In The Diplomat, CIC's Said Sabir Ibrahimi and Centre for Research and Information senior analyst Syed Mafiz Kamal examine the challenges that South Asia faces when fighting COVID-19.
"Given the lack of healthcare infrastructure and levels of poverty in South Asia, a greater number of people are at risk of contracting the coronavirus and dying from it or hunger," they write. "Actions need to focus on increasing the region’s testing capacity, raising awareness about physical distancing and hygiene, producing PPEs, and fighting hunger."
This paper analyzes COVID-19 relief spending in ten countries to assess whether governments are investing resources in inclusive programs that will lead to the desired goal of ‘building back better.’ The results of this analysis indicate that current investments are likely to maintain the status quo, and potentially lead to a deepening of inequalities by overlooking urgent needs of marginalized groups affected by the social and economic effects of the pandemic. The countries analyzed are the following: Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
At the most recent Arria-formula meeting on Afghanistan on November 27, 2017, Barnett Rubin spoke on the importance of regional approaches in fostering development and peace. In his talk, Partners for Afghanistan: Linking Security, Development and Peace in the Central Asian Region.
U.S. President Donald Trump recently gave a speech on "the path forward" in Afghanistan and South Asia. President Trump ordered the deployment of about 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The decision follows months of deliberation within the Trump administration, involving top military commanders, political advisers and even enlisted veterans of the nearly 16-year war.
There is surely no greater sign of the bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy than its Afghanistan policy. After more than 15 years of war and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, a new president entered the Oval Office poised to fundamentally change that policy. Within months he presented, with great fanfare, a continuation of the same.
Three American presidents have spent nearly 16 years alternately cajoling, coaxing, threatening and bombing Pakistan, all with a goal of trying to change the Pakistani government’s decisions about the factions it supports in Afghanistan’s desperate civil war.
As the Trump administration completes its review of policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, public debate is focused on the war’s military component, including President Trump’s decision to delegate decisions on troop levels to the Pentagon. Yet a few thousand more troops alone will be insufficient to end the war. A security plan, including the anticipated troop increase, must be combined with a political strategy that addresses Afghan domestic and regional factors fueling the war.
The global pandemic has laid bare the digital inequities across vertical (income) and horizontal (social, political, and identity) dimensions, while exposing the extent to which pre-pandemic approaches to bridging the digital divide have been dominated by economic considerations even while they are not universally treated as policy priorities.
There is nothing equal about COVID-19. It is now well established that poor and underprivileged social groups have absorbed most of the pandemic’s negative impact. However, the connection between COVID-19 and inequality might run even deeper. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, one additional point of the Gini coefficient correlated with a 1.34 percentage point higher rate of weekly new infections across countries. This difference in infection rates compounds like interest every week.
This policy paper by Barnett Rubin, Senior Fellow at CIC examines how the Afghan peace process provides the United States with an opportunity to pivot to a strategy that frees it from dependence on military bases in the landlocked backyard of Russia and China, and how that can provide it with an entry point to an expanded and more effective Asia policy focused on some of the most vital threats confronting humanity.