If you look carefully, you can see Gen. Ray Odierno and other national security/foreign policy figures joining in on a farewell “We’ll Meet Again” song for the Colbert Report. We’ll bid you our own farewell for the week with a recap of what we wrote about at Five By Five, and some highlights from elsewhere, too. Full story
This is just an ad for an upcoming Vladimir Putin press conference. A PRESS CONFERENCE.
Bloomberg has a story on the Hollywood action blockbuster-style ad, with translation of what needs translating (h/t). There’s another version, too, one that’s more talk-y, but features the narrator saying, “The bear never asks permission.” And it also has the Russian president making fun of America.
Vox offers this critical comment: “Of course, while the videos are unintentionally hilarious, there is something deadly, seriously wrong when you have a country’s dominant and state-run news station portraying the president as an unbeatable hero, and the news as an exciting adventure ride, at a time of real national peril.”
A state-owned news outlet predicts 1,200 international journalists will attend the news conference, which comes amid serious economic woes for the country. Putin just got selected Russia’s man of the year for the 15th time in a row.
It’s been an exceptionally hectic stretch run for Congress. For such an unproductive 113th session, a great deal has sped up as the finish line nears, likely this week. Here’s a rundown of what’s happened on the national security and foreign policy fronts, and some of what still hasn’t happened, with links to CQ.com ($) stories. Full story
Crocker at his confirmation hearing to serve as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)
All the big ticket congressional items on the defense agenda are finished, and now it’s down to the Senate fighting over a number of nominees, most prominent among them in the national security sphere Antony Blinken, for deputy secretary of State. Elsewhere… Full story
It was a bonkers week in the national security world. We had the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Bush administration-era detention and interrogation practices dominating the news to such a degree that the mammoth “cromnibus” spending bill for the Defense Department and other agencies was overshadowed. Even a video of a real life laser cannon – a laser cannon!!!! – couldn’t steal much of the spotlight. Full story
An Afghan construction worker makes concrete tubes on the outskirts of Kabul on March 18. Afghanistan’s economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, but despite international assistance the country needs to overcome challenges including low revenue collection and job creation, corruption, weak government capacity and poor public infrastructure. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says that corruption in the country, among other woes, could lead to a collapse of security forces. “Corruption,” he says, “can exact a toll in blood.” Full story
Malinowski at a press conference in Hanoi, Oct. 26. (Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images)
In Senate testimony Tuesday morning, a high-ranking State Department official referred to the terrorist group the Obama administration has been calling “ISIL” as “Daesh.” That’s just a few days after a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Post that Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent references to the group as “Daesh” did not reflect a change in policy. Full story
There were two obviously major storylines this week: A new Defense secretary is on the way, and the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill hit the streets. There were plenty of other stories elsewhere, too. Full story
In this handout photo provided by the G20 Australia, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meet Jimbelung the koala before the start of the first G20 meeting on Nov. 15 in Brisbane, Australia. (Andrew Taylor/G20 Australia via Getty Images)
Russia is squarely in the sights of the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense policy bill released Monday evening, which requires the Defense Department to come up with an alternative to the Russian RD-180 rocket engine by 2019 and authorizes $220 million to help do so, among other provisions. Full story
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz served up a big plate of red meat to a conservative audience at a lunch Tuesday, decrying the “Obama-Clinton foreign policy” in forceful and colorful language. No doubt looking to polish his conservative credentials for a potential GOP presidential run (against, maybe, Hillary Clinton), he didn’t hold back in his criticism of the current administration. Full story
Rouhani delivers a speech under a portrait of Iran’s Khamenei on June 3. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
The consensus of a panel at the Brookings Institution Tuesday: The reason Iran nuclear talks have been extended is because Tehran is being overly rigid in the face of a very generous offer from the United States and its negotiating partners. Full story
Hagel, left, and Kerry, right, at a September House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Over the weekend, news broke of a change in the administration’s policy on Afghanistan. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an extension of Iranian nuclear talks. Yet it is the newly announced departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that has sucked up most of the news energy today. Full story
It’s a short week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Congress is gone. There are still a few worthwhile national security and foreign policy events around D.C., though, at least during the early part of the week. Full story