Muqtedar Khan's Column on 
Global Affairs

  GlocalEye is Muqtedar Khan's Column on global affairs.  It seeks to understand the  simultaneous impact of globalization and localization.

Dr. Muqtedar Khan is the Chair of department of Political Science and the Director of International Studies at Adrian College. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought,  from Georgetown University in May 2000.

Flash: Muqtedar Khan is presently a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a part of the Brookings project on US Foreign Policy towards the Islamic World at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.  

Dr. Khan's column has appeared in The Wall Street, Dawn International (Pakistan), Daily Times (Pakistan), Outlook India (India), The Muslim Gazette (India), Nagasaki Post (Japan), The Daily Telelegraph (London), Manila Times (Philippines), Jordan Times (Jordan), Aljazeera (Qatar), The Daily Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Muslim Democrat, I,, Arabies Trends (France), Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), Lebanon Daily Star, and many other periodicals world wide.

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Recently Posted Articles




I am happy to announce the publication of my first book -- American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom For more details about the book go to: Book


1. Islam in America
2. American Muslims and American Politics
3. American Muslims and American Foreign Policy
4. American Muslims and American Society
5. American Muslim 
6. Reflections on Islam and Democracy
7. The Attack on America ands its 
8. An American Muslim Perspective of the Muslim 


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American Muslims:
Bridging Faith and Freedom

February 06, 2003

If the UN vetoes the US, it risks irrelevance?

January 20, 2003

Washington's Nuclear Policy: Moral Clarity or Double Standards

Dec. 31st, 2002

Global Shift to the Right?

The Threat of American Wahhabis 




Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.  

A shorter version of this article was published in the 
Detroit News
on May 07, 2003.

The US has now won the battle for Baghdad but the outcome of the war in Iraq is yet to be determined. The military action has so far confirmed that US military power is indeed formidable. But events before the war have also exposed the profound limitations of American diplomatic power; a limitation that is now compounded by a lack of credibility in the global public sphere.

Political commentators are now focusing either on what they call as “winning the peace,” or on re-examining the American justifications for this war, especially since Saddam Hussein has neither used any weapons of mass destruction, even as his regime was destroyed, nor have western forces found any hidden caches so far. The Bush administration had hedged its bet by throwing in “freedom for Iraqis” as another reason for regime change. That is a good thing. If no trace of WMDs is found, the US and UK can still save face by claiming that regime change has brought freedom to Iraq.

Regardless of whether WMDs are found or not the US now faces much tougher challenges than those posed by either the French or the Fedayeen. The international political battles that are yet to come will be more demanding than those the Bush administration had to face before the war.

Challenge 1: Making Peace      

In its march towards Baghdad, the Bush administration trampled on many vital assets. It has forced longstanding allies such as France and Germany to join with Russia in forming a coalition of those willing to challenge and contain the US through diplomatic means. This alliance will continue to solidify, will attract newer members and will also enjoy worldwide public support if the US continues to act unilaterally and spurns the UN.

Under the Clinton administration the US invested billions of dollars in building a relationship with Russia that we can now safely write off. In the last 55 years the US has invested billions of dollars and enormous political and diplomatic resources in developing an international order based on the principles of international law and multilateralism using the UN as the epicenter of the network of international governmental organizations that presently govern the global society. The US has not only endangered the future of this global public good but is also running the risk of become a hyper-rogue power. US investments over the years to sustain a prosperous and peaceful Europe are also at risk. 

While many hawkish voices in Washington are willing to dismiss the new France, the diminished UN and the emerging Turkey as minor diplomatic problems, the exclusion of the UN from governance issues in Iraq may actually create a split in the Anglo-American alliance. If a credible cache of WMDs is not found soon, Tony Blair will not risk another confrontation with his own population. He will demand that the UN play a major role in the shaping of Iraq and he will insist that the US pay more attention to the Palestinian plight. If Washington ignores these demands then Blair will probably decide to align with Britain and Europe and will turn in his Texas Rangers badge.

The Bush administration must now act with great caution and prudence. I am glad the President is praying everyday for more wisdom. He will certainly need it in order to make peace with the world. He must now devote himself to the following tasks:

  1. Strengthen the UN by sharing with it responsibility (and risks) in the reconstitution of the Iraqi structures of governance and reconstruction of its economy, infrastructure, security apparatus and civil society. 
  2. Strengthen Tony Blair and protect the US-UK alliance by pursuing the diplomatic measures that will help make peace between Blair and Britain.
  3. Diffuse the coalition between Russia, France and Germany. This can be easily done; by either accommodating French or Russian economic interests in the spoils of war. If the French are accommodated it will not only diffuse the anti-US coalition but bring the entire European Union behind the US.
  4. Finally the administration must enable tripartite talks between the Iraqi Shiis, Sunnis and Kurds (in close consultation with Turkey and Iran) to ensure a stable peace and trigger democratization. Hawks in Washington DC averse to any overtures towards Iran might need to be reminded of the help provided by Iran in the formation of a pro-US government in Afghanistan at the talks in Berlin.  

Challenge 2. Restoring Credibility

At many levels the Bush administration has depleted much of America’s international capital. Anti-Americanism is rapidly becoming the defining character of the global political culture. American arrogance and America’s inability to make conclusive cases for its claims is ensuring that American credibility, like America’s soft power is exhausted. The Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike makes mockery of the long standing American claim that it is a super power that exercises force with responsibility. If no credible cache of WMDs is found in Iraq, not only the rest of the world but many Americans will feel that this administration has risked the life of Americans and Iraqis on flimsy claims.

There are only two outcomes that can restore the credibility gap that plagues the Bush administration. – Rebuilding Iraq and jump-starting the Middle East peace process. If America does not reconstruct Iraq, fails to deliver democracy and continues to ignore the plight of the Palestinians then without doubt we will become the most hated, the most isolated nation in the world and we will for a long time live our lives by the color codes designed by Tom Ridge.

Muqtedar Khan is presently a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institutions’ project on US Foreign Policy Towards the Islamic World.


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