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Friday, October 02, 2009

A MANUFACTURED CRISIS, Part 3 : The case for Iran, Afghanistan: A military failure (or a moral one)? China, Afghanistan, Zhou

A MANUFACTURED CRISIS, Part 3 : The case for Iran - Fiery rhetoric aside, Iran's leaders are now being cautious, and their military intentions are defensive. They know all too well how sanctions would cripple the economy, and the Iranian people have no desire to replicate the horror of the defensive war they waged against Iraq for most of the 1980s. - Jack A Smith (Oct 1, '09) This concludes a three-part report.

Afghanistan: A military failure (or a moral one)? - Rafia Zakaria - Even if the United States is able to define military and political victories in achievable terms, its failure to respond to the moral questions imposed on them could ultimately be what determines this war’s outcome. Earlier this month, General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO Commander in Afghanistan, submitted his strategic report on the war in Afghanistan to President Obama. The report, expectedly dismal, laid out the challenges that America, a continuing if shaky superpower, faces in Afghanistan. The bleak forecast offered by Gen McChrystal’s report follows in the footsteps of the Afghan elections, whose contested results gave NATO little to celebrate in terms of Afghanistan’s progress toward self sufficiency. Much has been said about the new American strategy in Afghanistan. Indeed, ever since President Obama has taken office, pundits have been furiously recasting the Afghan war as Obama’s war; the real conflict borne out of America’s genuine security interests as opposed to Bush’s imperialist agenda in Iraq.

China maps an end to the Afghan war - A senior Chinese official has publicly put forward an unusually forthright and timely view on the Afghanistan conflict, proposing concrete steps to be taken towards unlocking the stalemate there. This, he argues, is an Afghan issue, while al-Qaeda is not a big factor. Not the least important: US troops should go home. - M K Bhadrakumar

A Truly Shocking Guantánamo Story: Judge Confirms That An Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions - By Andy Worthington on Kuwaitis in Guantanamo - In four years of researching and writing about Guantánamo, I have become used to uncovering shocking information, but for sheer cynicism, I am struggling to think of anything that compares to the revelations contained in the unclassified ruling in the habeas corpus petition of Fouad al-Rabiah, a Kuwaiti prisoner whose release was ordered last week [...]

US refuses entry to radical German publisher - By Alison Flood on Books - The prestigious German publisher and former student activist Karl-Dietrich Wolff has been denied entry to the US
PEN, the international writers' organisation, has condemned the news that prestigious German publisher and former student activist Karl-Dietrich Wolff has been denied entry to the US. He was due to speak at Vassar College about African American civil rights and 20th century Germany.
The 66-year-old Wolff, former head of the Socialist German Students' Organisation (SDS), founder of Germany's Black Panther Solidarity Committee in 1969 and founder of German publisher Stroemfeld, was refused entry at JFK airport in New York this weekend.

Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilisation? - By Lester R. BrownWe are in a race between political tipping points and natural tipping points. Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid the resulting rise in sea level? Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save at least the larger glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau? Can we stabilise population by lowering fertility before nature takes over and halts population growth by raising mortality?

The night Zhou was drunk under the table - While out-drinking Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, arguing over literature with Mao Zedong's wife and sharing turkey with the Gang of Four, a young Westerner in Beijing at the time of the Cultural Revolution was blissfully unaware of the Moscow-style purges going on behind the scenes. - Ian Williams


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