The Trump administration’s options for Afghanistan

Brian M Downing Armies have come and gone from Afghanistan over the centuries. Alexander came through, saw no reason to stay, then wheeled south into the Indus valley, which he mistook for the Nile. A British army under WGK Elphinstone was annihilated in 1842 as it retreated from Kabul toward 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 …

Donald Trump goes deeper into the Middle East

Brian M Downing  Candidate Trump promised a more aggressive fight with ISIL and a return to military victories. He has not thus far disappointed supporters of tougher stances in world affairs. In the last month, a few hundred marines took up positions around ISIL’s Syrian capital of Reqqa, an unspecified 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 …

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 …

The House of Saud tries to modernize (at last)

The House of Saud tries to modernize (at last) Brian M Downing Saudi Arabia has announced bold economic moves. Weeks ago Riyadh floated the idea of selling shares in its oil industry to shore up cash reserves, and more recently it announced an ambitious program of building an industrial base. This, the Read More …

The emerging Eurasian triad and its importance for democracy and world affairs

Not long ago, American power and beliefs appeared unchallenged in the world. The Soviet Union was gone, generals in developing nations were heading back to the barracks, and democracy was everywhere on the rise. We had, in the famous words, reached the end of history. Open economic and political systems Read More …