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Editorial: Rethinking how many nuclear weapons are enough

The Editorial Board | St Louis Today

In the past, war plans were designed to inflict different levels of damage on hundreds of enemy targets — the more damage, the longer it would take the enemy to rebuild. “Light damage” meant they would be turned to rubble. “Moderate damage” meant turning them into gravel. “Heavy damage” meant turning them into dust. Those distinctions now are recognized as absurd. In a nuclear war involving as few as 100 one-megaton bombs, effects on planetary infrastructure and food supplies would be so severe as to make recovery unlikely for decades.

Texas has lost 5.6 million trees in cities to current drought


On Wednesday, Texas Forest Service researchers said the current drought claimed the lives of about 5.6 million trees in cities, or roughly 10 percent of the state’s urban forests, in the agency’s first attempt at counting urban tree loss. Those trees will cost at least $560 million to remove and provided about $280 million annually in environmental and economic benefits, a study released Wednesday said.

UN nuclear agency reports failed Iran talks

GEORGE JAHN / Associated Press

The U.N. nuclear agency on Wednesday acknowledged its renewed failure in trying to probe suspicions that Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms, in a statement issued shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre-emptive strike against any nation that threatens Iran.

Pakistan will not support Afghan talks until Kabul backs them, says minister

Julian Borger,  / The Guardian

Pakistan will not support a US-driven initiative to start Afghan peace talks in Qatar until it is clear that they have the backing of the Kabul government, the Pakistani foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has said.

Karzai urges calm as six die in Afghan Koran protests

Mirwais Harooni and Hamid Shalizi / Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed for calm Wednesday after officials said six people were shot dead and dozens wounded in protests over the burning of copies of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, at NATO’s main base in the country.

UN to bolster Somalia peacekeeping force Amisom


The UN Security Council is to vote to increase the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia by more than 5,000 soldiers, diplomats have said.

Officials: Afghanistan, US looking at removing detention, night raids from partnership talks

Anne Gearan / AP

The U.S. and the Afghan governments are considering pushing through a long-delayed partnership agreement by relegating the contentious issues of night raids and control over detainees to separate negotiations, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

Israelis seem resigned to a strike on Iran

Joel Greenberg / The Washington Post

The wisdom of a strike on Iran has been debated here for months, with current and former security officials as well as political figures arguing over whether such a move would achieve its aims or provoke costly retaliation and possibly broader conflict without stopping Iran’s nuclear effort. On Tuesday, Iran warned that it might take preemptive action against its foes if it felt its national interests were threatened.

UPCOMING EVENT:  Biofuels for National Security: Air Force and Navy Progress on Renewable Jet Fuels

On the ASP Flashpoint blog:

Klum: Potential Issues in Arming the Syrian Rebels

Supporting the Syrian opposition forces requires a firm commitment from the United States and the international community. Their support must be more than the provision of military supplies. There has to be a commitment to the aftermath of the Syrian rebellion and a serious concern in improving the post-conflict situation.  Hopefully the desire of the US and the international community to support and arm the Syrian uprising is a genuine one. Their desire should be to build a better and safer Syria and it should more than a desire for toppling Assad.

Gold: Is Iran Striking Back?

Last week, another bomb with alleged connections to Iran exploded in Thailand.  The latest blast involved an Iranian man who after his explosives stash prematurely detonated, attempted to avoid arrest by throwing an explosive at Thai police, blowing off his own legs in the process.  Whether this latest spate of violence is connected to the attempted bombings of Israeli foreign diplomats in India and Georgia is yet to be determined.  But these recent events beg the question, is Iran striking back?

Holland: No Economic Choice is Without Cost

On the front page of today’s Washington Post, we see an article “Obama’s support for export industry leads to clash of U.S. interests.” The article details a dispute between Boeing, America’s largest single exporter, and Delta Airlines, one of Boeing’s biggest domestic customers. Delta alleges that Boeing’s exports to its foreign competition – the article mentions Air India – places Delta at a disadvantage, and has forced it to close routes between the US and India.

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.

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