yet split their on-again, off-again alliance and bring the country to the edge of a new political crisis. In the meantime, the country is sliding into economic chaos and there is no sign that the government has a credible strategy to cope with the impending disaster.

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Guest Voice  |  August 15, 2008 2:36 PM

If Musharraf Steps Down, Will Pakistan Step Up?

By Haider Ali Hussein Mullick

Expecting Pakistan to step up to its responsibilities to its people and the international community if Musharraf steps down is wishful thinking. Further still, Pakistan's bombastic democrats, surprisingly united against Musharraf and equally incompetent in dealing with staggering oil and food prices, and a rising militancy, should expect little with Musharraf's ouster. Al-Qaeda or the Taliban will not lay down their weapons, the budget deficit will not magically disappear, and the thousands protesting high food and energy prices, and rein of Supreme Court justices will not return home happily. For all of that to happen Islamabad's political leaders will have to set their priorities straight and work simultaneously, effectively and strategically toward policies to eradicate terrorism, poverty and a collapsing educational and health system. Without an effective multifaceted approach Islamabad will face failure and so will Kabul, Delhi and Washington.

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Guest Voice  |  August 29, 2008 11:25 AM

The Conflict We Chose

By Mark Weisbrot

Tensions between the United States and Russia have a long history, but one only need go back to the early nineties to see how our own government threw away its chance to have a better relationship with post-Communist Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1992, inflation in Russia was spiraling into the triple digits and the economy was collapsing. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, who was advising the government, offered a plan to get inflation under control which centered around stabilizing the exchange rate - a key element of a potentially successful anti-inflationary policy. To do this, though, it is necessary to have a good supply of foreign exchange reserves - i.e. dollars -- and Sachs thought he might get a commitment from the United States to provide these reserves. He was wrong. He didn't get the stabilization fund, nor the immediate suspension of interest payments, debt cancellation, or other aid he was seeking from the G-7.

Looking back on those events, Sachs later noted that "Richard Cheney, then the secretary of defense, and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, were drafting the controversial Defense Planning Guidance, which aimed to ensure long-term U.S. military dominance over all rivals, including Russia. . . "

"I had supposed in 1991 and 1992 that the United States would be rooting for Russia's success as it had been rooting for Poland's. With hindsight, I doubt that this was ever the case."

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Guest Voice  |  August 29, 2008 11:50 AM

Enabling Regime Change in Iran

By David Amess

Tehran's brazen approach to nuclear negotiations has been fueled in part by its thus-far correct presumption that the West does not have the resolve to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The West's strategic blunder is in its determination to pressure the regime into changing its behavior rather than to seek a long-term change of regime.

It is in the interest of the international community and financial markets for Iran to have a democratic stable government. This, however, cannot be achieved by foreign military intervention or maintaining the status quo as Tehran speeds up its illegal nuclear activities in defiance of the Security Council and the UN's nuclear watchdog.

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