Scarce attention to poverty alleviation and blind reliance on military might has brought the western forces in Afghanistan to a standstill. Putting Pakistan into the equation is a key to any solution in Afghanistan.
While Israel moved away from the far right in last month’s elections, the new coalition is unlikely to alter the occupation. Change may come from divestment campaigns, the new UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, and in the Israeli and Palestinian campaigns of nonviolent resistance.
India’s neighbourhood is in great turmoil, but New Delhi seems unable to fashion a coherent, balanced, mature and self-confident response to it. In particular, India has dealt with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar and Nepal in confused and indecisive, if not wholly inept, ways.
There were plenty of important statements from Pope Francis during his recent three-day trip to Palestine and Israel—including a plea for “justice,” a traditional call for peace and a reference to the “State of Palestine”—but at the end of the day it was all about the photo-ops.
We can expect the traditional US policy of support for Israeli repression to continue also in 2008, with predictable results: more repression generates more deadly radicalism. The similar pattern can be seen also in Pakistan.