Newsweek Jan-10-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


smack down

This year, Western troops will withdraw from Afghanistan after 13 years of war. They’ll leave behind an undefeated enemy - as well as an Afghan government that’s shaky, corrupt and only nominally democratic. But the West will be counting the true cost of the war for years to come - no longer in blood and treasure but in an epidemic of heroin addiction that’s sweeping the world, driven by an explosion of Afghan opium production. Afghanistan’s drug output is up by nearly 50 percent in the last year, according to a recent United Nations report. Afghan opium profits totaled $68 billion globally, but less than 10 percent of that remains in Afghanistan, said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The opium trade has a total export value…

final frontier

“This is a country area, so after a hard day it’s nice to drive in to Stettin and go to a café,” said Detlef Horn, reflecting on how some rural Germans now choose to spend their evenings by going to Poland to relax. Horn and his fellow inhabitants of German towns with Polish names like Löcknitz, Penkun and Zerrenthin are quietly changing world history. They live close to Germany’s border with Poland and cross over as part of their daily lives: to go shopping, to go to the movies, to eat out, to visit the doctor or dentist. This isn’t just any national boundary. The German-Polish border is one of history’s most contested and fought-over. Adolf Hitler set off World War II in 1939 when he invaded Poland with the goal of…

robbery on the silk road

A few weeks before Christmas, the web’s biggest illegaldrug market announced it was taking a holiday, along with a substantial sum of other people’s money. “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the self-appointed successor to the original (and now incarcerated) Dread Pirate Roberts wrote in the Silk Road’s forum section that all of the funds held in escrow - the safety mechanism that allows drug buyers to make sure they receive their shipments before releasing even a tenth of an encrypted bitcoin toward that gram of hash or LSD or MDMA - would be frozen, beginning December 22. Then, six days after Santa had made his magical trip around the globe, he vowed that Silk Road would reboot, with better security measures, and everyone would get their money back. It was an alarming move, even for…

taking a toll on chris christie

Fighting for his political life on Thursday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie offered up a line he may ultimately regret: “I am not a bully.” It immediately evoked Richard Nixon’s infamous flat denial of his criminality during the Watergate scandal. “I am not a crook,” Nixon said. The line is memorable because, it turned out, he was a crook. Whether or not Christie is ultimately found to be involved in the scandal, there is little doubt that Christie is a bully. Emails and text messages revealed that Christie’s top aides and appointees created days of interminable traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., as political retribution against Mark Sokolich, the town’s Democratic mayor, who had failed to back Christie’s re-election. Watergate it’s not. But the Nixon comparisons are unavoidable. “I recalled how similar the governor’s…

who lost the middle east?

Three years into what was optimistically called an “Arab Spring,” the burning question now is, Who lost the Middle East? As Arab governments weaken, states disintegrate, old borders disappear, extremists gain and sectarian partisans fight each other, it’s also worth asking whether America’s aloof attitude can be sustained for much longer. President Obama’s critics accuse his administration of neglecting a region where, regardless of public opinion, American interests remain strong. Ending the Iraq war without signing an agreement with Baghdad, which would have left a residual United States presence, and staying away from the Syrian civil war has convinced some Middle Easterners that America is no longer interested in the region - or has no power to influence it. With a little investment, America could still help shape the region, argue proponents of…

cranked up intelligence

In Washington, D.C., they say, your enemies stab you in the back, your friends stab you in the chest. So it was earlier this week, with ex-Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s lacerating portrait of President Obama’s White House’s politics-driven national security team in a memoir entitled Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. And now the Pentagon’s former top expert on Afghanistan is charging that the most recent gloomy intelligence report on the future of that nation was cooked up and leaked by administration officials trying to lay the groundwork for a quicker exit from the war there. If true, that would be a new twist in the funhouse world of Washington leaks. Usually, when anonymous officials leak a secret report saying a U.S. military campaign is on the verge of disaster, it’s…