From Kashmir to Ukraine, several flashpoints highlight the instability that flows from unpredictable foreign policy.

The watchword of the American security establishment since the cold war has been "credibility". The idea is that if America is to maintain its status as a superpower and a world policeman, then its international commitments must be clear and believable. Anything less, it is argued, would leave America's friends and foes confused. And confusion could lead to miscalculation, raising the risk of conflict.

That prediction may now be coming true, as a number of regional conflicts flare up around the world — against a

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Kashmir: the Afghanistan effect

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Korean peninsula: missile diplomacy

Strait of Hormuz: targeting Tehran

Ukraine: Europe's long conflict

Hong Kong: is anybody listening?

Taiwan/South China Sea: simmering tensions