The Skeptics

Time to Suspend Sanctions on Zimbabwe

The U.S. dollar may risk losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, but American dollars are a hot item in Zimbabwe. Three years ago that nation’s economy was in crisis. Hyperinflation made economic life almost impossible. The government issued a 100 trillion (Zimbabwe) dollar note—the highest denomination of money ever printed anywhere.

MANPADS Myths in Libya

C.J. Chivers's excellent post for the New York Times’s “At War” blog dispels the widely reported contention that the Libyan weapons stockpiles looted amidst last year’s fighting included shoulder-launched SA-24 air-defense missile systems. The post explains that while Libya did acquire SA-24s, they were not the shoulder-launched or MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems) variety.

535 Secretaries of State

Congress, especially the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, has become hyperactive on the foreign-policy front in recent weeks. In rapid succession, the House passed two important amendments to the defense-authorization bill, both of which have the potential to cause major complications for U.S. diplomacy in East Asia.

Negotiations with Iran: What Has Changed?

On May 23, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) will enter into talks with the Iranian leadership about the latter’s nuclear program. The Baghdad talks come after talks last month in Istanbul. A number of observers have raised expectations for the talks in Baghdad.

NATO Summit Will Reaffirm Afghanistan’s Weakness

The focus of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago will be Afghanistan. President Obama is expected to speak of the need for solidarity from the international community. His only major success will be a pledge from NATO members to commit funds to Afghanistan well beyond 2014. Difficult questions surrounding the mission’s long-term sustainability will remain unanswered. But any long-term plan for stabilization must put Afghans in the lead. That is the country’s true path to self-sufficiency.

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