US President Barack Obama’s June 24 meeting in Washington with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, focused mainly on trade and economics. They did not spend much time on security issues, such as Afghanistan. That means an opportunity to gain better mutual understanding about a crucial strategic matter may have been missed.
Many in the Muslim World have responded positively to Obama's speech, showing that there is a widespread desire there for improved relations with the United States. Many other Muslims, though, have reacted negatively. Their criticism, however, has focused less on what Obama said than on expressing skepticism over whether what he said can be implemented.
Even before he took the oath of office, US President Barack Obama indicated that he would explore ways to improve Iranian-American relations. How receptive Tehran will be to such an initiative remains unclear since the Iranians (as usual) are sending mixed signals on their desire to normalize relations.
Linkage is the time honored practice of getting another party's cooperation on an issue of importance to oneself by promising to help or threatening to hinder that other party on another issue of importance to it.
Pakistan, with approximately 159 million people, is one of the most populous countries in the Muslim world. It is also a country where radical Islamic ideas have attracted a broad following, and where Islamists already wield a significant amount of political influence. Could Pakistan succumb to an Islamic revolution? The likelihood may not be high -- at least over the near term.
Since the American-led coalition ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, Russia has been a bystander in efforts to stabilize Iraq. Many in Moscow even seem content that American forces are bogged down trying to contain the Iraqi insurgency, figuring that it buys time for Russia to restore its geopolitical influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Like virtually all Russians, Americans were shocked and outraged by the deaths of innocent children in the Beslan hostage tragedy just over one month ago. A troubling aspect, then, about Russian President Vladimir Putin's reaction to the tragedy was his implied suggestion that the West in general and United States in particular, somehow bore a significant share of the blame for the deaths.
Throughout the spring and summer, the Iranian government has vociferously denied any desire to develop nuclear weapons. Recent evidence subverting this denial has grown so solid, though, that policymakers should consider a different challenge. The question before diplomats and strategists is not whether Iran seeks nuclear arms.
This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for Part I. The Saudi monarchy has tried to convince the public in the Kingdom, and the larger Muslim world, that Riyadh can simultaneously be a US ally and the preeminent defender of Islam.
Bush Administration frustration with the United Nations Security Council is rising after three permanent members, including Russia, voiced objections to a US-sponsored draft resolution designed to contain Iraq's potential to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.