How the US created, and lost, Afghan war

It was a typical Kabul morning. Malik Ashgar Square was already bumper-to-bumper with Corolla taxis, green police jeeps, honking minivans, and angry motorcyclists. There were boys sellingphone cards and men waving wads of cash for exchange, all weaving their way around the vehicles amid exhaust fumes. At the gate of the Lycee Esteqial, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, students were kicking around a soccer ball. At the Ministry of Education, a weathered old Soviet-style building opposite the school, a line of employees spilled out onto the street. I was crossing the square, heading for the ministry, when I saw the suicide … Continue reading How the US created, and lost, Afghan war

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan

For the second time in a generation, Afghanistan and its neighbours are facing the potential collapse of the Afghan state, and the consequences of this collapse for the region. When this occurred in 1992, the result was violent chaos, ethnic massacre, and the restoration of a form of state order by the Taliban – thereby ushering in the new chapter in Afghanistan’s tragedy that began in September 2001.  This time round, it is highly unlikely that the Taliban will be able to storm into power in Kabul – but at present, it seems equally unlikely that the Taliban and the … Continue reading The US withdrawal from Afghanistan

US sanctions bleed Iran’s health system

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi  Slowly but surely, in a scenario reminiscent of pre-invasion Iraq, unilateral Western sanctions on Iran are having devastating effects on Iran’s healthcare sector, adversely affecting the well-being of millions of ordinary Iranians – cancer patients first and foremost. [1]  According to the latest reports from Iran, despite a recent US easing of sanctions for the export of food and medicine to Iran, the current financial restrictions continue to prove a formidable obstacle for the delivery of medicine and medical equipment to Iran.  Not only that, the US and its allies have blocked an offer by the oil … Continue reading US sanctions bleed Iran’s health system

US Beating China at its own game?

The right kind of mistake By Benjamin A Shobert Interested in beating the China at its own game? A lot of Americans certainly are; but if the collapse of solar manufacturer Solyndra is any indication, policy makers in Washington just got badly burned at an attempt to have the American government play a similar role as the Chinese government does with clean technology investments. While the initial focus on the Solyndra deal will be specific to why this California company, which received some US$535 million in federal loan guarantees, went out of business and whether it received these loans because … Continue reading US Beating China at its own game?