What we are reading

posted by Paul Hamill on February 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm

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US: NK agrees to suspend nuclear activities

MATTHEW PENNINGTON /  
Associated Press

The United States says North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and agree to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

Clinton: Japan, EU working to comply with Iran sanctions

Andrew Quinn / Reuters

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday pledged to aggressively implement new U.S. sanctions on Iran but noted that some allies such as Japan face “unique situations” as they seek to reduce Iranian oil imports.

U.S. Sees Iran Attacks as Likely if Israel Strikes

THOM SHANKERHELENE COOPER and ETHAN BRONNER / NY Times

American officials who have assessed the likely Iranian responses to any attack by Israel on its nuclear program believe that Iran would retaliate by launching missiles on Israel and terrorist-style attacks on United States civilian and military personnel overseas.

Qatar initiative: Hekmatyar warns of civil war

Tahir Khan / The Express Tribune

In an ominous warning, Afghan warlord and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has cautioned the Taliban against unilateral talks with “foreigners” as it may resurrect the “bitter past”.

The Conservative Case For Foreign Aid

John Kerry / Wall Street Jounal

Cutting foreign aid has always been a guaranteed applause line on the political stump. There are no global Grover Norquists pushing a pledge not to slash the State Department budget, nor are there millions of AARP seniors rallying to protect America’s investments overseas. President Reagan once summed it up succinctly: “Foreign aid suffers from a lack of domestic constituency, in large part because the results of the programs are often not immediately visible and self-evident.” And today, with the national debt approaching $14.7 trillion, Americans rightly demand fiscal responsibility.

Gen. McCaffrey privately briefs NBC execs on war with Iran

GLENN GREENWALD / Slate

Among the many attributes one might attribute to McCaffrey and his report, incoherence is near the top of the list. He does, as I noted, make statements suggesting imminent military conflict, including his claim that “there is a significant probability of Iranian escalation in the coming 90 days” and “they are likely to further escalate,” along with the title of his first page: “Creeping toward war.” But as several emailers point out, he also tacks onto the end of the discussion on the first page the assessment of “15% probability of major military action in the coming 90 days.” The document is devoted to making military conflict appear quite likely, though he places a relatively low percentage on “major military action in the coming 90 days.”

UPCOMING EVENT:  Biofuels for National Security: Air Force and Navy Progress on Renewable Jet Fuels

 

On the ASP Flashpoint blog:

Holland: Gas Prices are Rising – Let’s not Do Anything Stupid

Rising gas prices are back in the news again. Oil has gone back above $100 a barrel, and gasoline prices are about to push through the $4 a gallon price. This has led to President Obama sparring with Republican Congressional leaders and his potential opponents. It has also led to Congressional Democrats asking for a release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to dodge this issue any way they can. Fellow columnist, Robert Rapier, has often criticized the usage of the SPR as a political tool in an effort to lower gas prices.

Hamill : Lets think about strategy

Yet another great discussion with Dr Brzezinksi on Morning Joe this morning. The key quote as far as I am concerned was: “if you have problems today, that you have to address, you might be able to solve them more effectively of you simultaneously had a vision, a longer-range vision, as to where you want to head”

Holland: Colombia’s Climate Security Risk

Colombia is a particularly worrisome area for climate impacts because we simply do not know how warming will affect the area. It is tropical, and its weather is very influenced by the el Nino/la Nina phenomenon in the Eastern Pacific. This creates a wet-season/dry-season dynamic that can lead to very heavy rains. And, Colombia’s mountainous topography creates a funnel effect down which the rains can quickly become dangerous flash floods.

 

Wallin: Why the State Department’s Twitter Diplomacy isn’t that Impressive

The important factor about U.S. engagement via web 2.0 is not that that the government is using it, but rather that it doesn’t address the core problems of engagement overseas: fortress embassies, a lack of understanding, and failures to follow through on commitments.

 

About the American Security Project: The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.

 

For more information, visit www.americansecurityproject.org. info@americansecurityproject.org

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