Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

Can Obama Reverse Early Losses in Europe?

March 28, 2009

For many Europeans, he had them at hello.  But over the past few months, European leaders have become less enamored with Baraco Obama…

Can he win them back as he starts his trip next week?


Last summer in Europe: the people were at his feet.  Now?

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By Toby Harnden
The Telegraph (UK)

When he visited Europe last July, Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, stood before 200,000 in Berlin’s Tiergarten park to declare his “global citizenship” and call on the “people of the world” to “come together to save this planet”. It was heady stuff, and the rapturous reception was one befitting a new political messiah after eight wilderness years. Back in the United States, the young senator ended his stump speeches with a vow to “change the world”. Americans craved affection from abroad. Europeans were eager to fall in love.

But that was eight months ago, and the innocence of that summer has started to evaporate. Mr Obama has become the first black man to occupy the White House, but the world is in the grip of the worst economic depression since the Thirties, with no path back to prosperity in sight.
While the troop surge in Iraq that Mr Obama so vehemently opposed has succeeded beyond his imaginings, the “good war” he championed in Afghanistan is spiralling downwards and there are dark mutterings on the Left about it becoming his Vietnam.

For all the mutual goodwill, the transatlantic policy battle-lines are drawn. The Americans want additional economic stimulus measures to be taken across the globe. The Europeans are preoccupied with a supra-national financial regulation structure.

Mr Obama’s demands for more European boots on the ground in Afghanistan have already been rejected by the French and Germans.

As the new American commander-in-chief embarks on his first extended foreign trip in Air Force One, stopping in London for the G20 summit, Strasbourg for a gathering of Nato, and going on to Prague, Ankara and Istanbul, the sheen is already wearing off his shiny new presidency at home.

The leak-proof, supremely well-organised campaign and the post-election transition that was hailed as being one of the smoothest in history are over. They have given way to an at times stumbling administration that struggles to fill the cabinet, botches its message and has all but abandoned the bipartisanship candidate Mr Obama promised.

US bank chiefs to meet with President Obama

Far from changing the world, Mr Obama has barely looked over his shoulder at it

Far from changing the world, Mr Obama has barely looked over his shoulder at it. The person he has entrusted his foreign policy to is Hillary Clinton, a bitter campaign rival whose diplomatic credentials he once mocked. To appoint her Secretary of State was perhaps an ominous sign, a move designed to keep her from challenging him domestically.

During his first, chaotic weeks in power, Mr Obama’s focus has been almost entirely domestic. Key diplomatic posts remain empty. No ambassador is in place in London or Paris. Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, has grumbled that it has been almost impossible to organise next week’s G20 summit in Docklands because White House officials are missing in action. “There is nobody there,” he says. “You cannot believe how difficult it is.”

Obama was elected as the “unBush”, and his image of being everything his Texan predecessor wasn’t has given him stratospheric popularity ratings overseas that still endure. When he took office, a Financial Times/Harris poll found that 68 per cent of Americans believed he would have a “positive impact on the course of international events”. In France, this figure was 92 per cent, in Italy 90 per cent, Spain 85 per cent and Britain – where perhaps some saw echoes of the Tony Blair in 1997 who went on to dash so many hopes – 77 per cent.

During his more multilateral second term, George W. Bush went some way to rebuilding fractured transatlantic ties. But recognition of this did not penetrate much deeper than the level of his fellow world leaders and the political classes. Ordinary Europeans remained intensely sceptical.

The reverse was true with Mr Obama. In the corridors of the Foreign Office and Quai D’Orsay, however, there is already some disappointment. Nile Gardiner, the director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, is a touch hyperbolic when he hazards that foreign governments now see the Obama administration as “poorly managed, ineffective, inept and extremely bad at getting its message across”. But there are significant rumblings of concern.

Gordon Brown’s visit to Washington earlier this month was a public relations fiasco. Minutes before his meeting with Mr Obama in the Oval Office, British officials were still negotiating details with reluctant White House aides.

Although Mr Obama spoke of the “special relationship”, he appeared supremely uninterested in Mr Brown and what he had to say. He did not echo the Prime Minister’s call for a “global new deal” on the economy. The usual pomp and ceremony was absent at the White House.

While the fuss over his present to Mr Brown of 25 DVDs of American movies that were rumoured to be incompatible with British DVD players was overblown, the blunder in protocol swiftly came to be viewed as the kind of crass ignorance more commonly – though often unfairly – associated with his predecessor.

When Mrs Clinton met Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in Geneva, she cheerily handed him a large red button in a yellow case, with the words “reset” and “peregruzka” written on it in Latin rather than Cyrillic script. It was a reference to the call from Joe Biden, the Vice-President, for a “resetting” of the US-Russian relationship.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” responded Lavrov, who informed her that “peregruzka” meant “overcharge”.

The schoolboy error had happened because the State Department’s cadre of Russian translators had been bypassed in favour of Mrs Clinton’s political team, who had turned to a Russian speaker who was not up to date with computer terminology.

Little of this will matter to ordinary Europeans, who view Mr Obama and his wife Michelle as a 21st-century version of the Kennedys. For Europeans, they symbolise everything America could be. “There’s a certain vicarious sentiment in Europe … Obama is so popular in part because they see the US as enjoying a multiculturalism they don’t have and won’t have for a long time,” says Charles Kupchan, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow and former senior Clinton administration official.

“Europeans still struggle with these issues and have done a much less impressive job in integrating minorities into the social mainstream, and that gives Obama enormous appeal just as a human being. I expect we shall see that outpouring when he is in Europe.”

This will be both an asset and a burden to Obama on his grand tour. For some in Europe, the reality of a President Obama may disappoint. “They may be naively surprised that Barack Obama is an American and not a European in drag,” says Mark Kirk, a Republican who is the only member of the House of Representatives to have served in Afghanistan.

Whatever their policy reservations, European leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are clamouring to bask in the reflected glory of the American president. Sarkozy worked assiduously to secure an extra stop in France for Mr Obama and was bitterly disappointed when the White House demurred, Strasbourg not withstanding.

If Mr Obama is skilful, he will use this to secure policy concessions. “He’s more popular than European presidents and prime ministers in their own countries,” says Kirk. “He’s saying the right things on diplomacy with Iran and climate change. There’s a danger for European leaders if they don’t give him what he’s asking for.”

And if he doesn’t, timing may be partly to blame. The G20 and Nato summits have come uncomfortably early for Mr Obama. In London, there will probably not be enough agreement on the global economy for much more than a vapid joint statement of common aims. It was only yesterday that Mr Obama announced the results of his own internal review of Afghanistan and Pakistan policy – leaving little time to twist the arms of Nato allies.

The symbolism of Mr Obama addressing the Islamic world from Turkey, a Muslim country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, will be undeniably powerful. Whether his first major overseas trip will mark the moment Mr Obama matures from a personification of American possibility into a global leader who can take tough choices and secure concrete results remains an open question.

Related:
Global Recession, Security Challenges Test Obama’s Popularity Among World Leaders

Obama’s end of the beginning and possibly the beginning of the end

March 27, 2009

Today the President of the Uited States said, “the safety of people around the world is at stake,” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Most of the world yawned.

Next week the president will be in Europe for contentious G20 meetings and then on to a NATO conference.  He should take all his white water rafting knowledge with him.  Despite the unual ulta-polite European ways: Obama cannot expect any huge long term committment from his NATO allies on Afgahnistan; and Pakistan is a sovereign nation that has problems to solve on their own, most European leaders think.

The U.S. has already been in Afghanistan for seven years and has struggled every step of the way to gain more help from European and other allies.  But the allies are now tired and much poorer than seven years ago.  Their focus is on the economic recovery and not much else.

President Obama will be the new guy next week.  He’s untested and he has a lot on his plate: much of it he put there himself.  Already China is wondering how Obama can possibly repay all his debt to do all his many projects.

But Obama has made it clear he will do everything at once: stimulus, new bank regulations, health care, education, environment, and energy.

His team will also be at at U.N. climate change event this next week — an event that should cause worry for most Americans.

U.N. ‘Climate Change’ Plan Would Likely Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy

Next week for Obama he is at the end of the beginning and possibly the beginning of the end.

Related:
London Protesters Threaten Bankers, Evoke Executions

Obama Has United Pakistani and Afghan Taliban

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

From Politico

The Obama administration fears getting bogged down in a bloody and inconclusive war in Afghanistan and Pakistan — but it also fears walking away from the region.

So its new strategy, which President Barack Obama announced Friday at the White House, is a careful middle course that seeks to avoid both of these unacceptable outcomes.

It keeps the U.S. committed but not too committed.

It doesn’t promise fast results or sweeping achievements, like defeating the Taliban insurgency or quickly bringing security to the Afghan people.

It seeks to draw allies into the effort but doesn’t greatly expand the U.S. footprint, though Obama will announce he is sending 4,000 more troops, several hundred civilian reconstruction experts, and $1.5 billion in additional economic aid to Pakistan.

And it will contain benchmarks that give Obama a chance to review the strategy at regular intervals to decide whether it is working.

The question that arises is whether in trying to keep the U.S. commitment limited, the White House is making it that much harder for the new strategy to work.

The main new U.S. goal is as constricted and clear-eyed as can be. It is to go after Osama bin Laden and the other remains of Al Qaeda hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border region. Everything else will be secondary.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/stori
es/0309/20545.html

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Troops Under Fire In Afghanistan; Obama Hit By RPGs from Democratic Left

Politico

President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan proposal is under fire from the liberal base, which is becoming increasingly disappointed in his war policies.

Russ Feingold, the liberal and often defiant Wisconsin senator, said today that Obama’s plan “could make the situation worse, not better.”

Peace Action, a liberal anti-war organization, is organizing a coalition to petition Congress to oppose Obama’s Afghanistan plan.

“It’s a shame President Obama believes he can pursue the same militaristic strategy as his predecessors and produce a different result,” said Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action.

And Win Without War, another anti-war group, also slammed Obama.

“I regret that President Obama, in his desire to protect our nation from a genuine threat, has outlined a policy that will undermine our security, not enhance it,” said Tom Andrews, the organization’s executive director. “In short, the president’s policy is playing into the hands of Al Qaeda and the Taliban by providing them with a cause that unites and strengthens them.”

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/n
ews/stories/0309/20568.html

Related:
 Do we want to revive our economy, or do we want to punish the bankers?

Obama Pushes Into Afghanistan, Pakistan But He Controls Few Variables

March 27, 2009

The success of President Barack Obama’s new war strategy depends heavily on factors beyond his control: Afghan competence, Pakistani cooperation and a greater willingness by Europeans and other allies to adopt the American view that al-Qaida is at the core of the conflict.

Each of those has been missing or, at best, has fallen short despite years of U.S. pushing and prodding.

ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writer

That is why, after more than seven years of inconclusive combat, hundreds of American deaths, billions in financial aid and incomplete efforts to build self-sustaining Afghan security forces, Obama saw a need Friday to retool strategy, clarify U.S. war aims and seek more help from NATO and other partners.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200903
27/ap_on_an/obama_war_strategy_analysis

Pro-Russia protest against US frigate in Sevastopol

March 25, 2009

Pro-Russia protesters cried “NATO out” Wednesday as a US naval frigate arrived in the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is also based.

The USS Klakring docked at 0630 GMT, as about 250 largely communist and far-left demonstrators also shouted “Yankee go home!”

The frigate is in port for a five-day “friendly visit” and will not take part in any exercises, a Ukrainian navy statement said.

It is feared that Sevastopol in the Crimea, where the Russian fleet has maintained a presence for over 200 years, could become a flashpoint in strained relations between Russia and the West.

Russia signed a 20-year contract with Ukraine in 1997 to station its fleet in the Black Sea and makes an annual payment of 12 million dollars (nine million euros) to Kiev for the privilege.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200903
25/wl_afp/ukrainerussiausmilitarynat
osevastopolprotest_20090325131321

Activists from the Ukrainian Communist Party and Russian Bloc ... 
Activists from the Ukrainian Communist Party and Russian Bloc protest as the USS Klakring sails into Sevastopol. The pro-Russia protesters cried “NATO out” as the US warship arrived in the Ukrainian port — where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.(AFP/Vasiliy Batanov)

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

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

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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

France To Become Full Member of NATO

March 11, 2009

France’s arms length relationship with NATO is about to end as President Nicolas Sarkozy will announce that France will rejoin the North Atalantic Alliance.

I can recall participating in NATO working groups and having to do a torturous kabuki dance just to get French participation on issues and actions the French and the rest of NATO wanted France in on.

France’s long divorce from NATO, which began in De Gaulle’s time, is about to end: and that should be good for France, and all the rest of NATO.

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PARIS (Reuters) – France wants to become a full member of NATO, ending more than four decades of self-imposed exile from the alliance’s inner core, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday.

France is NATO’s fourth largest contributor of troops, but in an effort to mark its difference with the United States it has long snubbed the organization’s integrated military command, which plans, trains and conducts joint operations.

Morin told a Defense conference that times had changed and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was keen for France to play a full role in the world’s biggest Defense alliance.

“The president and myself are convinced that France can renew its relations with NATO whilst being an independent ally and free partner of the United States,” he said.

France quit the NATO command in March 1966 and ordered the organization to close its headquarters in France, with the then President Charles De Gaulle saying Paris did not want to be dragged into a war that was not of its own choosing.

The decision, taken in the midst of the east-west Cold War, was the culmination of years of Franco-American rivalry over control of the alliance and of nuclear weapons.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090
311/wl_nm/us_nato_france_1

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/03/11/france.sarkozy.nato/i
ndex.html

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

March 10, 2009

President Obama  nominated Charles Freeman for a top intelligence job, even  though Freeman was a well known anti-Isreal guy and very pro-China.

The heat and light of media attention caused Freeman to withdraw.

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/1
0/and-another-one-bites-the-dust-cha
rles-freeman-out/

President Obama has said (A) He wants to close the terrorist prison at Guantanomo Bay Cuba; and (B) He wants to open discussions with the Taliban; and (C) We need to send more troops to Afghanistan.

The president is in the process of sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and is begging European allies to do the same — even while Joe Biden is saying we are losing the war in Afghanistan.

Bad policy doesn’t help one achieve national goals…..

Well: Here’s a way the president can talk to the Taliban: talk to them at Gitmo before they get free and go to work against the U.S. again…. Then you don’t have to send U.S. troops overseas to kill them.

A former U.S. Marine Corps General Officer told us today, “The only good Taliban is a dead Taliban.”  But if that can’t be achieved, maybe Gitmo is as good as it gets….

Our foreign policy on Gitmo, the Taliban, Afghanistan and (we can no longer say TERRORISM) is about as stupid as government gets….

Who’s to blame?

Did Blair do this?  Panetta?  Rush Limbaugh?  Rahm Emanuel?  Hillary?

Maybe I am too stupid to get this.  Ya think?

Related:
 Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

http://libertyjustincase.com/2009/0
3/11/prisoner-8/

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
.
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

 

Related:
Guantanamo detainees gloat; say they planned Sept. 11

 Biden: “U.S., West Not Winning In Afghanistan”

Leon Panetta 
Above: Leon Panetta.  Photo by AP

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AP

The Taliban‘s new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication for the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison. U.S. authorities handed over the detainee to the Afghan government, which in turn released him, according to Pentagon and CIA officials.

Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, formerly Guantanamo prisoner No. 008, was among 13 Afghan prisoners released to the Afghan government in December 2007. Rasoul is now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a nom de guerre that Pentagon and intelligence officials say is used by a Taliban leader who is in charge of operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan.

The officials, who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to release the information, said Rasoul has joined a growing faction of former Guantanamo prisoners who have rejoined militant groups and taken action against U.S. interests. Pentagon officials have said that as many as 60 former detainees have resurfaced on foreign battlefields.

Pentagon and intelligence officials said Rasoul has emerged as a key militant figure in southern Afghanistan, where violence has been spiking in the last year. Thousands of U.S. troops are preparing to deploy there to fight resurgent Taliban forces.

One intelligence official told the Associated Press that Rasoul’s stated mission is to counter the U.S. troop surge.

Although the militant detainees who have resurfaced were released under the Bush administration, the revelation underscores the Obama administration’s dilemma in moving to close the detention camp at Guantanamo and figuring out what to do with the nearly 250 prisoners who remain there.

In one of his first acts in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the jail next year. The order also convened a task force that will determine how to handle remaining detainees, who could be transferred to other U.S. detention facilities for trial, transferred to foreign nations for legal proceedings or freed.

More than 800 prisoners have been imprisoned at Guantanamo; only a handful have been charged. About 520 Guantanamo detainees have been released from custody or transferred to prisons elsewhere in the world.

A Pentagon tally of the detainees released show that 122 were transferred from Guantanamo in 2007, more than any other year.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
0/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/guantanamo_de
tainee_taliban_4

Biden: “U.S., West Not Winning In Afghanistan”

March 10, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden says the “deteriorating situation” in Afghanistan poses a security threat to every NATO country and beyond.
.

BRUSSELS — Vice President Joe Biden urged NATO members to jointly confront Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan where he said instability threatens all of the alliance’s members equally.

Appearing before NATO’s top decision making body, Biden solicited ideas to reverse a losing military strategy in Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s policy to bring more European allies on board to fight the Taliban-led insurgency.

He warned the situation in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan was worsening, adding, “The deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat from our respect not just to the United States, but to every single nation around this table.”

“It was from that remote area of the world that Al Qaeda plotted 9/11 and subsequent attacks” in Europe and elsewhere.

In his speech, Biden said the Obama administration will be keen to engage NATO allies in global security discussions, marking a departure from the last eight years when Washington often was on a go-it-alone course that upset its European allies.

“President Obama and I are deeply committed to NATO. Lets get that straight right from the start,” Biden told the North Atlantic Council — the panel of ambassadors from NATO’s 26 member nations.

Biden said Americans view a terrorist attack in Europe “as an attack on the United States. That is not hyperbole … We view it as a gateway to further attacks on the United States. So please understand that this is not a U.S.-centrist view that only if America is attacked is there a terrorist threat.”

He said he came to hear ideas from the allies on how NATO can bring stability to Afghanistan.

“It is from that area that Al Qaeda and its extremist allies are regenerating in conceiving new atrocities aimed at the people around the world from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the United States, Europe and Australia,” he added.

After his consultations with NATO allies he will meet with senior officials at EU headquarters.
His visit, less than a week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with senior NATO and EU officials here, highlights the new priority that diplomatic outreach to allies has become for Washington.

An issue closely related to the Afghan war is growing concern that neighboring Pakistan could be sliding further into instability.

Obama launched a strategic review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan after he took office in January. That review is expected to be completed later this month.

“What I want to learn is what your countries believe are working, what you think is not working, how we can do a better job in stopping Afghanistan and Pakistan from being a haven for terrorists,” Biden said.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/200
9/03/10/biden-warns-deteriorating-sit
uation-afghanistan/

See Also Reuters:
“West Not ‘Winning’ in Afghanistan”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200
90310/pl_nm/us_afghan_nato_b
iden_4

While President Obama and VP Biden attempt to squeeze more troops out of Europe, they are facing the economic problems of the global recession as well as great uncertainty about U.S. policy, commitment, capability and ability….

Related:
Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
.
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

March 9, 2009

Like it or not, the era of President Barack Obama and American weakness, real or perceived, has already emboldened many nations with long-term anti-American strategic goals: namely, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Many in the world have already concluded that Brack Obama is soft, for his overtures so far toward the Taliban, Russia, Iran and others.

Related:
Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

President Obama’s move to close the terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) was cause for applause in human rights circles and also with terrorists.

On Afghanistan, Peter Begen of the New America Foundation said “It is a longstanding cliché that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political one.”  On President Obama’s idea to hold talks with the Taliban he said, “Doing deals with the Taliban today could further destabilize Afghanistan. ”

And economically, there is no dobt that the U.S. is weakened.

Just today, North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea.  North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way.  China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency.  Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.

Yet China is acceding to North Korea’s bluster and browbeating of the United States just as China itself is harassing a U.S. Naval vessel in international waters — a violation of international law.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China doesn’t care much for international law and international waters: just ask Japan and Vietnam.  Both those nations have long struggles with China encroaching upon the coasts of Japan and Vietnam as the Chinese super power searches for more oil beneath the sea floor.

China has become the most voracious user of oil and other mineral resources on the planet as it strives to keep its factories busy producing goods for sale overseas.  China is in Afghanistan, protected from the Taliban by U.S. troops, while Chinese companies exploit Afghan copper.  And China just signed a $50 billion (U.S. dollars, cast) agreement to get oil from Russia for ten years.

Last year China was no help when the U.S. wanted access to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to those stricken by the cyclone.  After the crisis passed, China signed a big oil deal with Myanmar.

China wants the U.S. out of its sphere of influence from North Asia to Somalia, and is planning an ocean-going navy to eventualy make that goal a military reality.

China recently opened the largest sea port in the world, in Gwadar, Pakistan — directly astride the sea lanes used to bring out out of the Persian Gulf to Japan, the U.S. and others.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to go into debt — to China.

China allows North Korea to antagonize the United States because that is in China’s long term strategic interest — and a weakening U.S. plays into China’s strategy perfectly.

Russia also wants the U.S. out of its area of influencce.  Russia recently paid off Kyrgyzstan, which was helping the American effort in Afghanistan with an air base. Just after Russia gave  Kyrgyzstan its big aid deal, that nation announced the closure of the Manas air base supporting the U.S.

File:ManasAirbase KC135.jpg
A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the flightline at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Ground crews will have to de-ice the tanker before it can take off on a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford)

Generous Russian loans to Kyrgyzstan totaling US$2 billion and a non-repayable US$150 million grant, were announced the day before Kyrgyzstan said Manas would be closed and the U.S. Air Force evicted.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation had been insisting on the closure of Manas to the U.S. Air Force since 2005.

What the heck is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

But the key players of the SCO are Russia and China who don’t want the U.S. or anyone else in the West anywhere near that region of the world, rich in oil and other minerals, that includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

China and Russia conducted their largest joint military exercise ever last year.

And finally Iran wants the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, away from Arab oil, and at arms length from Isreal.

Joshua Gross wrote for the Christian Sciences Monitor today,  “Iran recently launched its first satellite into orbit in what The New York Times called, ‘a shot across the bow of American diplomacy,’ and US President Barack Obama passed along a secret letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an attempt to enlist the Russians in an international effort to contain Iran’s nuclear program.”

The global economic crisis, which has eliminated something like $50 trillion in world wealth, has hit the United States and NATO very hard, which fuels the beliefe that Mr. Obama and the U.S. are weaker than ever just now.

That’s why Iran and North Korea are talking missiles and nukes, China has chosen just now to harass a U.S. ship, and Russia is gloating like a cat bird that Obama is already pleading for help with Iran from Putin and Medvedev….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 9, 2009

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

Related:
Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 China Extends Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

 China Says Its Navy Expansion “No threat to others”

 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed U.S. Navy Craft in International Waters

 North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Despite Global Economy Downturn, China Still Lending

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/analys
ts-to-obama-there-are-no-taliban-moderates-yo
u-nitwit/

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/03/09/ira
nian-justice-eight-women-face-stoning-dea
ths-for-adultery/

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/03
/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

CNN on Peter Bergen and Afghanistan:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/PO
LITICS/03/09/bergen.taliban/index.html

Joshua Gross on Iran:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090309/cm_csm/ygross