Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jun 27th, 2011

Summary: America’s chapter in Afghanistan’s struggle is drawing to a close. Few experts believe Afghanistan will enjoy peace anytime soon. Optimists hope the level of violence can be reduced and the fighting limited to small areas around the country. Pessimists, including many Afghans, fear that once the foreign troops leave, the country will descend into a new civil war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 27, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported allegations by Iran that Saudi Arabia was allowing Israel to use its territory in preparation for attacking Iran nuclear sites.

Summary: President Barack Obama’s June 22, 2011 speech to the nation made it abundantly clear that the commander-in-chief is determined to end the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, irrespective of “conditions on the ground” and without “benchmarks of success” or the other classical wartime caveats and equivocations. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 25, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that legislators or candidates in nearly 20 states were pushing for tougher anti-illegal immigration measures similar to Arizona’s sweeping new immigration law.

Summary: In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, says much of the Taliban’s battlefield momentum has been halted, putting the U.S. on course to begin pulling out troops in July 2011 and shifting security responsibility to the Afghans. He cautioned, however, that security progress remains “fragile and reversible,” with tough days ahead as the Taliban launch an expected spring offensive. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 15, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second in the Taliban only to one-eyed leader Mullah Mohammed Omain — reportedly infuriated Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was said to have been holding secret peace talks with the Taliban’s No. 2 when he was captured in Pakistan the previous month, in February 2010.