The South Koreans are reporting that North Korea fired off four short-range missiles today. "South Korea says North Korea has fired four suspected short-range missiles into its eastern waters," reports the Associated Press.
A Defense Ministry official said North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range missiles with a range of more than 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) into the waters off its east coast. The official spoke anonymously citing department rules.
North Korea routinely conducts short-range missile tests but Thursday's launch came three days after South Korea and the U.S. began their annual military drills which Pyongyang calls a rehearsal for invasion. North Korea has recently eased tension by taking a series of conciliatory gestures toward South Korea..
Russia has become the world's leading practitioner of judo diplomacy. In its simplest terms, the discipline of judo teaches its adherents to use an opponent's movement to unbalance him and throw him to the ground. Unbalanced opponent. Takedown. Victory.
Even as United Nations personnel are in Syria trying to investigate chemical weapons claims that have further exacerbated that country's bloody civil war, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon was incongruously tasked with the celebration of the centennial of the Peace Palace in The Hague.
The man who bears the ultimate responsibility for the gassing of his countrymen in Syria has been told by the White House that the bell does not toll for him. The Americans are coming and people will die. But he will not be one of them. Not this time, anyway.
Thirty-four lawmakers sent a letter to the White House on Thursday in response to news reports that President Obama had ordered his staff to study the option of reducing America’s nuclear deterrent by 80 percent—down to as few as 300 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. The United States currently has a cap of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads under the so-called New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the controversial arms control pact with Russia that passed the Senate in December 2010.
Jadu, Libya—Yesterday, around 4 p.m., 10 Jadu fighters, who were attempting to cut off the retreat of a column of Qaddafi militiamen, were killed by an errant NATO missile strike near Badr, Libya. Two other fighters are missing. The loss of ten, who included two commanders, is an unimaginable catastrophe in this closeknit town of 10,000 Amazigh or Berber citizens, which until yesterday had lost just 4 men in the revolutionary war.
In 1988, disgruntled former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan revealed that since the 1981 attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life, Nancy Reagan had consulted a San Francisco astrologer for advice on scheduling the president. This went well beyond merely affecting the start times of meetings. As anyone who has worked for or covered a White House knows, where the president goes, who he meets with, and when, are ultimately matters of policy. The revelation understandably caused a firestorm. How could anyone possibly base policy on something so frivolous?
Everything is going according to plan. Well, almost everything.
Buried in Vol. 2 (of 3) of the Air Force’s FY 2011 R&D budget (the entire budget encompasses 33 documents, some of them are more than 1,000 pages long) is an item referring to the “reliable replacement warhead.” This is the controversial Bush administration proposal (once, and perhaps still, supported by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) to design a less complex nuclear warhead that is less prone to decay and dysfunction over time. This is important because every weapon in our current arsenal is at least 20 years old (and some are much older) and many of them are incredibly complex and thus, potentially, don’t work any more—but we don’t know it. Former nuclear weapons designer Thomas Reed analogizes a nuclear weapon to highly complex sports car: You can’t leave a Ferrari in the garage for 20 years, and then decide one day you want to take it for a spin, and count on it starting just like that.
To date, President Obama's nominations to key defense postings have been mostly pragmatic, starting at the top with the retention of Secretary Gates. However, in the instance of Philip Coyle -- nominated to fill the associate director of national security and international affairs spot in the Office of Science and Technology Policy-- the administration whiffed. Coyle, a long time opponent of ballistic missile defense (dating back to Reagan's SDI days), is an ideologue whose appointment could prove harmful to U.S. security.