As the U.S. and its European counterparts pursue engagement amid the post-election strife in Iran, continued violence between the Iranian government and Jundullah threatens to further inflame regional tensions and provide an outlet for extremist forces seeking respite from U.S. and Pakistani operations in the tribal areas.
One of my great frustrations in becoming more involved in the debate over Afghanistan policy and the utility of population-centric counter-insurgency (COIN) theory is how ruthlessly the pro-escalation side of the debate has sought to caricature the position of the skeptics.
No matter what the pundits and the election commission says after tomorrow’s elections in Afghanistan, one thing seems clear : we know who has won. It is the people of Afghanistan. Rather than hurl rockets or grenades at each other, they have debated and traded arguments. Rather than picking up arms, they have clicked on to the computer and the TV screens to watch what the candidates were saying. And their disparate and distinct voices are being heard. The fact that we have an election taking place, despite all the constitutional and other difficulties and the threats from the Taliban is victory enough for the Afghan people. And, if the election goes to a second round, the victory will be even greater.
How do you transform the International Monetary Fund, an institution until recently widely criticised for its lack of legitimacy and representativeness, on the verge of irrelevance, into the international community’s premier tool for fighting the global crisis?
With the dispute over the fairness of the recent Iranian presidential resolved–if not to everyone’s satisfaction–and the Iranian government’s response to demonstrators against the outcome repressed–once again not to everyone’s satisfaction–news about Afghanistan has pushed Iran off the front pages of American concern in the Middle East. But Iran is still there, and it is still a matter of concern.