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Former diplomat Dennis Kux, a member of Lafayette’s Class of 1952 and expert on U.S. relations with Pakistan and India, will speak on “Afghanistan and Central Asia in the Aftermath of Sept. 11” 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Free and open to the public, the talk is sponsored by the East Asian Studies program and Office of the President.

Kux also will meet with students in the course History of American Foreign Policy, 1941-91, taught by Arnold Offner, Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History and author of Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953, published in March by Stanford University Press.

“Dennis Kux brings a wealth of hands-on experience and historical knowledge,” says Offner. “He served in South Asia, which has been an area of major American engagement for the past 60 years. He also happened to be at the Pakistani embassy when it served as the conduit for Kissinger’s 1971 secret trip to China that helped open up the country to the West. It’s obvious that this is someone worth listening to.”

Kux has been called on frequently to provide expert commentary in the national media on the situation in Afghanistan and the region since Sept. 11. His background as a Foreign Service officer and a scholar has made him as one of the world’s foremost experts on the region during this crisis and before it occurred.

His latest book, The United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies, was published earlier this year to acclaim by Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, and many others. “Ambassador Kux has given us the companion volume to his earlier and unequaled history, India and the United States: Estranged Democracies, 1941-91,” notes Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. “Both are absorbing, at times wrenching, accounts of misunderstandings and miscalculations that bring us, at the end of the Cold War, to the unwelcome fact that the most dangerous nuclear standoff in the world is on the Indian subcontinent—with the United States looking on, aghast and helpless.”

In the weeks following the Sept. 11, Kux was interviewed on three television networks and National Public Radio and had given lectures at more than a dozen clubs, colleges, and other organizations. His comments also appeared in a number of newspapers, including The Washington Post.

The New York Times called Kux’ first book, India and the United States: Estranged Democracies, 1941-91, “the definitive history of Indian-American relations.” A companion volume, The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies, came out in summer 2001.

Kux, who visited Afghanistan several times when he was at the U.S. embassies in India and Pakistan, says the U.S. and other nations can’t afford to turn their backs on Pakistan as they did on Afghanistan after the Russians left. “We didn’t really try to help them form a stable government,” he says, explaining that in the case of Pakistan, “we and the rest of the world need to stay with them. If Pakistan becomes a failed state, it will make Afghanistan look like a kindergarten.” Kux says that in order to keep Pakistan from becoming a place for conflict and terrorism to thrive, the U.S. must act as mediator between Pakistan and India.

Kux says his interest in diplomacy and foreign policy began when he was a history major at Lafayette and took government classes taught by Eugene Parker Chase, a former State Department official. His interest grew, when, as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he interrogated Korean, Chinese, and Japanese prisoners of war.

After receiving his master’s at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Kux was hired by the State Department in 1955 to study and report on economic policy. In 1957, when he arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, the heat was intense and the odds of contracting hepatitis were about one in four. By the end of his two-year assignment, Kux had fallen in love with the land, the people, and the complicated political and cultural history of South Asia.

Kuz did a tour of duty in India, then worked on South Asia policy in Washington, D.C., and foreign policy in Germany. He returned to Pakistan for another two-year tour in 1969, ending it as “unwitting control officer” for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to China, preceding President Richard Nixon’s historic trip there.

Kux spent the 1970s on a tour of duty in Turkey and back in Washington, D.C., as country director for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. He was named deputy assistant secretary for intelligence coordination in 1980, then deputy director for management operations in 1984. In 1986 he headed overseas again, this time as ambassador to the Ivory Coast. He speaks French, Russian, Hindi, Tamil, and Urdu.

When Kux returned to the United States in 1989, he continued his State Department career for another five years. He visited Uzbekistan in the late 1990s, and served as a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1996-97. He is currently a senior scholar at the Wilson Center and executive director of the Asia Society’s Council on Foreign Relations. He has returned to both Pakistan and India on Fulbright fellowships, and returned to India in January to work on his third book, which will address United States-India relations following the Cold War.

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