Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

Iran War Watch: The GOP Candidates React to Obama's AIPAC Speech

| Mon Mar. 5, 2012 3:40 PM EST
President Barack Obama at the 2012 AIPAC policy conference.

Are the United States and Iran on a collision course over the Middle Eastern country's controversial nuclear program? We'll be posting the latest news on Iran-war fever—the intel, the media frenzy, the rhetoric.

On Sunday, President Obama delivered his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference in Washington, DC. Though he condemned the recent "loose talk of war," Obama used the 34-minute speech as an opportunity to talk tough on Iran and to reject containment policy:

I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I've made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests... And I know that Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country.

The president gave the much anticipated speech one day before his high-profile meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—a meeting during which the Israeli leader is expected to further pressure the White House on upping the war rhetoric. During the speech, Obama did not specify what lines the Iranian government would have to cross to provoke an American military operation. (Click here for a complete transcript.)

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Iran War Watch: Threatening Pakistan

| Fri Mar. 2, 2012 5:52 PM EST

Are the United States and Iran on a collision course over the Middle Eastern country's controversial nuclear program? We'll be posting the latest news on Iran-war fever—the intel, the media frenzy, the rhetoric.

The Pakistani government is moving forward with plans to construct a pipeline that would deliver natural gas from Iran. The multibillion-dollar project has been kicked around for six decades, with both parties now shooting for a December 2014 completion date.

For some reason, the State Department really isn't too fond of this:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has threatened Pakistan with sanctions if the country continues with plans to build a natural gas pipeline to Iran. The U.S. is moving to squeeze Iran financially in a bid to force it to drop its nuclear program. But Pakistan has been unwilling to line up behind the U.S., saying it needs Iran, a neighbor, to help it meet a massive energy shortage.

Mrs. Clinton told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Wednesday that sanctions could be triggered if Islamabad presses ahead. As Pakistan’s economy already is in dire straits, the sanctions could be "particularly damaging" and "further undermine their economic status," Mrs. Clinton said.

Pakistan's top bureaucrat in the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry, Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry, said the pipeline was crucial for Pakistan's energy security – the longstanding Pakistan position. But he added that Pakistan was "committed not to create any problems."

Despite the possibility of rough sanctions, Pakistani officials confirmed this week that the pipeline deal is still a go. "We are a sovereign country and we will do whatever is in the interest of Pakistan," Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani affirmed during an online Q&A.

Any potential sanctions targeting Pakistan's fragile economy would be in sync with the Obama administration's approach to pressuring the Iranian regime—economic sanctions recently imposed on Iran are harsher than they have been in decades, and international sanctions are taking a serious toll on the country's central bank and oil sales.

So in case you were wondering, yes, there are indeed other ways in which the US-Pakistan relationship can get even lousier.

"Project X": Drunk, Foul-Mouthed Nerds Seduce Hot Girls and Blow Stuff Up

| Fri Mar. 2, 2012 7:00 AM EST
"Project X" (2012).

Project X
Warner Bros.
88 minutes

This weekend, you could go see the highly anticipated The Lorax, with all its Truffula tufts and fleecy anti-greed morality.

The new animated movie has a stout, gremlin-type creature talking how bad it is to screw over wildlife for profit. The CGI is truly eye-popping. And there are a whole lot of gyrating bears. So, yes, you should go see The Lorax. You absolutely should do that.

You totally, definitely should.

Or, you could succumb to 90 minutes' worth of bi-curious girls, rowdy gentlemen, loud music, self-destruction in the suburbs, booze guzzled, pills popped, and cops in riot gear. (In short, all the things that make life worth living.)

The rager quickly descends into a hyper-violent mess that can only be described as a cross between 10-Cent Beer Night and a party thrown by The Who.

And just to be perfectly clear, this movie isn't a remake of the other Project X, a 1987 film in which Helen Hunt and government-trained super-chimps almost trigger nuclear catastrophe. This year's Project X is steeped in a far greater realism: Three chemically altered nerds throw a house party with 1,500 other horny teenagers and almost burn an entire neighborhood to the ground in the process.

The film, produced by director Todd Phillips of The Hangover and Old School fame, is shot in contemporary found-footage/mockumentary mode—think: cinéma vérité, by way of Cloverfield and Parks and Recreation. If you've seen Revenge of the Nerds, Risky Business, and Superbad, you'll recognize the plot: Three high-school outcasts seek to up their social standing and prove to "bitches" that they are "large-scale ballers." So when one of them gets the family home all to himself on his birthday, the boys invite half of LA to attend their all-night blow-out. After some mass-texting and old-fashioned word of mouth, they wind up with a carouse so epic—two DJs, a "Naked Girls Only" pool, a moonbounce, every harmful substance imaginable—that Kanye West is rumored to be in attendance.

And thus the evening bacchanalia descends into a hyper-violent mess that can only be described as a cross between 10-Cent Beer Night and your average party thrown by The Who.

Iran War Watch: Netanyahu to Pressure Obama on Military Action

| Wed Feb. 29, 2012 5:11 PM EST

Are the United States and Iran on a collision course over the Middle Eastern country's controversial nuclear program? We'll be posting the latest news on Iran-war fever—the intel, the media frenzy, the rhetoric.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning on urging President Obama to declare explicitly—and publicly—that the US is ready for military operations in the event that Iran breaches certain "red lines," a senior Israeli official tells Haaretz. The two leaders will meet in Washington this Monday, during which the prime minister will push the White House to ratchet up its rhetoric. (This may include asking the president to clarify his statements that he will take "no options off the table" to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.)

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