Rising violence, targeted and random, has become a fact of life in Pakistan today. It threatens the country's political and economic future—and there still does not appear to be a strategy to stop it.

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For the last year, piracy in East Africa has captured the world’s attention, as evidenced by the more than a dozen countries’ warships deployed to the Gulf of Aden and the Somali basin. This includes unprecedented out-of-area naval deployments for the European Union, NATO, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. In spite of this, naval action hasn’t reduced the number of pirate attacks this year, which already exceeds 2008 levels. (See this earlier post for more on why navies fail to end piracy .)

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A United Nations panel has ordered a run-off in Afghanistan's presidential election, ruling that Hamid Karzai got less than fifty percent of the legitimate ballots cast and that nearly a third of the votes previously counted were fraudulent.  It remains to be seen how Karzai and the West will respond.\

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A Talib is a male student who is attending or who has graduated from a madrassa and can recite the Koran in Arabic by heart. To learn Arabic and use the language of the prophet to recite in rhythmic tones the entire Koran's 114 chapters and 6,236 verses takes about 10 years. By the time a Talib graduates at 16, he knows little else, except that the Earth is flat as a rug or a bed (mentioned many times in the holy book with one exception when it is described as egg-shaped). Most important in a Talib's one-dimensional education is the firm belief that America, India and Israel are mortal enemies of Islam.

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Just three weeks ago, the International Olympics Committee signaled that a new era in international affairs had finally begun. By eliminating Chicago a personal appeal by President Obama, the IOC subtly told the United States that its unipolar moment was over. Instead, future international affairs will be dominated by different regional power centers-the European Union, China, India, and Brazil. Just as much as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was China’s coming out party, the 2016 games in Rio would be Brazil’s. Analysts and commentators interpreted this as another nail in the coffin of U.S. soft power. Many of the arguments are based on Paul Kennedy’s argument in the Rise and Fall of Great Powers and accept the inevitability of American decline.

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To the traditionally skeptic Czechs, the idea of the ballistic missile defense system was never an easy sell for the Bush administration.  Even Alexander Vondra, a leading Czech Atlanticist under Vaclav Havel who pushed for Euro-Atlantic integration, could not convince the public of the merits of the radar base planned for the Czech Republic.

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Derek Reveron’s “In Search of Strategy” is an excellent piece on a subject that deserves more attention.  It brought to mind the definition laid out Everett Dolman’s Pure Strategy: “strategy, in its simplest form, is a plan for attaining continuing advantage.”

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Joe Biden is reportedly the Obama administration's biggest opponent to escalation in Afghanistan, arguing internally that our current strategic priorities are seriously out of kilter.

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It is generally a bad sign for a Secretary of State so early in an administration to have to come out and deny that they have been marginalized by the White House, as Hillary Clinton felt compelled to do the other day. The denial itself serves as confirmation of the fact.

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The announcement of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize has thus far been met mostly with consternation in Europe. As in the U.S., most commentators view his intentions positively but consider the award to be premature, with the President not even a year into his term and having few concrete accomplishments to his name.

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