Articles

CARTOGRAPHICAL CONCEPTIONS of Asia obscure what, in strategic terms, is a “Greater Asia.” It stretches from eastern Iran through Central Asia and South Asia to Indonesia, and from the Aleutian Islands to Australia, encompassing the Russian Far East, China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is connected by multifarious transactions, cooperative and adversarial, resulting from flows of trade and investment, energy pipelines, nationalities that spill across official borders, historical legacies that shape present perceptions, and shifting power ratios, within and among states. This is not a closed system; after all, many Greater Asian states are closely tied to the United States, a non-Asian Pacific state whose prowess enables it to shape power balances and political and military outcomes across the region. Yet America will face unprecedented changes in the distribution of power in Greater Asia’s eastern theater and disruptions in the western theater, as domestic constraints—economic and political—curtail its choices. That, in turn, will necessitate strategic reassessments by states in the region, particularly those that have relied on American protection. All this will undermine long-standing analytical frameworks and policies.

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As Pakistan's government was preparing to present the National Energy Policy 2013-18 to the Council of Common Interest (CCI), the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) was placing advertisements in major newspapers in KP during the holy month of Ramadan, exhorting the faithful that stealing electricity is a sin. Seeking divine help may now be the only way to stop electricity theft—a major obstacle in stemming power load shedding that results in blackouts up to twenty hours a day in most parts of the country.

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This article is adapted from a speech to the United States Navy Strategic Discussion Group on August 21, 2013.

This dialogue is vital and while tonight’s topic is “Too Many Archdukes, Too Many Bullets,” I will manfully try to focus on what this means for the Pentagon and for maritime and naval forces.

The headline or takeaway is that unlike past naval revolutions that were largely technologically driven by transitions from sail to steam; iron to steel; muzzle to breach loading; coal to oil; surface to air and submarine; nuclear power; and precision strike, maritime forces must respond to tectonic changes in the international system in which the adversaries are less enemy armies, navies and air forces but broader challenges to security and stability that are neither conducive and often resistant to military solutions.  Further, a fiscal tsunami looms. More about both to follow.

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The man appointed to run the most vital ministry in the Iranian government has more than three decades of experience in the inner sinews of the Islamic Republic, with a track record of turning limitations into opportunities and using less confrontational rhetoric than other Iranian officials.

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