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What We Are Reading

What We Are Reading

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North Korea Issues Blunt New Threat to United States

David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-Hun / The New York Times

A blunt and explicit threat from North Korea Thursday that its missile and nuclear programs would “target” the United States in a “new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle” revives a challenge the White House had tried unsuccessfully to contain for the past four years, as it focused on winding down two wars and focusing on Iran.

Pentagon to move ‘expeditiously’ to lift ban on women in combat roles

Ernesto Londono / The Washington Post

The Pentagon will move “expeditiously” to integrate women into the military’s combat units, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta vowed Thursday, arguing that the inclusion of female troops would make the country and its fighting force stronger.

U.N. launches drone investigation

Colum Lynch / Foreign Policy

An independent U.N. human rights researcher this morning announced the opening of an investigation into the use of drone attacks and other targeted assassinations by the United States and other governments.

Senate holds confirmation hearing on John Kerry as secretary of state

Karen DeYoung, Anne Gearan, and William Branigin / The Washington Post

Sen. John F. Kerry, testifying before a Senate committee on his nomination to become secretary of state, said U.S. foreign policy is defined by much more than military intervention abroad and the fight against terrorism, and he called for consensus on promoting American leadership on matters ranging from food security to climate change.

Under French pressure, key Mali rebel group splits

Associated Press / USA Today

Mali’s rebel movement showed new signs of discord on Thursday in the wake of punishing French air strikes, with one wing of the Ansar Dine group now pledging to negotiate an end to the country’s crisis and possibly even fight against its former comrades-in-arms.

Ask the Experts: Social Media and Conflict Prevention

Micah Zenko / Council on Foreign Relations

An increasing number of policymakers and think-tank residents are championing the power of social media and big data to pressure governments, empower civil society, deter human rights abuses through the power of witness, and semi-accurately forecast political instability and conflict without the false positives.

Money Pit: The Monstrous Failure of US Aid to Afghanistan

Joel Brinkley / World Affairs

The United States Agency for International Development looked at Afghanistan’s population under twenty-five and decided it needed help because, it said, these young people are “disenfranchised, unskilled, uneducated, neglected – and most susceptible to joining the insurgency.” Two years into the three-year, $50 million program, the agency’s inspector general had a look at the work thus far and found “little evidence that the project has made progress toward” its goals.

ASP Published Today

Understanding the Strategic and Tactical Considerations of Drone Strikes

Joshua Foust

The American Security Project report, the second in our series on drone strikes and targeted killing, examines the known data to generate a series of ten metrics to gauge the effects of the program. This paper presents a factual, apolitical discussion of the many aspects of the lethal drones program, and suggests how policymakers and the public can make it more effective.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Rising tension in the East China Sea: What will this mean for U.S. diplomacy?

Fiona Cotton

Tensions continue to rise between China and Japan over control of a small group of islands in the East China Sea. The five uninhabited islands and three large rocks contain valuable oil and mineral resources, and therefore have been claimed by both the Chinese and Japanese governments. Though China and Japan have disagreed about the true ownership of these islands for decades, this dispute has intensified dramatically over the last year.

An Upcoming Nuclear Test? Prospects and Consequences

Derek Bolton

In the wake of new UN sanctions condemning North Korea’s recent satellite (missile) test, Pyongyang has reiterated its defiance towards perceived international hostility. The DPRK’s Foreign Minister was quick to issue a statement asserting that the North will undertake “physical counteraction” to enhance “nuclear deterrence both qualitatively and quantitatively.”

North Korea Hints at Third Nuclear Test

Mary Kaszynski

In response to the recent UN Security Council Resolution condemning North Korea’s satellite launch last month, the DPRK may conduct a third nuclear test, the Associated Press reports. Experts who believe the test is likely note that this development follows a clear pattern: North Korea conducts a missile launch, the UN enacts sanctions, and North Korea responds with a nuclear test.

Public Diplomacy Commission Reopens its Doors

Livia Pontes

Nearly a year after failing to win reauthorization from Congress, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy has been reauthorized as of January 3rd. This was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which also passed the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act.

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.

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