Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Oct 25th, 2010

Summary: Amid fears its nuclear enrichment activities are aimed at developing nuclear weapons, Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its Bushehr nuclear power plant, built with the help of Russia. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that two powerful car bombs exploded outside the Justice Ministry and city government offices in downtown Baghdad, killing 155 and wounding at least 500 in Iraq’s worst mass-casualty bombing in more than two years.

Aug 21st, 2010

Summary: Israel has denounced Iran’s fueling up of its first nuclear power plant, in Bushehr, as “totally unacceptable” and called for more international pressure to force Tehran to cease any uranium enrichment. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 21, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claimed in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election.

Apr 15th, 2010

Summary: Sen. John McCain says the United States has been backing away from a brewing fight with Iran, while that country moves ever closer to having nuclear weapons. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 15, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that drug cartel gun battles that leave dead bodies yards from American soil have turned Mexico’s bloodstained northern border into a major foreign policy challenge for President Barack Obama.

Apr 9th, 2010

Summary: The White House is warning that al-Qaida is quietly hunting for an atomic bomb, adding urgency to a historic summit next week where President Barack Obama will try to persuade world leaders to step up efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 9, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that PolitiFact debunked Rep. Michele Bachmann’s claim, in an April 7, 2009 op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that President Barack Obama’s cap and trade proposal would cost every household in America more than $3,000 in energy costs a year. (Still, I don’t believe it’s good policy, but it’s wrong to go and lie about it.)

Mar 21st, 2010

Summary: U.S. military planners have little doubt that an Israeli air campaign against Iranian nuclear facilities would provoke Iranian retaliation against Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers allied with the United States. American efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border Iran, would come under threat. And there would be no way that any U.S. administration, after so many decades pledging undying support for Israel, could make a convincing claim in Muslim eyes that it was not complicit in the attack. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 21, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that American flags were set on fire to chants of “No, no for occupation” as followers of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr marked the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war, which had already cost hundreds of billions of dollars — with an ultimate price tag in the trillions — dwarfing the original Bush administration estimate of $2.4 billion.

Feb 14th, 2009

Summary: In the deadliest attack in Iraq so far this year, a female suicide bomber struck a tent filled with women and children resting during a pilgrimage south of Baghdad, killing 40 people and wounding about 80 in the deadliest of three straight days of attacks against Shiite worshippers.

Feb 13th, 2009

Summary: The economic crisis has trumped bullets and bombs in the intelligence agencies’ latest assessment of threats to the United States. Sounding more like an economist than the war-fighting Navy commander he once was, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told a Senate panel that if the economic crisis lasts more than two years, it could cause some nations’ governments to collapse. “The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee, as Congress prepares to vote on a $789 billion stimulus package.