Sanctions Against Iran Grow Tighter, but What’s the Next Step?
Helene Cooper, New York Times – January 24, 2012
As the Obama administration and its European allies toughened economic sanctions against Iran on Monday — blocking its access to the world financial system and undermining its critical oil and gas industry — officials on both sides of the Atlantic acknowledge that their last-ditch effort has only a limited chance of persuading Tehran to abandon what the West fears is its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Iran says sanctions to fail, repeats Hormuz threat
Mitra Amiri, Reuters – January 25, 2012
Iranian politicians said on Tuesday they expected the European Union to backtrack on its oil embargo and repeated a threat to close the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping lane if the West succeeds in preventing Tehran from exporting crude.
U.S. still taking cautious approach to North Korea aid
John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times – January 24, 2012
In mid-December, U.S. negotiators came the closest they’d come in two years to resuming humanitarian food aid for millions of undernourished North Koreans.
U.S. Shifts Policy on Nuclear Pacts
Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal – January 25, 2012
The Obama administration, in advanced negotiations on nuclear-cooperation agreements with Jordan and Vietnam, has withdrawn a demand that these countries forgo their rights to produce nuclear fuel, senior U.S. officials said.
Obama Administration Quietly Altering Military’s Global Presence
John T. Bennett, U.S. News – January 24, 2012
The Obama administration is ushering in a new era in which the meaning of what constitutes a U.S. military presence in some corners of the globe will look very different than it does today.
Obama Outlines Vision, Declaring ‘America Is Back’
Alan Greenblatt, NPR – January 24 2012
President Obama has been talking in recent weeks about the need to bolster the middle class. With his third State of the Union address Tuesday, he began outlining the policies he believes are necessary to make “an economy that’s built to last.”
Pentagon budget to cut military, cancel programs
David Alexander and Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters – January 25, 2012
The Pentagon will preview a budget proposal this week that begins to implement $487 billion in spending cuts over the next decade by trimming the size of the military and canceling or scaling back some weapons programs.
Poland fears U.S. defense cuts make it vulnerable to Russia
Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters – January 24, 2012
Poland fears planned defense cuts by the United States may stall the development of an anti-missile system on Polish soil and leave it more vulnerable to Russia, a senior government source said.
France Opts Not to Pull Forces From Afghan War
Nadya Masidlover, Wall Street Journal – January 25, 2012
France won’t speed up its exit from Afghanistan, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Tuesday, indicating that it won’t follow through on a warning that it might pull out of the country amid concerns over the security of its troops.