Morning Brief, Friday, January 8

2008 U.S. Elections Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, U.S. President George W. Bush more or less endorsed John McCain as the Republican nominee. McCain spoke yesterday at the conference in a bid to address conservative doubts about his candidacy. What went wrong? The New York Times retraces Mitt Romney’s political ...

596574_mccain_125.jpg
596574_mccain_125.jpg

2008 U.S. Elections

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, U.S. President George W. Bush more or less endorsed John McCain as the Republican nominee. McCain spoke yesterday at the conference in a bid to address conservative doubts about his candidacy.

2008 U.S. Elections

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, U.S. President George W. Bush more or less endorsed John McCain as the Republican nominee. McCain spoke yesterday at the conference in a bid to address conservative doubts about his candidacy.

What went wrong? The New York Times retraces Mitt Romney’s political missteps.

Barack Obama has agreed to two additional debates with Hillary Clinton. Obama has raised $7.2 million since Super Tuesday; Clinton, $6.4 million.

Prominent evangelical leader James Dobson plans to endorse Mike Huckabee.

Asia

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was indeed killed by a head injury, not a bullet, Scotland Yard investigators have concluded. The finding comes as members of Bhutto’s party observed the end of the 40-day mourning period following her death.

For the first time, victims of the Khmer Rouge had their day in court.

Police in Nepal arrested a man accused of masterminding a kidney-stealing ring in India. 

The fighting is escalating in Sri Lanka.

Middle East

Iran says it is building a second nuclear power plant. This comes on the heels of news that Iran is testing faster centrifuge technology and renewed questions about the controversial U.S. National Intelligence Estimate.

Angelina Jolie flew to Baghdad to call for more support for Iraq’s refugees.

Concern is growing about the health of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric and a leading voice of moderation.

A kinder, gentler al Qaeda in Iraq?

Europe

French police have arrested a suspected accomplice of Jérome Kerviel, the rogue French trader.

Is the world locked in an arms race? Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks so.

In a dramatic sweep, authorities in Italy and the United States arrested 62 members of the Gambino, Genovese, and Bonanno families for alleged mafia activities.

Elsewhere 

U.S. President George W. Bush promised to swiftly approve a newly passed $168 billion stimulus package. Americans eligible for a tax rebate will start getting their checks in May.

The U.S. military says it lost a year’s worth of Guantánamo detention records for the driver of Osama bin Laden, Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

ExxonMobil, seeking compensation for nationalized oil operations, won a freeze on $12 billion of Venezuela’s foreign assets.

The financial crisis? “Poetic justice,” says billionaire investor Warren Buffet.

Today’s Agenda

  • Obama and Clinton are campaigning in Washington state, which is holding its caucuses Saturday.
  • John McCain is stumping in Virginia and Kansas.
  • The Czech Republic is holding presidential elections.
  • South African President Thabo Mbeki delivers the “State of the Nation” address to parliament.
  • IMF chief Dominque Strauss-Kahn visits Japan.
  • NATO defense ministers are gathering for the Munich Conference on Security Policy, which officially begins tomorrow.

Yesterday on Passport

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.