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Change in US Nuclear Policy?

CSS Analysis no 74: "Obama's Nuclear Policy: Limited Change"

CSS Analysis no 74: “Obama’s Nuclear Policy: Limited Change”

One year after Obama’s Prague speech, has the announced change in nuclear policy actually taken place?

In a newly published policy brief, CSS senior researcher Daniel Möckli assesses the practical results achieved by the Obama administration so far.

On the plus side, he argues, Obama has succeeded in reintroducing nuclear disarmament to the international agenda. But domestic factors, alliance policy, and strategic considerations limit the scope for major turns in US policy.

According to Möckli, neither a sustainable reinforcement of the non-proliferation regime nor substantial progress in multilateral arms control are in the offing.

The publication can be downloaded here.

Freestyle Iraq, fo shizzle

Freestyle Iraq from The US Defense Department

Screenshot: Freestyle Iraq from The US Defense Department

Yo yo yo wazzup y’all.

I’m late to the party with this ish…but I just wanna pull your coat about this sick video podcast I found while chillin like a villain. It’s da deelio on what’s going down when Uncle Sam’s throwin’ down.

YaknowwhatI’msayin? This tight joint is from the US DoD fo all y’all.

Oh, excuse me. I was just feeling Freestyle Iraq.

From the Pentagon Channel site: “Freestyle Iraq is a lifestyle news magazine set smack dab in the middle of a combat zone…yep, IRAQ! ”

Yep. It’s a hip and happening look at how US troops cut loose when they’re not dodging

Blazin (a cigar) on Freestyle Iraq

Blazin (a cigar) on Freestyle Iraq

bullets from insurgents. Freestyle Iraq full of MTV-style jump cuts, pans, and an on-cam crew trying their best to get their hip-hop swagger on.

And hark, I think I heard a little Public Enemy in the soundtrack of one of the episodes.

Does Chuck D know about this?

Some of the dialogue is cringe worthy (The host said “Bring your A-game” in reference to being on top of your game on the basketball court. The last time I said “Bring your A-game” to anyone I was…wait…I’ve never said that to anyone.)

All kidding aside, Freestyle Iraq does two things: It attempts to show the human side of US troops, which, right or wrong, is important for fashioning wartime imagery; and it presents the military in an attractive manner to prospective recruits (who shouldn’t be too hard to find).

And the fact that it’s available on the official Pentagon channel is something to note.

Perhaps the folks in uniform are ready to get buck?

GOP – Quo Vadis?

Rocky Road sign / photo: Sara Kuepfer

Any successful political movement or party requires enlightened leadership. And especially after suffering political defeat, a self-critical evaluation of the party’s mistakes is needed to get the party back on its feet – and on a solid ideological footing.

I am not saying that the GOP lacks spokesmen. The diatribes of the Rush Limbaughs and the Sarah Palins are omnipresent. But I can’t see much leadership, not to mention an “enlightened” one. » More

How Tolerant Should Democracies Be?

Limits to tolerance? photo: code poet/Jim/flickr

Since US President Obama was elected, the far right has embraced radical fringe movements that do little to hide their desire to expound revolution in the US. A recent article, Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason has brought attention to the activities of armed militia groups in the US.

Militias have always been part of the American landscape, well before the American Revolution, where they played a decisive role in the US gaining its independence. Contemporary militia movements like the Oath Keepers regularly draw on this association as a source of legitimacy (as the “true keepers of liberty”) and as a justification for their rejection of the federal government in general and the Obama administration in particular.

What is striking is that these armed militias are confident enough to publicly describe their recruitment, training and mobilization activities and to express their hostile intentions toward the US government. In fact, it is in the realm of public activities that the perception and tolerance of these groups is a change from the past. Oath Keepers receive local support from the Tea Party-movement, which, in turn, enjoys support at the national level from state governors, congressmen and senators, as well as regular coverage by the mainstream media.

This is a telling reflection of the political imbalance in the US. While ordinary citizens protesting the war in Iraq were allegedly investigated and harassed by the police and the CIA, right-wing armed militia groups (made up of former military and policemen) can verbally attack the president, the federal government, and call for rebellion; all with the implicit (and in some cases explicit) support of public figures and political leaders. Analysts who dismiss the contradiction as “just national politics” or as the far right’s “desperate” search for voter support in populist movements may be underestimating the depth of the political divide in America. » More

Putting a Value on Privacy

Photo: Alan Cleaver/flickr

A 19 February article by Newsweek (The Snitch in Your Pocket Law enforcement is tracking Americans’ cell phones in real time—without the benefit of a warrant), attempts to revive the debate about the government’s forays into the realm of “Big Brother” (a cliché no mainstream media outlet can avoid).

The FBI, according to the article, has been seeking “unusually sensitive records: internal data from telecommunications companies” that show “the locations of their customers’ cell phones – sometimes in real time, sometimes after the fact.” This information, according to federal prosecutors, is used to trace the movements of suspected drug traffickers, human smugglers and corrupt officials. The story was revived because a few federal magistrates questioned the legal authority for obtaining this information. The report notes that there are some 277 million cell phone users in the US, and that companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint can track their devices in real time. It also quoted ‘experts’ as saying that most people do not realize this.

Lately, according to Newsweek, citing law enforcement officials, court records and telecommunications executives, “the FBI and other law-enforcement outfits have been obtaining more and more records of cell-phone locations – without notifying the targets or getting judicial warrants establishing ‘probable cause.’
» More

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