Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Hundreds of imprisoned militants escaped from a high-security prison in Kandahar city through a long tunnel dug by the Taliban, in a spectacular jailbreak that showcased the insurgency’s sophistication and dealt a serious blow to U.S.-led attempts to stabilise southern Afghanistan.”
2. The Financial Times reports: “Syrian troops in tanks and armoured vehicles poured into the southern town Deraa and opened fire on Monday, residents said, in the latest bloodshed in a crackdown on protests that has escalated sharply in recent days.”
3. The pressure on the US to “do something” in Syria is mounting exponentially, as an Iranian-allied regime cracks down on a largely Sunni uprising of popular protest. Put another way, Syria is Libya with a real US national security interest at stake. Walter Mead has a hard-headed analysis.
4. NATO appears to have targeted Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi for assassination. The New York Times reports: “NATO war planes early Monday morning struck Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound here for the third time, destroying a complex of offices and meeting facilities in an evident escalation of the air campaign to aid the rebellion against his four decades in power.”
5. The Mexican drug wars have claimed the lives of at least 35,000 people. At each step along the escalation, the violence gets more savage. And then it gets worse.
6. It looks as though German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “on the verge of losing her majority over the domestic legislation of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the long-term financial umbrella for the eurozone.” Wolfgang Munchau continues his excellent commentary on the unravelling of the eurozone.
7. Mike McConnell persuasively argues that the US and its allies are ill-prepared for cyberwar and that immediate steps — especially “hardening” the cloud against attack — must be taken to avoid disaster.
8. The National labour Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a complaint against aircraft manufacturer Boeing, saying that it is opening a plant in South Carolina to retaliate against labour unions in Washington State. The NLRB seeks to prevent Boeing from opening the South Carolina facility.
9. Kathleen Parker argues that the NLRB’s move against Boeing is mis-guided at best.
10. Mitch Daniels already has a narrative for his 2012 GOP presidential campaign bid; he says the country must deal with its debt or decline. What he hasn’t yet made is a firm commitment to the job of running. He’s still on the fence.
11. Mike Bloomberg advises Donald Trump to drop the “birther issue” if he goes forward with his supposed presidential campaign. Clive Crook argues that the Republicans may choose to lose the 2012 presidential election by nominating a weak candidate.
12. You already knew this: Paul Krugman endorses higher taxes to pay down the deficit.