Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Nov 8th, 2009

Summary: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a market in northwest Pakistan, killing 12 people, including a mayor who had turned against the Taliban; two U.S. pilots have been killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq; Iraq’s parliament has passed a long-delayed law, setting the stage for nationwide elections in January 2010. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 8, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraqi officials, who saw President-elect Obama’s views on the timing of a U.S. withdrawal as consonant with their own, appeared to be leveraging his election to pressure the Bush administration to make last-minute concessions in negotiations to reach a status-of-forces agreement with the United States; that Iraqi and U.S. officials were concerned about a surge in “sticky bombs”; and that Afghan president Hamid Karzai urged U.S. president-elect Barack Obama to stop the killing of civilians in coalition operations, which he said undermines popular support for the Afghan government and the international mission.

Oct 28th, 2009

Summary: Taliban militants wearing suicide vests and armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked a residential hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing five U.N. staff members, including an American. … A car bomb coinciding with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first official visit to Pakistan struck a busy market in Peshawar, killing 100 people, mostly women and children. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 10th day of his write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman reported that the University of Minnesota newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, editorialized that in view of Bachmann’s assertion on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews that Barack Obama might have “anti-American views” and that the media should investigate which members of Congress also hold anti-American views, students should make campaign contributions to Bachmann’s Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg or to her Republican write-in challenger Aubrey Immelman.