"The basic debate regarding whether U.S. efforts in the country should be focused on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism has always framed the Afghan state as incidental to Western aims and efforts. Why? A basic ignorance about Afghanistan and a profound unwillingness on the part of policymakers to address this intellectual illiteracy lie at the core of any answer," writes Benjamin Hopkins.
"Mr. Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has broken major stories, including the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This account purports to explain an elaborate conspiracy theory, and-–as I have written previously-–such stories sometimes contain elements of truth. Still, the issues of sourcing and substance suggest taking Mr. Hersh’s account with a healthy dose of salt," writes Michael Kugelman.
"When Prime Minister Abe took office at the end of 2012, he had two major goals: (1) shake the Japanese economy out the zombie-like state it had been in for 20 years, and (2) make Japan a 'normal' country with armed forces that could play an active role in support of Japanese interests...On the 'normal country' front he needed to rewrite the terms of the alliance with the United States so that Japan can become an active partner, not just a passive bystander. That is why the 'Defense Guidelines' will be major theme of Abe’s address to Congress," writes Marvin Ott.
When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the US, he will be the first Japanese head of state to address Congress in 54 years. We spoke with Shihoko Goto to learn more about plans and expectations for the Prime Minister’s visit.
"Saudi Arabia is maintaining its air offensive in Yemen, and Houthi rebels continue to stage assaults. But another crisis is raging in Yemen that could pose an existential threat to one of the world’s most troubled nations," writes Michael Kugelman.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrives in the United States this week with a full agenda: meetings with President Barack Obama, discussions with U.S. officials at Camp David, an address to Congress, and a trip to the United Nations. Here are four things to expect from his visit.
"Ghani may have many friends in Washington, both inside and outside government. Ultimately, however, it is his friends (and some foes) back in Afghanistan whom he will need to lean on if the country’s many challenges are to be overcome," writes Michael Kugelman.
The White House conference on violent extremism shouldn't "gloss over brutal attacks on minorities in the United States," says Michael Kugelman.
During recent speeches, high-level Chinese officials delivered seemingly contradictory messages about China’s intentions as a world power. Does China intend to challenge the current world order or does it simply want to play its role within the current structure?
Now that President Barack Obama has left India, the post-trip analysis can begin. Here are five chief impressions from Michael Kugelman.