Tweets gone wrong a concern at State Department
December 10th, 2012
07:26 PM ET

Tweets gone wrong a concern at State Department

By Elise Labott

In the middle of a foreign policy crisis, diplomacy isn't always best digested 140 characters at a time.

But the reaction so far to newly proposed State Department guidelines for staff members tweeting in their official capacity about certain subjects has been universally negative.

Under the proposed guidelines, obtained by the Diplopundit blog, there could be up to a two-day review ahead of publishing posts on social media sites.

Naturally, the issue turned into a heated debate on Twitter.
FULL POST

Report: Afghan insurgents "resilient and determined"
An Afghan policeman stands over the police vehicle where Musa Rasouli, police chief of the remote province of Nimroz, was assassinated in Herat on December 10, 2012. A Taliban roadside bomb killed the top police commander of a western Afghan province .
December 10th, 2012
06:40 PM ET

Report: Afghan insurgents "resilient and determined"

By Mike Mount

Insurgents remain determined in Afghanistan where their attacks rose only slightly during the heaviest period of fighting this year, according to a Pentagon report that also found insurgent safe havens in Pakistan remain a key threat to long-term Afghan security.

The bi-annual report to Congress made available to reporters on Monday also touted the just-completed U.S. troop surge as a success, and noted that American forces are turning more of the fighting over to their Afghan counterparts and suffering fewer casualties.

Although the report said Taliban insurgents have lost some of their punch since their 2010 peak, they remain "resilient and determined" and "will likely attempt to regain lost ground and influence" through assassinations, high-profile attacks, the use of roadside bombs and other violence.

Insurgent attacks were up about 1 percent between April and September, which covers the annual fighting season, according to report.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan
U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower
(Photo Credit:Jewel Samad/AFP/GettyImages) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao standing with leaders of the G20 on June 18, 2012.
December 10th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

U.S. losing its sway as the sole superpower

By Matt Smith

The United States is likely to remain the leading world power in 2030 but won't hold the kind of sway it did in the past century, according to a new study by the U.S. intelligence community.

Washington will most likely hold its status as "first among equals" two decades from now, buoyed not only by military strength but by economic and diplomatic power. That's one of the conclusions of "Alternative Worlds," released Monday by the National Intelligence Council.

Rising powers such as China may be "ambivalent and even resentful" of American leadership, but they're more interested in holding positions of influence in organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund than assuming that role, the report found.

"Nevertheless, with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over, and "Pax Americana" - the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 - is fast winding down," the report states.
FULL POST

December 10th, 2012
03:32 AM ET

U.S. Navy SEAL killed in operation to rescue American doctor in Afghanistan

By Qadir Sediqi

An elite U.S. special forces team rescued an American doctor who had been abducted in Afghanistan, but lost one of their own members in the mission, officials said.

Dr. Dilip Joseph was freed 11 hours after his captors released two other kidnapped staffers of his nonprofit agency, Morning Star Development, the organization said Sunday.

Hours later, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that "a U.S. service member was killed in the operation."

A U.S. official said the man who was shot dead belonged to the Navy's Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team Six. The elite unit is the same one that took part in the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but the official didn't know if the fallen service member was involved in that operation.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Navy SEALs
December 10th, 2012
03:10 AM ET

North Korea extends launch window for rocket after technical problems

By Jethro Mullen

North Korea has extended the window for a controversial long-range rocket launch by one week after finding technical problems in an engine, state media reported Monday.

The planned launch has been widely condemned by other countries like the United States and South Korea, which say it's cover for testing ballistic missile technology. The North insists the launch is aimed at putting a scientific satellite in orbit.

When it announced its plans on December 1, the reclusive North Korean regime said it intended to carry out the launch between Monday and December 22. But on Saturday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the launch may be delayed.

In a new article Monday, KCNA reported that scientists and technicians had "found technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket," citing a spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Missile Defense • North Korea
Can North Korea get its launch right this time?
A DigitalGlobe satellite image obtained March 30, 2012 of North Korea's launch site at Tongch’ang-ri.
December 10th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Can North Korea get its launch right this time?

By Larry Shaughnessy

The signs were there. Fuel trucks at the launch site, rocket stages being assembled. All supported North Korea's claims that sometime between December 10 and 22, it would launch a small satellite into orbit. Or was going to try.

But Sunday the regime admitted technical details will likely delay what was looking to be the first time the reclusive communist regime had attempted two long-range rocket or missile tests in one year. The launch window was extended by a week because of technical issue with the first-stage rocket engine, according to a report published Monday in the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

The scenario has left the U.S. military in a 'wait and see' mode regarding whether North Korea can correct its mistakes so quickly following a failed attempt in April.

"To the degree that they will be more successful than they were last time in such a short period of time and what they've done to correct it, I can't tell you how they assess that," said Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. "Should they choose to go ahead with it, we'll just have to see how it goes."

The delay might indicate that short turnaround was problematic. The April satellite launch failed spectacularly shortly after the engines started.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong Un • Kim Jong-un • North Korea