The Stuxnet worm and other covert measures appear designed to slow Iran's progress toward a nuclear bomb. But US 'miscalculations' could raise the likelihood of a costly showdown, some experts warn.
When the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago on Christmas, doomsayers had a field day. But seen strictly from the perspective of what matters most to Americans, the good news is that the nightmares that experts realistically expected about Russia have not happened.
A conflict that was supposed to be a quick in-and-out operation lasted nearly nine years – and has left a deep imprint on the policy of American intervention.
The killing of the American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen is another success in fighting Al Qaeda. But core leaders of the group who are likely planning the next big attack are probably operating outside the hot spots of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa.
The US has relied on the military to hit back when attacked or even threatened; to place first priority on building up defenses; to sometimes shoot first, ask questions later. But the most difficult challenges ahead will require greater reliance on diplomacy and traditional statecraft.
The Fukushima meltdown showed how some nuclear plants are vulnerable to cooling-system failures. That might be of interest to Al Qaeda, which considered attacking US nuclear facilities after 9/11, a new study says.
According to the IAEA's scale, the Fukushima crisis in Japan is now a 7, the most severe rating and equal with Chernobyl. But experts say the scale is deeply flawed.
Radiation exposure: Adding to the monumental losses after a Japanese earthquake and tsunami, problems at four nuclear reactors have residents near and far concerned about radiation exposure.
Release of radioactivity from the nuclear-reactor equipment has been limited, so it does not constitute a dire threat to the US yet. But the meltdown situation could quickly change.