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The Takeaway

Adding up Gates' defense budget

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has unveiled his budget plan for the Pentagon. There are a broad range of cuts to weapons spending and big boosts to new technology that are supposed to help battle the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates didn't just spend money, though, he also took a red pen to President Obama's budget line for a new helicopter. Paul Hughes, senior program officer at the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the United States Institute for Peace joins New York Times Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller to break the new budget plan down.

The 2010 Department of Defense Budget Proposal
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announces some major cuts (and a couple of increases) in his 2010 budget. View other highlights from the speech, in pictures, after the jump.


Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Pentagon press briefing, April 6, 2009 (Cherie Cullen/Department of Defense)

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The Takeaway

Series of car bombs strike Baghdad

Monday, April 06, 2009

A series of six car bombs exploded in or near Baghdad on Monday, killing more than 30 people and wounding scores more. While three of the bombs struck markets in predominantly Shiite neighborhoods, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks and no obvious pattern to the bombings has emerged. For the latest, The Takeaway is joined by the New York Times' Baghdad correspondent Steven Lee Myers.

For more, read Steven Lee Myers' article, Six Car Bombs Kill 30 in Iraq in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Is Mexico gaining ground in the fight against drug cartels?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Yesterday, Mexican federal police arrested Vicente Leyva, one of the country's most wanted men. That's the third arrest of a suspected drug cartel power player in as many weeks. Leyva is allegedly the number two man in a family-run cartel based in the violent city of Ciudad Juarez. Does the bust mean Mexico is finally getting ahead of drug traffickers? The Takeaway talks to Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy.

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WNYC News

Defense and Security in Pakistan

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Brian Lehrer spoke with Ikram Sehgal, managing editor of Defence Journal, Pakistan's leading monthly magazine focused on defense and security issues.

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The Takeaway

Continuing our live updates from the G-20 protests

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

We are continuing our live coverage of the G-20 protests in London. We return to Jack Izzard of the BBC's Today programme, who is on the streets of London watching the gathering demonstrators.

If you want to keep on top of the action, follow the twitter feed of the G-20 and while you're there, follow us @thetakeaway.

Watch footage from this morning of protesters in London.

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The Takeaway

Pakistani relations from the CIA point of view

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Monday's attack on a police academy in Lahore, Pakistan revealed the continuing security problems that Pakistan faces. As President Obama reimagines our engagement with Pakistan, Afghanistan and the entire region, we talk with Emile Nakhleh, former Senior Intelligence Officer and Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program in the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence and author of A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World.

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The Takeaway

Police academy siege ends, but chaos continues in Lahore, Pakistan

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dozens of people are dead in Lahore, Pakistan this morning after gunmen attacked a police training center. Pakistani troops have now taken control of the academy after gunmen seized a number of hostages. For more on this disturbing situation, we talk to BBC Correspondent Jill McGivering in Lahore.

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The Takeaway

In Europe, bankers' security at risk due to public outrage

Friday, March 27, 2009

There's been plenty of outrage in the U.S. over collapsing banks, bailouts and bonuses, but the financial crisis is turning violent in Europe. Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the ailing Royal Bank of Scotland, had his house and car vandalized this week and the manager of a 3M factory in France was barricaded in an office by workers demanding better severance packages for employees being laid off. All this comes ahead of the G20 meeting in London next week, where some protesters are planning to hang effigies of bankers from lamp posts. Damian McLoughlin, managing director of the security firm Guardian GS, joins us for a look at the security concerns for bankers in this environment.

For a look at the vandalism on Fred Goodwin's home in Edinburgh watch the video below.

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The Takeaway

Medvedev's call for Russian military modernization echoes Cold War rhetoric

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yesterday, the Kremlin announced a massive modernization of its military, which sent Cold War shivers through the West. White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said President Medvedev’s statement that NATO expansion is prompting the military upgrade is “not on base” and was merely meant for Russian ears. But you might not know that from what the Russian defense minister said. For more, we turn to the BBC Russian Affairs analyst, Steven Eke, who's in London.

Watch this clip from Russia Today to see Medvedev's statement on expansion.

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The Takeaway

Seeking a solution, Sharia law in Pakistan causes problems

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In an attempt to quell the fighting with Taliban militants, the government in Pakistan's embattled Swat Valley has agreed to allow the extremely conservative Sharia religious law to become the law of the land. When former Army Supply Sergeant Kristen L. Rouse heard that news she was very concerned. As someone who had served along the Afghan border and seen the brutality of the Taliban against people, even children, who violate the religious strictures she decided to speak out and write a letter to the New York Times. She joins us now as does Christine Fair, a senior political scientist at The Rand Corporation and an expert in Pakistan security issues, to discuss the latest developments in the Swat Valley.

Read Kristen L. Rouse's Op-Ed piece, The Children of Asadabad in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

New routes for cocaine trafficking spur global conflict

Monday, March 16, 2009

The war against drugs coming over the U.S. border is well documented, but what is rarely talked about is the impact of the U.S. war on drug routes. Turns out that cocaine is now being routed from Colombia across the Atlantic through Africa rather than face turmoil in Central America. This is turning the African nation of Guinea-Bissau into a new narco-state. The Takeaway is joined by Ed Vulliamy, a journalist for The Observer, who has written a three-part series on the new drug trade.

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The Takeaway

Asylum cases skyrocket amid Mexico drug war violence

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A rising tide of violence stemming from Mexico’s drug war has sent thousands of Mexican nationals fleeing across the border to the United States. Some of them go home, but thousands more say they cannot without fear of reprisal. Understandably, the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States has skyrocketed in the past year. We’re joined by Carlos Spector an immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas, who has been helping people flee the violence.

Here is raw footage of Mexican troops being deployed to the border city of Ciudad Juarez, the country's most dangerous drug city.

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The Takeaway

Media allowed to reproduce images of flag-draped coffins

Friday, February 27, 2009

'Untitled, War Redacted Series, 2007' by Camille J. Gage. Copyright Camille J. Gage, used with permission.
The number of soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan is 4,253. As each soldier returns home, their bodies lay in coffins that are flown back to the U.S. through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. We have not been permitted to see those flag-draped coffins because of a Pentagon ban on media coverage that dates back 18 years to the George H. W. Bush presidency. The media, it was thought, would use these images in a malignant way instead of honoring the dead. This week, after an announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the ban officially ends.

To read about this check out the New York Times article Defense Chief Lifts Ban on Pictures of Coffins.

View a larger photo of "Untitled, War Redacted Series, 2007." © Camille J. Gage, used with permission.

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The Takeaway

Bangladesh prime minister threatens tough action on border guards

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh warned that she'd take tough action against a mutiny by paramilitary border security guards if they did not surrender their weapons immediately. The violence arose from grievances on pay and treatment from army commanders. New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta joins the show to talk about the standoff in Bangladesh.

Read Somini Sengupta's article, Army’s Border Guards Rebel in Bangladesh, in the New York Times.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is now reporting that the Bangladeshi government says all mutinous border guards have laid down their arms.

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The Takeaway

North Korean rocket launch raising eyebrows and fears

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

North Korea has announced that it's preparing to launch a long-range rocket. While North Korea swears it is just carrying a communications satellite, the launch is raising fears that the long-range rocket technology, with a theoretical range of over four thousand miles, could eventually be used to target Alaska. For more, the BBC's Jon Sudworth joins us from Seoul, South Korea.

For more coverage of North Korea, click here.

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The Takeaway

U.S. loses global popularity contest in face of economic crisis

Friday, February 13, 2009

There are many consequences to the financial crisis, but so far we’ve mostly focused on what will happen to the United States domestically as banks fail and jobs are lost. Now to kick us while we're down, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair stated that the economic crisis is making us unpopular globally, too, and the sinking economy now ranks among the top security threats to the U.S. For what this means for our reputation and our safety, we are joined by David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and author of The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power.

For more of the New York Times' coverage of this issue, read Mark Mazzetti's article, Global Economy Top Threat to U.S., Spy Chief Says, in today's paper.

"Let's face it: This crisis started here. That's just a fact. And we can argue about whether or it started with bad lending in Florida and California or whether it started with bad judgments on Wall Street, but it started here."
— David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, on the global spread of the economic crisis

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The Takeaway

Richard Holbrooke in Kabul as U.S. reviews Afghanistan policies

Friday, February 13, 2009

Following a four day trip to Pakistan, U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, is in Kabul on what has been described as a fact-finding mission. As the Obama administration carries out a major review of the policies in Afghanistan, Holbrooke prepares to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the worsening security situation. For more, the BBC's Afghanistan correspondent Martin Patience joins us from Kabul.

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The Takeaway

State secrets rear their head in the Obama administration

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

While campaigning for president, Barack Obama was extremely critical of the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees. But now his administration is invoking the states-secret privilege to uphold the dismissal of a federal lawsuit involving rendition and torture. Here with us to discuss it is ACLU staff attorney Ben Wizner, who argued the case for the plaintiffs.

Watch Rachel Maddow's (melo) dramatic reenactment of the hearing and Ben Wizner's appearance on her show:

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The Takeaway

Renewed hopes for a cease-fire in Gaza

Friday, January 16, 2009

As Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip heads into its third week, international cries for peace have intensified. The U.S., the United Nations and Egypt continue what has been described as a feverish round of telephone tag in an effort to forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas on the 21st day of fighting. For more on what it might take to create a lasting cease-fire between the parties, we turn to Hanan Ashwari, a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar for her insight into the ongoing assault in Gaza.


Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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The Takeaway

Shifting balances in hope for Middle East peace

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Israeli government spokesman says Israel is "very close" to achieving its three key goals for starting the military action in Gaza. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the elements of a cease-fire "are there." Cease-fire or not, this conflict has shown a profound shift in power in the Arab world when it comes to war and peace in the Middle East. Michael Slackman is covering this story from Cairo for our partner, the New York Times, and he joins us now.

Read Michael Slackman's article, Crisis Imperils 2-State Plan, Shifting a Balance in today's New York Times.

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