Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings | TheHill


The hearings could be held in one of the Capitol complex’s larger rooms, such as the cavernous Ways and Means hearing room.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.) and fellow Democrats have chosen three current and former State Department officials to go before the cameras first because they view them as credible, nonpartisan witnesses who will be able to walk the public through exactly how Trump and his allies engaged in wrongdoing in their dealings with Ukraine.

Source: Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings | TheHill

Two Years After Mugabe’s Fall, Zimbabwe Returns to the Abyss


Two years after the military coup that removed Robert Mugabe from power, Zimbabwe has entered a new spiral of decline that threatens to take the country back to the worst days of his era. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power in that coup, had promised a “new beginning” for Zimbabwe. That initially bought him some valuable breathing space, and even goodwill from the international community, which seemed willing to give him an opportunity to make good on his pledge.

It hasn’t taken long for the euphoria—always rooted more in the demise of Mugabe than in the rise of Mnangagwa—to vanish. The first indications that so-called reform was likely to be superficial came in July 2018 with Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential elections. It was all too familiar, including when security forces used live ammunition against protesters, killing at least six people.

Then, early this year, more protests against huge increases in the price of fuel triggered more repression, with more protesters killed by security forces. The regime’s response in poorer urban areas also expanded to include a campaign of mass arrests, abductions and rape.

Source: Two Years After Mugabe’s Fall, Zimbabwe Returns to the Abyss

National Security Is Made of People | Defense One


The national-security-wonk world devotes commensurate time assessing whether military readiness considers the right measures, or if a crisis really exists, or if we can define what forces should be ready for. Regardless, there is a common understanding that if military readiness is unsound, U.S. national security may be at risk.

Remarkably, there is no such common understanding of the readiness of the national security civilian workforce—no metrics, no tirades, no constituencies, no bestowing value. There is increasing recognition that great power competition will not be waged principally in the military sphere, and civilian domains will be vital in this era. But the most bipartisan, universal assessments of the national security personnel required to execute in those domains is disdain: lazy bureaucrats, unelected conspirators, back-office functionaries, retired-in-place cubicle-dwellers.

The most consistent policy agendas applied to the national security workforce is to cut them.

The practice of denigrating and ignoring the civilian men and women who are as much a part of our national security as their uniform counterparts has to end.

Source: National Security Is Made of People – Defense One

Do Americans Still Want The US to Be the World’s Security Leader? | Defense One


Understanding what Americans want can be complicated.

Support for getting out of “forever wars” is high, but so is support for fighting terrorists and keeping a large U.S. military presence abroad.

Americans want the United States to stay engaged; applications for the Foreign Service and other national security jobs are down. And the national security influencer set has struggled to influence Trump voters.

Despite widespread sympathy and U.S. military support for Syrian Kurds, last month Republicans fell in line with the president’s decision to pull U.S. troops.

Public approval for the military has rarely been higher; the proportion of the public who has served in uniform has rarely been lower.

Source: Do Americans Still Want The US to Be the World’s Security Leader? – Defense One

The Role of the International Criminal Court | Council on Foreign Relations


The International Criminal Court, established in 2002, seeks to hold to account those guilty of the some of the world’s worst crimes. Champions of the court say it deters would-be war criminals, bolsters the rule of law, and offers justice to victims of atrocities.

But, since its inception, the court has faced considerable setbacks. It has been unable to gain the support of major powers, including the United States, China, and Russia. Two countries have withdrawn from the court, and many African governments complain that the court has singled out Africa.

More recently, the administration of Donald J. Trump has ramped up U.S. opposition to the court, renewing debate over the court’s legitimacy.

Source: The Role of the International Criminal Court | Council on Foreign Relations

The Deadly Protests Shaking Iraq: What to Know | Council on Foreign Relations


There is a widespread perception that the only people who profit from the current situation are political leaders who divide up oil revenues to pay off their followers, and to lead lavish lifestyles in the Green Zone.

The nongovernmental organization Transparency International ranks Iraq as one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

The underpinning of Iraqi politics is a sectarian spoils system that was enshrined by the U.S. occupation. The president is a Kurd, the prime minister a Shiite, and the speaker of parliament a Sunni.

Each sectarian bloc has its own factions, which divide government revenues among themselves. Both the United States and Iran tacitly support this system, but most Iraqis do not.

And now they—particularly young Shiites who are no longer willing to be subservient to Iran-backed communal leaders now that the danger posed by the Islamic State has passed—are rebelling.

Source: The Deadly Protests Shaking Iraq: What to Know | Council on Foreign Relations

Smaller pro-EU parties unveil electoral pact for UK election – Reuters


Britain’s smaller pro-European parties have announced a “remain” alliance for next month’s general election in which they will step aside for each other in 60 constituencies, covering about 10% of the seats in parliament.

The aim is to deny a majority to Prime Minister Boris Johnson who plans to take Britain out of the EU if he wins the vote on Dec. 12.

Source: Smaller pro-EU parties unveil electoral pact for UK election – Reuters

Masked Hong Kong students chant at graduation amid fears for elections | Reuters


Hong Kong students, many wearing banned black masks, chanted slogans at their graduation at the Chinese University on Thursday, with some holding up banners urging “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now.”

The students defied a ban on masks that the government imposed last month in a bid to curb sometimes violent unrest that has rocked the Chinese-ruled city for more than five months.

Source: Masked Hong Kong students chant at graduation amid fears for elections – Reuters

In Trump’s shadow, Republican suburban slide shows little sign of slowing | Reuters

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The last time Democrats controlled the government in Delaware County, a suburb of Philadelphia, the U.S. Civil War had just ended.

But on Tuesday, Democrats ended a century and a half of Republican dominance. In two other Philadelphia-area suburbs, they captured Chester County’s board of commissioners for the first time in history and seized control of Bucks County’s board of commissioners for the first time since the 1980s.

Source: In Trump’s shadow, Republican suburban slide shows little sign of slowing – Reuters

London Police Ban on Extinction Rebellion Ruled ‘Unlawful’ | EcoWatch


The Metropolitan Police’s decision to ban Extinction Rebellion from London last month was “unlawful,” the city’s high court ruled Wednesday, as CNN reported.

Source: London Police Ban on Extinction Rebellion Ruled ‘Unlawful’ – EcoWatch