Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Feb 4th, 2009

Summary: A classified Pentagon report urges President Barack Obama to shift U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, de-emphasizing democracy-building and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan with the aid of Pakistani military forces.

Dec 9th, 2008

Summary: A study by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) has concluded that the Taliban insurgency is widening its presence in Afghanistan and “closing a noose around Kabul.” According to the report, titled “Struggle for Kabul: The Taliban Advance,” the Taliban “now holds a permanent presence in 72 percent of Afghanistan, up from 54 percent a year ago.”

Dec 3rd, 2008

Summary: Defense Secretary Robert Gates signaled a willingness to forge ahead with two key priorities for the incoming Obama administration: accelerating the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center. … President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team will include two veteran cold warriors — former NATO commander Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser and Robert M. Gates as defense secretary — and a political rival — Hillary Clinton as secretary of state — whose records are all more hawkish than that of the new president.

Oct 6th, 2008

Summary: On the 27th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his focus on national security, reported that the U.S. Army was unveiling a new doctrine that foresees nation-building missions as becoming more important than conventional warfare; defines “fragile states” that breed crime, terrorism, and religious and ethnic strife as the greatest threat to U.S. national security; and holds that American troops in future will be less likely to engage in major ground combat against hostile states as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead being called upon more often to operate in lawless areas to safeguard populations and rebuild countries.