Archive for the ‘Gates’ Category

Pentagon to show softer side to the world

March 25, 2009

After seven years of war, American foreign policy has become nearly synonymous with the brawny side of its military. But the US armed forces may now be moving to show a different face to the world.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended an admiral better known for humanitarian and diplomatic initiatives than for muscle-flexing to assume a critical command post in Europe.

By Gordon Lubold | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Adm. James Stavridis is an unusual choice to fill a job usually held by the Army. In his two years overseeing US military operations in South and Latin America, he has built a reputation for running a different kind of command – deploying hospital ships and soccer teams while contending with drug trafficking and corruption.

Stavridis may be able to bring that balance to Europe, where deliberations over Afghanistan over the next few years will be critical to that mission’s success.

“It’s a terrific appointment,” says Carola.

In this April 21, 2008 file photo, Adm. James Stavridis, talks ... 
In this April 21, 2008 file photo, Adm. James Stavridis, talks with reporters during a news conference in Lima, Peru. Stavridis is expected to be President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next NATO commander, succeeding Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock.(AP Photo/Karel Navarro, File)

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0325
/p03s03-usmi.html

See also:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new
s?pid=20601087&sid=ao6Mce2c88Y0

Obama: Look the other way but spend more faster

March 18, 2009

Yesterday during the AIG flap he was all about being Irish.  Next he”ll be talking with Jay Leno — instead of asking Chris Dodd and Tim Geithner hard questions.

The president is the master of slight of hand — but he needs a teleprompter to do it because he plans every move and every word.

Since the “stimulus,” which was pushed through congress so fast many “lawmakers” admitted they hadn’t time to read it, we’ve had a mountain of news telling us speedy lawmaking is often really bad lawmaking.

The stimulus money isn’t even out the door and the media is lowering expectations.

Mexico has threatened to open a trade war because of a line in the stimulus, union hiring will mean far fewer jobs than we were promised, and lay-offs continue.

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

 Obama: Mexico Tests His Free Trade Talk

 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

The Obama Administration and the congress look like the gang that can’t shoot straight.

But the president himself, despite yelling fire in a financial bonfire, is mostly telling us to allow the government to spend more and more and look the other way.

During the stimulus debate in congress, which lasted about 10 minutes and did not include hearings or anyone reading the actual legislation — the president campaigned in Indiana (and got all his facts wrong) and in Florida.

The AIG mess is an example of government going too fast.  But that’s a small matter in dollar measures but a big matter in measuring our view of confidence, competenace and credibility: in government and in Obama himself.

Obama: Here’s Why Geithner Has To Go: Credibility, Confidence, Competance

Yet President Obama urged more speed just yesterday for his next budget: a $3.6 trillion beheamouth.

And, although the president said he wouldn’t think of fixing everything, he did say, “The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is growing too wide to ignore.”  Don’t forget education.  And on and on.

We must have money for energy, education, health care and climate but, sorry, we are short on defense and veterans and other things….

And the economy has yet to rebound and might need more speedy stimulus.

Hmmmm.

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes,” Thomas Jefferson reportedly said.

Some Dems Want Brake in Obama Plans, Spending

Obama Plans to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
.
Trade Barriers Could Threaten Global Economy
.
 Obama climate plan could cost $2 trillion
.
National debt hits record $11 trillion
.
Health care overhaul may cost another $1.5 trillion or more
.
Gates readies big cuts in weapons

President Rolls Out Budget, March 17, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co
ntent/article/2009/03/17/AR20090317
01150.html?wprss=rss_nation

Obama said yesterday: “This budget does not raise the taxes of any family making less than $250,000 a year by a single dime.” 

Unless the cap and trade rules and other energy costs, food costs and other costs of living can be considered caused by the governemnt and thus the same as taxes to everyone….

Obama said the country “can’t go back to a bubble economy, an economy based on reckless spending and spending beyond our means.”

Like this is not reckless and spending beyond our means?

As Biden likes to say: “Give me a fu%$#ing break.”

http://newsboytom.wordpress.com/200
9/03/18/stimulus-support-slipping/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/
18/obama-flees-to-leno-next-stop-da
nce-party-ii-with-degeneres/

Gates readies big cuts in weapons

March 17, 2009

As the Bush administration was drawing to a close, Robert M. Gates, whose two years as defense secretary had been devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt compelled to warn his successor of a crisis closer to home.

By Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe

The United States “cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything,” Gates said. The next defense secretary, he warned, would have to eliminate some costly hardware and invest in new tools for fighting insurgents.

What Gates didn’t know was that he would be that successor.

Now, as the only Bush Cabinet member to remain under President Obama, Gates is preparing the most far-reaching changes in the Pentagon’s weapons portfolio since the end of the Cold War, according to aides.

Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said.


F-22

More cuts are planned for later this year after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.

As a former CIA director with strong Republican credentials, Gates is prepared to use his credibility to help Obama overcome the expected outcry from conservatives. And after a lifetime in the national security arena, working in eight administrations, the 65-year-old Gates is also ready to counter the defense companies and throngs of retired generals and other lobbyists who are gearing up to protect their pet projects.

“He has earned a great deal of credibility over the past two years, both inside and outside the Pentagon, and now he is prepared to use it to lead the department in a new direction and bring about the changes he believes are necessary to protect the nation’s security,” said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

Read the rest:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/wash
ington/articles/2009/03/17/gates_readi
es_big_cuts_in_weapons/

Related:
Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm
.
Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

March 17, 2009

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever.

Russia apparently did hit the reset button today….

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

Related:
 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

******************

The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered a ‘comprehensive’ military rearmament after accusing Nato of once again encroaching on Moscow’s sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
The Telegraph (UK)
.
Mr Medvedev’s bellicose speech risks causing unease in Washington and will dampen hopes of a rapid improvement in strained East-West relations.

The president told defence ministry officials in Moscow that Nato’s continued enlargement ambitions meant that Russia had been left with no choice but to increase its conventional and nuclear combat preparedness.

The threat to Russia’s stability had also been increased by local crises, Mr Medvedev added, in an apparent reference to last year’s five-day war with Georgia.

Russia announces major military buildup

“The attempts to enlarge Nato’s military infrastructure are not ceasing,” said Mr Medvedev. “All this calls for qualitatively modernising our armed forces and reshaping their image. This involves the enhancement of combat preparedness of our troops, primarily the strategic nuclear forces.”

A “comprehensive re-armament” of the Russian army and navy will begin in 2011, the president announced.

Despite the aggressive symbolism of the word, US officials are less likely to be concerned about Mr Medvedev’s talk of rearmament than they are of his antagonistic references to Nato.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world
news/europe/russia/5005261/Russia
n-president-orders-military-rearmament.html

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/e
urope/03/17/russia.rearmament/index.html

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: Russian president orders military rearmament  

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Photo: AP

Reuters on this topic:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/2009
0317/wl_nm/us_russia_medvedev_army_2

What does Russia really want?  No missile defense in Eastern Europe and no NATO expansion….

From the Associated Press as printed in the Moscow Times
March 17, 2009

The United States should seek Russia’s close cooperation in dealing with Iran and solicit Moscow’s participation in, or at least acquiescence to, a missile defense system in Europe, a panel of former high-level U.S. diplomats and members of Congress urged on Monday.

Calling for across-the-board repairs to a splintered relationship with Russia, the commission took note of some recent positive trends.

But the panel warned that they “are deeply concerned by the gap between the current U.S.-Russian relationship and the level of cooperation that the United States needs with Russia in order to advance vital American interests.”

The commission, headed by former senators Chuck Hagel, a Republican, and Democrat Gary Hart, is a joint project of the Nixon Center, a Washington think tank, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of Harvard University.

Describing current relations as “deeply troubled,” the commission said, however, that Moscow is not hostile to the United States, “at least not yet.”

Even if the relationship breaks down completely, Russia does not have the will or the resources for a new Cold War, the report said.

Both governments are to blame for the decline, the panel concluded. Rebuilding the relationship “is not solely the responsibility of the United States,” the report said.

The commission proposed that the administration of President Barack Obama “take a new look” at proposed U.S. missile deployments in Central Europe and concentrate instead on cooperation with Russia in confronting any threat from Iran.

A recent private letter from Obama to President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly broached recasting the proposed missile defense system to allay Russian concerns in return for Moscow’s aid in dealing with the Iranian threat to build nuclear weapons.

“Building a joint system that could include Russian facilities and equipment is most desirable,” the report said.

The United States has a strong interest in attracting Russia’s cooperation. Key U.S. allies would prefer such an approach, and “it would send a powerful signal to Iran” while avoiding new dangers from a possibly hostile Moscow reaction to deployment of the missile defense system without an understanding with Russia, the report said.

http://www.themoscowtimes
.com/article/1010/42/375365.htm

Pressuring Obama: International Actors Take Risks Amid Uncertainty

Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

March 14, 2009

The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

By Thom Shanker
New York Times
.
For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained, and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.

To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.

A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Iraq war in 1991 or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made it clear that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider whether the old two-wars assumption “makes any sense in the 21st century” as a guide to planning, budgeting and weapons-buying.

The discussion is being prompted by a top-to-bottom strategy review that the Pentagon conducts every four years, as required by Congress and officially called the Quadrennial Defense Review. One question on the table for Pentagon planners is whether there is a way to reshape the armed forces to provide for more flexibility in tackling a wide range of conflicts.

Among other questions are the extent to which planning for conflicts should focus primarily on counterinsurgency wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what focus remains on well-equipped conventional adversaries like China and Iran, with which Navy vessels have clashed at sea.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/washi
ngton/15military.html?_r=1&hp

Emerging Obama Doctrine

March 11, 2009

As President Obama carves out his own foreign policy, there are signs that his use of military force overseas will be tempered by his views on the limits of American power.

Mr. Obama is leaning toward a pragmatic approach that limits military deployment of the kind used by former President Bush in the “war on terror,” while remaining open to humanitarian aid and security training, especially in places such as Darfur. This approach departs from Mr. Bush but also synthesizes policy elements from Bush’s later years.

By Gordon Lubold
Christian Science Monitor

“It is a very balanced, pragmatic understanding that America’s interests and her ideals don’t always coincide and so you have to make some trade-offs,” says John Nagl, a former Army officer who now heads the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington.

To a degree, Bush had come round to something resembling that position during his second term, as his administration began to recalibrate US goals amid the realities of two wars.

Obama’s top-to-bottom review of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance, is expected to yield a downscaled agenda there. And while Obama has established an end date for US combat troops in Iraq – something Bush did not do – he’ll keep those forces there longer than he had initially wanted because of recommendations of the Pentagon, and despite the misgivings in his own party.

Obama has also broken from the previous administration by reaching out diplomatically to countries such as Iran and Syria, which have had fraught relations with the Bush White House.

An Obama doctrine?

In a speech announcing his drawdown plan for Iraq earlier this month, the president painted some broad brush strokes of an “Obama Doctrine” concerning use of force overseas.

The US must not rely on the military alone to achieve its foreign policy ends, he said. And if the US does need to take military action, it must do so only after seeking bipartisan support and after working closely with “friends and allies,” he added.

“We have learned that America must go to war with clearly defined goals,” he told the crowd of marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“We have learned that we must always weigh the costs of action, and communicate those costs candidly to the American people.”

“Policymakers and military leaders have learned a great deal about the employment of American power, and the costs and risks of doing so and I think that is reflected in the president’s remarks,” says Nathan Freier, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, another think tank in Washington.

Moreover, in reaching out to Iran and Syria – two countries the Bush administration would not talk to – Obama is not necessarily looking to impose American ideals of democracy and freedom.

“There is business we have to do with those states to keep America safe and so to a certain extent, we hold our nose, we try to nudge them forward on issues of human rights and democracy promotion, but we understand we’re not always going to win that fight and there are other issues on the table,” says Mr. Nagl.

Similarly, despite an escalation of troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested that the US will scale back on their goals there, from achieving a full-fledged stable democracy to achieving a semblance of security.

Read the rest:
http://features.csmonitor.com/politics
/2009/03/10/the-emerging-obama-doctrine/

Top U.S. Military Leader Offers Help to Mexico; Briefs Obama

March 7, 2009

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the United States could help with equipment and intelligence techniques after returning from a six-day trip to Latin America punctuated by news of beheadings and intimidation by Mexican drug cartels.

Mexico could borrow from U.S. tactics in the fight against terrorism as it battles a crisis of drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.

Returning from a six-day trip to Latin America punctuated by news of beheadings and intimidation by Mexican drug cartels, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the United States could help with equipment and intelligence techniques.

Adm. Mike Mullen would not be specific about what kind of intelligence or surveillance help the United States might offer, but said he saw ways to employ experience the United States has gained in the ongoing hunt for extremists and terrorists.

He would not say whether there may already be U.S. drones flying over bloodstained cities such as Ciudad Juarez, where 17 bodies came into the morgue on one day recently, including the city police force’s second-in-command and three other officers.

“Obviously it affects us because of the relationship between the two countries,” Mullen said during a telephone news conference as he flew to Washington following meetings in Mexico, his last stop.

Mullen referred to the spike in violence as a crisis, and said it occupied much of his discussions with Mexican military leaders.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Mexico in drug-related violence this year. In 2008, the toll doubled from the previous year to 6,290. Both the U.S. and Canada have warned that murders related to drug activity in certain parts of Mexico, particularly along the border with the U.S., raised the level of risk in visiting the country.

There are signs the violent competition among Mexican drug and smuggling cartels is spilling across the border, as cities in Arizona report increases in such crimes as home invasions. More than 700 people were arrested as part of a wide-ranging crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating inside the United States, the Justice Department said last month.

Last weekend, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he also saw opportunities for the U.S. military to help with military training, resources and intelligence.

“I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past. Some of the old biases against cooperation with our — between our militaries and so on, I think, are being set aside,” Gates said in an interview that aired last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It clearly is a serious problem,” he said.

Related:
http://eideard.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/o
bama-mullen-discuss-mexicos-drug-wars/

******

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

President Barack Obama was briefed Saturday by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen about the drug wars in Mexico and wanted to know how the United States can help.

“Clearly one of the things the president was interested in was the U.S military capability that may or may not apply to our cooperation with the Mexicans,” said a U.S. military official who requested anonymity because the discussions were private. “He was very interested in what kind of military capabilities may be applied.”

Mullen briefed Obama Saturday morning about discussions with Mexican military leaders about the drug wars there.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009030
8/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_mexico_9

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/america
s/03/07/mexico.headless.bodies/index.html

http://mexicoinstitute.wordpress.com/200
9/03/03/factbox-ciudad-juarez-mexicos-m
ost-violent-city/

Pakistan Against Terror: “deliberately not taking action or incapable”

January 28, 2009

Before America pumps a lot more money into Pakistan to fight terrorism, we Americans might consider the words of India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of anti-terror action by Pakistan:

“Yes, one way you can make a differentiation that they are deliberately not doing or are incapable of doing. But as far as  India is concerned, the net impact is the same … the perpetrators are launching terror attacks from the territory of Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

“The infrastructural facilities there (are) used by them (for) committing crimes in India, not necessarily in this case but in a large number of cases in the past,” he said in an interview with Al Jazeera news channel.

Mukherjee said India expects the Pakistan government to act against the perpetrators of terror acts operating from Pakistani soil.

“We expect Pakistan to act. Whatever is to be done from our side we are doing so … but Pakistan has to act because the handlers and planners (of  Mumbai attacks) were from Pakistan,” he said.

Related:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Pak_incap
able_of_action_against_terror/articleshow/4044
627.cms

Pakistan Resisting Terror War But Wants U.S. Funding
.
 Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)
.
Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support
.
Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

First Hearing in Congress on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pentagon’s Future Under Obama

January 27, 2009

The messenger from the Pentagon to Congress for the new president will be the same messenger used by the old preident: Robert Gates.

Gates goes to the Congress today to discuss the future of the new President’s plan for Iraq, Afghanistan and probably some on the new defense budget….

*****

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is arguing that Afghanistan now is America’s “greatest military challenge.”

In a national security assessment that he will give to Congress later Tuesday, Gates also says the international effort to fight Afghanistan’s growing violence has been “less than stellar” so far.

In a copy of the testimony obtained by The Associated Press, Gates says it will take a long and difficult fight to rout insurgents and help develop an Afghanistan that rejects the Taliban and backs its elected….

Related:
How To Pay For 21st Century Military

Obama Team Wants Pentagon Budget Focused More on Current War, Less on Future Programs

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200901
27/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/congress_gates_4

On Transparency, Lobbyists, So Far President Obama Is “All Talk”

January 24, 2009

Like Cambell Brown of CNN, we like what we hear from President Obama on having the most transparent White House ever and cracking down on lobbyists.

But the President’s words have not yet been transformed into actions….

See the CNN video on Obama breaking his own rules:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/
23/campbell.brown.lobbyists/index.html

Related:
Obama Claims “Transparency,” But Media Can’t See Through It
.
Fool Chief Justice Gets “Do Over” With President; Treasury Nominee “Do Over” With His Taxes and Nation’s Economy
.
 Obama’s Ethical Government: It’s Your Call
.
Obama’s Stand on Lobbyists, Transparency Void During Economic Stimulus Planning?

 
.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administering the oath of office to Barack Obama on Wednesday in the White House.  Photo: Pete Souza/The White House.  The Associated Press and other media outlets would not distribute this photo because news media were restricted from the White House during the oath taking….

*****

By Anne Flaherty And Anne Gearan, Associated Press WritersFri Jan 23, 11:06 pm ET

A former Raytheon lobbyist nominated to be deputy defense secretary despite President Barack Obama‘s ban on hiring lobbyists will sell his stock in the military contracting firm.

However, William J. Lynn won’t be forced to step back from decisions related to his former employer, the Pentagon said Friday.

Instead, Lynn’s dealings at the Defense Department will be subject to ethics reviews for one year, said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

The Obama administration’s decision ended around an executive order that the president signed Jan. 20. His “revolving door” ban, part of Obama’s “ethics commitments,” ordered officials who had been lobbyists for up to two years prior to their hiring to recuse themselves from decisions involving their former employers.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/ap_
on_go_pr_wh/pentagon_nomination_8

From Peace and Freedom: It is safe to assume that the Obama Administration has hopes that William Lynn will become Secretary of Defense.  He was named to the Number 2 position in the Pentagon by the President and the current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is a hold over from the Bush Administration….

Seal of the United States Department of Defense.

This is an undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of ... 
This is an undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense of William J. Lynn then Under Secretary of Defense. President-elect Barack Obama appointed William J. Lynn III, a defense contractor’s lobbyist, Thursday Jan. 8, 2009 to become the No. 2 official at the Defense Department, a choice that appeared to break with his self-imposed rules to keep lobbyists at arm’s length. Lynn, former Raytheon lobbyist nominated to be deputy defense secretary despite President Barack Obama’s ban on hiring lobbyists, will sell his stock in the military contracting firm.(AP Photo/DOD, File)