As good a place as any to witness the slow decline of the post-second world war global “order” is the UN security council – if they would let you in, which they won’t. Don’t bother with that rarefied organ’s “public” meetings. None of its real diplomatic business is conducted in the open.
In a reflection of the state of the world, the security council, which is charged with the maintenance of international peace, is busier than ever. Years ago, the council met for a few hours once or twice a week. These days it meets all day, often at night and weekends too.… Seguir leyendo »
Across an empty and arid plain, south of a town in eastern Syria called Tell Brak, there is a long berm marking the front line of the war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. A levee of gravel about 20 feet high was raised by excavators operated by men and women who were often killed by distant Islamic State snipers. Every few hundred feet, there is a sentry point or dugout for a platoon of the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., that holds the position.
Along this stark boundary, the Kurds are there not only to fight against the Islamic State, but also to defend a precious experiment in direct democracy.… Seguir leyendo »
For months after the allied invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, there were no Taliban attacks in Kabul. Now, as the weekend's gun, rocket and suicide attacks demonstrate, they are frequent and fatally effective. This is one measure of the progress of the war, more than 10 years on. There are many others.
According to a devastating account from a senior US army officer, the Taliban now range freely across much of the country. US forces barely control the territory they can see from their highly fortified bases. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis reports that the Afghan army, like its government, is neither competent nor trusted.… Seguir leyendo »