FROM James Kitfield
What Will We Leave Behind in Afghanistan After 2014? Less than a year ago, the US and NATO promised continued assistance and training for ten more years, with the Pentagon talking of 6 to 9000 soldiers. Then, the White House said a “zero” troop option was “on the table.” Could drones and limited special forces prevent the country’s collapse? Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai met yesterday with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Today, he lunched with the President at the White House, and afterwards they spoke to reporters. Today’s meeting between Presidents Obama and Karzai was billed as crucial to mapping the end of America’s longest war. At the Pentagon yesterday, Afghanistan’s President Karzai said he hoped the US would make sure his country would “not ever again be threatened by terrorists.” But many factors have reduced his clout in Washington and with the American people.
High-level Talks in Moscow At the United Nations less than a month ago, Russian President Medvedev was asked about Iran developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons. "In some cases" he said," sanctions are inevitable ." But in Moscow yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said sanctions would be "counterproductive." He was standing next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton .
The US and Russia: Iran and Nuclear Weapons At the United Nations less than a month ago, Russian President Medvedev was asked about Iran developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons. ”In some cases” he said,” sanctions are inevitable .” But in Moscow yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said sanctions would be “counterproductive.” He was standing next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s in Moscow to talk about Iran’s nuclear program. Also on her agenda is renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty , which expires in December, a major goal of President Obama. At the United Nations last month, President Obama expressed a sense of urgency about nuclear weapons. Has he really been able to “re-set” relations with Russia after all? Even if the Cold War rivals agree to reduce their nuclear weapons, will Congress go along?
A New Thrust against Nuclear Weapons George W. Bush took a dim view of treaties designed to ban the testing of nuclear bombs and limit proliferation of materials and technology. Today, Barack Obama made history as the first American president to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council and in persuading all 15 members — represented by their heads of state — to approve a resolution including steps toward what the President calls "a world without nuclear weapons." But critics say he's "overselling" provisions that can't be verified and which won't make the world any safer from rogue states or international terrorists. What will it mean for Iran and North Korea? Will it help persuade the US Senate to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty it rejected in 1999?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
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?