Morning brief, Thursday, May 11

You think it’s 2006? That we’re post-post-Cold War? That the balance of terror is history? Vladimir Putin laughs at you girliemen and women. “It is premature to speak of the end of the arms race. It is in reality rising to a new technological level.” You got that?   Putin also has a plan to generate ...

608642_bush-putin5.jpg
608642_bush-putin5.jpg

You think it's 2006? That we're post-post-Cold War? That the balance of terror is history? Vladimir Putin laughs at you girliemen and women. "It is premature to speak of the end of the arms race. It is in reality rising to a new technological level." You got that?  

Putin also has a plan to generate more Russian babies

Iran/Iraq

You think it’s 2006? That we’re post-post-Cold War? That the balance of terror is history? Vladimir Putin laughs at you girliemen and women. “It is premature to speak of the end of the arms race. It is in reality rising to a new technological level.” You got that?  

Putin also has a plan to generate more Russian babies

Iran/Iraq

After Ahmadinejad’s 18-pager (pdf),  Bush is under pressure to start negotiating with evil in order to defeat it.  

Jackson Diehl files a must-read from Qom, where he finds apocalyptic visions and hope among quietist clerics:

In a dusty brown village outside this Shiite holy city, a once-humble yellow-brick mosque is undergoing a furious expansion. Cranes hover over two soaring concrete minarets and the pointed arches of a vast new enclosure. Buses pour into a freshly asphalted parking lot to deliver waves of pilgrims.

The expansion is driven by an apocalyptic vision: that Shiite Islam’s long-hidden 12th Imam, or Mahdi, will soon emerge — possibly at the mosque of Jamkaran — to inaugurate the end of the world. The man who provided $20 million to prepare the shrine for that moment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly told his cabinet that he expects the Mahdi to arrive within the next two years.

Perfect transition: Tehran has an ambassador in Iraq for the first time more than 25 years. Does that make Zalmay Khalilzad the second most powerful diplomat in Baghdad? Just thinking out loud here.  

Jalal Talabani is shocked, sad, and angry. (In that order? Not sure.) The government is trying to consolidate the militias (WaPo, NYT).

Gaza is hurting. Another kidnapping in Nigeria. An Islamist militia nears Mogadishu. Spittin’ rhymes in Kabul.

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