The U.S. faces two contradictory imperatives in the war on terror: on the one hand, it tempts the U.S. to put aside its democratic scruples and seek closer ties with autocracies throughout the Middle East and Asia. On the other hand, the U.S. has increasingly come to believe that it is precisely the lack of democracy in many of these countries that helps breed Islamic extremism.
Muslim states are calling upon the West to support madrasa reform through financial aid. The recipe is to add contemporary subjects alongside the religious sciences in madrasa curriculum. But Madrasas will survive these reform efforts, just as they survived Western education during colonial rule; they derive influence from deep-rooted socioeconomic conditions that have proved resistant to change.
Anatol Lieven reports on the Pakistani elections and security dynamics emanating from Afghanistan through Pakistan and into Kashmir.