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Jodi Liss: Pakistan — Loosening The Ties That Bind

However vicious, however Frankenstein-ian the Taliban, it doesn’t explain the origins of Pakistan's precarious condition. With Pakistan’s divided and distracted military, the corruption, the poverty, the radical Islamists, the maybe-loose nukes (despite the denials), anybody could be forgiven for thinking this weak country is on the verge of falling apart. The Taliban looks like an opportunistic virus ready to prey on the systemic weakness of its host. For all the shuttle diplomacy, prodding, and nagging by the United States, the only way really to settle Pakistan’s external problems is to deal with its internal problems. To survive, the country must find the political will to strengthen itself as a unified country. To do that, it has to look past its favorite and most populous province of Punjab, with its comfortable business, educational, and military elite, and its rich and corrupt cronies and special interests. Pakistan must deal with Punjab the way it treats its angry and marginalized provinces of Sindh, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the restive and resource-rich Baluchistan. The grievances of Baluchistan, Sindh and the NWFP are longstanding. Both the Baluch people and the Pashtun (of the NWFP) resisted becoming part of Pakistan from the start. These provinces have a much lower per capita income and literacy rate than Punjab, and unequal distribution of tax revenues leaves them stuck in poverty.

Clinton Speaks, The World Reacts

Today our editorial team looks at responses from global media to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jonathan Power: A True"Restart" at the U.S.-Russia Summit

The first summit between President Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev is only days away and, so far, there has only been perfunctory mention of this potentially momentous occasion in the media. The silence on this meeting is odd, if not irresponsible. If played right, this could be the most important U.S.-Russia summit since Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush, having torn down the Iron Curtain, decided that they had enough confidence in each other to introduce unilateral nuclear arms cuts, a valuable ancillary to the formal deal. In the opinion of Georgi Arbatov, Gorbachev’s foreign affairs advisor (and before that Brezhnev’s), the time is overdue for more unilateral cuts. He said to me, some two summers ago, that “we in Russia are not right in our approach. We have so many weapons we could decrease the numbers unilaterally and set an example. We could dismantle our rockets, take others off alert, and the Americans would be obliged to follow us.” When I recently asked Igor Yurgens, one of Medvedev’s advisors, about what the “reset” button statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meant, he replied that “the tone is different.” He then added, somewhat amusingly, “We have a new generation—Obama and Medvedev. Since they are both Internet lovers, then the promise of change could be substantiated.” Joking aside, Yurgens notes that “the line up on the U.S. side seems more broad minded than before.” Between Rose Gottemoeller, who spent four years in Moscow and is the head of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, and Gen. James Jones, a national security advisor to Obama who worked constructively on Iran, Yurgens said the Russians “see very good signs.” “The United States and Russia have identical views on Afghanistan,” says Yurgens. “We are on the same page as the United States with [regard to] North Korea. We have some nuances in policy towards Iran, but I think they are surmountable. So, on those three issues (plus Pakistan, plus broader Middle East) there is more that unites us than divides us.” At the July 7 summit, the new Obama administration must begin by giving a little.

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