Happy Sunday, Meridian Readers! September is in full swing and we know it’s a busy time for everyone, so let’s take a second to sit back, relax and catch up.
Publication: The Washington Diplomat | By Jason Overdorf
- Feeling exhausted after a busy few months? Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s top diplomat in Washington, feels your pain. Here’s why:
- At the beginning of July, the International Monetary Fund approved a $6 billion bailout package for his country that could be political kryptonite for his populist boss, Prime Minister Imran Khan.
- A week later, authorities at home arrested the alleged mastermind of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, on charges of financing terrorism.
- Simultaneously, Pakistan joined the U.S., Russia and China’s trilateral consultations on the Afghanistan peace process for the first time. Ever.
- A week after that, Pakistan’s prime minister met President Trump on July 22 in the first such official visit since the U.S. president suspended security aid to the erstwhile American ally and accused Islamabad of “nothing but lies & deceit” over the past 15 years.
- Tired yet?
- Here’s where things get really interesting:
- India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, sent thousands of troops into the disputed territory of Kashmir and revoked the special status the Indian-administered portion has enjoyed since the 1940s.
- This surprise announcement prompted Islamabad to expel India’s ambassador and suspend trade between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Yikes.
- Amb. Khan insists that the abrogation of rights in Kashmir and two disproven stories of Indian triumphs in retaliation for the Pulwama attack — a so-called “surgical strike” in which New Delhi claimed to have destroyed a terrorist camp and killed 300 jihadists on Pakistani territory and a dubious boast that one of its outdated MiGs shot down a Pakistani F-16 — have badly dented Modi’s credibility.
- Khan also believes that makes the world more open to believing Pakistan’s contention that many of the attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir are organized locally and that Pakistan does not aid groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad in crossing the border. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.
Publication: The New York Times | By Adam Satariano
- Ambassador Casper Klynge has an interesting new post: Silicon Valley.
- Klygne is a career diplomat from Denmark, which in 2017 became the first nation to formally create a diplomatic post to represent its interests before big tech companies, such as Facebook and Google.
- “What has the biggest impact on daily society? A country in southern Europe, or in Southeast Asia, or Latin America, or would it be the big technology platforms? Our values, our institutions, democracy, human rights, in my view, are being challenged right now because of the emergence of new technologies.” Mr. Klynge said in an interview last month.
- However, after two years on the job, Mr. Klynge is under no illusions of where Denmark’s concerns figure in the minds of Silicon Valley executives.
- Silicon Valley companies and their leaders have given Mr. Klynge a mixed reception. He has never met with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Sundar Pichai of Google or Timothy D. Cook of Apple. Danish officials said it was like dealing with an opaque new world superpower.
- What’s Amb. Klynge’s main goal?
- It’s pretty simple. Jeppe Kofod, Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the nation wants to make sure democratic governments set the boundaries for the tech industry, not the other way around.
- “Diplomacy is by nature a long-term business where you don’t necessarily see goals being fulfilled from one day to the next,” Klygne said of the slow-moving progress in California. Looks like he’s in it for the long haul.