July has been the deadliest month so far for American forces in Afghanistan, with 55 killed already this month. Despite the trend toward Americanization of the conflict, however, today's crash of a RAF Tornado fighter brought the month's toll to 19 British troops killed. Given the extreme controversy over the war in the UK, that may be far more politically significant.
The Obama administration has invested a great deal (one can argue too much) of its national security capital in the war on Afghanistan, and the chief instrument for realizing that investment has been the application of counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine to the situation. This application, in turn, is based on putting into action the Army and Marine Corps’ Counterinsurgency Field Manual (Army FM-3-24 and Marine Warfighting Publication No.3-33.5). That document was first distributed in 2006 and published with various introductory add-ons by the University of Chicago Press in 2007. The document is most closely associated with Central Comman (CENTCOM) commander General David Petraeus, who supervised its writing while at Ft. Leavenworth and who has overall responsibility for the Afghanistan operation. The application of COIN to Afghanistan, moreover, is widely advertised as an extension of the so-called “surge” in Iraq.
Fiercely independent Iceland is ready to make its bid to join the European Union in the wake of the global financial crisis that has devastated the island nation's economy more than most. Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir deemed it "probably the most historic vote in the history of our parliament." The Althingi is the world's oldest legislative body.
While the United States had often followed an unofficial grand strategy (e.g., containment during the Cold War), Congress required the president to formalize one since 1986. While President Obama has yet to do so, we have a pretty good idea what his foreign policy vision will be.