What we are reading

posted by Paul Hamill on May 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

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Exclusive: China pushes North Korea to drop nuclear test plan: sources

Benjamin Kang Lim / Reuters

China has been quietly and gently pressuring North Korea to scrap plans for a third nuclear test, said two sources with knowledge of closed-door discussions between the countries, but there is no indication how the North will react.

UPDATE: EU Navies Launch First Land Strike On Somali Pirates

Sarah Kent, Vanessa Mock and Neena Rai / DOW JONES NEWSWIRES  

European naval aircraft fired at a pirate base on the Somali coastline Tuesday, in an unprecedented offensive against pirates that threaten international oil shipments off the Horn of Africa.

Clinton welcomes French push for European growth policies

Richard Wolf / USA Today

As President Obama prepares to greet new French President Francois Hollande at the White House on Friday before summits with world leaders at Camp David and in Chicago, Clinton welcomed Hollande’s “different political approach.”

Export-Import Bank reauthorized by Senate

Rosalind S. Helderman / Washington Post

On a broad bipartisan vote of 78 to 20, the Senate voted Tuesday to extend the life of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and expand its authority to make loans to U.S. exporters.

U.S. nuclear expert: Iran official linked to past program

Tabassum Zakaria / Reuters

Communications from the 1990s suggest Iran’s current foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, had knowledge of a program to procure goods for an alleged clandestine nuclear program when he was head of a university, a U.S. nuclear expert said on Tuesday.

Iran’s tough nuclear stance masks struggles at top

ALI AKBAR DAREINI and BRIAN MURPHY / AP

The negotiating stance from Iranian officials never varies: The Islamic Republic will not give up its capabilities to make nuclear fuel. But embedded in the messages are meanings that reach beyond Tehran’s talks with world powers.

Afghanistan hopeful of extra US cash to fund security

guardian.co.uk

Afghanistan is confident the US will stump up billions of extra dollars for its army and police on top of the main chunk of a $4.1bn (£2.6bn) annual budget that is expected to be sealed at a Nato summit this month, an Afghan diplomat has said.

Ex-Soviet Uzbekistan plans privatization drive

AP

Uzbekistan’s government plans to sell off almost 500 state assets over the next two years in an ongoing drive to expand the private sector in this former Soviet nation.

U.S. says most oil, gas acreage is idle
UPI

More than two-thirds of the onshore and offshore acreage leased for oil and natural gas exploration remains idle, the U.S. Department of Interior said.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

New ASP event: A Conversation with Walter Pincus: Nukes, Missiles, and the Truth

Holland: House Armed Services Committee Threatens Shut Down of Successful Biofuel Development

Wired’s Danger Room blog has an important story by Noah Shachtman, “Republicans Order Navy to Quite Buying Biofuels” about the Department of Defense’s biofuels program. As ASP has written about before, the Department of Defense has become a leader on developing alternative fuels because they see that dependence on oil is a threat to national security. The U.S. Navy in particular has been active in developing alternative fuels. This makes sense: since the beginning of the Republic, the Navy has been a leader in developing and embracing new transportation technologies. From sail to steam to oil to nuclear, the Navy has led the way in technology development. Today, they’re trying to do so again, by moving away from their dependence on oil.

Gold: HASC and the NDAA: New Barriers to Safely Reducing the US’s Nuclear Arsenal

Last week the House Armed Services Committee produced their final Committee markup of the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.  The bill should go to the House floor for final passage sometime later this month.  Included in the bill are some sections that limit the ability of the president to safely reduce, pursuant to the New START Treaty signed with Russia last year, the strategic nuclear forces of the United States.

Wallin: Land of Dreams and Tourism

Yesterday, I was introduced to a new campaign to increase tourism to the United States. The material I have seen includes advertising spots, available here, which do a great job at showcasing the diversity of America.

Holland: The Threats of Climate Change to Security Deserve Study

A Washington Times Editorial simply goes too far in attacking climate science over a statement made by Secretary of Defense Panetta.

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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