Some news that’s surfacing slowly is Iran’s new bluster on refining higher grade uranium. Russia and Israel seem to be talking the same language, while China still isn’t willing to sign on to harsh sanctions, something SecDef Gates is promising will come sooner rather than later. Even as it will take some time to reconfigure the Natanz facility to handle higher grade enrichment. Let’s call this one developing

Meanwhile, landing in front of hotel rooms across the nation, Brennan’s USA Today op-ed, as excerpted below. Brennan continues the campaign he began over the weekend on “Meet the Press.”

I have no idea why Scott over at Powerline has decided to channel Daniel Pipes in rebutting Brennan. Well, actually I do, it’s just it’s hard to take anyone seriously who believes hitting Iran is good for the U.S. That is what matters, right? Not to the right. Anyway, if you don’t know, he was the inspiration for Sarah Palin’s “declare war on Iran” (see video) advice to Obama on how he could “save” his presidency, with an Iran bombing also supposed to illustrate his “support for Israel.” Pipes going to great lengths in his article to illustrate the effectiveness of Obama hitting Iran.

And, no, these people aren’t kidding.

Now to Brennan:

Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information. Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.

The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, which the FBI made standard policy under Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s attorney general. The critics who want the FBI to ignore this long-established practice also ignore the lessons we have learned in waging this war: Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one’s determination to resist cooperation.

It’s naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.

Would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid was read his Miranda rights five minutes after being taken off a plane he tried to blow up. The same people who criticize the president today were silent back then.

Pres. Obama’s approval rating on foreign affairs is high, even according to Gallup, is compared to Bush. Even without any real progress in the Middle East, the world thinks anything is better than Bush-Cheney.

Perceptions of U.S. leadership worldwide improved significantly from 2008 to 2009. The U.S.-Global Leadership Project, a partnership between the Meridian International Center and Gallup, finds that a median of 51% of the world approves of the job performance of the current leadership of the U.S., up from a median of 34% in 2008.

Unfortunately, not everyone is like me and votes on foreign affairs. It’s on the economy that Obama’s getting creamed (h/t Laura Rozen), which is what moves most voters. See Bob Herbert, an Obama loyalist who is not very happy anymore.

graph via Gallup