Back in October, 2007, we ran a post entitled "Five questions for Nisid Hajari," who was then Newsweek foreign editor.
A lot has happened since then, especially in the last few months: The much publicized sale of Newsweek by the Washington Post Company to electronics magnate Sidney Harman (for a $1 pricetag and the assumption of $47 million of liabilities). Rumors of a hookup with The Daily Beast. The launch of a Pakistan edition of Newsweek. Several big names have left the magazine, including SAJAer Fareed Zakaria, who is now an editor-at-large at Time, connecting his CNN show, "Fareed Zakaria GPS" with the network's Time Inc cousin.
In the meantime, Hajari has been named interim co-editor of the magazine, along with Dan Klaidman. He also continues to write, putting together a major story in this week's issue about the tortured US-Pakistan ties. An excerpt:
In America’s relationship with Pakistan, carrots predominate, in part because we have so few sticks. After our almost unquestioned support for Pakistani dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf didn’t elicit sufficient cooperation against the Taliban, we showered the civilian government that replaced him with $7.5 billion in aid, to little effect. American generals praise the very real sacrifices—in blood and treasure—made by the Pakistani Army in the fight against militants in Swat and South Waziristan; yet calls to broaden the campaign to North Waziristan, home to one of the deadliest Afghan insurgent groups, the Haqqani network, go unheeded. U.S. and Pakistani diplomats recite platitudes about “our common enemy, and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari repeatedly invokes his assassinated wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, to underscore his dedication to battling extremists. But that depends on whose extremists.
We asked the always upbeat Hajari three quick questions about Newsweek, the future of US-Pak ties and the new Pakistan edition. His answers, via e-mail:
SAJAforum: What's it like at Newsweek these days?
What's your take on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations?
Hajari: I'm optimistic in the longterm, because of the incredible talent and vitality of Pakistani civil society, particularly among the younger generation. But right now, politically, both sides are locked into short-term strategies that seem irreconcilable. Obama needs to show progress on the ground in Afghanistan quickly, which means going after the Taliban leadership in their safe havens in Pakistan. But since they're convinced that the US is going to be leaving Afghanistan soon, the Pakistanis have no incentive to help us. These groups--like the Quetta shura, or the Haqqani network--are Islamabad's insurance policy, proxies who are meant to make sure Pakistani interests are protected in any power-sharing arrangement that ultimately develops in Kabul. America's direct enemy is Pakistan's key agent. I just don't see how that ends well.
How did Newsweek come to launch a Pakistan edition?
Hajari: Well, partly through the incredible dynamism of one of those younger Pakistanis--a terrific journalist named Fasih Ahmed who is now the editor of Newsweek Pakistan. This is a key region of the world, with an increasingly robust press, but there was nothing like this on the newsstands there. Being able to provide the Pakistani audience with local content produced by an editorial staff in Lahore, with reporters and stringers all over the country, in addition to having access to Newsweek's worldwide reportorial reach, seemed a powerful combination to bring to bear on the torrent of news coming out of Pakistan.
A note about SAJAers with the editor or managing editor or executive editor title in MAJOR US media outlets: At the moment, the list includes Peter Bhatia, editor of The Oregonian, Raju Narisetti, co-managing editor of the Washington Post; Jai Singh, managing editor of the Huffington Post, Devan Maharaj, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times; Stephanie Mehta, executive editor, Fortune and Nikhil Deogun, managing editor of CNBC (did we miss anyone else?).
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