Inside the Ring

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“They sought a broader assessment,” Mr. Bracken said. “It was a very important game because for the first time, it pulled together the financial system, military force and politics. The interrelationships were stress-tested and gave some important insights. One of them was this: In a multiplayer game — U.S., China, Russia, Japan - the strongest player, the U.S., doesn’t always win.”

KANDAHAR BLAST AVERTED

In the “underreported news department,” U.S. and Afghan troops in Kandahar successfully thwarted a Taliban car bombing this week after finding an explosives-laden vehicle amid a large cache of weapons.

The car bomb had been rigged with nearly 100 pounds of high explosives intended for a mass-casualty terrorist bombing in the Taliban stronghold, where U.S. and allied troops have made a major stand in efforts to defeat the insurgency.

The cache was discovered during a foot patrol in Kandahar city on Tuesday.

“The caliber and quantity of the weapons makes this a substantial find going into the spring offensive,” said U.S. military spokeswoman Army Maj. Sunset Belinsky.

The key find, she said, was a “fully constructed vehicle-borne IED,” or improvised explosive device, “along with 15 heavy machine guns with ammunition, five rocket-propelled grenade launchers with 200 new rounds, and nearly 20,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate,” a key chemical used in explosives.

Other IED components, assorted weapons and explosives also were recovered.

ARMS-CONTROL FAILURES

China’s government is continuing to reject Obama administration arms-control initiatives while feigning cooperation, according to administration officials close to the issue.

“The arms controllers are embarrassed by China’s lack of cooperation,” one official said.

The problem was on display during a Feb. 23 speech by Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance. She spoke in Las Vegas before a regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on disarmament. Ms. Gottemoeller, the Obama administration’s key official on arms control, made no mention of China in her remarks. Instead, she praised the New START with Russia.

The administration continues to strike out in three areas where it has sought agreements with Beijing: space arms control, fissile material limits, and arms-proliferation security.

“In all three areas, the Obama administration naively thought China would reach agreements,” the official said. “Instead, they are now blaming the Bush administration” for the lack of progress.

A draft agreement being worked on for several years by the U.N. Conference on Disarmament on the prevention of an arms race in space has been blocked by China.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

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