FROM Max Fisher
Is North Korea getting ready for nuclear war? Last Friday, North Korea took the rest of the world by surprise by detonating a nuclear explosion more than twice as large as the one it tested just eight months ago. Increased economic sanctions haven't worked. The speed of development and defiance of international retaliation are giving new urgency to old questions: do the US and its allies really know what Kim Jong Un is up to? Is our understanding of this country fundamentally wrong? The consensus has been that his nuclear program was more political than military — designed for internal consumption and international show. We hear some new assessments of what's at risk for the world.
Tensions with North Korea Continue North Korea has warned any foreigners in South Korea to prepare to evacuate in case of war. The US Pacific Commander, Admiral Samuel Locklear, told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that there's a "direct threat to US national security and regional peace and stability." Max Fisher is foreign affairs blogger with the Washington Post .
Foreign Affairs and the Race to the White House On Monday, the last presidential debate of the 2012 campaign will center on foreign policy. A list of topics has been agreed upon, but with surprises cropping up in the world every day, we know that the rules for presidential debates are made to be broken. The latest point of contention is the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Republicans call President Obama a "weak leader." Democrats say Mitt Romney 's view of America's role in the world is "delusional." But, over all, are they really so different? Does Obama look more like George W. Bush than he might concede? Would Romney look a lot like Obama?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?