Of Challenges Tempered With Optimism

India Abroad | August 23, 2013 | By Manik Suri

On the occasion of India’s 66th anniversary, the world’s largest democracy has made significant strides in its economic, social, and political development. Notwithstanding serious governance challenges in the near term, there are fundamental reasons to remain optimistic about India’s long term prospects.

From Crowdsourcing Potholes to Community Policing

Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University | Interoperability Case Studies | August 15, 2013 | By Manik Suri

Open311 is a state-of-the-art technology platform that provides a uniform base to expand existing “311″ services – which provide information tracking and monitoring – in cities around the world. Over the past decade, these 311 services have allowed cities to respond to millions of citizen-generated inputs, creating better and smarter governance. This paper applies “interoperability” theory to consider both the promises and perils of Open311, explaining how citizens and cities might unlock the full potential of this powerful civic technology platform in the future.

Reorienting the Principal-Agent Frame: Adopting the “Hartian” Assumption in Understanding and Shaping Legal Constraints on the Executive

Harvard Law and Policy Review | Volume 7, Issue 2: Summer 2013 | By Manik Suri

Debate over whether law can, and indeed should, constrain presidential power is as old as the Republic. Yet this article argues that by adopting a consequentialist “Holmesian” view of executive branch lawyering, liberal legalists ignore the possibility that an alternative approach based on a “Hartian” assumption – which conceptualizes law’s restraining force as an internalized normative commitment or duty to faithfully execute the laws – may provide a corollary explanation for law’s ability to constrain the executive. While acknowledging the difficulty in establishing causation (and thereby assigning relative explanatory power to these competing theories), this article nonetheless maintains that much is at stake in how we frame the relationship between law and the executive.

Recent Developments in Courtroom Lawfare

Harvard National Security Journal | March 25, 2013 | By Gerard Kennedy, Innokenty Pyetranker, and Manik Suri

American courtrooms are now one of the hottest battlefields in the ongoing Global War on Terrorism. In recent months, U.S. federal courts have issued several opinions that offer insights into one particularly significant area of terrorism-related jurisprudence: civil suits against financial institutions that allegedly support terrorist groups. Two such opinions issued by the Second Circuit, Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC and Rothstein v. UBS AG, merit special attention because of their far-reaching implications.

Conceptualizing China Within the Kantian Peace

Harvard International Law Journal | Volume 54, Issue 1: Winter 2013 | By Manik Suri

Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay, “Toward Perpetual Peace,” established a concept of cosmopolitan law as the nemesis of war, instilling in generations of liberal thinkers and practitioners a vision of a world without conflict. Kant’s paradigm posited that “republican constitutions, a commercial spirit of international trade, and a federation of interdependent republics” would provide the basis for a “perpetual peace” amongst states bound together under international law. Yet cultural relativists since the time of Kant have argued that only certain nations – namely those with a “Europeanized” culture – are capable of coming together to secure this lasting peace. This paper seeks to challenge such claims and assess the contemporary relevance of Kant’s ‘perpetual peace’ under international law in light of one of the key geopolitical developments of our time: the rise of China.

Why the Indian American Vote Mattered

India America Today | November 21, 2012 | By Manik Suri

While Indian Americans were solidly within the Obama camp, the challenge in 2012 lay in making sure their voice was heard – only 63 percent voted in 2008. This mattered. The 3 million-strong community’s widespread distribution, particularly in contested states, meant that they could help move the needle where it counted. Looking back, Indian Americans who voted in 2012 should feel proud. Initial data indicates that record numbers of voters across key liberal constituencies, including Latinos and African Americans, delivered at the ballot box – toppling conservative pundits’ carefully calibrated electoral models, challenging long-held assumptions, and igniting a firestorm within the Republican leadership over their party’s ability to connect with an electorate that is increasingly diverse.

Time to Get Out the Indian American Vote

India America Today | October 27, 2012 | By Manik Suri

Indian Americans are amongst President Obama’s most committed backers, but less than two-thirds of the 3-million strong community’s eligible voters showed up at the ballot box in 2008. This time around, no one can afford to stay on the sidelines. Each of us must head to the polls not only because we believe in a better future – the very reason our families came to this country – but because we are committed to shaping it ourselves. Doing so will strengthen the community’s political voice. But more importantly, it could help decide an election where the stakes are high, margins are razor-thin, and every vote counts.

How Obama’s India Policy Has Made America Stronger

The Diplomat | October 11, 2012 | By Manik Suri

President Obama’s engagement with India rests on the twin pillars of common values and converging interests. Our liberal democracies face common challenges across Asia – from combating fundamentalist violence in the west to preventing authoritarian power plays in the east. Obama’s foresighted India policy has advanced democracy, boosted our economy, and left America stronger. Governor Romney, meanwhile, has hardly mentioned India, reflecting a deeper failure to formulate a strategic vision for U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century – yet another sign that he is dangerously out-of-touch with present day realities.

National Security by the Numbers: Why We Should Redouble Efforts to Express Analytic Certainty

Harvard National Security Journal | September 3, 2012 | By Manik Suri

Over the past decade, national security policymakers have encouraged greater use of numbers, probabilities and estimative language to enhance intelligence and improve decision-making. Such efforts should be praised, yet they suffer from serious shortcomings that still need to be addressed.

Why We Need a U.S.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty Now

RealClearMarkets | August 30, 2012 | By Manik Suri

The United States urgently needs an ambitious trade strategy for the world’s fastest growing region: Asia. An obvious place to begin would be India, one of the largest emerging markets and a fellow democracy with which the U.S. shares key strategic interests. While newly launched talks on an investment agreement with India couldn’t be more propitious, the Obama administration must commit serious political capital to overcome protectionist opposition and build on considerable bipartisan consensus in favor of deeper U.S.-India economic ties.

Geoeconomics vs. Geopolitics: Implications for Asia and the U.S.-Australia Alliance

The U.S. Studies Center at the University of Sydney | August 21, 2012 | By Devesh Kapur and Manik Suri

This paper analyzes causes and consequences of the growing divergence between “geoeconomics” and “geopolitics” in Asia. The former is being driven by firm-level decisions that respond to competitive pressure to gain access to the region’s largest and fastest growing market: China. However, at the aggregate level, these individual decisions are leading to a growing misalignment between firms’ financial interests and national security imperatives. Though the near-term economic opportunities are unparalleled, the cumulative consequences of decisions taken by thousands of American, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Indian firms (amongst others) are ironically helping to build these countries’ most formidable strategic competitor – China – as they transfer knowledge and technological capabilities that erode their competitive advantage. While geoeconomics predicts deepening linkages with a rising economic actor, the questionable wisdom of putting so many eggs in one basket is increasingly becoming apparent.

Blurring the Civilian-Combatant Line: Legal Implications of Deploying U.S. Civilian Mariners in the Libyan Theater

Harvard National Security Journal | August 16, 2012 | By LT Elan R. Ghazal and Manik Suri

The U.S. military is facing mounting pressure to scale back the size and scope of its operations. And with the “fiscal cliff” approaching, additional cuts could hit the defense budget in early 2013. In response, Pentagon planners are relying more than ever on civilian manpower to augment force projection, from the State Department’s unprecedented involvement in post-conflict Iraq to the use of civilian contractors in sensitive military activities such as drone operations. A common theme underlies these developments: the line separating civilians from combatants is becoming increasingly blurred. This article examines one instance of this “civilianizing” trend – the deployment of civilian mariners (CIVMARs) aboard U.S. warships during contingency operations against Libya in 2011 – and highlights serious questions it raises at the intersection of law and war.

India’s Tightrope Walk in Afghanistan

The Hindu Business Line | August 15, 2012 | By Manik Suri

Until recently, most analysts expected Beijing to limit itself to an economic role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction; China has exerted minimal influence on that country’s security front in the past. Earlier this year, however, Beijing invited leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan for an unprecedented trilateral meeting to discuss reconciliation with the Taliban. And this past June, Beijing penned a strategic agreement with Kabul, signaling that it may directly train Afghan soldiers, even though it will not contribute to a U.S.-led multilateral fund to support the Afghan National Security Forces. In light of these developments, India’s efforts at strategic autonomy — being part of both Chinese and American plans in Afghanistan — may not prove workable. If Beijing and New Delhi’s interests diverge, China’s growing assertiveness in Afghanistan may ultimately force the Indian hand.

U.S.-India Cooperation in Afghanistan: Is India’s “Strategic Autonomy” Sustainable?

India in Transition | August 13, 2012 | By Manik Suri

The third annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in June left many convinced that the two nations’ “strategic partnership” is expanding. And not without reason as unprecedented counter-terrorism coordination, extensive joint military exercises on land, sea, and air, and candid discussions on sensitive topics like Iran and Myanmar point to a deepening relationship. But amidst a flurry of high-level visits surrounding the Dialogue, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta acknowledged that “we now have to put meat on the bone.” Today, Indian and American policymakers have an opportunity to do so through closer cooperation in one of the world’s most troubled hotspots: Afghanistan. Doing so, however, will require New Delhi to accept that maintaining its “strategy autonomy” could prove increasingly costly.

How Darkness Sheds Light: India’s Democratic Dysfunction

The Diplomat | August 4, 2012 | By Manik Suri

India’s recent power blackout has ironically cast a bright light on the nation’s deep-seated structural problems – particularly severe shortages of public goods like infrastructure, education, and health – that continue to leave millions behind. Reformers should seize this moment, for the power outage provides an opportunity to spur India’s weak national government into action. The country’s political leaders must heed this warning, or they will remain its greatest obstacle to growth.

A Revamped U.S. Export Control System for the 21st Century

Harvard National Security Journal | November 13, 2011 | By Manik Suri

While the United States has built one of the most sophisticated export control regimes in the world, its Cold War era architecture is outdated and must be transformed to reflect today’s realities and meet tomorrow’s challenges. In August 2010, President Obama launched a comprehensive Export Control Reform Initiative to pursue fundamental reform in four areas: (1) what we control; (2) how we control it; (3) how we enforce those controls; and (4) how we manage our controls. The Initiative’s guiding philosophy is to “build high walls around a smaller yard by focusing enforcement efforts on our crown jewels.” Once implemented, these much-needed reforms will mark a vital step toward promoting U.S. national security and industrial competitiveness in the 21st century.

A New Alliance

Foreign Policy | November 24, 2009 | By Manik Suri

The anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attacks serves as a reminder that the front lines in the “war on terror” lie not only in New York and Washington, DC, but as far afield as Karachi and Mumbai. The 10 militants who perpetrated the heinous acts were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistani extremist group responsible for several previous attacks across India. While Islamabad denies any official involvement, the attacks were a clarion call that the United States should take a stronger stance toward Pakistan’s military and intelligence services in cracking down on fundamentalist groups that promote violence – directed not only at the United States but against India as well.

Commercializing an MRI Breakthrough

Harvard Business Review | September 26, 2007 | By Lee Fleming and Jacob Aptekar

An official Harvard Business School Case Study examining Jacob Aptekar and Manik Suri’s work as business advisers to Lighthouse Medical Physics, a biotech start-up that aimed to commercialize breakthrough technologies in magnetic resonance imaging, popularly known as “MRI.”

A River in Peril

Harvard International Review | Fall 2003 | By Manik Suri

Along the banks of China’s longest river, the Yangtze, the water is rising. Yet this is not a natural occurrence, like the Yangtze’s great floods that killed hundreds of thousands in 1931 and 1954. The rising level of the Chiang Jiang, as the Chinese call it, is a deliberate consequence of the Three Gorges Dam Project, one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken.

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