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Sam Black

Entries by Sam Black

Make China Choose

(102) Comments | Posted May 26, 2010 | 10:32 PM

International issues are rarely of the black-and-white variety. When the rare issue of this type comes along, it presents an opportunity not to be wasted. The sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan fits this description.

On March 26 a mysterious explosion broke the Cheonan in two,...

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The Rhetoric and Reality of Nuclear Threats

(5) Comments | Posted May 2, 2010 | 6:28 PM

The review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) begins today. Here, the U.S. delegation can expect some flak from its counterparts. Specifically, America may be criticized for continuing to maintain a large nuclear arsenal, and reserving the right to use nuclear weapons, however unlikely the threat. But...

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Copenhagen: A Theater of the Absurd

(13) Comments | Posted December 22, 2009 | 2:41 PM

Now that the Copenhagen climate change conference is over, the post-mortems are flooding print and online media outlets. The consensus among those who didn't participate in the conference seems to be that it was a failure. Failure is being blamed on President Obama, Congress, China, developing nations in general, and...

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Waking the Sleepy Nuclear Watchdog

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2009 | 8:20 AM

This article was written by my friend Kelsey Hartigan.

Facing problems like a defiant Iran that is now resolving to construct an additional 10 enrichment plants, a nuclear North Korea, and an uncooperative Syria, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a difficult path ahead of it. The former...

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Evaluating Obama's Afghan Policy

(49) Comments | Posted October 26, 2009 | 7:12 PM

In the last few weeks, most of the reporting on the president's updated plan for Afghanistan has often been, in my view, simplistic (the number of new troops) or silly (how often does Obama speak to McChrystal?). The first of these questions, while certainly relevant, is far from the only...

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Climate Change and Conflict

(8) Comments | Posted August 20, 2009 | 5:01 PM

How will the changing climate affect global security? The New York Times recently took a look at this question, sparking some debate about whether the two issues ought to be linked. According to the NYT:

The National Intelligence Council, which produces government-wide intelligence analyses, finished the first...
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Striking the Right Balance: The Utility of Drone Attacks in AfPak

(34) Comments | Posted May 4, 2009 | 10:52 PM

Co-authored by my colleague Max Kelly.

In early April an editorial in a major Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Times, expressed a decidedly un-orthodox view about drone attacks. The editors opined:

Since the media in Pakistan is formally against the drone attacks, efforts were made on several TV channels...
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Hillary Was Right to Downplay Human Rights in China

(60) Comments | Posted March 4, 2009 | 9:45 PM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently concluded her first trip abroad, where she visited Japan, South Korea, China, and Indonesia. Going into the trip, she stated that human rights would be on the agenda with China:

"Human rights is a part of our agenda with the Chinese, as...

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Satellite Collision Exposes Serious Debris Problem

(23) Comments | Posted February 13, 2009 | 12:16 PM

The collision of two satellites on Tuesday was the first of its kind. Questions immediately swirled: how did this happen? Who was at fault? And what will the consequences be?

The satellites were orbiting at about 790 km above the Earth. Objects at that altitude travel at about 7.5...

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China and Currency Manipulation

(29) Comments | Posted February 1, 2009 | 2:52 PM

Does China manipulate its currency? This question has been the subject of some debate over the past decade. In his responses to Questions for the Record (.pdf), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated that:

President Obama - backed by the conclusions of a broad range of economists - believes...

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Was Pakistan Complicit in the Mumbai Attacks?

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2009 | 8:15 PM

After the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, tensions between India and Pakistan were ratcheted up almost instantly. While the involvement of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is based at least partially in Pakistan, was established relatively early on, the involvement of the Pakistani government, its...

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The Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute: Not Over Yet

(3) Comments | Posted January 12, 2009 | 6:10 PM

The news today out of Russia was that a solution to the problem has been reached. There's an argument to be made, however, that this is just a superficial and/or temporary fix.

This is a good explanation of the root of the problem:

Ukraine used to...

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