Sunday Headlines

Preventive Priorities Survey Finds Middle East A Region Of Concern In the Council on Foreign Relations just-release survey of which ongoing or potential conflicts are of most concern to US security finds eight of the 11 contingencies related to events in the Middle East.

“[R]elying on early and accurate warning of emerging threats to galvanize preventive action is challenging, given the general uncertainty of predicting the onset or escalation of violent conflict. The inclination is to wait for confirmation before taking action, by which time the policy choices may have narrowed and the costs grown. Anticipating areas of instability and, in particular, plausible contingencies that could harm U.S. interests can help to trigger early action and thus reduce the likelihood of belated and costly responses,” the report said.

Among the new contingencies introduced in this year’s survey are political instability in European Union (EU) countries caused by the influx of refugees and migrants and increased tensions between Russia and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states.

With the Syrian civil war topping the list, the other the top prevention priorities in 2016 include:

  • a mass casualty attack on the U.S. homeland or a treaty ally;
  • a highly disruptive cyberattack on critical U.S. infrastructure;
  • a severe crisis with or in North Korea;
  • political instability in EU countries stemming from the influx of refugees and migrants; and
  • heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians

The Roots Of Conflict In Nigeria
The non-governmental International Crisis Group (ICG) has published a quick guide to the conflict between the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian security forces that started December 12-13 and that may be continuing.

The report’s insight is valuable considering Nigeria’s ongoing struggles with corruption and Boko Haram.

Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” – The Book Every American Should Read
Carlos Lozada has been in the United States for more than two decades, but only made the decision to become an American last year. Like his fellow citizens, he has struggled this year to grasp the shifts and changes in the American political system. But one book in particular, he writes, has given him a firm sense of what this nation is about and, more importantly, what it risks losing if the current course is not corrected.

“Few books have been so often cited and imitated, so I won’t presume to offer more insight than this: ‘Democracy in America’ is an ideal book to read as a new citizen. Yes, it’s really long and stuffed with annoying, self-referential French digressions. (I can say that sort of thing now, I’m American!) But it also explains perfectly to a brand-new compatriot so much of the essential minutiae of life here, so much of what America is and was, so much of what it risks losing,” he asserts.



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