Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Dec 2nd, 2010

Summary: The New York Times reports that confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks offers a fresh sense of the pervasive nature of predatory corruption in Afghanistan, the overwhelming scale of the corruption, and the serious challenge it poses to American officials who have made shoring up support for the Afghan government a cornerstone of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, where bribery, extortion, and embezzlement are the norm. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama held an uncertain hand in his high-stakes gamble in the fight against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with weak partners in both countries, doubts about the speed of building up Afghan security forces, and allies reluctant to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the fight.


Nov 28th, 2010

Summary: WikiLeaks’ cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders, and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 28, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that many soldiers and policy makers believe the conflict in Afghanistan may be harder and more intractable than the war in Iraq.


Jan 10th, 2010

Summary: Sequence of events in the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide bombing that killed seven CIA personnel and contractors at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. … CIA bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, in a videotape released posthumously by the Pakistani Taliban, called on Muslim jihadists worldwide to avenge the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud last August in a U.S. missile strike, by attacking U.S. targets. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 10, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President-elect Barack Obama, in announcing his nomination of Leon Panetta as CIA director and Adm. Dennis Blair as national intelligence director, said his administration would not compromise its ideals to fight terrorism and that he had instructed his nominees to honor the Geneva Conventions.