Situation Report

News flash: the next president faces enormous challenges around the world, seriously

The other races to watch tonight; The general’s sex crimes in a war zone; Why no one cares about Yemen; Defense cuts won’t kill the economy; and more.

Let’s assume we will know within the next 18 hours who the next president will be. A dubious proposition to some poll-watchers, but whoever it is will inherit a world’s worth of problems, from Africa and Iran to Pakistan and North Korea. As much as this election was about the domestic economy, the fundamentals, as they say, are the same: the world is a challenging place, and it ain’t going away. So FP asked 14 smart people to provide their analysis of what comes next.

Christine Fair suggests rethinking the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, for example: "The United States must frankly concede that it has subsidized and incentivized Pakistan to adopt this insane path to security."

Mvemba Phezo Dizolele on Africa: "Obama proved that foreign policy experience does not guarantee success in Africa. Carter and Bush proved that conviction and courage matters as much as experience."

James Dobbins on national security: "Republicans are marginally more worried about external threats than Democrats, but a strong majority of Americans now agrees that the Iraq and Afghan wars were not worthwhile, and there is a consensus in favor of a more cautious and selective brand of American global leadership."

Read more here:

Just as national security issues didn’t exactly grip the presidential election, neither did they have a huge impact on the hundreds of congressional races across the country. But that doesn’t mean they won’t affect defense policy, so we looked at some of the contests to watch today, from the Senate race in Virginia to a House race in New Hampshire that may demonstrate just how much an anti-war activist can use the military and her support for veterans to get her seat back.

The first details emerged on the Army general charged with sex crimes in a war zone. The Article 32 hearing for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, from the 82nd Airborne Division, began yesterday at Fort Bragg, N.C., for a range of wrongdoing between 2007 and 2012. Charges against him include forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, to misusing official funds; and accusations range from forcing a female officer to perform oral sex to having an extramarital affair with a civilian woman. According to the charge sheet, he threatened one woman’s career — and her life — if she told anyone about his actions.

When confronted by subordinates about his crass attitude towards women, he said: "I’m a general, I’ll do whatever the [expletive] I want," according to Danger Room.

Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of Situation Report, where we hope everyone takes the opportunity to try to be the decider today. Follow me @glubold. Or hit me anytime at And sign up for Situation Report here: or just send me an e-mail and I’ll put you on the list.

It’s always Iran, Iran, Iran: why not "Yemen?" Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen points out that Iran was mentioned 47 times in the last presidential debate and Yemen? Once. The U.S. is ignoring the corner of the Arabian Peninsula at its peril, he writes on FP. "If U.S. assistance pulled Yemen back from the brink this time around, it’s only because the United States’ love-hate relationship with Sanaa has allowed al Qaeda to regroup time and again as Washington trained its sights elsewhere."

Aid has been an on-again, off-again affair, and the al Qaeda branch in Yemen "is stronger than it was on September 11, 2001," he writes. "The money the United States has spent in Yemen has enriched dozens and the missiles it has fired into the country have killed hundreds — and yet AQAP continues to grow."

The military industrial complex won’t kill local economies if the Pentagon cuts its spending, argues Christopher Preble on FP: The Pentagon, he says, might be an excellent jobs program, "but it isn’t a very efficient one." It creates jobs that politicians like to claim credit for, but "military spending doesn’t produce more growth in the economy or generate more innovation than a comparable level of spending by private individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs," he writes.

The Aerospace Industries Association, or AIA, the trade group that represents the interests of many large defense contractors, has sponsored several studies that link Pentagon cuts with jobs: One such study by GMU’s Stephen Fuller predicted that a reduction of $45 billion in Pentagon spending would equate to the loss of more than one million jobs. But Peter Singer of Brookings says that Pentagon spending only supports 3.5 million jobs, so 10 percent cut couldn’t possibly equate to a million jobs as Fuller suggests.

An e-mail we received that we suspect isn’t legit: "Congratulations you have won USA Green Card Visa."

Hey rebels, wanna pack the Internet in your weekend bag? It’s called Internet in a Suitcase, and it’s a software program that gives people in conflict or disaster zones the ability to establish a secure, independent wireless network that is free of government meddling, giving rebels, dissidents, and activists a safe way to voice dissent. Killer Apps’ John Reed reports that Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute says the technology could appear within a year or so. "While the system (which, despite its name, involves neither hardware nor a suitcase) is being tested and is usable right now, Meinrath and his team of developers around the globe are holding off on releasing it to groups like the Syrian rebels until they are confident that it can resist large-scale hacking by governments," Reed writes.

Meinrath: "Once we [feel] comfortable that the system [is] decently secure, then and only then would we be looking at deploying it to one of the world’s hot spots; so a Syria or a North Korea or a China, or a Tehran kind of scenario, that kind of work, and that’s probably still a year out from now. Our focus first and foremost is, do no harm."

The Vote

The Business of Defense

Fiscal Cliff Notes

 Twitter: @glubold

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