When two sides emerge from a diplomatic encounter and both of them can claim to have achieved their goals, we can consider the meeting a success. We don’t know exactly what transpired at the White House on Monday, and short of reading the minds of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or of President Barack Obama, we have no way of knowing how they truly believe their meeting went. Still, there are signs that both sides feel they achieved their objectives. As I predicted, the media focused sharply on the tension over Netanyahu’s reluctance to openly embrace the two-state solution for [...]
War is Boring: In Afghanistan, U.S. Experiments Again with Local Militias
U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan have established an experimental security force drawn from local Afghan fighters, in a bid to better provide the street-level security that has proved instrumental to defeating entrenched insurgencies. Despite tens of thousands of incoming American reinforcements, most Afghan districts still do not have a permanent troop presence to defend against Taliban incursions. The new Afghan Public Protection Force “enables respected young men of local communities to become public protectors,” said U.S. Army training officer Capt. Marco Lyons. But the force, currently operating only in Wardak province, just south of the capital of Kabul, risks [...]
During a three-day visit to Japan last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pushed commercial deals and received an honorary degree from Tokyo University for his efforts to improve Russian-Japanese ties (as well as for his knowledge of judo, in which he holds a black belt). But as expected, the Russian and Japanese governments made little progress in resolving their territorial dispute over four islands that Russia seized from Japan at the end of World War II. The dispute over the islands — the Russians call them the Southern Kurils, while the Japanese refer to them as their Northern Territories [...]
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