Vivian Salama at PostGlobal

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University. Close.

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award-winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. more »

Main Page | Vivian Salama Archives | PostGlobal Archives

May 7, 2009 1:03 PM

Pakistan's Biggest Threat Isn't Foreign

Ask 10 Pakistanis what the cause of their country's security breakdown is, and you are likely to hear at least 10 answers. One of the most widespread beliefs is that Pakistan's problems, much like those of neighboring Afghanistan, were caused by foreign entities - or, more specifically, foreign meddling in domestic affairs.

Regardless of how bad the situation may appear, many I've spoken with here in Pakistan are skeptical that any foreign players know how to solve Pakistan's domestic problems. But after what I've seen here, I disagree.

Pakistan is in dire need of the proper financing to get it back on its feet and help it address the economic and social problems that might be causing its downfall. However, if the United States has a genuine desire to see a stable Pakistan, then President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must distance themselves from the shortsighted policies of the Bush administration, whether that be military assistance or occasional drone attacks. Recovery can only come in the form of hefty economic development and an overhaul of Pakistan's outdated infrastructure. We saw one positive step in this direction this week: the trade and transit agreement signed by Pakistan and Afghan leaders in Washington on Wednesday aimed at increasing commerce and foreign investment.

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March 18, 2009 11:59 AM

Pakistan Needs A Coalition Government

The Current Discussion: With President Zardari forced to reverse his bans on political opponents, is Pakistan on the brink or is this a positive sign? What, if anything, can the West do to help maintain stability and democracy?

In less than one month, Pakistan's government has conceded not once, but three times, to challengers both political and militant in nature. Those concessions have raised concerns about Pakistan's vulnerability and its inability to suppress its growing militant problem or prevent violent disputes with the opposition.

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December 30, 2008 3:24 PM

Israel's Merciless Reputation

Israel's deadly response on Hamas and an already beleaguered Gaza Strip is increasingly looking like retaliation for the unexpected resistance campaign headed by Hezbollah in 2006 and less like a strategic counterattack against Hamas militants. The timing of the attack, when U.S. President George Bush is leaving office, the global economy is in crisis, and many in the Western world are celebrating the new year, suggests that Israel waited to choose an ideal time to wage this unforgiving show of strength.

It can be suggested that the build-up to this crisis in the Middle East began in 1967, when Israel earned itself a reputation - regionally and globally - as a military power to be reckoned with. In just six days, Israeli Defense Forces advanced to the edge of the Suez Canal, and in one foul swoop, gained control of Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the whole of Jerusalem.

It was not until the Yom Kippur War of 1973 that Israel's military would fall from grace, not by a decisive defeat or loss of land, but more symbolically in the face of a somewhat attenuating Arab military resistance.

In 2006, Israeli forces launched an unforgiving attack on Hezbollah strongholds in Southern Lebanon responding to the abduction of IDF officers both in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip. The savvy and unexpected resistance campaign orchestrated by Hezbollah fighters during the month-long war earned the group global recognition, with the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed a hero across the Muslim world.

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December 16, 2008 5:07 PM

India's Greatest Ally: Pakistan

Several weeks ago, I made the acquaintance of a high-ranking Indian military official who was passing through Abu Dhabi. Our meeting coincided with reports of U.S. air strikes on targets in Pakistan near to the Afghan border. During our candid discussion, the attaché pounded his fist over the desk, insisting that any attack on Pakistan inevitably hurts India. "Target Pakistan and you send shockwaves into India," he said.

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November 6, 2008 2:24 PM

Fix the Domestic Economy

The last sip of celebratory champagne is now gone, and so, without a moment's delay, it is imperative for President-elect Barack Obama to assemble a strong strategic transitional team that can work to heal the wounds of a disillusioned America. A carefully selected team must coordinate with the Bush administration in ensuring a smooth and effective handover. Traditionally the President-elect has stayed out of the spotlight in the two-and-a-half months prior to his inauguration. However, in the words of Senator Hillary Clinton, never have we had as "lame duck" a president as George W. Bush.

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July 31, 2008 4:01 PM

Queen, Comedians Use YouTube To Fight Stereotypes

If I had a nickel for every time somebody has asked me if I walk like an Egyptian, I'd be well into retirement!! Apparently, I'm not alone.

A team of Middle Eastern-American comedians has banded together, with the help Jordan's Queen Rania, to promote an awareness campaign against stereotypes. The video released this week is just the latest installment on Her Majesty's YouTube channel geared toward encouraging global dialogue to counter racism, violence and hate. "Queen Rania: The YouTube Queen," as the project is called, encourages viewers to express their opinions of the Middle East and discuss the stereotypes they believe or have experienced.

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February 25, 2008 1:52 PM

Kosovo's Emotional Problems

The Current Discussion: Are the U.S. and Europe right to recognize Kosovo and continue to poke Russia with a stick?
In the summer of 2006, I rode a bus through the winding mountain roads from Sarajevo to Podgorica sitting next to a young Montenegrin studying medicine in Bosnia. It was his first trip home since his country gained its independence. While many believed Montenegro's secession from Serbia was inevitable, the young man spoke of his country using the kind of poetry one might use to describe their lover. However, shortly into his epilogue about the future of his country, our discussion turned to Kosovo. His opinions surprised me. "It will be very sad if Kosovo wins its independence but in this political atmosphere, I don't see any way that Kosovo can become part of Serbia," he told me. "Kosovo brings too many emotional problems to Serbia."

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February 6, 2008 12:11 PM

Speak Softly, Carry a Big Checkbook

The Current Discussion: China's on a resource-buying spree, most recently paying US$13 billion for a stake in an Australian mining company. Is this a threat to your nation and its economy? To the world's?

The late Middle East historian Albert Hourani once wrote
"[He] who rules the Near East rules the world; and he who has interests in the world is bound to concern himself with the Near East." For more than half a century, the United States has made its interests apparent to the world via a clash of political and economic endeavors. Business interests have been pursued under a veil of democracy which, when imposed, have the potential to spark the type of blowback we are witnessing today.

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January 31, 2008 2:24 PM

Change, Yes, But Cut the Rhetoric

Unlike many countries in the world, America is no stranger to change. However, when change is coupled with incompetence, as we have seen in recent years, the results are disastrous. The last 10 years of American politics have been tainted by everything from sex scandals to wars, cover-ups to erroneous intelligence. The globalization machine has engulfed us in its belly at an uncontrollable rate and we, as a declining superpower, have not exhibited the maturity to receive some of the rapid, all-encompassing changes as have many countries in the developing world.

As an American born on the cusp of generations X and Y, I can honestly say that the bulk of my adulthood has been packed with uninspiring and often baffling politics. We could use a lot of change right now, but what we really need is competence, honesty and someone to inspire this nation to get back on its feet.

The economy is faltering in ways I have never experienced in my adult life. Our servicemen and women are dying in the name of freedom and liberation as are those we have supposedly sought to liberate. American politicians continue to lose popularity on the international and domestic stages while the leaders pegged as public enemies win over the hearts and minds of people around the world.

This nation is ripe for a change for the better. However, we must not mistake a change in the gender, race or religion of the Commander-in-Chief as one that ensures a better, more secure future. The most recent media blitz surrounding the remaining candidates – but particularly Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton – has clouded some key competency issues. I hope that Super Duper Tuesday (Feb. 5) will narrow the field of candidates and give way to true electoral scrutiny without the tongue-in-cheek politicking that has painted the past few weeks.

Change is healthy – that is, real change, not just rhetorical. The competence of American leaders, however, is an absolute imperative particularly in a world shrinking at the hands of globalization.

January 14, 2008 8:26 PM


The Current Discussion: Australians are voting online for a "Word of the Year" from a list of new words to be included in the dictionary: among the frontrunners, "Chindia", "globesity," and "password fatigue." Create your favorite new word of the year that tells us something about trends in your country.

I’d like to submit the following words for consideration.

Yanktipathy - [yank-tip-uh-thee] - noun. [Yankee + antipathy]
1. A natural, basic, or habitual repugnance of natives or inhabitants of the United States.
2. An instinctive contrariety or opposition in feeling to U.S. foreign policy, intervention, occupation, or the people responsible for it all. [see also CHENEY]
3. An object of natural aversion or habitual dislike to American social values, pop icons, fast food or sports.
4. Distaste for all things American, full stop.

Wiretrapped – [wahyuh r-trap-ing] – adjective [wiretap + trap]
1. A consequence of the U.S.-led War on Terror, describing the feeling by some to the surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) of persons within the United States incident to the collection of foreign intelligence.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.