Passport

Four in five Americans agree: Clinton's trip to NK did not embolden kidnappers

A great crumb from the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel: nearly four in five Americans agreed, in a Fox News poll, that former President Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea -- during which he successfully lobbied for the release of jailed journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee -- will not encourage the kidnapping of more Americans.

One comment, though. Ling and Lee -- and John Yettaw, the American released from Myanmar over the weekend -- were not kidnapped. They were arrested and put in prison. Seems an important distinction to make.

Passport

Blog war: is Afghanistan a safe haven for al Qaeda?

Over on the AfPak Channel and Stephen Walt's blog, a fight is brewing over the U.S. recommitment of troops and resources to war in Afghanistan.

Here's the battle in a nutshell. The Obama administration -- despite questions raised by eminences grises on Afghanistan, such as Harvard's Rory Stewart -- has chosen to double-down.

Walt argues that Obama's contention --"left unchecked the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans" -- is a myth. Therefore, realists should recognize it hardly justifies remaining in Afghanistan.

Not so, argue the AfPak Channel's Peter Bergen and NYU fellow Paul Cruickshank -- the Taliban do and would provide cover for al Qaeda, justifying the U.S. presence. (Here's a one-time tag for responses from within FP.)

We'll post more replies from other bloggers as they come in -- here's Windy security reporter Spencer Ackerman, for starters. If you've blogged it, leave it in comments!