The use of unmanned systems in warfare has exploded over the last decade. An interesting novelty just a few years ago, today the battlefield is swarming with unmanned vehicles that fly, hover, sit, roll, crawl, and swim. Unmanned aerial vehicles keep an eye on the terrain for NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and take out high-value targets in America's war on terror just across the border in Pakistan, much to the ire of Pakistani public opinion. According to some estimates more than 10,000 unmanned air and ground vehicles have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

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Martin Walker is the latest to question how influential Hillary Clinton will really be in making United States foreign policy, noting that other members of the vaunted team of rivals seem to be getting all the playing time. 

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While Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party had a much poorer showing than expected, with Tzipi Livini's Kadima Party apparently winning more seats, all indications are that Israel's next government will be more nationalistic and strident than the current one.

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Council Welcomes Senator Chuck Hagel, Our New Chairman

We are delighted to welcome Senator Chuck Hagel as the new chairman of the Atlantic Council.

Hagel, who served two terms representing Nebraska from 1997 to 2009, received the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award in 2004.

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With an effort to doing things better than the Bush Administration, the Obama administration seems focused on using “smart power.” During her confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified, “I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called smart power: the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.”  After all, smart power is better than the alternative.

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Last weekend’s 45th Munich Security Conference afforded the world its first look at the emerging foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama.  The conference’s mostly European audience heard the constructive new tone for which it had hoped.  However, the substantive policy studiously delivered by all Administration representatives in Munich was one of cautious continuity.

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The United States has committed to an additional 30,000 troops for the Afghanistan mission and NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has called on Europe to step up with a similar commitment. 

France has already said no.  General David Petraeus asked again and was again rebuffed. 

Today, Spain joined them.

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Another one for the Headlines I Thought I'd Never See file:  "Dream Chancellor Barbie: Mattel debuts Merkel doll."

Barbie can add another dream job to her list — Germany's first female head-of-state.  Toy company Mattel debuted the Chancellor Angela Merkel Barbie last week at an international toy fair in the southern city of Nuremberg.

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Speaking in Munich over the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden pledged to "press the reset button" on United States relations with Russia.   While this has brought renewed hope for some, most observers are rightly skeptical.

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General John Craddock, head of NATO forces, announced Sunday that attacks on drug lords and labs in Afghanistan will begin within the "next several days." 

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