Large parts of the world are still undergoing traumatic changes for which the West does not seem to have a plan or a solution. The western military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are drawing to a close, while insecurity remains, as do glaring doubts about the success of their political, economic and developmental engagement. There are no big ideas out there at the moment to deal with failing states, inter-state conflict, or the lack of economic growth and social development. Old ideas and policies are still being used by major Western powers, despite limited success, and with little consultation with the states themselves.
Ahmed Rashid, journalist and writer, looks at the impact of such ideas on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Omar Samad, formerly Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada and France and currently a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, considers the West's engagement in Afghanistan.