Wednesday's global agenda: The Russians are coming

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Legacy of war: The trip is part of Clinton's outreach to China's neighbors as the Obama administration “pivots” to Asia, On Tuesday, she became the first U.S. secretary of State to visit next-door Laos in 57 years. She met with the landlocked nation's communist leaders to discuss investment opportunities, concerns with dam projects on the Mekong River and efforts to clean up unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam War, during which the United States dropped one ton of bombs per inhabitant of the country. [Bloomberg News]

In other news

Pulling out of Afghanistan after a decade of war will cost billions of dollars and be far more difficult than last year's withdrawal from Iraq, the Pentagon's No. 2 official told USA Today.

Richard Olsen, the coordinating director for development and economic affairs at U.S. Embassy in Kabul, is President Obama's pick to be ambassador to Pakistan, Foreign Policy's blog The Cable reports. He'll replace Cameron Munter, who is stepping down after just 18 months on the job.

In the first sentence in its history, the International Criminal Court in The Hague sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison on Tuesday for using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003. [The New York Times]

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