My first article for Current Intelligence (where I am an associate editor) is up, looking at how spillover in Central Asia is a two-way street:
Strangely, though, what one finds reading the general consensus in the non-government foreign policy community is a rejection of any spillover effects, deriding them as a revamped “domino theory” and worthy of disdain. There’s no escaping the fact that regional issues matter and they are as close to the broader issues of Taliban control in Afghanistan as they can be. But at what point does a concern merit decisive action? That seems to be the debate currently occupying vast swaths of the punditocracy, and currently paralyzing the Obama Administration. The Taliban certainly pose problems, but are those problems worth all the effort, money, and lives expended? …
It’s worth considering that spillover effects work in reverse, as well. There is a growing enclave in the Central Asia policy community that sees the advent of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) — a series of agreements between the U.S. and countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Russia to transport supplies into Afghanistan—with what can only be described as dollar signs in their eyes. Its view is that Central Asia, the good part not tainted by that Afghanistan mess, is the new frontier in American presence-making.
I’d appreciate your comments, either here or over there.