The U.S. Defense Department appears to have reduced the level of threat it believes Iran’s ballistic-missile work directly poses to the United States.
The Pentagon’s most recent annual report to Congress on Iran’s military capabilities does not touch on the potential for Iran to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile in 2015. Rather, the report’s executive summary makes note of Iran’s work on space rockets, which has more indirect applications for ICBM development, Inside Defense reported on Wednesday.
“Iran has publicly stated it may launch a space vehicle by 2015 that could be capable of intercontinental ballistic missile ranges if configured as a ballistic missile,” reads the report, which was completed in January but only now reported on.
The department in its previous report to Congress, completed in 2013, offered a much more alarming assessment, saying that Iran as early as 2015 could be ready to test-fire a ballistic missile that could strike the United States.
Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, told the newsletter he saw important differences between the 2013 and 2014 assessments.
“I would regard that as a significant change of language, meaning that the U.S. intelligence community is losing confidence in their earlier prediction of 2015 which has been very heavily quoted, of course, by friends of missile defense and others wishing to pump up the Iranian threat,” said Thielmann, a former staffer on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.