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Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Atom in Pakistan

January 31st, 2011 - 9:44 pm

The NYT looks at Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal. “New American intelligence assessments have concluded that Pakistan has steadily expanded its nuclear arsenal since President Obama came to office, and that it is building the capability to surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power.”

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Ya think? Fox reports that Hillary Clinton has called all available US ambassadors to a meeting at the State Department for a strategy session.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is convening an unprecedented mass meeting of U.S. ambassadors.

The top envoys from nearly all of America’s 260 embassies, consulates and other posts in more than 180 countries will be gathering at the State Department beginning on Monday. Officials say it’s the first such global conference.

The gathering comes at a time of crisis in Egypt that could reshape dynamics in the Middle East, fallout from leaked diplomatic documents and congressional calls for sweeping cuts in foreign aid.

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The Race for the Keys

January 30th, 2011 - 11:32 am

As the Mubarak regime goes into the last stages of existence, the race is on for the real treasures of a great state. Not the relics of antiquity, valuable as these may be, but the intelligence assets of a government which for decades traded them in exchange for Western financial and political support.  With the ultimate fate of the Egypt uncertain, and the final extent of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence uncertain, the disposition of those assets will assume the utmost importance.

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The King’s Speech

January 29th, 2011 - 12:22 pm

The left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz says that Egyptian army officers in Cairo’s central square have tossed aside their helmets and joined the crowd. “The Army and the people are one,” they chanted. MSNBC’s photoblog shows protesters jubilantly perched on M1A1 tanks. The real significance of these defections is that the army officers would not have done so had they not sensed which way the winds were blowing — in the Egyptian officer corps.

And even as Mubarak tottered, the Saudi king threw his unequivocal backing behind the aging dictator  — not hedging like Obama — but the Iranians continued to back the Egyptian protesters. The Saudi exchange tumbled 6.44% on news of unrest from Cairo.  Meanwhile, the Voice of America reports that Israel is “extremely concerned” that events in Egypt could mean the end of the peace treaty between the two countries. If Mubarak isn’t finished already, a lot of regional actors are calculating like he might be.

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Mubarak Obama

January 28th, 2011 - 4:37 pm

The WSJ says the White House rejected a suggestion by the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center that President Obama had put himself on the wrong side of events in the region by abandoning Bush’s democracy agenda. The White House said it had been working quietly encouraging NGOs and that the president had been in the forefront of spreading democracy since his speech in Cairo. So the question was, on which side was the president on now?

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Text Like an Egyptian

January 28th, 2011 - 11:00 am

According to published reports, Egypt has shut down all ISPs in the country.

According to James Cowie, Renesys’ CTO, “In an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.”

It couldn’t happen here [the United States] says the AP. Of course it couldn’t happen here, but supposing it did.

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The Decree of Ex-Future Fate

January 27th, 2011 - 9:13 pm

Which of these three pictures was photoshopped?

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Between the Lines

January 27th, 2011 - 5:15 pm

The Christian Science Monitor says that “at his third YouTube forum, President Obama spoke for the first time about the anti-government protests in Egypt, and finally gave a detailed answer to legalizing marijuana.” Before he addressed the issue of legalizing marijuana the President said:

“I’ve always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform – political reform, economic reform – is absolutely critical to the long-term well-being of Egypt,” Obama said. “And you can see these pent-up frustrations that are being displayed on the streets.

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Dustbins I Have Known

January 27th, 2011 - 11:08 am

A friend in Egypt sent the following assessment of the situation there yesterday:

1. Most commentators tend to make it [the unrest in Egypt] a “western oriented strongman” v. Islamist thing, whereas the Islamists are already very well placed within this regime, including the military and the security services.

2. Recent Pew poll shows one-in-five Egyptians support Al-Qaeda. Egyptians I spoke to thought this as understatement.

3. The MB [Muslim Brotherhood] seems certain to emerge on top at some point, only question is when. That will give them state-resources for their sophisticated agitprop and penetration efforts in the West.

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Mother Knows Best

January 26th, 2011 - 2:01 pm

Thomas Sowell vs Frances Fox Piven. After the Read More. Piven appears to argue that since people are slotted — at birth — into castes by the system, then the system should be changed to put them into different slots, thereby fixing things. Sowell disagrees and their exchange is entertaining and informative to behold.

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