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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 26, 2002
8:21 AM
CONTACT:  Foreign Policy In Focus
Kathy Spillman 202-234-9382 x258, kathy@ips-dc.org
Powell's Visit Needs to Focus on Asia's Problems as well as Terrorism
 
WASHINGTON - July 26 - Starting this weekend Sec. of State Colin Powell will visit Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines to bolster regional support for America's war on terrorism. But he will also be confronted with more pressing issues that threaten the peace and stability of the region: the ongoing conflict in Kashmir; ethnic and religious conflict in Indonesia and continuing human rights abuses by the Indonesian armed forces; political repression in Malaysia; and increasingly popular unrest over the American military presence in the Philippines. Coupled with vast social and economic inequalities in the region, can the U.S. afford to solely concentrate on the terrorist threat in Asia? The following experts are available for comment:

John Gershman is the Asia/Pacific Editor of Foreign Policy In Focus and author of "Is Southeast Asia the Second Front," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2002). (W) 609-688-9509, (Cell) 609-213-2176, E-mail john@irc-online.org
"Sec. of State Powell faces the challenge of demonstrating the State Department's relevance in the region, as it has been largely marginalized by the Pentagon as the primary agency driving the Bush administration's policy in Asia. While the Pentagon is expanding a web of military aid and alliances under the guise of fighting the war on terrorism, the security challenges facing the U.S. in Asia are not military. Widespread economic and political grievances in Asia require a focus on strengthening democratic governance and fighting poverty. Powell's predicament is how to bring diplomacy back into U.S. foreign policy with an administration committed to militarizing U.S. policy in Asia."

John Miller is Outreach and Media Coordinator for the East Timor Action Network. (W) 718-596-7668, (Cell) 917-690-4391, E-mail: john@etan.org
"If Sec. of State Powell is serious about opposing terrorism, he must forcefully speak out for genuine military reform, democratization, and justice for crimes against humanity committed by the Indonesian military (TNI) in East Timor and Indonesia. Ongoing abuses against civilians in Aceh and West Papua must end, as well as assistance to radical Islamic groups such as Laskar Jihad. Powell must make clear that the Senate Appropriations Committee's decision to restore IMET military training to the TNI is not an endorsement as business-as-usual in Indonesia."

Sumit Ganguly is Professor of Asian Studies and Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and has just returned from India. (W) 512-475-6040, (H) 512-458-5971, E-mail: sg@uts.cc.utexas.edu
"Sec. of State Powell will find he will have to smooth ruffled feathers in India. There is growing impatience with Pakistan's inability or unwillingness to stop the infiltration of Islamic guerrillas into Kashmir. Many also felt that the American decision to pull out its citizens for fear of nuclear war was yet another sanction against India. Powell will need to reassure India that progress towards a stronger bilateral relationship is not in danger, and the U.S. needs to realize that there are people in New Delhi waiting to derail it. While Powell has to get tougher with the Pakistanis over infiltration, he also has to get Indians to think more creatively over Kashmir."

For interviews you can contact the experts directly or call Kathy Spillman at 202-234-9382 to arrange an interview. For further information and analysis on the continuing crisis around terrorism, visit: http://www.fpif.org/.

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