Monthly Archives: August 2012

President Hamid Karzai’s expected cabinet reshuffle signals a growing confrontation with Pakistan after the appointment of a hardline confidante as head of Afghan intelligence. Through a variety of Taliban proxies, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been involved in intense skirmishing on their border.

The startling change is the appointment of Asadullah Khalid as head of the powerful National Directorate of Security. As a fiercely anti-Taliban former governor, Mr Khalid faced several assassination attempts from the radical Islamist movement. He always blamed the attempts on Pakistan’s military Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Mr Khalid and the ISI hate each other with a vengeance. Read more

There is great interest in the annual symposium of central bankers that starts tomorrow, and rightly so. Whether it is in Europe or the US, central bankers continue to carry most of the policymaking burden, and do so deep in experimental territory. There is no better place to discuss central banking than Jackson Hole, in Wyoming. Read more

Like Mr Romney, I have labored in the private equity vineyards and am familiar with many of the loopholes available to practitioners of that art. But Mr Romney unearthed crevices that I never knew existed and worked the tax code to greater advantage than I’ve ever heard of a private equity executive doing. Read more

These events will almost certainly make abortion a major issue in the presidential campaign. Clearly, this will be to the disadvantage of Republicans, who would prefer to continue their practice of appealing to anti-abortion extremists without endangering the votes of women and other members of the party likely to bolt if forced to accept the extremist position. Read more

European leaders should choose. If they really think they would be better off with Greece out they should offer it an exit package.  Read more

On the surface, it seems strange: Spain is offered large loans at below-market interest rates, coupled with significant additional support by a regional central bank willing to buy the country’s government debt on the secondary market. Yet the government is reluctant to officially request this help. Read more

After years of denial that militancy posed a threat to Pakistan and blaming outsiders such as India, the US and Israel for backing terrorist groups in the country, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani has admitted that “the fight against extremism and terrorism is our own war and we are right in fighting it”. His positive words will now require more actions. Read more

This much you have to give Mitt Romney: by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate he has made it impossible to avoid turning the presidential election into a genuine and long overdue debate on the nature, extent and responsibilities of American government. By doing that, whatever the outcome, he will have rendered a service to the American people, who deserve to be drawn into in an all-out contest of principles rather than the usual beauty-pageant cum pratfall-watch that consume most fall campaigns. Read more

Short of a targeted assassination or some other form of quick decapitation strike by the rebels, we have a worst-case scenario: A regime that can’t win but won’t quit—and an outside world willing to do little more than watch. Read more

The Fed’s attempt to overcome its policy dilemma has little chance of succeeding given the degree of political dysfunction in Washington. It is only a matter of weeks until, once again, Fed officials will feel compelled to act, and despite full knowledge that their measures will have limited effectiveness in delivering desired outcomes. Read more