8 July 2024

The UN’s Capitulation to the Taliban

Davood Moradian

In Afghanistan’s crowded scene of actors and accomplices, the United Nations has been an enduring and prominent presence. However, it has successfully insulated itself from public scrutiny and accountability. Its decision to exclude Afghan women and civil society representatives from the just concluded Doha conference, the third such meeting the U.N. has sponsored, may become a blessing in disguise by finally removing the facade of respectability, moral authority and competency from the U.N.

The U.N.’s role in the decades-long Afghan conflict is as old as the conflict itself. Just a few days after the Soviet Army’s occupation of Afghanistan, the U.N. Security Council issued its first resolution related to the country (No. 46) on January 9, 1980. Thereafter, Afghanistan has competed with Arab-Israeli conflicts on the number of related U.N. interventions, resolutions, and initiatives.

Unfulfilled Mission

The U.N.’s global role reflects its inherently contradictory structure and mission. It is pulled and pushed by three oppositional forces: Its member states, particularly the five permanent members of the Security Council; the human rights-centric U.N. charter, and the U.N.’s spiraling bureaucracies.

The View from Tehran | July 202

Ahmad Hashemi

Resistance Axis

News about Iran’s proxy network in the Middle East.

Iran Uses Afghan Immigrants to Improve Raisi Funeral Optics

The Iranian regime bused in Afghan migrants to inflate the number of attendees at the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s funerals in Qom, Tehran, Mashhad, and other cities. Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that over 100,000 Afghan migrants participated in Raisi’s funeral procession in his hometown of Mashhad.

Why it matters. The fact that the regime needed to mobilize Afghan migrants to create the impression of popularity is another sign of its weakness. Tehran routinely mobilizes foreigners, especially Shiites, to bolster its power at home. In 2022, credible reports stated that the Iranian regime mobilized Hashd al-Shaabi, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Lebanese Hezbollah members to assist Iran’s Basij paramilitary forces in their crackdown on Iranian protesters. As the Mullahs’ popularity continues to sink, the regime will rely more on proxies to shore up its power.

Taiwan Seeks to Escape Its History

Paul Heer

In his inauguration speech last May, Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, evoked the year 1624—when the Dutch East India Company established a fort on the island—as the year that “marked Taiwan’s links to globalization.” His theme was that since then, Taiwan has been an international entity and entrepot with a complex history of interaction with many foreign countries and other actors, including mainland China. Many Taiwanese, especially from Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), assert that Taiwan has “never been part of China,” and emphasize in particular that it has never been part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Since 2006, DPP administrations have issued textbooks that teach Taiwan’s history separately from Chinese history.

The importance of understanding this history is highlighted in a new book by scholar Sulmaan Wasif Khan, The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between. Khan’s narrative records that Taiwan was, in fact, part of the Chinese empire from 1683 to 1895—more than 200 years—because Emperor Kangxi decided that “the idea of a potentially hostile power offshore was not one he would countenance.” The island then became part of the Japanese empire for fifty years after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–5).

Self-Inflicted Harm: The Persecution Of Assange – OpEd

Ramesh Thakur

Free societies cannot exist without free speech. Nor can free societies survive without independent media able and willing to speak truth to power. Both these free speech pillars have been badly corroded over the last four years, as I argued in The Spectator Australia on 17 April 2021 and again in a Brownstone article on 15 March 2023. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March, by which time it had been detected in 114 countries and more than 4,000 people had died with the disease.

On 19 March, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared: ‘We will…be your single source of truth.’ Although Ardern was the only national leader to articulate the belief in governmental monopoly of health truth so baldly, almost all governments as well as the WHO acted on the same belief to impose draconian curbs on dissenting and critical voices for the next three years. The net result was to worsen the pathologies associated with lockdown, mask, and vaccine policies, ensuring that the cure has indeed turned out to be worse than the disease.

A tell-tale sign that China could be preparing for war

A telling similarity has been noticed between what Germany was doing before it invaded Poland in September 1939 and what China is doing now - stockpiling resources and raw materials. In the eastern Chinese port of Dongying, the start of 2024 has often seen several tankers docked simultaneously discharging Russian crude oil into a new 31.5 million barrel storage facility completed late last year, Reuters had reported in April. Traders said it was all part of a concerted and deliberate Chinese effort to build up strategic stockpiles for a perhaps uncertain future.

In a piece for international affairs and conflict blogging site "War on the Rocks" published April 17, Mike Studeman, former commander of the US Office of Naval Intelligence and intelligence and director of the US Indo-Pacific Command, argued that this was part of a much wider process. "Xi Jinping is preparing his country for a showdown," he wrote, describing the Chinese leader as "militarising Chinese society and steeling his country for a potential high-intensity war."
Part of that, he suggested, included building up strategic stockpiles of essential goods and resources, protecting China against the kind of sanctions imposed on Russia after its Ukraine invasion - or, indeed, a militarily enforced blockade as part of a regional or global war.

Now more experts think China is stockpiling resources and raw materials to prepare itself for a war, most likely an invasion of Taiwan which can embroil it into a long-drawn war.

When America and China Collided

Jane Perlez

On a sunny Sunday morning in April 2001, an American EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft was flying at 22,500 feet over international waters in the South China Sea when two Chinese F-8 fighter jets appeared. One of the F-8s, piloted by a lieutenant commander named Wang Wei, flew within ten feet of the spy plane’s left wing and saluted the crew before dropping back 100 feet.

Wang then approached a second time, flying within five feet and seeming to shout something at the American pilots. On a third advance, he got closer still—close enough to get pulled into one of the EP-3E’s propellers. The Chinese F-8 was sliced in half, killing Wang, whom state media would later refer to as a “revolutionary martyr.”

Shrapnel from the collision went flying in every direction, amputating the EP-3E’s nose, rupturing a wing tip, and damaging two of the four engines. The plane plummeted 8,000 feet in 30 seconds before the pilot, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Shane Osborn, managed to stabilize it.

China Is Finally Starting to Do Something About the U.S. Fentanyl Crisis

Brian Spegele

China is taking tentative new steps to help disrupt the global supply chain fueling the opioid crisis after intensifying criticism from the U.S. that its chemical factories are partly responsible for the deadly scourge.

After a long freeze in joint counternarcotics work between the countries, President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to resume cooperation at a summit in California last November. Since then, Chinese authorities have quietly shut down some sellers of precursor chemicals used by Mexican cartels to make fentanyl and say they are close to imposing new regulations sought by the U.S. on three additional chemicals.

Meanwhile, Chinese police, acting on U.S. intelligence, recently arrested a suspect the U.S. says was involved in money laundering for Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

“We are seeing some meaningful steps,” a senior Biden administration official said. “There is a lot more to do. But we are encouraged particularly by the actions of the last couple of weeks.”

The Decline and Fall of the Petrodollar?


Could changes to the longstanding “petrodollar” system undermine the greenback’s global dominance? For a half-century, the United States has sold advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom has denominated its oil sales in dollars. But now that Saudi Arabia is openly considering pricing oil sales in other currencies, rumors are afoot that this arrangement could unravel.

The US-Saudi relationship began in 1933, one year after the Kingdom was formally established. The Saudi monarchy granted Standard Oil exclusive rights to explore the country’s Eastern Province, and this partnership led to the formation of ARAMCO (the Arabian American Oil Company) in 1938, followed by the discovery of vast reserves. In the subsequent years, oil would fuel the US-led victory in World War II, powering tanks, ships, and aircraft.

Although Saudi Arabia was officially neutral in the war, the US government had begun to characterize it as a crucial security interest by 1943. In 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Saudi King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, and though their meeting was overshadowed by the Yalta Conference a few days earlier, it marked the beginning of an enduring strategic relationship between the two countries.

The Iran-Hezbollah Game Plan – OpEd

Neville Teller

Ever since October 7, egged on by Iran, Hezbollah has been escalating its cross-border clashes with Israel, while its leader Hassan Nasrallah has been stepping up his blood-curdling rhetoric, predicting Armageddon if Israel were to launch all-out war. Yet the truth is that Iran-Hezbollah would like nothing better. They have sound strategic reasons for not initiating formal armed conflict. So their tactic has been to ramp up the provocation, daring Israel to strike back and trigger war.

Iran learned a lesson from its abortive attempt at overwhelming Israel’s defenses on April 13. In its first-ever direct aerial assault, it sent some 170 drones, over 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles the 1,000 kilometers toward Israel. The Iranian leadership no doubt expected a massive military and propaganda triumph.

In the event the operation was a miserable failure. To supplement Israel’s Iron Dome defense, America and Britain sent jet fighters to help shoot down the missiles. At the same time Jordan refused to allow Iran to use its air space for the operation, while several Gulf States, among them Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, passed on intelligence about Iran’s plans. As a result about 99% of the aerial armada never reached Israel, and Iran learned that not only the West, but much of the Middle East disliked and distrusted it.

Saudi FM Calls For Sanctions On Israeli Officials Amid Gaza War

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has urged European nations to impose sanctions on Israeli officials violating international human rights laws as he warned that Israel’s war on Gaza was affecting the entire Middle East, including southern Lebanon.

“The situation in the Gaza Strip does not only affect the Palestinian issue but the entire region and contributes to further escalations, which is currently happening in southern Lebanon,” he said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a panel discussion titled “Wars and shadow wars: What are Europe’s options in the Middle East?” at the European Council on Foreign Relations meeting in Madrid.

Prince Faisal highlighted the international community’s silence on Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank that undermine the peace process in Palestine.

He said the least that European countries can do is condemn Israel’s failure to abide by its commitments.

How Sudan’s Wars Of Succession Shape The Current Conflict – Analysis

Alden Young

Sudan Today

Since fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the government-sponsored paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April of 2023, according to the International Rescue Committee at least 25 million people out of a total population of roughly 48.7 million are in need of basic humanitarian aid. The crisis is escalating with fighting spreading to new parts of the country. Perhaps 37 percent of the country is confronting acute food insecurity.[1] Other statistics are also dire. Nine million people have been displaced within Sudan, while 1.7 million have been forced to flee to other countries. Most of the receiving countries such as Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan are already vulnerable. Initially the conflict was most intense in the capital of Khartoum and in the western provinces of Darfur and Kordofan, but in the last few months it has also spread to regions like Gezira state, the traditional breadbasket of the country.[2] The International Rescue Committee reports that, “Sudan is now the country with the largest number of displaced people and the largest child displacement crisis in the world.”[3] Many migrants who are able to head to the eastern regions of Sudan hope to eventually transit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and from there potentially to other destinations.[4]

Ever since the outbreak of the conflict the international community has rallied to negotiate an end to the fighting. The United States and Saudi Arabia have teamed up to negotiate at least sixteen failed ceasefires, while the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and Egypt have all tried to develop alternative ceasefire and negotiating forums. In January, Mariel Ferragamo and Diana Roy assessed that “negotiation efforts were at a standstill.” [5]

The Surprising National Security Role of America’s “Best Idea”

Antonette Bowman

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguard, who once reportedly confronted a bear at a mountain retreat while Putin slept through the ordeal, was appointed secretary of the advisory State Council in May. Unfortunately, hostile Russian bear activity is not relegated to Moscow and its environs. The U.S. Intelligence Community warned in its 2024 Annual Threat Assessment that Russia is “a serious foreign influence threat," seeking to “sow domestic discord, including among voters inside the United States and U.S. partners around the world.”

To counter the foreign influence campaigns of Russia, China, and Iran and ensure the United States remains united, stable, and secure, the country must find ways to more effectively foster solidarity among its diverse and spirited people. The U.S. National Park Service (NPS), a federal agency more often associated with managing bear cubs and buffalo at Yellowstone than combating malign influence operations, can help. In its own grass-roots way, the NPS cultivates and sustains unity among Americans by providing democratic educational experiences for citizens from varying backgrounds, areas of the country, and socio-economic strata.

Is the precision revolution in warfare fading away?


Precision munitions have given the United States a decisive combat edge for 50 years. From Desert Storm to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, “one bomb, one kill” has become the expectation. As the United States passed this capability to Ukraine for its struggle with Russia, HIMARS with GMLRS, Excalibur 155 mm artillery shells, Ground-Launched Small-Diameter Bombs, and JDAMs have had an immense impact on the battlefield.

Yet, Russia has used electronic warfare, decoys, deception, and dispersion to render some useless. And that raises a potentially destabilizing question for the US military: What if precision location and guidance are losing their battlefield dominance in the face of countermeasures? If so, the United States will need to change its concepts of operations and acquisition strategies to hedge against the possibility of operations with diminished location capabilities.

Different makes us stronger: American diversity is a national security asset


There are many challenges facing the United States today that threaten the country’s global leadership and economic power. One of the most significant strategic challenges can be summed up as the Great Power Competition, where Russia represents an acute threat, and China, the premier pacing threat. Amidst these real-world challenges, the United States continues to have a special tool critical to its national security, and indeed, global leadership — the diversity of its people. The urgency that current threats pose requires U.S. policymakers to resist being drawn into self-defeating divisive politics. Instead, American diversity should be valued not only as an inherent good, but as a strategic asset.

The Great Power Competition is shaping up to be a race for technological dominance, and talent will be key to winning this race. America’s diverse untapped talent from populations typically underrepresented in technical fields presents a valuable asset that should not go unnoticed.

Historically, diverse communities have served as a core asset in advancing American dynamism and shaping American values. Decades of research shows that diverse teams build better products, diverse and inclusive companies deliver a stronger bottom line, and diverse militaries perform better on the battlefield. Indeed, uniting diverse, disparate communities as stakeholders, with shared destiny, is among the great triumphs of American culture. But persistent divisions and disparities have also left a great many communities among these same diverse populations — whether urban, rural, or tribal — vulnerable, lacking in resilience.

Can Starmer Save Britain?

Fintan O’Toole

Although the polls had been predicting it for many months, the result of the United Kingdom’s July 4 general election was nonetheless stunning. This was the worst performance in the 190-year history of the Conservative Party. It lost almost half its share of the vote and 250 parliamentary seats. One former prime minister (Liz Truss), nine cabinet ministers (including the secretaries of defense, education, and justice), and other prominent Conservative figureheads were unceremoniously ejected from the House of Commons by their constituents. This was a tidal wave of anger washing over not just outgoing prime minister Rishi Sunak but also the last 14 years of Tory rule, and it made landfall with a deafening roar.

Seldom in any democracy has a governing party gone so quickly from triumph—Boris Johnson won a huge majority in 2019—to disaster. The reasons are clear: a botched exit from the European Union, stark social and economic decline, institutional decay, a revolving door of ineffective and sometimes disastrous leaders, Johnson’s anarchic antics, and Truss’s ill-fated and short-lived experiment with extreme neoliberal economics. Over the last decade and a half, the widespread feeling that the United Kingdom was on its last legs was reflected in surging English nativism and Scottish, Welsh, and Irish separatism that in different ways threatened to pull the union apart. The voters have left the world in no doubt as to whom they blame for this malaise.

Michelle Obama: The Ultimate Joe Biden Replacement?

Jacob Heilbrunn

Hillary Clinton tried and failed. Now it’s up to another presidential spouse to try and crack the glass ceiling. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests that only one Democratic candidate would decisively trounce former president Donald J. Trump in November—Michelle Obama.

Obama laps all of her potential competitors, including Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Gretchen Whitmer. 50 percent of voters said that they would vote for Obama while 39 percent indicated they prefer Trump. For Obama, who has viewed the Biden camp with suspicion and refused to campaign for it, claiming the nomination would represent a measure of revenge for its treatment of her friend Kathleen Buhle, the ex-wife of Hunter Biden. Barack Obama has attended fundraisers for Biden but never in the company of his wife who also shunned a state dinner for Kenya’s president William Ruto in May, the first for an African president in 16 years.

Democrats and a goodly number of independent voters clearly see Obama as a kind of Wonder Woman—a demi-goddess of wisdom and strength who could use a magic lasso the gerontocratic patriarchy surrounding Biden, reuniting the Democratic party. The Harvard historian Jill Lepore, in her book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, has argued that she forms a kind of missing link in the story of feminism over the past century. Perhaps a fresh Obama candidacy could play a similarly pivotal role for the current one, beleaguered as it is on a number of fronts, ranging from abortion to equal pay.

Where The Ice Is Melting Between Beijing And Moscow – Analysis

Luke Coffey

It is obvious that the war in Ukraine has had consequences for Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, but they have been felt further afield too — for example, in the Arctic region.

China is not an Arctic state but aspires to a bigger role there. The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have created an opportunity for Beijing. For example, Western economic sanctions have resulted in new openings for Chinese companies in Russia, which means more cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in the Arctic region.

There is also a lot of ambition regarding energy cooperation in the Arctic, especially as Moscow looks for alternative energy markets now that it can no longer sell to its traditional customers in Europe. China is also now using Russian shipping lanes in the Arctic more than ever and the two have even signed an agreement to increase coastguard cooperation there.

Ukraine Military Situation: Russia Fortifying Newly Occupied Territory – Analysis

Can Kasapoğlu

Battlefield Assessment

As the Ukrainian Air Force awaits delivery of F-16 fighter aircraft, Russian forces struck Myrhorod Air Base in Poltava Oblast, reportedly destroying at least one Ukrainian Su-27 fighter and damaging other aircraft. The attack demonstrated that Russia possesses the advanced tactical intelligence and strike capabilities to conduct real-time drone reconnaissance over a target area before hitting it with SS-26 Iskander ballistic missiles. To combat these capabilities, Ukraine needs to hone a strategy to base and fly the NATO-grade airpower it is soon to receive.

Last week Russia also continued to push along multiple axes, focusing on critical hotspots including Kharkiv, Chasiv Yar, and areas adjacent to the Russian-held city of Avdiivka. On the front in southern Ukraine, Russian forces continued offensive efforts near Zaporizhzhia but failed to register meaningful territorial gains.

Fighting was deadlocked along the Kharkiv axis, where Russia faces a costly but sustainable war of attrition. The Kremlin has deployed additional personnel to the front lines to mitigate heavy losses in some of its most important units, such as the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV). Moscow is also taking losses in strategically important units such as the Phoenix engineering battalion, a key combat formation that specializes in drones and mines, which has reportedly mined northern Kharkiv to deny territory to the Ukrainian military. Unsurprisingly, Russia’s storm units, which it often uses as cannon fodder, also took heavy casualties.

Beyond Missiles: Could Israel’s Laser Weapons Rewrite Rules Of Air Defense? – Analysis

Girish Linganna

Israel’s advanced Iron Beam high-energy laser weapon system will not be operational ahead of schedule, even with the growing threat of a full-scale war with Hezbollah on its northern border with Lebanon. Israel’s Defense Ministry and industries are working hard to speed up deployment of the Iron Beam, but the earliest this unique air defence system will be ready is still end-2025. This timeline has been set for a while, according to Newsweek.

Gideon Weiss, head of international marketing and business development for Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, said the timeline for the Iron Beam remained unchanged since October. According to Newsweek, it is still expected to be operational by next year-end. Israel’s Defense Ministry told the news outlet that the government and Israeli industries were doing their “best to speed up any resolutions for the current conflict, tailored to combat needs and battlefield conditions.”

Israel, now almost nine months into an all-out war in Gaza after Hamas’s surprise attacks on October 7, is also facing pressure from Hezbollah, which is advancing from southern Lebanon into Israel’s northern towns and villages. The Tehran-backed group has stated it is launching drones, rockets and missiles into northern Israel to support Hamas after Israel vowed to eliminate the latter from the Gaza Strip.

Fixing the Military Requires a Dying Art Called 'Leadership'

Kurt Schlichter

On this Independence Day, we all know our military has been shattered into fragments of what it was back in the early 1990s, when it was the undisputed most lethal force on earth and certainly one of the greatest armies in human history. America’s victory in Desert Storm, nearly forgotten by a force now more concerned with the strategic threat allegedly posed by warm weather and with catering to the gender-delusional, was on par with the victories of Hannibal, Alexander, and Caesar. That’s no exaggeration. A Cold War military that spent decades ready to hold the Fulda Gap against the red hordes annihilated a nation’s entire military in 100 hours and barely broke a sweat. But today, our military is a disaster. It can’t win wars and it can’t even convince normal Americans to join or stay very long if they do. This disaster has to be undone, and only a Trump victory can do that. Another Biden term and it’s over, but after President Golem botched the debate we have a good chance of getting Trump 2.0 and a shot at rescuing our men and women in uniform from the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon.

So, how do you go about fixing the Pentagon?

You start with leadership. Not just shinier stuff. Not smarter policies. Not better plans. Good, solid, old-fashioned leadership. That’s the key.

AI Drones Threaten U.S. Forces

Owen West

When it comes to weapons, the Pentagon favors quality over quantity. The theory is that expensive high technology is superior to mass production. For 30 years this was supported by battlefield evidence.

Then America’s adversaries reduced costs and scaled drones. The kamikaze drone has emerged as the most startling change in warfare in decades, disproving the Pentagon’s thesis. Ukraine set a target to manufacture a million drones this year to keep up with Chinese and Iranian supplies to Russia—and it’s telling that Russia replaced its defense minister with an economist fixated on drones.

Do More With Less, or It’s Okay To Fail

Daniel Reedy

Recently a former coworker and I have been having conversations about leadership in the Air Force. Despite him being an active duty officer, and me being a former Non-Comissioned Officer in the Air National Guard, our views align pretty closely. One of our more recent discussions was on the ever present phrase, “Do more with less.” This got me thinking about intent versus application. Let me tell you, these aspects are drifting further apart every day.

When I typically hear someone in leadership mention "Do more with less" they usually mean we’re either losing resources but responsibility is staying stagnant, or resources remain stagnant while responsibility grows. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality that Airmen face day to day. The Air Force has a problem of taking away resources while simultaneously adding responsibility to its people. We’ve seen multiple years of failing to hit recruitment goals, with retention being problematic as well. Despite problems with readiness rates across the force, the Air Force approved over 800 Airmen to voluntarily separate in 2021 as part of a voluntary force management program. On top of this, standards have been intermittently lowered for incoming Airmen, resulting in less skilled Airmen requiring additional work to become proficient in their career field. Just one example of this is the recent change to the 1N0X1 Operations Intelligence course being reduced from six months to just three, in addition to the ever-changing length of BMT.

Our Weakness Invites Aggression

Dave Hoppe

The turmoil caused by President Biden’s weak performance last Thursday continues to swirl. Most of the attention has been given to the political question of whether he should remain as the Democratic nominee for President. This is the wrong question. If President Biden is not fit to be the Democratic candidate for President, how can he possibly be fit to serve as President? If he is not willing to resign as President, the 25th Amendment should be invoked, removing Biden from the presidency and installing Kamala Harris in his stead.

That brings up a more important question: Vice President Harris has little or no experience in foreign policy and no experience in geopolitical and defense policy. Most of the tasks she has been assigned as VP have been failures. Does she have the strength to stand up to China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea at this time of great peril?

Presidential elections are a dangerous time, especially when our adversaries are at war on two fronts and daily threatening a third. Our weakness invites aggression in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific . The imminent danger is that Hezbollah will be unleashed by Iran to fire all its missiles into Israel. Israel’s justifiable retaliation for this would raise the specter of Iranian nuclear weapons and a horrific escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

Central Asia: The Once and Future Heart of Eurasia

Mirshohid Aslanov & Alouddin Komilov

In recent decades, the portrayal of the five former Soviet Central Asian states—collectively known as the “stans”—in Western media and policy discourse has often been overly simplistic, neglecting their unique identities, historical legacies, and rich cultural diversity. These nations are frequently depicted as objects in a larger geopolitical contest, marginalized as a “backwater” or dismissed as mere transit zones connecting more “advanced” civilizations. This reductionist view not only overlooks the significant achievements and contributions of the Central Asian peoples but also perpetuates stereotypes, casting the region as stagnant and underdeveloped.

A lynchpin of trade and geopolitics

Contrary to the oversimplified portrayal, Central Asia is a region steeped in history, having once flourished as a vibrant hub of international interaction. American scholar Frederick S. Starr underscores that the area was the epicenter of civilization, profoundly influencing the trajectories of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian societies, including those of China and India. Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Central Asia experienced a golden era, emerging as a key player in global commerce and economic development. It also led the way in various fields, such as mathematics, geometry, astronomy, philosophy, and epistemology. These innovations were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the European Renaissance, underscoring the profound historical significance of Central Asia in shaping global trade routes.

The Best Way to End Israel’s War in Gaza

Mohammad Shtayyeh

After eight months of Israel’s brutal war in Gaza, the United States, its European allies, and other leading world powers have had enough. Along with facing a horrendous level of civilian deaths—as of mid-June the UN has found that more than 37,000 have been killed and 78,000 injured in the war—the people of Gaza have been denied food and basic health care, and they are continually uprooted, as more and more of the strip’s housing is obliterated. Gaza’s universities have been destroyed and its education system shattered. Communicable diseases are rapidly spreading, and infant mortality has skyrocketed.