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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
While Iraq has stabilized significantly due to a successful shift in U.S. strategy, including the "surge" of American troops, many of the challenges once found there have regrettably migrated to another hotspot: Afghanistan.
News reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has had a stroke could certainly be true. At 66, he's no spring chicken, especially considering his reportedly colorful lifestyle.
To make matters worse, there are also reports of discipline problems among the remaining cadre, such as stealing money from Secretariat tills -- no small offense considering the FARC often executes wayward or ideologically under-zealous members.
In one of the most daring rescues in recent history, in early July Colombian armed forces freed 15 hostages, including a former presidential candidate, from the grips of the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) -- all without firing a single shot.
While Colombia has gone great lengths in quashing the narcoterrorist FARC insurgency here -- including a daring July hostage-rescue raid -- trouble is still brewing right next door in Venezuela.
North Korea gave the world some good news last week -- finally handing over a declaration about its nuclear program and blowing up the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear facility. But don't break out the best bubbly just yet.
The good news is that al-Qaida's in bad shape; the bad news is that the terrorist threat is evolving. If we don't adapt, the tide could turn back.
Check this: After cutting the number of active aircraft carriers from 12 to 11 last year, the Navy is now requesting Congress' permission to go down from 11 flattops to 10 for the years 2012 to 2015.
While the world seems ablaze with problems, no area or issue, including terrorism, will shape the course of the 21st century for good -- or bad -- more than the region across the Pacific Ocean: East Asia.
New information continues to blast away at last November's controversial National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the supposed dormant state of Iran's nuclear weapons program, which the U.S. intelligence community believes ended in 2003.
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