Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jun 16th, 2009

Summary: North Korea has threatened a “fire shower of nuclear retaliation” if provoked by the U.S., but U.S. officials are downplaying any imminent threat to the United States of a North Korean missile strike or confrontation between the two countries at sea. … December 16, 2009 update: President Barack Obama has written a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as part of an intense effort to draw the reclusive nation back to nuclear disarmament talks.

Summary: President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak issued a statement agreeing on “a stern, united response from the international community” as North Korea prepared to launch a long-range, multistage Taepodong-2 rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Jan 30th, 2009

Summary: Iraq has denied North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide, which guards American diplomats in Iraq, an operating license because of a deadly shooting spree in Baghdad. Iraqi officials said the lingering outrage over a September 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead led to its decision. The shooting strained relations between Washington and Baghdad and fueled the anti-American insurgency in Iraq, where many Iraqis saw the bloodshed as a demonstration of American brutality and arrogance.

Nov 13th, 2008

Summary: In Mosul, an Iraqi soldier fired automatic weapons at U.S. soldiers at a military base, killing two and wounding six before he died in a hail of bullets. … In Baghdad, bombers struck the capital for a third straight day, killing 23 people and wounding scores in a string of attacks in mostly Shiite areas. … In Kandahar, Afghanistan, a suicide bomber driving an oil tanker detonated his explosives outside an Afghan government office during a provincial council meeting, killing at least six people and wounding 42. … Iran test-fired a solid-fuel, high-speed Sajjil long-range surface-to-surface missile with a range of about 1,200 miles. … North Korea announced it will shut the country’s border with the South on Dec. 1, 2008.