On 1 October 2021, Indian media and academia once again awakened from its sea-blindness to news coming through that India’s Adani Group has sealed a deal with the state-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to develop and run the strategic Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal. Newsroom and academic circles once again began reveling in India’s new strategic heft in the island after a year of disappointing Indo-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. Understanding why the terminal deal is of high significance to India will require a brief description of Sri Lanka’s recent regional and global patterns of behavior that has been a cause of much frustration for New Delhi lately.
The Australian government’s recent decision to build eight nuclear attack submarines (SSN) with support from the United States and the United Kingdom and shelve the ongoing program for 12 indigenously built Attack-class conventional diesel-electric submarines in collaboration with Naval Group of France has not really come as a surprise from a geopolitical perspective. However, to cancel an ongoing contract on which considerable investment has already been made has raised more than a few eyebrows among those familiar with the submarine world.
Book Review: 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis. New York: Penguin Press, 2021. 320 pp. ISBN: 9780593298688.
This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
Book Review: Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations, by Kyle M. Lascurettes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 353 pp.
Book Review: 1000 Days on the River Kwai, by Cary Owtram. Pen & Sword Military, 2017.
With the current situation in Afghanistan unfolding faster than one can blink an eye, many have speculated that the Taliban’s seeming victory will be a confidence booster to multiple separatist and terror groups around the world, most notably to Southeast Asia and South Asia. The withdrawal also begs the question of whether US allies can rely on Washington for support in the face of China's aggression.
The events that unfolded on 15 August in Afghanistan are an indicator of the fragile nature of the security environment in the landlocked country. The fall of Kabul and the subsequent transfer of power to the Taliban were a reminder of how unpredictability and uncertainty are the central characteristic of the Afghan quagmire. Amid the takeover of Kabul, it becomes necessary to investigate where the fault lines lie and what the future and outcome of the National Resistance Front (NRF) and Taliban negotiations might be.
With the declaration of the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, regional countries are debating their way forward to either recognizing the Taliban-led government or not. For the United States, the situation is rather challenging, as aside from the tough questions over the rationality of the “Forever War” and poorly managed withdrawal strategy by the Biden administration, Washington confronts a harder choice about the Taliban as well as how to manage the evacuation of American citizens and allies from Kabul.
With the Taliban’s return to power, nontraditional security threats—ranging from illicit drug trafficking to the revival of terrorist safe havens—will be major issues of concern.
Perhaps the toughest part of the post–Afghanistan War era will be an honest accounting of its implications. Two narratives are fast-emerging about the American pullout and the collapse of the Islamic Republic—yet after a cursory examination these narratives are closer to myth than reality.
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