What we are reading

posted by Paul Hamill on May 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

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Divisive issues in the House defense budget

AP

The House is debating a $642 billion defense budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 that adds billions of dollars to President Barack Obama’s spending blueprint and rejects several of his proposals. The White House has threatened a veto. A look at some of the bill’s disputed provisions

Cell Doors ‘Incapable of Locking’ at Giant Afghan Jail

Spencer Ackerman / Wired

The detention facility that the U.S. built in Afghanistan is state-of-the-art. Except for all of the faulty hinges on the cell doors. Or the locks that are, in the words of a new report from the Defense Department’s inspector general, “incapable of locking either manually or electronically.” Or the construction that’s deemed “not up to the standard suitable for a detention facility.”

Iran attack decision nears, Israeli elite locks down

Michael Stott / Reuters

A private door opens from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in central Jerusalem directly into a long, modestly furnished, half-paneled room decorated with modern paintings by Israeli artists and a copy of Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence. It contains little more than a long wooden table, brown leather chairs and a single old-fashioned white projector screen.

China rejects US ruling in solar dumping case

JOE McDONALD  / AP

China’s government on Friday rejected a U.S. antidumping ruling against its makers of solar power equipment and Chinese manufacturers warned possible higher tariffs might hurt efforts to promote clean energy.

Nightmare foretold if Greece heads for euro exit

Harry Papachristou and Giles Elgood / Reuters

Greece is close to breaking point as it struggles with austerity targets set by creditors, but this is just a foretaste of the nightmare of unrest, hunger and even anarchy that could engulf the debt-crippled nation if it is forced out of the euro.

 

 

On Our Flashpoint Blog

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

Wallin: Analog vs. Digital in the Diplomatic World

The analog vs. digital debate has turned from watches, to cameras, and now to diplomacy. Today I attended an event on Digital Diplomacy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Given my skepticism of many digital diplomacy efforts, I was pleased to come out of the event with impression that there is a general understanding of the limits of digital efforts. It seems that even amongst digital’s proponents, there is an appreciation of the importance of “analog,” old-fashioned

Holland: Race for Arctic Energy Resources Shows Need for U.S. to Ratify Law of the Sea Treaty

As I have been researching and writing about Arctic energy development recently, there’s one important – and easy – policy prescription that often comes up: joining the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). As I mentioned in my article, “Energy Development in the Arctic: Threats and Opportunities” the USGS estimates that the Arctic region has 22% of the world’s undiscovered energy resources – and 84% of those resources are expected to occur offshore (so 18.5% of the undiscovered resources are on or under the Arctic seabed).

Boyle: “Strategic Pivots,” Partnerships, and the Chicago Summit: how NATO plans to save itself

NATO’s upcoming summit in Chicago on May 20-21, has been much publicized as the organization’s last chance to remain relevant amidst shifting economic and security climates.

Wallin: Deja-Vu: Another Attempt to Revise Smith-Mundt

There is word of another attempt to revise the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which restricts the dissemination of material intended for foreign audiences within the United States. With the open nature of modern communication mediums, it is argued that Smith-Mundt is a Cold War relic which hinders the ability of the U.S. government to effectively communicate with the modern world and create effective public diplomacy.

Boyle: U.S. – Yemen cooperation produces results in al-Qaeda offensive

Yemeni forces, under the direction of US forces, opened a four-front offensive against al-Qaeda strongholds in the south of the nation.  Though it has long been known that the US has been maintaining significant air and naval capabilities in the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa, the operation marked the first time US forces have directed a military operation carried out by Yemeni forces.  It is the most direct involvement of the US in Yemen’s internal affairs to date, and illustrative of the two nations’ close cooperation in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism, more broadly.

ASP Reports and Media 

Measuring Success

“As we look toward the Chicago Summit and NATO’s coming decisions about Afghanistan it is important to understand how the war is going. And while some things seem worse than ever, we just don’t have a good idea of whether we are progress toward achieving President Obama’s strategy or not.”

ASP Podcast

 

In the podcast we discuss the strategic importance of Central Asia to American foreign policy and national security

 

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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