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Michael "Mike" Huffman is a rising foreign affairs analyst who lives in Northern Virginia. He may be reached at

Iran Cuts Unexpected Nuke Deal with Brazil and Turkey

The May 17 nuclear declaration between Iran, Brazil, and Turkey is a positive step but it does not resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis since Iran will continue enriching uranium on its own. The declaration might stall UN sanctions against Iran particularly if China or Russia supports it.

Whiplash Strategy Backfires on Karzai and Imperils the Surge

The whiplash strategy that was intended to strengthen the Afghan government by pressuring Karzai to go after corruption has had the opposite effect. It has erased what remaining credibility Karzai possessed after last year’s election. Afghan consensus building may provide a better solution.

The Taliban Moderates on Politics, Hardens on Intolerance

Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Omar has indicated that neither he nor the Taliban aim to be involved in politics in the future. Before this can happen, however, the Taliban wants foreign troops out and the Afghan constitution “repaired”.

The U.S. Looks to Contain Iran but Avoid Airstrikes

Competing political and economic interests towards Iran in the international community have weakened US resolve to contain Iran. Today, the focus on containing Iran is to stall Iran’s development of the bomb for as long as possible and then to limit Iran’s ability to make a lot of nuclear weapons later.

Nuclear Summit Aims to Start Iran’s Containment

The April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit probably signals that President Obama has yielded to Iran’s ambition to acquire nuclear weapons and has shifted his strategy to contain Iran instead. However, this new version of the Containment strategy has a major flaw: it assumes that today’s current Middle East stability will remain intact indefinitely.

Obama’s Nuclear Policy Gamble

President Obama knows that he cannot just abolish all US nuclear weapons. Such a policy would endanger America’s national security so long as other states have them. So how can Obama win Middle East support in his effort to keep isolating Iran? He is offering a concession to Arab leaders and others who feel as they do.

Is an Iran With Nuclear Weapons a Red Line for America?

President Obama needs to decide if Iran’s attempt to acquire nuclear weapons is a “red line” for America. If it is not, then a softer policy vis-à-vis Iran is possible. If it is a red line, then even extreme measures should be considered.

Should Iran Get the Bomb?

If Iran gets the bomb, other Middle Eastern states such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey would likely respond by getting the bomb too. Venezuela and non-state militant groups could also acquire nuclear weapons with Iran’s assistance.

Mullah Baradar Arrest Theories

At least six theories are being floated on Mullah Baradar’s capture and/or the flood of recent insurgency defeats. Understanding Pakistan’s Afghan Taliban policy is critical to separating fact from fiction.