FiveThirtyEight has some nice numbers and a run-down of the various interested parties in Afghanistan with regards to elections at home and abroad:
As the pieces begin to sort out, this week could see a final announcement regarding the international strategy conference on Afghanistan, which the US and UN have reportedly agreed to holding along with France, Germany and the UK. At the same time, a concrete timeline for the final results of the Presidential election is forthcoming. Given the instability in the country and the month that has already passed since the 20 August balloting, additional delays in the formation of a new government could be quite damaging to efforts to build support for the national authorities.
Insightful and succinct, as per usual.
Russia scrapped its own missile plans. Interesting to see the public results of American diplomacy…
The Guardian reports that Obama is pushing for a stricter review of US nuclear weapons doctrine, probably another tool in the public diplomatic arsenal towards legitimizing Obama’s goals regarding nuclear proliferation and Iran. And Stratfor goes into detail on the effect the decision to scrap the Eastern European missile shield program has on other nations in the region.
I found this article, also in the Guardian, about Iraqi widows choosing to remarry really interesting. In one sense, that is a very real, very palpable cultural change that’s resulted from war, necessity, and poverty. And I’m not suggesting it’s a de facto good one. But I do think it speaks to a near inevitable one, after seven years of conflict and–let’s be honest–Western influence.
But, in many areas of Iraq, where the fabric of societies has been shattered by the bloodshed of the past six years, tribal leaders have begun to re-assess prohibitions that make a second attempt at family life all-but impossible. Now, slowly, attitudes are beginning to shift. Operating as part-matriarch, part Islamic scholar, amateur psychologist and de facto big sister, Um Omar believes even hardline areas are starting to accept that Islamic law overrides their customs.
It’s like a perverse dark mirror of women’s rights. Or something. I don’t know, I’m still digesting this.
I really like the blog of the US Naval Institute; it’s always interesting, whatever subject they tackle. Today Christopher Albon had some thoughts on the Navy’s role in current US engagements well worth reading. Also, I’ll be repping for Team Navy in the upcoming blogging contest in support of Project Valour-IT, so keep an eye out for that.