Laos

The Obama administration deserves credit for the successes produced so far by its “pivot to Asia”, from the encouragement of political reform in Myanmar, to the creation of a permanent Marines base in Australia, to the initiation of joint military exercises with the Philippines.

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What's next for Navy's SEAL Team Six?

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Walter Shapiro examines the media's role in magnifying the proceedings.

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Trial and Error

In January 2007, a Californian named Harrison Jack got a call from a man who introduced himself as Steve Hoffmaster, arms dealer. Jack was a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran whose war tours had involved work with Southeast Asian indigenous groups. He had become frantic about reports of an extermination campaign in the jungles of Laos. The alleged targets were the Hmong, a tribe who had teamed up with the CIA during the Vietnam war to wage a guerilla struggle against the region’s communists.

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Dancing Days

George Stephanopoulos turned up at the Supreme Court last week, sitting next to Joel Klein, the deputy White House counsel. Their joint appearance seemed to illustrate the administration's anxiety about the case, Adarand v. Pena, in which the Court is being asked to strike down racial preferences in the construction industry that have been endorsed by every president since Nixon. But Klein assured me afterward that Stephanopoulos, who had never seen a Supreme Court argument before, had come along purely out of curiosity. He picked a good day.

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The Mission

Ross Perot lives on Strait Lane in a world of his own. On the most exclusive street of millionaires in North Dallas, he has surrounded himself with alarms and sensors, fences and security guards. He has frequently deployed private investigators to uncover personally discrediting material about competitors. Those determined to humiliate and destroy him, he has explained, publicly and privately, include terrorists, drug lords, the CIA, and a criminal cabal of high officials in the Reagan and Bush administrations in which the president of the United States is complicit.

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Next Stop, Angola

The next battlefield over the so-called Regan Doctrine is the decade-old consensus that America should stay out of the civil war in Angola. Based on the belief that the United States should assist anti-Communist freedom fighters everywhere, elements within the Reagan administration and in Congress are urging that the U.S. supply as much as $200 million in aid to Jonas Savimbi's anti-Marxist guerrilla group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

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Ten years after America's withdrawal from Vietnam, President Reagan has made the recovery of 2,477 American soldiers "the highest national priority." In June 1983 a division of the Defense Intelligence Agency was assigned a large full-time staff to collect and evaluate information about POWs and MIAs. Last summer Reagan signed a proclamation designating the third Friday in July as the annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

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China Without Mao

Both China and the USA during 1976 look to their own body politic, and not much at broad world vistas. Yet from different starting-points. We focus on who the next President will be and now the list is pruned to two. But the election issues are as hard to sight as corks on a choppy sea. In China it is the personnel stakes that are elusive. The issues being debated under the orange tiles of Peking's palaces are, on the other hand, clearer than usual. And the "what" may be as momentous for China's future as the "who." Glimpse six items that reflect what is controversial in China.

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