Israel simulation prepares for two-front war with Hamas and Hizbullah

Officials said the Israel Army has been conducting exercises in preparation for a two-front war. They said the military envisions fighting along the southern Israeli frontier with the Gaza Strip as well as with Lebanon and Syria.

Israel simulation prepares for two-front war with Hamas and Hizbullah

Nuclear Iran Would Spur Regional Arms Race, Israel’s Barak Says – BusinessWeek

Saudi Arabia would obtain nuclear weapons within a “few months” as part of a broader Middle East arms race if Iran develops nuclear weapons, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today.

A nuclear-armed Iran would result in “an intensive nuclear wave in the Middle East,” Barak said on CNN’s “Amanpour” program. Turkey and Egypt would probably join Saudi Arabia in seeking nuclear weapons, he said.

Nuclear Iran Would Spur Regional Arms Race, Israel’s Barak Says – BusinessWeek

Iran’s New World Order – WSJ.com

Ahmad Khatami, an influential cleric and mentor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently said publicly that the United States has to “regard Iran as a great power in the political sphere. The people of Iran have realized there is nothing you can do to us.”

The statement is part bravado, but it also offers an important clue about the Iranian regime’s mind set and ultimate goal. Its nuclear program, support for terrorism and stirring of anti-American sentiments are aimed at vaulting Iran to a position of global prominence.

Jamsheed K. Choksy: Iran’s New World Order – WSJ.com

AP Enterprise: How nuclear equipment reached Iran – washingtonpost.com

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Early last year, a Chinese company placed an order with a Taiwanese agent for 108 nuclear-related pressure gauges. But something happened along the way. Paperwork was backdated. Plans were rerouted, orders reconfigured, shipping redirected.

And the gauges ended up in a very different place: Iran.

AP Enterprise: How nuclear equipment reached Iran – washingtonpost.com

Why Japan is ready for anything Pyongyang might want to throw at it | World news | guardian.co.uk

“If an enemy dares to attack us, that’s lucky for us,” an unsmiling Taniguchi said. “Once they are within range, it is our opportunity, not theirs.”

Taniguchi’s confidence in Japan’s ability to defend itself rests on the weapons under his command – an American-designed, Japanese-built Patriot PAC-3 missile battery, attached to one of the six ballistic missile defence (BMD) groups girdling the country since 2007.

Why Japan is ready for anything Pyongyang might want to throw at it | World news | guardian.co.uk

Preparing for the Next Bubble and the Bang When It Bursts – NYTimes.com

Individuals, as always, may be tempted to make their own financial bets, too. Last time, they bought overpriced homes with too much borrowed money. Next time, who knows what the bubble will be? And that’s the problem, as it always is. How do you identify the next thing that will pop? Is it China? Or Greece? Or Treasury bonds? It is difficult to predict and make the right defensive (or offensive) moves at the correct moment to save or make money.

Your Money – Preparing for the Next Bubble and the Bang When It Bursts – NYTimes.com

America, the fragile empire – latimes.com

The most recent and familiar example of precipitous decline is the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the benefit of hindsight, historians have traced all kinds of rot within the Soviet system back to the Brezhnev era and beyond. Perhaps, as the historian and political scientist Stephen Kotkin has argued, it was only the high oil prices of the 1970s that “averted Armageddon.” But this did not seem to be the case at the time. The Soviet nuclear arsenal was larger than the U.S. stockpile. And governments in what was then called the Third World, from Vietnam to Nicaragua, had been tilting in the Soviets’ favor for most of the previous 20 years.

Yet, less than five years after Mikhail Gorbachev took power, the Soviet imperium in central and Eastern Europe had fallen apart, followed by the Soviet Union itself in 1991. If ever an empire fell off a cliff, rather than gently declining, it was the one founded by Lenin.

America, the fragile empire – latimes.com

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy – NYTimes.com

Conventional for conventional, and nonconventional for nonconventional – as in bombs. A country attacked with chemical weapons may respond with nuclear weapons – nonconventional for nonconventional.

Mr. Obama’s decisions on nuclear weapons come as conflicting pressures in his defense policy are intensifying. His critics argue that his embrace of a new movement to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world is naïve and dangerous, especially at a time of new nuclear threats, particularly from Iran and North Korea. But many of his supporters fear that over the past year he has moved too cautiously, and worry that he will retain the existing American policy by leaving open the possibility that the United States might use nuclear weapons in response to a biological or chemical attack, perhaps against a nation that does not possess a nuclear arsenal.

White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy – NYTimes.com

RISK Mismanagement – What Led to the Financial Meltdown – NYTimes.com

Goldman Sachs’ VaR models and risk models started to show little cracks or discrepancies. They were small, but they shouldn’t have been there. Rather than ignore these discrepancies, Goldman Sachs tried to understand what was going on. When it couldn’t figure out what was going on they bailed out of mortgage-backed securities.

How then do we account for that story that made the rounds in the summer of 2007? It concerns Goldman Sachs, the one Wall Street firm that was not, at that time, taking a hit for billions of dollars of suddenly devalued mortgage-backed securities. Reporters wanted to understand how Goldman had somehow sidestepped the disaster that had befallen everyone else. What they discovered was that in December 2006, Goldman’s various indicators, including VaR and other risk models, began suggesting that something was wrong. Not hugely wrong, mind you, but wrong enough to warrant a closer look.

RISK Mismanagement – What Led to the Financial Meltdown – NYTimes.com