The Ottoman Empire lost its control over the Black Sea after the conclusion of the 6th Russo-Turkish War. However, the Black Sea continues to hold great economic and geostrategic importance for Turkey, as the Turkish Straits serve as the only pathway connecting other nations to the Black Sea. The author, Muhammad Bilal Farooq, also expores the dynamic interaction between Turkey and the nations in the Caucasus.
Since the Cuban revolution in 1959, the relations between the US and Cuba have undergone various degrees of tension. The US sanctions on Cuba, food shortages, a failing economy, and the rising cases of COVID-19 have created a sense of dissatisfaction and urgency. Together, these factors have compelled the Cubans to initiate nationwide protests demanding reforms. The author argues that with the US turning a blind eye to the protests, and the United Nations’ failure to help the Cubans, the people of the state are left with no one to rely on.
The article portrays an educated yet comprehensive outlook of the Afghanistan conundrum. The author gives an insight into the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the formation – and inefficiency – of the Afghan Army, the ultimate reclamation of Kabul by the Taliban, and their 2.0 version.
After Trump, the US looks to Biden for directing and navigating its foreign policy towards China. The revival of Quad and the US’s insistence on the investigation of COVID-19’s origins, among others, display that the Biden administration is more direct and forceful when it comes to countering China.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan left the state in a vulnerable and unstable condition. The author notes that with the Afghan Taliban now in power, the possibility of a civil war erupting in the state is relatively high. This war will force the neighboring states and the regional powers to, once again, get involved in Afghanistan. The author argues that this situation could have been avoided had the US fulfilled its responsibility under jus post bellum and upheld its moral, ethical, democratic, and international humanitarian principles. Instead, the US withdrawal has only reminded the world of the US exit in the Vietnam War.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has significant implications for the regional actors, particularly for Pakistan. The author notes that the fall of Kabul could negatively influence the economy of Pakistan. She asserts that with the border between the two states open, the possibility of Pakistan facing another refugee crisis, a drug trafficking problem, and terrorism, has also increased. These issues will ultimately cause the economic growth of Pakistan – which improved by 3.94% in 2021 – to decline and undermine the progress of the developmental projects in the state.
With the international community scrutinizing every move made by the Taliban government, they have decided to portray a softer approach w.r.t. women/human rights.The author notes that while the Taliban are busy trying to seek international recognition, the group’s rival faction, the Islamic State of Khurasan Province (ISKP), can use this as an opportunity to recruit ground-level Taliban soldiers. The rise of ISKP—an offshoot of ISIS—not only presents a challenge to the authority of the Taliban regime but also to the regional stability of South Asia. It could eventually result in the amplification of terrorist activities in the region.
The conclusion of the war in Afghanistan played out in the Taliban’s favour. With the Taliban now in power and forming the government, their alliances, which the author noted in his previous piece, will rearrange the geopolitical landscape of the region while also determining the fate of the global powers. Featured image credits: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly formed Russia, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, pursued democratic policies which led to somewhat cordial US-Russia relations. The author notes that while the two states cooperated on matters of regional security and nuclear proliferation, both exhibited a strong distrust in each other. Russia viewed the US denial of its sphere of influence and the American adventurism with suspicion and pursued hardline policies under Vladimir Putin. The author explains that despite Putin’s assertive stance, Russia has continued to build cordial relations with its neighboring states and the West. However, this cooperation ends when the American and Russian interests clash.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan emerged as an independent state, and was determined to stabilize itself by way of assuming a market-centered economic system. The Pak-Uzbek relations are bound by a shared religious and cultural background. Trade agreements and joint railway projects can strengthen the ties between the two countries, and may pave the way for an even stronger relationship in thee future.
Crimea had been a supplier of heavy raw material to the Soviet Union and was a hub of industrial and agricultural resources. Ukraine wanted to partner with the EU and the US in expanding its international market, but Russia saw the US-Ukraine Crimean gas collaboration as a threat to its economy – and hence advanced its forces to annex Crimea. Ms Muskan Moazzam explains the differing actions of EU member states towards the Russia-Ukraine conflict in light of the constructivism theory. She holds that state behaviour is subject to change, depending on the actions and importance of the concerned states. Featured Image Credit: “Former home of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet (2005-08-110)” by Argenberg is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
In the last two decades, India has invested $3 billion in Afghanistan on infrastructure development. Through numerous projects, it has not only maintained its presence in the state but also backed the former Afghan government of Ashraf Ghani. The recent takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan has placed India in a tight spot and sent years of Indian investment down the drain. India’s blatant anti-Taliban policy has made it difficult for it to maintain good relations with Afghanistan and sponsor terrorism in Pakistan through the Afghan soil. Moreover, the possible emergence of a new regional bloc—comprising of China, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran—after the Taliban takeover has further threatened India’s influence in the region.
On 15th August, 2021, the Taliban claimed victory over the US, the Afghan government, and the country’s national forces. The author explains the reasons behind this victory by drawing a parallel between the main actors and the concepts of Tribal Islam and Settled Islam. The Taliban, according to the author, follow Tribal Islam, one that was initially practiced by the tribal peoples of North Africa. The Afghan government represents Settled Islam, which was established by the runaway caliph Abd-ur-Rehman in Andalusia (present-day Spain). Those following Settled Islam lack ‘Asabiyyah’ – solidarity, responsibility, and social cohesion – which is a sustained feature in Tribal Islam.
In the past decade, Syria’s stability and economy have plummeted to the ground. Terrorism is rampant in the failed state, with the regime of Bashar al-Assad itself perpetrating violence against the civilian population and destroying the state’s infrastructure. Asadullah Khan Wazir, a broadcast journalist, notes that through the use of state-sponsored terrorism, the Syrian regime aims to prevent the population from supporting the rebel groups and offering an alternative regime. As a result, 83,500 civilians have been killed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allies since the Syrian war first started.
The article discusses the residential schools that were established to indoctrinate the children of the indigenous community of Canada. These children were forced to unlearn their native languages and cultures. There were about 150,000 indigenous children admitted in over 130 of Canada’s residential schools. The issue recently came to light after numerous unmarked graves were found near the site of the residential schools.
The world is still considered unipolar, but the failing US foreign policy on several fronts tells some other stories: from chaos in Iraq, bloodshed in Syria, China and Russia challenging the status quo, to the looming civil war in Afghanistan. Despite all these challenges, the US continues to maintain its position as the global leader. The author states that America’s military might, technological advancements, and academic prowess are some of the reasons why the US still holds a powerful position on the world stage.
After a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics are finally being held in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympic Games, which started off with only 13 participant states in 1986, have now become an international competition between 206 states. The author, Mahnoor Nafees, notes that in the history of the Olympics, the major powers, particularly the US, China, and Japan, have managed to win most of the gold medals. She explains that this can be attributed to their long standing participation in the Olympics, their budget allocation to sports, and their extensive training and practice methods. When the performance of Pakistan is compared to that of the major powers in the Olympics, it can be observed that the state has severely neglected its sports department and failed to provide adequate training to its athletes.