FROM Paul Fishstein
The Taliban in Afghanistan: Back with a Vengeance Hundreds of escaped prisoners and other Taliban militants are said to be dug in a few miles from Afghanistan’s second largest city. Thousands of villagers have fled from orchards and vineyards, and today NATO forces and Afghan soldiers launched an effort to drive the insurgents out. Is this the predicted "Spring offensive," with Taliban forces better armed and more strategically savvy than ever before? Can they further damage the already shaky regime of President Hamid Karzai? Can they kill enough coalition soldiers to weaken support in NATO countries?
Islamabad, Kabul, Washington and International Politics At Camp David on Monday, Presidents Bush and Karzai were bullish on the upcoming meeting. Musharraf has been much in the news since U.S. intelligence reported that Al Qaeda is regrouping in his country, and the Democratic candidates for President have been trying to sound tough in case Musharraf fails to take action.
Poppies, Jihadis Stand in the Way of Progress in Afghanistan At Camp David on Monday, with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai by his side, President Bush warmly endorsed a "jirga ," a traditional meeting to resolve disputes. Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf , had agreed to attend tomorrow's meeting in Kabul, but today declined, saying the press of business will keep him at home in Islamabad. Musharraf says he hopes lower-ranking officials can resolve issues between the two countries, but his withdrawal is seen as a snub to the United States. Bush and Karzai say al Qaeda in Pakistan is helping the Taliban stage a bloody resurgence, which is also fueled by a record crop of opium poppies. Will Karzai have to go it alone? Would legalizing poppy-production help ease the pressure. Can the "jirga" make a difference, without either Musharraf or the Taliban?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.