Robert Farley

Robert Farley is an assistant professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky. He contributes to the blogs Lawyers, Guns, and Money and TAPPED.

Recent Articles

THE PAKISTANI NUCLEAR ARSENAL.

Pakistan is estimated to have 60 or so nuclear weapons, deployed in "widely dispersed" sites across the country. The dispersal of nuclear weapons is key to Pakistan's deterrence strategy and is in accord with general guidelines for deploying strategic weapons in order to maximize survival in case of a first strike. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pointed out, however, the same deployment that makes sense for Indo-Pakistani relations spells trouble in the context of a growing Taliban insurgency. A larger number of nuclear sites increases the vulnerability of the Pakistani arsenal to Taliban seizure, theft, or sabotage. As the New York Times points out , the U.S. has strongly supported efforts to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, giving roughly $100 million over the past several years in order train Pakistani personnel and improve site defenses. Predictably, however, Pakistani cooperation has been limited. The Pakistanis remain reluctant to detail their nuclear locations for...

THE END FOR THE BRITISH IN IRAQ.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced the end of British combat operations in Iraq: ''Today marks the closing chapter of the combat mission in Iraq,'' Brown said. ''The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down.'' The British intervention in Iraq will not be remembered as one of the more glorious moments in the history of the Empire. As much as anyone, Prime Minister Tony Blair enabled the U.S. obsession with Iraq, earning the title "Bush's lapdog," and wrecking his own legacy. The expense of the Iraq War has played a key role in the deterioration of Britain's fiscal position generally and of the Royal Navy specifically ; the RN is less relevant now than at anytime since the development of the modern state system. The British deployment itself was beset by problems, demonstrating none of the flexibility of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps in the face of changing circumstances. The...

PLAN REVIEW.

The People's Liberation Army Navy carried out its 60th anniversary fleet review last week, with the United States Navy, the Russian Navy, and others in attendance. The review showcased growing Chinese naval power and served as a platform for speculation about China's plans for building aircraft carriers. While the Chinese navy currently has numerous destroyers and submarines, its only aircraft carrier is an aging former Russian hulk purportedly called Shi Lang. Although this ship is unlikely ever to serve in a combat capacity, it could be used as a training platform for a larger carrier fleet. The problem is that there is no solid indication as of yet when such a fleet will appear . Articles about Chinese aircraft-carrier construction invariably contain sentences like "may be planning," and "up to six," neither of which tell us very much about China's actual shipbuilding plans. Aircraft carriers are an extremely expensive and time-intensive investment, and it takes quite a while to...

SLOUCHING TOWARD A BLOODY END IN SRI LANKA.

The Sri Lankan government has forced the Tamil Tiger guerrilla organization onto a narrow spit, about 7 kilometers long. Unfortunately, the U.N. estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians are trapped in the area along with the Tigers. Continuing military operations by the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers are resulting, according to the UN, in about 70 civilian casualties per day. Things will get worse before they get better, as the Tigers have been conscripting and arming civilians as their military cause has grown more desperate. The Sri Lankan government faces a conundrum. It can destroy the major military formations of the Tamil Tiger organization, which is no small feat. However, ending the influence of the organization is beyond the military capacity of the Sri Lankan state, because much of the Tiger's support comes from the Tamil diaspora. The Tigers also continue to have underground support in Tamil parts of Sri Lanka. Solving these last two problems depends on...

YOU WONDER HOW IT COULD GET WORSE, AND THEN YOU FIND OUT.

I want to return for a moment to Adam's point on the use of torture to ferret out a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What fascinates me is the irrelevance of the line of inquiry; despite the fact that no evidence of a link was ever found, we still invaded Iraq. Jonathan Landay : A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration. "There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity. "The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others...

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