News Brief, Bigmouth Strikes Again Edition

Cross-posted at The Conjecturer.

Defense & The War

  • Daniel Drezner proves just how fun it is to work off stereotype and assumption. The FSOs in the comments offer much needed context to the debate over the current row at the State Department.
  • Roger Cohen makes the strong case that we should be watching al-Jazeera to better our counterinsurgency. He’s absolutely right, although we should be wary of what the channel is saying in Arabic. Funny game, that. Also, what’s with all the kleenex at Arab summits?
  • I will confess to being intrigued by the prospect of being a ‘Global intelligence and threat analyst” for, uhh, The Walt Disney Corporation. Yes you read that right. But seriously—Burbank? Yuck.

Around the World

  • Almost as if God herself were showing why pipelines that bypass the Bosporus are necessary, a tanker split in the strait connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Avoz. I ask questions, at Registan.net.
  • Also there, I review Roseann Klass’ memoir of a beautiful and kind Afghanistan in the 1950’s, dig into some of the thinking about alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan, try to figure out why the U.S. won’t play Russia’s gas games, and wonder why Charles Krauthammer still has a job.
  • Central Asia is not the only place Russia is intimidating: the Baltic states also fear the rebirth of Russian imperialism, this time with oil instead of tanks.
  • “Culture is capital,” says Nitin. He is right, which is why the blown-up Buddhas in the former tourist heaven of Swat are an ongoing crisis. ABC actually posts some top-notch reporting from Swat itself, a ballsy move by White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. I was under the impression pretty blond women with white skin were handled violently these days.
  • And do NOT forget the looming problem of LBD in Peshawar.
  • Meanwhile, India’s much under-reported Maoist insurgency (the one in Nepal gets more press, and even then it’s sketchy) results in—what else?—misery for all.

Back at Home

  • Big congratulations to my friend Meg, now unmasked as the Anonymous Lobbyist and the new Associate Editor of Wonkette. Umm, I am maybe kind of partially responsible for those trashy pictures, but the bathtub was totally Lisa’s idea. Also, that’s my hand. Heh. Goooood girl, now I have squeezed greatness. Just wait until you see her beaver (no, I’m serious).
  • While privacy may be truly gone in all but name, does Donald Kerr really think we will lovingly entrust the protection of our no-longer-private information to the likes of Yahoo and the NSA? The man is fooling himself. Meanwhile, the AT&T whistleblower is making AT&T look really bad, and the NSA look like power-mad villains.
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