STOCK - EU

Bad news from the IMF arrived last week as the G20 emergency summit creeps closer and closer.  The organization recently released some “depressing” figures.  In what the BBC called its “gloomiest forecast yet,” the Fund predicted a world economy contraction of 0.5% to 1.0% in 2009.  Only two months ago, the prediction had been of a 0.5% world output growth.

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In an interviewed aired on last night's installment of CBS' "60 Minutes," President Obama continued to define victory down in Afghanistan, stating that, "Making sure Al-Qaeda cannot attack the US homeland and US interests and our allies. That's the number one priority.''

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Europeanization of America?  Or Global Convergence?

All this clamoring about the Europeanization of America has not made much sense to me. After all, what can it mean to say, “In short, the more liberal your views, the more Belgian your brain”?

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Counterinsurgency Trap: Future of the US Military

Steven Metz, who teaches at the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, reports that he was attending a recent DoD symposium and that “everyone nodded when a speaker said that the threats of the future will be dispersed, non-state entities, but few seemed to understand that this obviates the very essence of American strategy and the current focus of the military”

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Fresh off the heels of snubbing Gordon Brown by not holding a joint press conference with him and giving him a gift that could have been purchased at Wal-Mart, Barack Obama has annoyed Nicolas Sarkozy by sending a mash note to former French president Jacques Chirac asserting that, "I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world."

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Navy Transformation

Much attention has been given to the ways militaries are changing focuses on the ground forces, which conduct peacekeeping, stability operations, and counterinsurgency. After all, NATO countries have more than 200,000 soldiers and marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. These ground forces have learned the hard lessons of stability operations and are re-equipping with new uniforms, vehicles better suited for terrain and IED-defense, and more nimble surveillance and reconnaissance assets. For ground forces, change is necessary not only for success, but also survival.

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Citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are going to the polls today, ostensibly to choose a new president and several regional officials but mostly to demostrate to the European Union that they can hold elections in a manner befitting a civilized society.

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Unemployed FDR Memorial

FP's Annie Lowrey notes that, "As many as 50 million people could be out of work by the end of 2009. But the unemployed in some countries definitely have it better than others."

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John McCain and Joe Lieberman have an op-ed in the Washington Pos telling President Obama to...do exactly what he's already doing in Afghanistan.

McCain and Lieberman, the former the designated point man for neocon pressure to keep the Afghan occupation long and strong, have found themselves arguing against previous Obama administration rhetoric designed to keep the general public from realizing that the administration are already intending to go long and strong (and expensive).

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David Sanger and Eric Schmitt’s report in the  New York Times that "President Obama and his national security advisers are considering expanding the American covert war in Pakistan far beyond the unruly tribal areas to strike at a different center of Taliban power in Baluchistan, where top Taliban leaders are orchestrating attacks into southern Afghanistan" raises serious questions about the Obama Administration’s policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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