Archive for the ‘national security’ Category

Obama’s Responsibility, Mandate To Make The American System and Economy Work

January 21, 2009

Everybody in the world knows we are in a global financial crisis like never before.

Many in the world are looking to America for strength and solutions.  And as of this morning people are looking to Barack Obama.

And the American people have given Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” the President said during his Inaugural Day Address.

Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, “The American people I think fundamentally bet on President Obama because of the economic situation we are in.”
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“The stock market dropped another 300 points on this glorious Inauguration Day and people are losing jobs, and that will be No. 1 for him,” Powell said.

America is inching each day closer to an economic stimulus that will give our children and grandchildren more than $2 Trillion in debt.

Yet no one is certain the stimulus will work.

If there is doubt that the American economy will recover as a result of the actions we are taking, we are either taking the wrong actions or we need to ask ourselves “what else should be done? What should we do differently?”

There will be no national security without a strong American economy.  No social security.  No health care.

A news story yesterday said the only segments of the California economy showing “growth” were in the sectors of government and  medical services.  That won’t produce “wealth” for future investment….

If we all believe in the American System of Government, and I sure do, why are we not tasking Congress to create solutions?  After the stimulus is passed, where is “Plan B”?  Why aren’t Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid being asked to shut down all the small talk and crap and hold hearings that will give the experts of the world a chance to give the Congress new ideas?

Yesterday the President told us, “America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.”

Time to end politics as usual….

Experts around tables in the White House are great and we all applaud “Blue Ribbon” committees; but where is our use of our time-tested system?

Time to make it work for us….

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.”

Time for action.  Enough with the foolishness and fal-de-ral…

President Obama renewed his call for a massive plan to stimulate economic growth.

Team Obama Learning: Governing Isn’t Campaigning

January 15, 2009

On Tuesday, America can take pride in a special transfer of power as Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be sworn in as president.

Shortly after the ceremony, the new president’s aides will slip away to inspect the offices they now inhabit. They’ve put much of their lives on hold to take jobs that will last, for most, two or three years. Hours will be long, pressure unrelenting, decisions momentous, and families often neglected. Every American should respect their sacrifices.

By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal

What these aides will soon realize is that they aren’t history, but passing through it. I learned that from an elderly man who told me “to honor the house” as he emptied my trash bin late my first day at work.

That is what an administration owes the country. But it is not all it owes. There is also the matter of governing. Team Obama is about to learn that it’s easier to campaign than to govern.

In fact, they are already learning it. Last February, Congress passed a stimulus bill, adding $152 billion to the deficit. Mr. Obama called it “deficit spending” and criticized the “disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting” in Washington. Now he forecasts trillion dollar deficits on his watch. Mr. Obama, the candidate, criticized the “careless and incompetent execution” of the Iraq war. But as president-elect, he decided to retain George W. Bush’s defense secretary and put a Bush adviser in charge of the National Security Council.

More significantly, Team Obama is stumbling on its biggest priority — an economic stimulus package. One stutter step came when Mr. Obama said he looked forward to signing a stimulus bill on Jan. 20 and then failed to lay out a proposal by mid-December so Congress could chew it over. That led House Appropriations Chairman David Obey to carp that “We’ve got to have some signals called by Obama . . . it’s hard to negotiate” when Team Obama “hasn’t decided what they want.”

Mr. Obama also tripped himself up by sending advisers to Capitol Hill on Dec. 18 to say that he wanted a stimulus bill to cost between $670 billion and $770 billion, but that he would accept $850 billion. This invited Congress to roll him and spend more. Now he may see not only his number shredded but the elements of his package as well.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12
3197764931283611.html

Mexico: Obama Can’t Ignore Elephant on the Continent

January 13, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama met with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon yesterday and Mr. Obama  says he will visit Canada on his first international trip after the inauguration.

Obama praised Calderon for his work on energy and climate change yesterday.

But this ignores the elephant in the room and on the contintent.

Mexico and the U.S. are watching as millions of illegal immigrants move from Mexico northward and while drug lords kill off law enforcement and law abiding political leaders, citizens and  politicians in Mexico.

Most news stories of the Calderon-Obama meeting failed to mention either issue until somewhere around paragraph eight….

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By Jeff Mason and Caren Bohan
Reuters

 Barack Obama, who takes over as U.S. President on January 20, told Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday he would work to strengthen U.S. ties with Mexico, especially in the field of energy.

Obama has promised to nurture close ties with the U.S. southern neighbor and other Latin American countries, which complained of neglect by the United States after President George W. Bush’s foreign policy focused heavily on Iraq.

President-elect Barack Obama listens as Mexico's President Felipe ... 
President-elect Barack Obama listens as Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon speaks at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, January 12, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

“My message today is that my administration is going to be ready on Day One to work to build a stronger relationship with Mexico,” Obama said after visiting with Calderon over a lunch of tortilla soup and other Mexican dishes.

It was Obama’s first meeting with a foreign leader since his November election.

“The friendship between the United States and Mexico has been strong. I believe it can be even stronger and that’s going to be the commitment of my administration,” the president-elect told reporters.

“This will be the beginning of an extraordinary age in the relationship between the United States and Mexico,” Calderon said.

Calderon said both governments needed to combine forces to fight organized crime. “The more secure Mexico is, the more secure (the) U.S. will be,” he said.

With Mexico’s drug violence exploding and amid fears that Obama might seek changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Calderon had been eager for a meeting with the incoming U.S. president.

OBAMA PRAISED CALDERON

Obama praised Calderon for his work on energy and climate change, saying the two countries should expand their efforts in those areas, while building on existing commercial, security and cultural ties.

“The prospects of us working together on energy strategies across borders is going to be critically important,” he said. Obama said the two also discussed immigration, border security, and the global financial crisis.

Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States, is suffering a spillover from the U.S. economy’s woes, as layoffs at Mexican factories mount and families with relatives in the United States see a decline in remittances.

Obama aides said the Calderon meeting was part of a long tradition of U.S. presidents meeting with the Mexican leader before their inauguration.

Related:
Obama: Meet Mexico, Drugs, Another “Fundamental Threat to U.S. National Security”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200901
12/pl_nm/us_usa_obama_mexico_3

Obama Headed For Trouble on Hamas, Israel, Iran?

January 10, 2009

The Barack Obama Presidency opens on January 20, 2009, and global actors are already lining up to serve up the first crisis he is compelled to face.

Everyone wants to see how the new American administration will respond.

But Israeli leaders believed they couldn’t wait and they opened the offensive against Hamas in Gaza called “Cast Lead.”

Obama has remained largely, and probably rightly, silent on Gaza in this pre-presindency tansition phase.  And even the talkative Joe Biden has remained uncharacteristically quiet on Gaza: away in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But President-elect Obama and his team has to be prepared for a host of contingencies starting on Janyary 20 — and Gaza, Isreal, Hamas, and the greater peace effort in the Middle East and reaching into Iran will be on the front burner.

“With respect to Iran, I’ll have more to say about Iran after January 20,” the President-elect said on January 9, 2009.

“I have said in the past during the course of the campaign that Iran is a genuine threat to US national security. But I have also said that we should be willing to initiate diplomacy as a mechanism to achieve our national security goals.”

Obama added, “When we have a policy towards Iran that has been shaped by my national security team, we will release it.”

William Perry, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, said yesterday President Obama will face a “serious crisis” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions in his first year in office.

And yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting Israel in Gaza.

How Obama will decide to travel on the issue of  Israel, Gaza, Hamas and the Middle East in general — and Iran — is largely unknown; and is key to world peace and U.S. national security.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

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Related:
Obama Will Face Iran Nuclear Crisis in First Year

 U.S. House Passes Resolution Supporting Israel in Gaza

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Bloggers around the globe are offering ideas for the new President Obama….

From James M. Wall:
http://wallwritings.wordpress.com/2008/12/06/obama-kn
ows-the-gaza-siege-is-immoral-yet-he-remains-silent/

Barack Obama is not an ignorant man. He knows what is happening in Gaza. Soon it will be happening on his watch.  Still, he remains silent.  This is our new leader who promised us a different vision when he introduced his national security team with a statement that included these words:

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. (emphasis added)

Continued  support and funding for the siege in Gaza is immoral. To fail to say this is to close our ears and shut our eyes to the sick, the weak, and the hungry. This is immoral.  To deliberately  and consistently violate the human rights of an entire population, is immoral.  Still Barack Obama remains silent.

Barack Obama has taught US constitutional law. He knows international law. It is no secret to him that as Stephen Lendman has written:

Israel is a serial human rights international law abuser. The UN Human Rights Commission affirms that it violates nearly all 149 articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention that governs the treatment of civilians in war and under occupation and is guilty of grievous war crimes. The Commission also determined that as an occupying power Israel has committed crimes against humanity as defined under the 1945 Nuremberg Charter. . . .

. . . .  The world community has been silent. Conditions continue to deteriorate, and Christian Aid is speaking out. It accused Israel of collective punishment in violation of international law.

Iran May Be Obama’s Biggest Challenge, No Pakistan, No Hamas and Israel

January 7, 2009

Israel and militant Palestinians are locked in deadly battle in the Middle East, but Iran poses the biggest challenge in the region to the incoming Obama administration, President George W. Bush‘s national security adviser says.

At the same time, the Mideast offers President-elect Barack Obama the greatest opportunity to put his imprint on world affairs, Stephen Hadley said, referring to the need for a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that eluded both Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Outside the Mideast, it is Pakistan that should command Obama’s keen attention, said Hadley, who has been senior foreign policy adviser to the president for eight years.

By DEB RIECHMANN and LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

Hadley, who is always in the shadows and rarely seen by the public, discussed Bush’s two terms and the international challenges — ones he says will not pause for America’s transfer of power in January — during a nearly hourlong interview Tuesday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office. He was also delivering a speech Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He said the Taliban remains a serious threat in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is getting ready to dispatch at least 20,000 extra troops.

“Its fighters have found safe haven across the border in Pakistan, and if the extremists succeed in destabilizing Pakistan, the chaos will threaten peace and progress throughout the region,” he says in remarks prepared for Wednesday. “Stabilizing Pakistan must be the first priority for the new administration.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090107/ap_on_g
o_pr_wh/hadley_interview_4

Obama: “Arbiter in Chief”

December 21, 2008

With several senior, experienced foreign policy people at his side, President-elect Barack Obama has done what many of us might do: he has sent two out of the room, kept one and made another a domestic policy chieftain.

Vice President-elect and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden will run middle class education, training and jobs programs…..

Biden is now a “domestic.”

Former Obama rival Hillary Clinton will be out of the U.S. Senate where she could harass Obama from the sidelines and she is now working for Obama from Foggy Bottom.  This gets Clintons out of the Senate and out of the White House too.  And one false move and Hillary is jobless without even a shot at the Senate again for some time.

The Governor of New York might just replace the experiened Mrs. Clinton with a newby Kennedy; which shouldn’t worry the White House.

And Susan Rice, one of the most experienced and liberal Obama foreign policy aides will be in New York at the U.N. and not in the Oval Office.

Who will be in the Oval with President Obama?  Former Marine Corps General James Jones, the National Security Advisor.  And Rahm Emanuel.  Maybe.

All this will make President Obama the “Arbiter in Chief.”

As Vice President-elect Biden said of his role as an advisor:

“If in fact there is no consensus, [I’d] go to the president of the United States and say, ‘Mr. President, I think we should be doing this, cabinet member so-and-so thinks that. You’re going to have to resolve what it is we think we should do.’ ”

President-elect Barack Obama takes questions from reporters ...
Above: President-elect Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference in Chicago, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, with, from left to right: Attorney General-designate Eric Holder; Homeland Security Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Vice President-elect Joe Biden; Secretary of State-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; National Security Adviser-designate Ret. Marine Gen. James Jones; and United Nations Ambassador-designate Susan Rice.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Democrats and the military can get along

December 21, 2008

The last time the United States elected a Democrat as its president to govern with a majority-Democratic Congress, an immediate fracas arose over gays in the military, reinforcing a partisan story line that Democrats can’t be trusted with the nation’s security. Sixteen years later, some will certainly be watching how deftly President-elect Barack Obama salutes, or how House Speaker  Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader  Harry Reid say the Pledge of Allegiance.

These are symbols, of course, but the national security challenges the nation faces now are anything but symbolic: two wars, an ongoing terrorist menace, a growing list of unmet military needs and a long roster of other threats arising from new quarters. So it’s natural to ask: What do the Democrats need to understand about the military? And what does the military need to understand about the Democrats? As someone who has labored in both camps, I offer some thoughts. 

By Wesley K. Clark
Washington Post
Sunday, December 21, 2008; Page B01

Let’s start by facing the truth: Democrats have long had an ambivalent relationship with the military, and vice versa. While Democrats profess to like and support the military, Republicans usually win more military and veterans’ votes than Democrats, and no wonder: Democrats have been pilloried for supposedly wanting to cut defense spending, for being soft on America’s enemies and for wanting to use the armed forces for “social engineering” — code for letting openly gay soldiers serve. As one senior Army leader told me a few years ago, “The Democrats may be all in favor of using force in a crisis, but can you trust them to stick with us when the going gets tough?” Exit polls last month showed that voters who’ve served in the military went for the Republican candidate, Sen.  John McCain, over Obama by 54 percent to 44 percent.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2008/12/19/AR2008121902750.html