Foreign Policy Thin-Sliced (1/24)

 Than Shwe, former head of Burma’s junta


Than Shwe, former head of Burma’s junta

Accuracy Is Not the Issue With Drones, It’s the Video

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?”

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on, Heather Linebaugh, the Guardian

Syria Costing Iran Blood, Treasure, and Credibility

Iran has good reason to want the carnage in Syria to stop. Propping up Bashar al-Assad is costing Tehran’s sanctions-ravaged regime financially. Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces are dying on Syrian soil. Most importantly, the war has devastated Iran’s reputation. As a Persian, Shia power, Iran’s Islamic regime has traditionally looked for causes—like the Palestinians—that give it credibility in the Sunni-dominated Arab and Muslim world. Tehran’s support for Assad’s murderous repression of Syria’s Sunnis has done the exact opposite. Iran’s approval rating in 20 Muslim-majority countries, according to Zogby Research Services, has plunged from 75 percent in 2006 to 25 percent today.

Forget the Nuclear Details and End This Cold War With Iran, Peter Beinart, DefenseOne, (the Atlantic)

Half-Measures Have Availed Us Nothing in Syria

According to a newly published anatomy of U.S. policymaking in the Wall Street Journal, which cites Obama administration officials, Washington’s objective in arming and training rebels “wasn’t so much to help [them] win as to assuage allies who thought the U.S. wasn’t engaged.” Yet this limited approach failed on two levels: Not only did it destroy the West’s nominal proxy in Syria, but it also compelled Riyadh to “step outside the umbrella” of U.S. oversight altogether and plot the construction of an overshadowing Islamist counterpart army.

The Unraveling, Michael Weiss, Politico magazine

Former Head of Burma’s Junta Still Pulls Strings

So, to return to Than Shwe’s plan, he wants to complete the pacification program with a nationwide ceasefire; then refuse to amend the Constitution, or allow only a minor modification such that his ally and apologist Suu Kyi can assume her so-desired figurehead status; then follow this with a fraudulent census that undercounts ethnic nationality populations; then conduct a fraudulent election that paves the way for a succession of future dictators, all to the end of following the model that is working so well in China.

Subvert Burma’s Election!, Roland Watson, Dictator Watch

Hyping Threat of Iran’s Nuclear Program a Dangerous Game

Oft repeated but false assertions about Iran’s nuclear program—and the recent deal to tamp it down—may end up being more dangerous than the program itself. These wrong statements reinforce each other, get amplified in the media, and are fueling a march to military action.

Eight Ways You’re Wrong About Iran’s Nuclear Program, Yousaf Butt, the National Interest