Archive for the ‘strategic’ Category

Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

March 13, 2009

After 52 days, it is starting to look like President Obama wcould roll back America’s strategic place in the world faster than anyone since Napoleon fled from Moscow to Paris.

Obama has established himself as the outreach and diplomacy president in a world that mostly understands thunder and power.

And General David Petraeus says more U.S. troops and power are not the solution in Afghanistan anyway.

Gen. Petraeus: No Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan

As North Korea threatened to both launch a long range missile and go to war this week, the White House almost shrugged and said “never mind.”  Spokesmen even said the U.S. had no intention of shooting the North Korean missile down.  This after America’s commander in the Pacific, Admiral Keating, said his boys WOULD shoot it down.

Finally, Japan has said in disgust it would shoot the darned thing down.

Hillary Clinton, already the subject of talk for a bone-headed gift to her Russian equal, Mr. Lavrov, said the U.S. “had a lot of options” with North Korea.

With China sparking an at sea incident; Washington gave the same kind of response.  The strategic yawn.

The U.S. is even rolling back on its human rights criticisms of China — just as China is expressing doubts at buying more U.S. debt.

Hmmmm.

While these shrugs and yawns may be appropriate, the situation in Afghanistan, where the president is adding troops and lowering expectations and goals, is troubling.

A key air bas, Manas, in Kyrgyzstan is already apparently lost in a move by Russia.

Analysts: Russia outmaneuvered U.S. over air base

Terrorist Taliban forces now surround Kabul, and Afghan government sources say the city could be under seige “at any time.”

Moin Ansari says on his web site, “The US is leaving Afghanistan. Only the details of the withdrawal and the schedule of the return is to announced. A massive campaign will be launched to obfuscate the defeat with face saving measures like the ones implemented in Iraq.”

As for Afghanistan, Mr. Ralph Peters, once a “Surger,” is now an “Exiter“.

Mr. Peter’s four possibilities can be listed as choices between an exit strategy or a hasty retreat after the defeat. We see it as follows:

1) Plan an exist strategy and leave with dignity now or

2) Wait for the Taliban to run over Karzai’s forbidden city

The ranks of the “Exiters” from Afghanistan is surging because of several interlinked factors—the economy and China. Both are inter-related and the dependencies weigh heavy on the White House. Why the US gave up India as a Strategic partner? Without China’s help, the USA cannot sustain the bailouts or hope for a recovery. China is willing to give the US a reprieve, but may have a couple of strings attached. China will exact a price. It seems that Beijing at this point will require a pullout from Afghanistan and the resolution of Kashmir. We have always considered Kashmir as the silent “K” in Holbrooke’s mission. India’s worst nightmares come true: Long term strategic malaise in a changing world . The People’s Daily leaves no doubt that the resolution of Kashmir is not simply a “nice to have” on the “wish list” of Mr. Holbrooke–it a mandated requirement-China’s pound of flesh for agreeing to buy American T-Bonds. India feels the pain: The US begs Beijing for money

Pakistan’s turmoil continues and if Afghanistan falls, Pakistan will likely follow….

Military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani urged Pakistan’s President Zardari to agree to some demands of protesters, in the first insertion of the military into the government in over a year.

Pakistan Military Chief Pushes President to Yield to Demonstrators’ Demands

The new Obama plan reportedly calls for more effort from Pakistan to fight Taliban and al-Qaeda forces; which seems impossible given the internal politics of  Pakistan at present….

Related:
http://rupeenews.com/2009/03/12
/beyond-us-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/13/obama-to-re-brand-enemy-combatants/

The war on “terror” is verbally and virtually over…
Obama bans term “enemy combatant,” joins “terrorist” in unusable list

China:
Obama Backs-Off On Human Rights Issues: Economy is That Important

 Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth

China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S

Pakistan: Circling The Drain?
.
U.S. Urges Calm inPakistan:
http://urdunews.wordpress.com/20
09/03/13/us-appeals-for-calm-in-pakistan/

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Security in Afghanistan has deteriorated and may worsen this year in the face of a renewed Taliban insurgency, the U.N. chief said in a report published Friday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report to the Security Council on U.N. activities in Afghanistan that 2009 would be a critical year. He added there were reasons for medium-term optimism.

“The government, security forces and population of Afghanistan, along with its international partners, face a critical test in 2009,” the report said.

“Security has continued to deteriorate. The results of government and international aid efforts have fallen short of popular expectations as Afghans suffer the effects of drought and a global rise in food prices.”

Violence is at its highest level in Afghanistan since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200
90313/wl_nm/us_afghan_un_1

By ANNE GEARAN and ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration expects to announce new objectives for the flagging war in Afghanistan as soon as next week that place an onus on next-door Pakistan to contain extremism, defense and administration officials said Thursday.

The White House objectives were expected to roughly parallel 15 goals contained in a 20-page classified report to the White House from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Among them were getting rid of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and adopting a regional approach to reducing the threat of terrorism and extremism in both countries.

“We’re just about done,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show” on Thursday.

The review addresses “the safe haven in Pakistan, making sure that Afghanistan doesn’t provide a capability in the long run or an environment in which al-Qaida could return or the Taliban could return,” Mullen said, as well as the need for stability, economic development and better governance in Afghanistan, and the development of the Afghan armed forces.

An administration official said that although the review was not complete, one thrust was that Pakistan needed to recognize that combating extremism was in its own interest as well as that of U.S.- and NATO fighting forces across the border in Afghanistan. The official, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because the review was not complete.

President Barack Obama was expected to explain the redrawn U.S. objectives to NATO allies when he attends a NATO summit in Europe next month.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200903
13/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_afghanistan_7

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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

Gaza Fighting’s Strategic Cost

December 29, 2008

A hot war in Gaza was not how Israel planned to appear on the strategic agenda of Barack Obama when he takes office in January. Its leaders had hoped to keep the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the backburner of the new Administration, which Israel hopes will make Iran’s nuclear program its overriding priority in the Middle East. Instead, the weekend bloodbath in Gaza – the deadliest since Israel occupied the territory in 1967 – will cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an urgent crisis demanding a response from Washington, and highlighting the failure of the Bush Administration’s and Israel’s policies on Hamas in Gaza.

 By TONY KARON
Time Magazine

Smoke billows from a tunnel in Rafah on Gaza's border with ... 
Smoke billows from a tunnel in Rafah on Gaza’s border with Egypt following an Israeli air strike. Israeli jets have bombed Hamas targets in Gaza for a third day, killing several children, while the Islamists fired deadly rockets to retaliate for the blitz that has left more than 300 dead.(AFP/Said Khatib)

The air strikes that began Saturday, in which Palestinians claim at least 280 people have been killed, marked a dramatic escalation of a high-stakes strategic poker game between Israel and Hamas. Over the past seven weeks, each side has calculated the odds of outbidding the other, and even as Hamas, and the civilian population it represents, paid a heavy price in human casualties over the weekend, it may nonetheless retain a strategic advantage. The radical Palestinian movement that governs Gaza appears to have underestimated Israel’s readiness to launch a military campaign in response to an escalation of Palestinian rocket fire onto its southern towns and cities. This is, however, an Israeli election season in which polls show voters moving so quickly to the right that even the hawkish frontrunner, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, is losing support to parties even more extreme than his own. Still, the factors that restrained Israel from launching an attack on Gaza until now remain in place, and the strong likelihood of an escalation in the confrontation in the days and weeks ahead – and the negative regional backlash it is likely to promote – will likely mark a diplomatic setback for Israel. (Read TIME’s Top 10 news stories of the year.)

 

Israel launched Saturday’s strike knowing that Hamas would respond with a fusillade of rockets, possibly using some of the longer-range weapons smuggled in to Gaza over the past year to strike Israeli towns such as Ashdod and Ashkelon. It may even activate suicide bomber cells in East Jerusalem or in the West Bank. Israel had prepared for the first possibility by deploying additional air raid protection in towns as far as 40 kilometers from the Gaza border. And it is likely to follow up its air strikes with ground attacks in Gaza aimed at neutralizing as much as it can of Hamas’ military capability. But Hamas has good reason to expect that Israel’s military campaign will be limited, and it believes it can come out ahead in the strategic equation despite the heavy cost in blood that will be paid by its own leaders and militants, as well as by Palestinian civilians.

Read the rest from TIME magazine:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081229/wl_time/08599186886400

Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom

December 15, 2008

Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.

Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

By Joshua Goodman
Bloomberg

James Monroe
Above: James Monroe

“Monroe certainly would be rolling over in his grave,” says Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington and author of the 2006 book “Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century.”

The U.S., she says, “is no longer the exclusive go-to power in the region, especially in South America, where U.S. economic ties are much less important.”

Since November, Russian warships have engaged in joint naval exercises with Venezuela, the first in the Caribbean since the Cold War; Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a free-trade agreement with Peru; and Brazil invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a state visit.

“While the U.S. remains aloof from a region it no longer sees as relevant to its strategic interests, other countries are making unprecedented….

Related:
Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20
601087&sid=a0a8IQrfwSFU&refer=worldwide