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Foreign Policy Chat - Afghanistan, Iran, Kony2012, And A Renewed TNR
Chris Hughes to Take Over TNR
This isn't foreign policy news, per se, but this morning's announcement that Facebook Co-Founder and Obama digital organizing wiz Chris Hughes has purchased The New Republic was on everyone's lips today. TNR has been an important part of the liberal intellectual landscape for nearly a century and Hughes sounds like he is invested in reinvigorating the magazine and making its foreign and domestic policy work increasingly relevant in the years to come. Check out the NY Times Media blog for a nice analysis of the move.
US-Afghan MOD on Detainees
The US government struck a deal on detainees with their Afghan counterparts which moves everyone one big step closer to inking a Memorandum of Understanding on the long-term American presence in the country. Progress on this front is welcome, given the lack of practical strategy and substantial problems facing the post-war transition. This agreement still leaves unresolved the sticky issue of US Special Forces conducting "night raids," but prospects for a negotiated agreement are now better than they have been.
Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and head of the Lords Resistance Army, has become the worlds most wanted man on Facebook and Twitter. Invisible Children created a short film which went viral, rocketing the Kony2012 campaign into a global advocacy PR stratosphere normally reserved for charities that feature Bono. Foreign Policy published an interesting critique of the campaign and then posted a response by Invisible Children. A -- Moderately graphic -- slideshow of the basic facts and images has been published as well. Whether #kony2012 is net-positive or negative, it's worth noting that the Obama administration has been engaged in this issue for some time, having sent 100 combat troops to central Africa last year in order to help break the back of the LRA.
Experts Warn About Overheated Rhetoric on Iran
I wrote earlier today about the growing consensus among experts that the saber-rattling on Iran has gotten a little out of control. Check that out for some video and note that the policy makers who are calling for bombing are increasingly out of step with actual intelligence reports and expert opinion.