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Author Archives: Ahsan Butt

Assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason.

Guest post: Enter the Turkish Winter?

By: Syria Freedom - CC BY 2.0

This is a guest post by Burak Kadercan, a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading. *** What is happening in Turkey? This is the question that many around the globe have been asking for a week. To be fair, people were already interested in Turkey before protests broke out on May 28th, ... Read More »

Blood, gore, and pedagogy in International Relations


I am currently on a nice, relaxing vacation in Canada, and have brought along with me this reading material: I’ve only gotten through the first sixth of the book thus far (it’s long — very long), but I’m enjoying it thoroughly. More than anything, what I’m enjoying is the intimate description of the blood, gore, and violence that took place. ... Read More »

Guest post: A firsthand account of rigging in General Elections 2013

Photo: Dawn

Note from Ahsan: this is a guest post outlining certain irregularities that took place on election day in Karachi, from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. The purpose of this piece is to bring to attention the ease and the different ways in which elections can be rigged at a polling station. A polling station is the primary unit in ... Read More »

Some thoughts and questions on the elections


Well, that was fun. Here are some initial thoughts and questions. The MQM wants its corners I always tell people when discussing The Greatest Show In The History of Time (TM) that The Wire taught me more about politics than my entire graduate education, which is not a dig at U Chicago (promise). But tell me I’m wrong. Tell me ... Read More »

Nationalism and post-colonial states’ security in the 20th century


The standard story IR and security studies tells us is that states are better able to protect themselves in the age of nationalism. The argument goes that because states could, post 1789, rely upon mass armies, constituted by people fighting for the “motherland” or the “fatherland”, deterrence was more likely to hold. This was because territorial grabs by sovereign states ... Read More »

Guest post: Understanding the PTI’s Populism

IK populism

This is a guest post by Ammar Rashid (twitter: @AmmarRashidT, email: ammar dot rashid at gmail dot com), an independent researcher in Islamabad. An earlier version of this piece was published in The News on Sunday. In the ‘The Rebirth of History’ (2012), the French philosopher Alain Badiou attempts to contextualize the unrest and uprisings occurring across the world today by ... Read More »

Grading the PPP government and looking towards the future

Maaf kar dey bhai, bohat ho gaya hai. Photo: OneIndia News.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the national assemblies completed their tenure, a very significant accomplishment. Here are some brief thoughts on this government’s performance, followed by The Official Five Rupees Endorsement. Big picture/constitutional stuff Undoubtedly this government’s greatest strength. First, the substance: by passing the 18th, 19th, and 20th amendments, the PPP-led government ensured, amongst other things, that ... Read More »

Ten years on from the Iraq war


This month marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war (I wonder what Iraqis call it?). I recommend reading James Fallows’ piece on the whole thing, as well as Ta-Nehisi Coates’. Of course, trying to remember something — especially things as amorphous as “thoughts” and “feelings” — from ten years ago is a perilous exercise. But if ... Read More »

Arming your cake and eating it too

By: Freedom House - CC BY 2.0

I came across a news report on what third party forces are planning on doing next in the Syrian civil war, and came across this frankly absurd nugget: Officials in the United States and Europe have said the Obama administration is nearing a decision on whether to provide non-lethal assistance to carefully vetted fighters opposed to Syrian President Basher Assad, ... Read More »

Thinking aloud about measures to protect Hazara Shias


With depressing inevitability, today saw another devastating attack against Hazara Shias in Quetta by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Some moments after blast…intensity was so high entire area almost flattened&fire broke out. v @hdpofficial #Quetta… — Haider Changezi (@Aushpaz) February 16, 2013   There is no doubt that a lack of political will has a great deal to do with the continuing threat ... Read More »