posted by Paul Hamill on March 22, 2012 at 11:04 am
Ronald E. Neumann/ The Hill
The situation is rotten: U.S. soldiers urinating on bodies, Quran-burning and now, a soldier running amuck. Real or purported Afghan security personnel have murdered U.S. troops. A cacophony of voices has erupted in instant soundbite analysis demanding retreat.
Emma Graham-Harrison / The Guardian
William Patey, the outgoing British ambassador to the country, has said Britain could withdraw funding if something isn’t done. Britain could withdraw funding for Afghanistan‘s security forces if the Afghan government fails to tackle the country’s huge corruption problems, the outgoing British ambassador to Kabul has warned in a valedictory interview with the Guardian.
Lisa Hostein / The Jewish Exponent
Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has joined the chorus of past and current officials warning that a military strike against Iran could produce dire consequences. “If you think the war in Iraq was hard, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a catastrophe,” he said in a keynote speech to some 400 donors at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s campaign event last week.
John G. Castellaw / Commercial Appeal
West Tennessee faces many challenges — a high unemployment rate, an under-skilled labor force, an uncertain fuel supply and rising energy prices. These factors keep us from moving ahead with economic development to make our state a better place to live and work. However, we have a unique opportunity to take charge of our future and make our children’s prospects better than ours by positioning ourselves to take advantage of the next energy wave.
If you’re betting that we will one day rely on clean nuclear fusion for our growing energy needs, the odds are getting a lot better thanks to laser-based techniques called Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF). For many people, nuclear fusion is the ultimate alternative to dirty, planet-destroying fossil fuels and tsunami-vulnerable fission plants. The fact that we can look to the sun to see fusion in action makes it seem so easy, safe, and wholesome. There’s just one small problem – stars can only shine if they’re really, really big because you need lots of gravity to hold the churning mass of hydrogen and helium together tightly enough for fusion to take place.
David Malakoff /Science Mag
Both Republicans and Democrats on a U.S. House of Representatives spending panel yesterday questioned the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) plan to help pay for an international fusion project by shutting down a U.S.-based fusion machine.
Omar Samad / Foreign Policy
The way forward in Afghanistan became considerably less opaque last week when the Taliban suspended Qatar-based talks with the United States, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in a separate statement, requested that NATO troops pull back from rural outposts to main military bases. This marked the first time Karzai has publicly indicated that he favors a handover of security to Afghan forces in 2013, a year earlier than the 2014 deadline set by NATO.
Rick Newman / US News and World Report
If gas prices are still close to $4 per gallon when Election Day rolls around, President Obama will face tough political odds. But Obama—or his successor—could end up with a far worse problem than that in the not-too-distant future.
Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight has run a detailed scenario on how a war with Iran would affect oil prices and the global economy, with disconcerting takeaways for anybody sensitive to oil and gas prices—including politicians. The forecast says that if a military campaign over Iran’s nuclear program prompted Tehranto lay mines in an attempt to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, Brent crude prices could soar from current levels of about $125 per barrel to a peak of roughly $240. Gas prices would rise by the same magnitude—pushing them above $7 per gallon.
A BBC article was just published discussing the new trade dispute the US has filed against China for its monopolization of the rare earths market (rare earths are of strategic importance to the US, check out ASP’s February 2011 report)
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