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Security politics

In Japan earlier today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "the United States is ready to use the 'full range' of its military might to defend Japan in light of North Korea's nuclear weapons test, and her Japanese counterpart drew a firm line against developing a Japanese bomb...  Part of Rice's assignment on this week's hastily arranged trip... is to lessen the temptation to develop separate national nuclear programs by reaffirming the U.S. intention to defend the nations most at risk." - AP

"The Bush administration is pressing the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki to issue a 'broad' and 'painful' amnesty for insurgents in spite of intense opposition to the proposal from politicians both in Iraq and the US," a senior Administration official tells the Financial Times.  "The official was not explicit about the terms of the proposed amnesty...  The amnesty issue is divisive in both Iraq and the US, where the emotional question of how to honour American war dead - now at 2,750 - has become entangled in the debate over the merits of an early US withdrawal."

After Bush signed the detainee bill into law yesterday, White House spokesman Tony Snow warned reporters, "Don't hold your breath...  It will be months before the high-value detainees go to trial," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell notes.  Snow refused comment on when the CIA's interrogation program will resume or if there are any detainees in CIA custody now.  When Bush disclosed the program, officials said at that time that all detainees were out of CIA custody and transferred to Guantanamo.  Snow added that Bush "pretty much" got everything he wanted in the law despite that talk of a compromise.

The Los Angeles Times says the law "is bound to generate new and contentious legal challenges that probably will leave U.S. policies on detainees in an uncertain state.  In addition to the request to throw out lawsuits by detainees seeking to have their day in court, judges will be asked to decide new legal questions about the fairness of the tribunal process.  Both issues may end up before the Supreme Court."

Per the AP, a new poll finds that Americans "are anxious and frustrated over the state of U.S. foreign relations... with large majorities worried that the country's foreign policy is making the world increasingly dangerous for the U.S. and its people."  More: "The poll, taken in September, included an 'anxiety indicator' that calculates the level of angst in the country based on answers to five general survey questions.  The indicator registered 130 on a scale of zero to 200, with zero being the most secure and 200 the most anxious."

Bush has signed "first full revision of overall space policy in 10 years," the Washington Post says.  The new policy "rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone 'hostile to U.S. interests'...  The administration said the policy revisions are not a prelude to introducing weapons systems into Earth orbit."  The Administration "has briefed members of Congress as well as a number of governments," but the public doesn't know much about it because the "policy was released at 5 p.m. on the Friday before Columbus Day, with no public announcement."