Expert warns South Asia may face more difficult nuclear challenges in the future

Expert warns South Asia may face more difficult nuclear challenges in the future
Book Cover — (Courtesy: Stanford University Press)
Updated 02 July 2018

Expert warns South Asia may face more difficult nuclear challenges in the future

Expert warns South Asia may face more difficult nuclear challenges in the future
  • In his new book, Dr. Moeed Yusuf focuses on nuclear crisis management and takes the theoretical discourse on the subject beyond the traditional framework of deterrence and brinkmanship
  • The book highlights the significance of third-party intervention in emerging nuclear conflicts, demonstrating its centrality to crisis planning and strategy

ISLAMABAD: As the world marks the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, South Asia remains volatile and unstable, making one of the leading experts on the subject warn of more intractable nuclear crises in the future.
Dr. Moeed Yusuf is associate vice president of the Asia Center at the United States Institute of Peace. His new book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: US Crisis Management in South Asia, examines three crises between India and Pakistan soon after the two states demonstrated their nuclear capability in May 1998.
Unlike previous works in the area, Yusuf’s book does not provide a history of the region’s nuclearization. Instead, he takes the conversation beyond the idea of deterrence and brinkmanship, as understood in the classic sense and which has dominated the thinking of policymakers across the world for several generations.




Author, Moeed Yusuf, associate vice president of the Asia Center at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) — (Courtesy: USIP)

The result is a highly original contribution to nuclear theory –- an area that has largely remained the preserve of Euro-American scholars in the past — as Yusuf presents his own model of “brokered bargaining” to conceptualize crises in regional contexts.
“All nuclear deterrence and crisis literature comes from the Cold War when the crises remained, directly or indirectly, between the two strongest powers of the world,” he said in an exclusive interview with Arab News. “There was never a question of a third party that was stronger or could influence the crisis for any reason.
“Now the real crises in the world with nuclear weapons states will not be between the United States and the Soviet Union. They will be between new nuclear powers and will attract third-party intervention.”
Yusuf’s assertion makes ample sense in South Asia’s context, where India and Pakistan lack bilateral risk control mechanisms and where third parties have always tried to defuse tensions in the past before calamitous circumstances between the two countries could spiral out of control. As the book convincingly demonstrates, however, brokered bargaining is also generalizable in other regional contexts. Unsurprisingly, third-party intervention is central to the author’s thinking, making him claim that traditional notions of deterrence and brinkmanship have limited explanatory value in emerging nuclear crises where one must “internalize the centrality of the stronger third parties to study nuclear crisis behavior.”
“Most people who have written about this subject while looking at South Asia recognize the importance of third parties but consider them exogenous to such situations,” he maintained. “I believe that the third party is a vital factor in crisis planning, crisis thinking, crisis behavior and crisis strategy.”




Book Cover — (Courtesy: Stanford University Press)

Yusuf’s conceptualization raises some interesting questions. If he is right and regional nuclear crises will always attract stronger powers to defuse the situation, for instance, what is to prevent smaller states in possession of nuclear weapons from manufacturing crises to extract concessions from global powers?
“This is exactly the mistake General Pervez Musharraf made in Kargil. He thought that because nuclear weapons were present, it was going to force the world not only to come and de-escalate the crisis but also to force India to find a permanent solution to Kashmir,” he responded.
Yusuf makes another significant observation, saying that the US and other powers “suspend their larger foreign policy interests” in such crisis situations and “show up with one principle object: to deescalate.”
“That is why India has always been disappointed with the US,” he points out. “After Mumbai, for instance, it thought that the world would descend upon Pakistan because of the circumstances and back India. In reality, the US played the middle and its goal was to separate India and Pakistan and make sure that things did not blow up.”
Yusuf’s analysis also raises questions about the role of third parties: What if they are not on the same page? What if one of them considers the situation as alarmingly dangerous while the other believes it still offers enough space to it to indulge in geopolitical maneuvering?
“Great power competition has resurged,” he admitted, “which means that the ability of the third parties to coordinate a de-escalation strategy is lower. But the Indian and Pakistani expectations from the third parties are still as high.”
He added: “It is crucial for third parties to create what I call contact groups during peace time … so that if a crisis is brewing they know how to activate themselves to ensure de-escalation rather than figuring out on the job, which is what has happened in the past.”
Yusuf’s study is so innovative and significant that a former US national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, has described it as “an absolute must-read for policymakers.” What is even better is his ability to make a technical subject accessible to ordinary readers.
Discussing the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, Yusuf points out that third-party crisis management is very tactical and only relevant to the crisis moment. Unless the world begins to focus on crisis prevention, he warns, it will continue to face difficult situations and every subsequent crisis will become more intractable.
“What we really need is a resolution of bilateral disputes,” he maintained. “In the case of South Asia, the two that stand out are the management of terrorist threats and the Kashmir dispute. Unless these are resolved, we will keep falling into crises -– and they will become more and more difficult to manage.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Lévy

What We Are Reading Today: The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Lévy
Updated 25 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Lévy

What We Are Reading Today: The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Lévy

In The Virus in the Age of Madness, world-renowned philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy interrogates the many meanings and metaphors we have assigned to the pandemic — and what they tell us about ourselves.

With medical mysteries, rising death tolls, and conspiracy theories beamed minute by minute through the vast web universe, the coronavirus pandemic has irrevocably altered societies around the world. 

Drawing on the philosophical tradition from Plato and Aristotle to Lacan and Foucault, Lévy asks uncomfortable questions about reality and mythology. He rejects the idea that the virus is a warning from nature, the inevitable result of global capitalism; he troubles the heroic status of doctors, asking us to think critically about the loci of authority and power; he challenges the panicked polarization that dominates online discourse. 

Lucid, incisive, and always original, Lévy takes a bird’s-eye view of the most consequential historical event of our time and proposes a way to defend human society from threats to our collective future.


What We Are Reading Today: War

What We Are Reading Today: War
Updated 24 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: War

What We Are Reading Today: War

Author: Margaret MacMillan

Margaret MacMillan’s War contemplates the existence of war: Why it occurs, and what it says about human nature.
War is always with us, even in peace. It has shaped humanity, its institutions, its states, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War is an uncomfortable and challenging subject not least because it brings out the most vile and the noblest aspects of humanity.
MacMillan reveals the many faces of war — the way it shapes our past, our future, our views of the world, and our very conception of ourselves.
The book looks at the ways in which war has shaped human history and how, in turn, changes in political organization, technology, or ideologies have affected how and why we fight.
The book also looks at much-debated and controversial issues as when war first started; whether human nature dooms us to fight each other; why war has been described as the most organized of all human activities and how it has forced us to become still more organized.


What We Are Reading Today: Religion, Identity and Power: Turkey and the Balkans in the Twenty-First Century

What We Are Reading Today: Religion, Identity and Power: Turkey and the Balkans in the Twenty-First Century
Updated 23 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Religion, Identity and Power: Turkey and the Balkans in the Twenty-First Century

What We Are Reading Today: Religion, Identity and Power: Turkey and the Balkans in the Twenty-First Century

Author: Ahmet Erdi Ozturk

This recently published book explores, from a historical perspective, Turkey’s current political maneuvers and religious leverages in the Balkans under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It presents Albania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia as case studies of Turkey using soft and hard policy instruments in the region.

Author Ahmet Erdi Ozturk, an associate professor at London Metropolitan University and Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at Coventry University in the UK and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, wrote the book after a study in several Balkan countries that took more than three years to complete and included interviews with almost 130 high-ranking individuals.

It suggests that Turkey insistently interferes in Balkan politics using religion, state power and imaginary identities, dubbed by some as neo-Ottomanism, and that this presence gradually becomes a threat to the secularism and sovereignty of the countries it targets.

The book, published by Edinburgh University Press, not only aids understanding of Turkish-Balkan diplomatic relations, but also the complex relationship between the regime in Ankara under Erdogan and the Muslim communities in the three countries.

Beyond that, it is about more than just Turkey and the Balkans; it also deepens our understanding of how religion can be used as a form of soft power in global affairs. It examines a number of political parties, for example Besa in Macedonia, that are linked to the regime in Ankara and the ways in which they interact with Turkish state apparatus.

The underlying strategy behind the construction of new mosques across the Balkans as a way to turn these countries toward Turkey rather than West is also examined in detail.
 


Huda Kattan gushes over Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s memoir

Huda Kattan is the founder of cosmetics empire Huda Beauty. File/Getty Images
Huda Kattan is the founder of cosmetics empire Huda Beauty. File/Getty Images
Updated 22 February 2021

Huda Kattan gushes over Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s memoir

Huda Kattan is the founder of cosmetics empire Huda Beauty. File/Getty Images

DUBAI: Bollywood sensation Priyanka Chopra Jonas recently released her memoir “Unfinished” and this week sent a copy to Dubai-based Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan.

The entrepreneur and founder of Huda Beauty took to her Instagram Stories to share a video of herself flipping through Chopra Jonas’s memoir and gushing about the film star.

“First of all, Priyanka Chopra thank you so much for your book – and you signed it. Oh my God, Priyanka Chopra knows who I am, I’m so excited,” gushed the Iraqi entrepreneur in the video.

‘I’m so excited to read her story and see the ins and outs of her life and the deepness of what makes this amazing woman’ said Kattan. Instagram

 “(Priyanka Chopra) was one of the only brown girls that I ever knew as a kid as a beauty icon and I looked up to her so much,” said Kattan, who has been pretty vocal about how she struggled with self-confidence due to bullying about her ethnicity while growing up in a small Baptist town in the US.

“I’m so excited to read her story and see the ins and outs of her life and the deepness of what makes this amazing woman,” said the 37-year-old.

The “White Tiger” actress may have just released her memoir, but it is already in the New York Times Best Sellers list. 

“Soooo this happened...in less than a week... The New York Times Best Sellers list!!Thank you so much to everyone who has supported #Unfinished. Endlessly grateful (sic),” wrote Chopra Jonas on Instagram.

In her memoir, the former Miss World opens up about her multiple rhinoplasty surgeries, endorsing skin-whitening products early in her career and the grief she felt after the loss of her father.

The 38-year-old actress has been quite busy promoting her new autobiographical book.

Recently, she appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and was also a speaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Additionally, she recently launched her own hair care line. Named Anomaly, the brand is vegan, eco-friendly and in the affordable price bracket

The hair care brand is formulated with clean ingredients packaged inside bottles made out of 100 percent recycled plastic from oceans and landfills.


What We Are Reading Today: Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

What We Are Reading Today: Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Updated 22 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

What We Are Reading Today: Outliers; The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success is the third nonfiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell. 

Generally well received by critics, Outliers was considered more personal than Gladwell’s other works, and some reviews commented on how much Outliers felt like an autobiography. 

In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. 

Gladwell takes readers on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” — the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful.

Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task. 

He asks the question: What makes high-achievers different? His answer is that people pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: That is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. 

Along the way, he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.