Archive for the ‘strategy’ Category

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

March 22, 2009

When it comes to our complex economy, President Barack Obama would do well to heed the physician’s ancient commandment to first “do no harm.”

Instead, Obama’s administration has been prescribing all sorts of multibillion-dollar borrowing remedies without any consistent diagnosis of what is exactly wrong with the weak economy or even how bad things actually are.

By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times

Since becoming president, Mr. Obama has offered numerous bleak economic prognoses. He has told Americans: “The situation we face could not be more serious. We have inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression.” He has also warned, “Recovery will likely be measured in years, not weeks or months” and “If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years.”

But suddenly last week, physician Barack Obama flipped and issued an entirely new prognosis: “I don’t think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say.” He added. “[Things] are not as bad as we think they are now.”

What happened to living through hard times akin to the Great Depression?

Maybe it was the unexpected news that Citibank and Bank of America are starting to show a profit – thanks to the past bailouts of 2008 and new profitable loans. Maybe it was General Motors’ recent decision not to (for now) ask for more federal cash. Maybe it was the reports that consumer spending is not down as much as feared.

Or did Mr. Obama’s change in rhetoric reflect a sort of premeditated strategy: talk down the economy to scare everyone into supporting more government spending and borrowing. Then, once the stimulus bill has passed, talk up the economy to reassure us that it will work?

Or, as seems more likely, does the new government simply not know what is going on – much less what to do about it?

It can’t seem to fill slots at the Treasury Department, and strangely talks about fiscal responsibility and the evils of pork-barrel spending while expanding upon the Bush budget deficit and approving more than 8,000 earmarks.

Mr. Obama – and Congress – should take a deep breath before further expanding the budget with ever-more stimulus spending, borrowing and aggregate debt that will plague our children, who will have to pay back the trillions long after this present recession ends.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/new
s/2009/mar/22/first-of-all-do-no-harm/

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Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs

Wall Street Journal: “Geithner Incapacitated;” President Voices Support

Government To Have Bigger Role in All American Lives; Obama Seeks to Increase Oversight of Executive Pay

Dodd Caper, House Vote on 90% Tax, Highlights Founders Hopes; Modern Reality

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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
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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

Afghanistan to take part in US strategic review

February 15, 2009

The Afghan government will take part in a U.S. strategic review of the war in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said Sunday in a sign of increased cooperation at a time of strained relations.

Karzai recently sent President Barack Obama a letter with a proposal that Afghanistan join a war review currently under way.

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said at a joint news conference that Obama had “welcomed the suggestion.”

Karzai said his foreign minister, Dadfar Rangin Spanta, would head the delegation. The U.S. has several reviews of the situation in Afghanistan under way, and it was not immediately clear which one Afghan officials would take part in.

The U.S. is studying the situation in Afghanistan at a time of spiraling violence. Taliban attacks have spiked the last three years, and militants have swept up wide areas of countryside that the Afghan government has not been able to control.

Obama has said the U.S. will increase its focus on Afghanistan and draw down forces in Iraq under his watch. The U.S. is contemplating sending up to 30,000 more troops to bolster the 33,000 already in Afghanistan.

Karzai told the news conference he was “grateful” for an agreement announced Thursday between Afghanistan and the U.S. military that Afghan forces would take on a greater role in the planning and execution of missions with the aim of reducing civilian casualties.

He said he hoped the agreement would “reduce civilian casualties and prevent nighttime raids.” Overnight raids by elite U.S. Special Operations Forces cause many of the civilian deaths that Karzai has repeatedly denounced, but the agreement made no mention that such targeted missions would end.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009021
5/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

January 30, 2009

Since the United States is now discussing an economic “stimulus” of almost $1 Trillion, we  have been trying to figure who benefits most from this deal?  The answer is China, if they decide to underwrite the U.S. loan, and buy the U.S. Treasurys that will fund the stimulus.  Just by doing that, China will get more than $300 Billion in payments of interest from the U.S.

So, why does China like this deal, in addition to the money?  China wants power and the ability to call the shots.  “Buying” the American debt is a lot faster and potentially less expensive than fighting the U.S. with some future Chinese military — which is not culturally in China’s psyche or style anyway…..

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“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan at Princeton.

Chong-pin engaged Princeton University students and professors in a lively discussion Nov. 18 that focused on China’s relationship with Taiwan and China’s growing importance in world affairs.

A professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Chong-pin was brought to Princeton by the East Asian Studies department. His lecture was titled, “More carrot than stick: Beijing’s adjusted Taiwan policy.”

Chong-pin mentioned beauty pageants and high-visibility sporting events as examples of China’s emerging emphasis on culture.

“Now I think it’s generally agreed that Beijing is using economic and cultural influence to establish its international status,” he said. “The idea is to make the rest of the world look to Beijing unconsciously or subconsciously as the future mecca of the world.”

By Megan DeMarco
The Times (Trenton, NJ)

Read about China’s “Grand Strategy” to ease the U.S. out of East Asia:
http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/
news-15/12280215089560.xml&coll=5

Related:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

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Audacity, Hope and Obama’s Spending Stimulus: Once Discredited Theory Gets A Real Try

China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

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

Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

January 23, 2009

Hamas has claimed victory over Israel in the fighting that ended this week but the paucity of flag waving fighters and supporters raises serious issues about any Hamas glory.

Even the rival Fatah party in Gaza can’t find it appropriate to gloat over the proclaimed “victory” over Israel.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything.

Hamas is accusing rival Palestinian faction Fatah of spying for Israel and not strongly enough supporting Hamas in the fight against the “Zionists.”

Fatah says Hamas relied too much on Iran for strategy and arms, irresponsibly goaded Isreal into a war with their rocket attacks on Israel, and botched the defense of the Gazan people.

CNN reported that  some in Fatah are accusing Hamas of carrying out “punishment shootings” against suspects.

“In this war, we arrested many spies and collaborators, and we will stay continuing to catch these spies and put them in jail and in court,” Ehad al-Ghossain, Hamas’ Interior Ministry spokesman, told CNN.

Peace and Freedom

Related:
Obama urges Israel, Hamas to keep peace in Gaza
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 Hamas Inflated Civilian Casualty Numbers in Gaza To Gain Sympathy, Support from Media, Iran, Arab World
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Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

 Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas
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Israel Failed: Tunnels in Gaza Again Filled With Supplies, Diggers