Magazine article The World and I

From This Month's Menu

Magazine article The World and I

From This Month's Menu

Article excerpt

While the events of September 11 and their aftermath have dominated world attention, the murderous acts have also prompted efforts of peoples of different faiths and cultures to understand one another. Perhaps no better symbol of such efforts can be found than the ancient Silk Road, the subject of extensive coverage in our April issue. A historic trade route linking medieval Europe with the exotic cities of the Far East, the Silk Road traversed the inhospitable lands of Central Asia. Travel writer Masha Nordbye journeyed along the Silk Road from Beijing to Bukhara to file a colorful and descriptive report on this storied route, The Oriental Silk Road. The Arts section, in turn, has devoted three articles to a groundbreaking multicultural music initiative organized by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Project. Together, these stories emphasize the role that the Silk Road has played in bringing diverse peoples together, a salutary lesson both for that turbulent region and peoples everywhere.

Our examination of Central Asia does not stop there. The little known (to the West), newly independent republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan have been thrust into relative prominence because of their proximity to Afghanistan. In Central Asia's Sudden Prominence, Central Asian scholar S. Frederick Starr profiles the region, its vast natural gas holdings, and its prospects as a strategic partner in a world suddenly different from the one we knew just a year ago.

South Asia presents another volatile theater of conflict. Gamblers and Gladiators: The Crisis in South Asia, by U.S. Army War College analyst Stephen Blank, examines the roots of the hostility between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. With the disputed region of Kashmir the ostensible cause of conflict, Blank warns that reckless and provocative acts by both states, and by terrorist cells often operating with government complicity, threaten a conflagration that could exceed the ability of either state to contain. …

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