Morning Brief: Don’t call it a surge

Top Story In his first major change to U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama approved the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to the conflict. “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires,” said Obama in a clear dig ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588428_090218_surge5.jpg
588428_090218_surge5.jpg

Top Story

In his first major change to U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama approved the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to the conflict. "This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires," said Obama in a clear dig at his predecessor's handling of the war.

The new deployment will double the current number of combat brigades ahead of this summer's critical presidential elections. Fighting in Afghanistan tends to be fiercest in warmer months. Military planners have been careful not to label the latest increase a "surge," nothing that high troop levels could be needed for years as the U.S. works to build Afghanistan's own security capabilities.

Top Story

In his first major change to U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama approved the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to the conflict. “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires,” said Obama in a clear dig at his predecessor’s handling of the war.

The new deployment will double the current number of combat brigades ahead of this summer’s critical presidential elections. Fighting in Afghanistan tends to be fiercest in warmer months. Military planners have been careful not to label the latest increase a “surge,” nothing that high troop levels could be needed for years as the U.S. works to build Afghanistan’s own security capabilities.

Americas

Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package.

Ahead of a trip to Canada, Obama seems to be backing off of campaign promises to alter NAFTA.

Violent unrest has broken out on the French island of Guadeloupe.

Europe

In a major victory for the EU, the Czech Republic’s parliament approved the Lisbon Treaty.

Italy convicted a British lawyer of accepting a bribe for his testimony in a corruption trial involving Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

France’s highest tribunal ruled that the French government is legally responsible for the deportation of Jews during World War II.

Middle East

The United Arab Emirates will bail out Dubai’s largest state-run bank.

Iran has arrested eight leaders of the Bahai religion for espionage.

In an interview with the Guardian, Syria’s Bashar al-Assaid welcomed dialogue with the Obama administration.

Africa

To counteract inflation, Zimbabwe will begin paying teachers and police officers in U.S. dollars.

Madagascar’s military warned protesters that it is ready to “fulfill its duties” if unrest continues.

Hundreds of Mali’s Tuareg rebels have surrendered their arms.

Asia

Hillary Clinton will leave Japan for Indonesia today as her Asian tour continues.

Taiwan’s economy shrank by 8 percent last quarter.

Revising its figures from last month, the International Labor Organization predicted Asia would lose 23.3 million jobs in 2009.

World Economy

The price of oil fell below $35 per barrel yesterday.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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