Who’s In the News
Panetta makes first trip to Iraq as defense secretary (Washington Post, Craig Whitlock and Ed O’Keefe)
New Pentagon chief Leon Panetta made his first visit to Iraq as defense secretary Sunday to address several flare-ups in a fading war, including a rash of attacks on U.S. troops and continued indecision about whether the United States will completely withdraw its forces by the end of the year. Panetta and other U.S. officials have blamed many of the attacks on Shiite militias backed by Iran, saying it is no coincidence that the insurgents have become more active as the U.S. withdrawal date nears.
Development and the New Power of Entertainment Education (Huffington Post, Marcelo Giugale)
Entertainment education has become a science. What was once a collection of experiments in public communication has become a powerful tool in public policy. What was meant to foster family planning has been scaled up to tackle some of the toughest problems in development–like gender biases, corruption, climate change, global diseases and financial illiteracy. You can now target the attitudes that make us indifferent toward–or culprit of–abused women, crooked politicians, polluting factories, malaria victims, or loan sharks.
The decision to suspend more than one-third of American military aid to Pakistan could end up hurting Washington more than Islamabad as the U.S. seeks to navigate an end to the Afghan war and defeat al-Qaida, former Pakistani officials and analysts warned Monday. Holding back the $800 million in aid is unlikely to pressure Pakistan to increase cooperation with the U.S. and could strengthen those in the government who argue that Washington is a fickle ally who can’t be trusted, they said.
Debt reduction talks in limbo as clock ticks toward Aug. 2 deadline (Washington Post, Scott Wilson and Lori Montgomery)
Talks among President Obama and congressional leaders Sunday evening failed to break a partisan stalemate over how to raise the federal borrowing limit, leaving the politically charged negotiations in limbo three weeks before the administration says the country will begin to default. The enduring disagreement, drawn sharply along partisan lines as an election year approaches, brought warnings from the administration and congressional Democrats that, unless a deal is reached within two weeks — to give Congress time to approve it — the United States would default on its fiscal obligations for the first time.
Petraeus Confident as He Leaves Afghanistan (New York Times, Carlota Gall)
Just days away from the end of his tour as the supreme military commander in Afghanistan, and the end of a 37-year military career, Gen. David H. Petraeus said he was leaving in the belief that his plan to turn around the war and hand over security to the Afghans could be achieved. General Petraeus, who is widely credited with turning around the war in Iraq, was called in July 2010 to preside over a major expansion of the American military mission in Afghanistan. Now, he is leaving to take a civilian job as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.