The other conflicts in Afghanistan

Brian M Downing (A piece from 2010) The ongoing insurgency in the Pashtun regions of Afghanistan rightly commands attention, but it obscures a critical second conflict in the country. Long-standing antagonism between the non-Pashtun peoples of the north and the Pashtun people of the south are heading toward fissure. Paradoxically, Read More …

The Uighur movement and world politics in coming years 

Brian M Downing  Few people had heard of the Tuareg before the wars in Libya and Mali. The Kurds were better known but the fighting in Iraq and Syria brought them to prominence. The Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic people, will make themselves better known in coming decades. Chinese policies and Read More …

Can the US and China cooperate in Afghanistan?

Brian M Downing  Concern that North Korea is endangering regional security and prosperity is bringing unexpected cooperation between the US and China. An outcome isn’t at hand, nor is an era of Sino-American partnership in world affairs. However, the two powers, though at odds on matters of trade and territoriality, share Read More …

Russia and China look at Afghanistan

Brian M Downing  The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for fifteen years now. The conflict has been complicated by the rise of ISIL in the region. Its Afghan franchise, ISIL-Khorasan Province, has established itself in eastern Afghanistan, where it has coalesced with and recruited from other jihadi groups, including Read More …

President Trump faces the war in Afghanistan

President Trump faces the war in Afghanistan Brian M Downing  Throughout the presidential campaign Donald Trump proclaimed that he would see that America won again. Early in his presidency he will have to deal with the resurgent Taliban which as winter ends, will be beginning a new offensive. His national security Read More …

Pragmatism and ideology in President Trump’s foreign policy

Pragmatism and ideology in President Trump’s foreign policy  Brian M Downing  Americans are wondering just what the Trump presidency will bring. So are people around the world – the poor of Central America, leaders of ISIL and al Qaeda, European publics and leaders, and the elites of China and Russia. Read More …

The Islamic world continues to break apart – Pakistan

The Islamic world continues to break apart – Pakistan Brian M Downing Rand-McNally must be a busy place. Europe has seen the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia break apart; the Ukraine is being broken apart. The Islamic world has been even more tumultuous. The Sudan broke in two; Iraq is Read More …

Another fighting season in Afghanistan – and perhaps a decisive one

Another fighting season in Afghanistan – and perhaps a decisive one  Brian M Downing The Afghan war is seasonal. Fighting begins in the spring and relents in the early winter, though warmer weather this year protracted the fighting. Last year was the Taliban’s best showing in years. It demonstrated surprising Read More …