Polaris A Takshashila Institution Blog on International Politics and Security

Evidently Shady

01.14.2009 · Posted in Pakistan, Uncategorized

By continuing to demand “evidence” and rubbishing the Indian dossier on November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai (put together with the help of law enforcement agencies from other countries), Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani doesn’t do himself any favours. In some ways, it makes him look like an accomplice after the fact. Nor does his rejection augur well for India: coupled with NSA Mahmud Ali Durrani’s dismissal, this could signal a lasting rift between  Gilani and President Zardari.

The question that needs to be asked (but one that will not be answered anytime soon, if ever): could Gilani have brokered  a deal with the army to solidify his own political position? Has the power-balance in the President-PM-COAS troika, then, shifted decisively?

Incidentally, the lack of evidence line is also being used by Gilani’s lawyers on another case…a case of exploding ‘irregularities’, it turns out.

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Cave Canem (et Caveats)

01.14.2009 · Posted in Humour, U.S. Foreign Policy, Uncategorized

Entertaining description of Donald Rumsfeld by Bill Graham – the former Canadian foreign and defence minister – in Vanity Fair’s fascinating ‘Oral History of the Bush White House‘ (no pun intended):

One of his shticks—if I can call it that—at the nato meetings was always about caveats. He would pronounce the word “caveat” the way you and I might speak of some sort of sexual deviation. You know, people who had “caveats” were really evil, bad people.

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Introducing this blog

01.13.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

In the realm of international affairs, there’s often a grey area between academic writing and policy analysis, and between policy analysis and journalistic commentary. Academics who write massive scholarly tomes often write shorter journal articles for the lay intelligent reader alongside professional policymakers, and also op-ed length articles for general public consumption. The best (or sometimes simply the best-known) experts excel in all three forms.

Blogging is but the newest modus operandi of the public intellectual. An activity that only a few years ago was used by a few unconventional journalists to influence policy is today becoming almost standard practice for well-established commentators in the United States and Europe. And now that a few American academics have made their names through blogging (Juan Cole, Daniel Drezner), it has also now been embraced by more well-established personalities in international relations scholarship: Stephen Walt, Philip Zelikow, Francis Fukuyama, to name a few. It’s also been refreshing to see the role of blogging in the Indian discourse on politics and policy. INI, of course, has been among the pioneers, but it was rather surprising to see that none other than L.K. Advani has recently joined the fray. While I’m not expecting the official Ministry of External Affairs blog to go online anytime soon, it’s clear that blogging is set to become fixture of policy discourse in India.

Mistrustful of the absence of an editorial eye, I’ve resisted the urge to blog on international affairs (I’ve used my blog exclusively to collect my published material from other sources; I also used to write on sports a few years ago for a now-defunct website). But I’ve finally decided to take the plunge. I’ll now be posting regularly at Polaris, primarily on strategic affairs and Indian foreign policy, but also on a variety of other issues: U.S. foreign policy, significant developments in Europe and East Asia, Indian and regional security, and - occasionally, when relevant – cricket.

My previous site (http://www.dhruvajaishankar.com) will continue to be updated with published articles and material from other sources.

Hope you enjoy the new blog!