Memo to TIME magazine: The Problem is not Manmohan

Whatever Singh’s own faults as a government leader, India’s economic malaise is due to more basic problems.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on the receiving end of a barrage of slings and arrows these days.  The most recent salvo comes from Time magazine, whose Asian edition this week has a cover story labeling him “The Underachiever.”  But his detractors are off target: Whatever Singh’s faults as a policymaker, India’s economic malaise is due to more basic problems. Continue reading

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Who’s Sorry Now?

The agreement reopening NATO supply routes lays bare Pakistan’s strategic isolation.  But is anyone in Islamabad paying attention?

Some are spinning last week’s deal ending Pakistan’s seven-month closure of key NATO supply routes into Afghanistan as a triumph of Islamabad’s resolve.  The reverse is much closer to the mark, however.  Pakistan overplayed its hand in this affair, underscoring once again just how strategically isolated it has become.  The key issue is whether the country’s security managers have learned anything from the episode. Continue reading

Moment of Truth in New Delhi

We’ll soon find out whether Prime Minister Singh can salvage something positive from his last two years in office

A previous post focused on the recent political crisis in Pakistan that resulted in Prime Minister Gilani’s removal and in the process further destabilizing the civilian government as well as complicating efforts to repair spiraling U.S.-Pakistan relations.  As this drama was playing out, political intrigues were also afoot in New Delhi.  Although it is too soon to know for sure, they might just prove cathartic and allow Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to shake off the policymaking torpor of the last three years. Continue reading

The “Smart Power” Approach toward Pakistan Needs Work

Winning over Pakistani hearts and minds is proving difficult

Photo credit: The Associated Press

Two new reports provide further insight into the breakdown of U.S.-Pakistan relations.  The first, put out by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, charts the growing hostility of Pakistani public opinion toward the United States.  The second, issued by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a respected non-governmental organization, argues that the record level of military and civilian assistance the U.S. provides Pakistan has failed to deliver much in the way of counter-terrorism dividends or help advance the country’s fragile democratic transition.  Taken together, both call into question the implementation of the Obama administration’s “smart power” approach toward Pakistan, which was suppose to balance the use of military force with the tools of diplomacy and development. Continue reading