Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on July 21 that the United States will impose new sanctions on North Korea. The impetus for the sanctions against the communist nation was strengthened by the North’s suspected torpedo attack that sank South Korea’s ROKS Cheonan on March 26, as well as by the Pyongyang regime’s failure to accede to international demands to reveal the details of its nuclear program.
International leaders meeting at a conference held at the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 20 renewed their commitment to turn over responsibility for the nation’s security to the Afghan government by 2014.
AP and the New York Times reported on July 15 that on the previous day the Afghan government approved a U.S.-backed plan to establish local defense forces that will enable villagers in remote areas of the country to defend themselves against attacks by Taliban insurgents.
Octavia Nasr, a senior Middle East editor at CNN, has been fired from her position after writing in a post on Twitter that she "respected" Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah — a Lebanese Shia Muslim leader with links to the terrorist group Hezbollah who died on July 4. Nasr wrote: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
Trade representatives of mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan signed a trade deal called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in the Chinese city of Chonqquing on June 29, as negotiators on both sides spoke of a new era in ties across the Taiwan Strait.
On June 7 of this year, our ongoing war in Afghanistan surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. In his December 1, 2009 speech at West Point, President Obama followed the pattern set by several predecessors and employed the deceptive tactic of presenting false alternatives. He deftly and swiftly discounted terminating U.S. efforts in what was then already an eight-year-old war. He dwelt instead on what were, to him, the only alternatives worthy of consideration. Should the United States send tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan? Or should the current force level be maintained? Of course, we know he has opted for sending an additional 30,000 troops.
AP reported statements from NATO leaders on June 11 declaring that the alliance had “regained the initiative” in the Afghan war, along with promises that the gains could result in a handover of security responsibilities to Afghan authorities by the end of 2010.
The New York Times on June 14 quoted a statement from General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) that there could be as much as $1 trillion in mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including significant deposits of lithium, an alkaline metal with numerous industrial applications, including lithium batteries.
Voice of America News reported on May 26 that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking during a televised news speech made in the southeastern city of Kerman, called on Russia and the United States to accept a nuclear fuel-swap deal, warning that it will be the last chance to resolve the nuclear stand off.
The crisis that began with the March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan by a North Korean submarine continued on May 25, as KCNA, North Korea’s official news agency, announced that “All communication links between the north and the south will be cut off.”