Daily Archives: August 28, 2014

Severe political crises in Pakistan and Afghanistan, both mired in wrangling over recent election results, have obscured the fact that these two neighbours’ finances are rotten. Both are on the verge of economic meltdown but the billions needed in international bailouts are unlikely to be forthcoming until their respective political elites stop fighting among themselves and start to act more responsibly.

In Pakistan, opposition politician Imran Khan’s blockade of Islamabad for more than two weeks, and his demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government, have backfired. His opponents have been able to mobilise many sectors to condemn him: business people, lawyers, journalists and aid workers. Meanwhile, groups from across the political spectrum have organised counter protests. After extensive talks between Mr Khan and the government, a minister announced on Thursday that the government had agreed to five of his six demands but drew the line at Mr Sharif’s resignation. The stand-off continues. Continue reading »

Let’s be clear: Russia has invaded Ukraine. We can debate the reasons. But we can no longer debate the fact. Nor can we stand by and do nothing. It is time for the United States and Europeans to act. This weekend’s European Council meeting in Brussels and next week’s Nato summit in Wales should be devoted to forging an effective, and lasting, response.

Numerous reports from southeastern Ukraine make clear that Russian military forces are operating in Ukraine in ways that can only be described as an invasion. Russian artillery, long used to fire against Ukrainian forces from the Russian side of the border, is now firing from inside Ukraine. Russian tanks and armoured vehicles are rolling along Ukrainian roads. Russian airborne troops, captured by Ukrainian forces, openly admit that they had been sent there to disrupt Ukraine’s effort to retake control of its territory. Continue reading »