Obama wraps up his trip and defends his controversial foreign policy. The
NYT's Mark Landler, from Manila, on Page One: "President Obama, stung
by criticism of his response to turmoil from Eastern Europe to the Middle East,
defended his approach to foreign policy as a slow but steady pursuit of
American interests while avoiding military conflict, and he lashed out at those
he said reflexively call for the use of force... Mr. Obama said on Monday that
his critics had failed to learn the lessons of the Iraq war. On a day in which
he announced new sanctions against Russia for its continued threats to Ukraine,
Mr. Obama said his foreign policy was based on a workmanlike tending to
American priorities that might lack the high drama of a wartime presidency but
also avoided ruinous mistakes."
Obama at a news conference: "You hit singles, you hit
doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run... But we
steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with
folks around the world."
"Mr. Obama's statement, delivered at the end of a weeklong
trip to Asia, was a rare insight into a second-term president already sizing up
his legacy as a statesman. By turns angry and rueful, his words suggested the
distance he had traveled from the confident young leader who accepted a Nobel
Peace Prize with a speech about the occasional necessity of war.
"While he flatly rejected the Republican portrait of him
as feckless in the face of crises like Syria, Mr. Obama seemed to be wrestling
with a more nuanced critique, that aside from one or two swings for the fences
- the nuclear negotiations with Iran, for example - his foreign policy had
become a game of small ball."
Obama: "Why is it that everybody is so eager to use
military force... after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous
cost to our troops and to our budget. And what is it exactly that these critics
think would have been accomplished?"
The president did not name his critics, except to refer to them as foreign
policy commentators "in an office in Washington or New York." He also
referred to the Sunday morning talk shows, where Senator John McCain of
Arizona, a fierce Obama critic, is a ubiquitous guest.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes: "If we took
all of the actions that our critics have demanded, we'd lose count of the
number of military conflicts that America would be engaged in."
The NYT's Landler: "Mr. Obama challenged those who say
the United States must take some kind of military action in Syria... The same
dialogue occurs with Russia and Ukraine. Nobody is seriously advocating sending
American troops, he said, but some want to arm the Ukrainians.
Obama: "Do people actually think that somehow us sending
some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian Army?...
Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international
pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we're applying?" Read
the rest of the story here.
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The Pentagon's Chief Information Officer Teri Takai is leaving the
Pentagon this Friday. Takai sent out a note to colleagues and staff just
within the last day or so announcing her departure, and the Pentagon had no
comment on her leaving. Washington Business Journal's Jill Aitoro: "Details
are still emerging about the departure, though a spokesman for the Department
of Defense said no acting CIO has been named. Takai was named CIO for DOD
in 2010, and also held the title of acting assistant secretary of defense for
networks and information integration until the Pentagon rolled those
responsibilities officially into the CIO position in January 2012. She
previously served as CIO for the state of California." More here.
Read this for an exclusive interview with the secret Fed cyber
security unit keeping trillions of dollars safe from hackers. FP's
Shane Harris: "If the U.S. central banking system is ever hit with a
crippling cyber attack, a group of roughly 100 government employees working in
a three-story fortress-like building next door to a Buick dealership in East
Rutherford, N.J., will be among the first to know about it. That's where,
almost entirely out of sight, a team from the Federal Reserve System's crack
cyber security unit is constantly on watch for malicious hackers, criminals,
and spies trying to breach the computer networks of the Fed, its regional
banks, and some of the most critical financial infrastructure in America. The
National Incident Response Team, or NIRT, as the group is called
(pronounced "nert") tries to prevent intruders from breaking into Fed
computer networks and money transfer systems used by thousands of banks across
the U.S every day." More here.
A White House blog post offers a rare window into the
decision-making process on disclosing cyber vulnerabilities, here.
At the Pentagon today, Who's Where When - Hagel hosts Estonia's
Minister of Defense at 11:15 and the Czech Republic's Minister of Defense at
3pm; AF Secretary Debbie James and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh appear before the
SASC at 9:30 this morning; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hosts a "global all
hands call" at Fort Meade, also at 9:30.
"The Future Army," featuring U.S. General David
G. Perkins at CSIS with Maren Leed at 1:30 today. Deets here.
The Atlantic Council's two-day conference "Toward a Europe Whole
and Free" is fully booked, but watch Kerry at 1:30 PM today and
Biden at 12:15 PM tomorrow, here.
Hagel spoke with his Russian counterpart last night, and was told that
Russia isn't invading. From the AP: "The Pentagon says
Russia's defense chief has assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russia
will not invade Ukraine. Hagel spoke by phone Monday with his Russian
counterpart, and afterward Hagel's press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby,
issued a statement saying the two men had discussed the crisis in Ukraine.
Kirby said Hagel requested clarification of Russia's intentions in eastern
Ukraine, and the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoygu, reassured Hagel that
Russian forces will not invade." More here.
Sanctions against Russia don't threaten the energy sector. FP's
Keith Johnson: "With the latest slate of sanctions on high-profile
Russians Monday, the Obama administration argues that it is ratcheting up the
pressure on Vladimir Putin and inflicting significant pain on the Russian
economy. But the new sanctions stop short of hitting the key energy firms that
are the backbone of Russia's economy -- and that are the most vulnerable to
sanctions pressure from the West." Read the rest here.
Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko on what his
country really needs from the West and why Putin's politics just don't make
sense. Full interview on FP, here.
Where have all the Taliban gone? The NYT's Azam Ahmed in
Kabul: "Even as Afghanistan's unfolding presidential election has
captured the capital's attention, two related questions have become
increasingly urgent among security officials here: Where have the Taliban gone,
and what are they waiting for?
"In the weeks before the voting on April 5, the
insurgents threatened mayhem and delivered, largely paralyzing Kabul in a rain
of attacks. But the Taliban failed to deliver any attacks in Kabul on Election
Day, and since then they have been mostly quiet, at least in the large cities
where attacks garner the most publicity.
"...Members of the Taliban reached by telephone, however,
reject the idea that the group was thwarted in its goals. Some of the
commanders said they were under specific orders not to attack civilians during
the election, in part because such violence would probably do more to damage
their public image than to disrupt the election.
"‘The reason we did not stage major attacks across the
country was that we wanted to avoid civilian casualties,' said one Taliban
commander in Kunar Province. ‘Mass casualties could harm our cause and would
have been against our principles and claims.'" More here.
The mystery of how Afghanistan's "torturer in chief" now
lives in a pink house in Southern California. Greg Miller, Julie
Tate and Joshua Partlow on Page One: "In Afghanistan, his presence was
enough to cause prisoners to tremble. Hundreds in his organization's custody
were beaten, shocked with electrical currents or subjected to other abuses
documented in human rights reports. Some allegedly disappeared. And then Haji
Gulalai disappeared as well...
"Today, Gulalai lives in a pink two-story house in Southern
California, on a street of stucco homes on the outskirts of Los
Angeles. How he managed to land in the United States remains murky. Afghan
officials and former Gulalai colleagues said that his U.S. connections - and
mounting concern about his safety - account for his extraordinary
accommodation." More here.
A bright spot on the horizon for an Afghan airline: Afghanistan's
Ariana Airlines just posted the highest quarterly results in # of passengers,
revenues and on-time performance since it began in 1955. From
an Ariana Airlines press release: "...Comparing the first quarter
operational results for 2014 to the same period last year, the figures note a
16 percent increase in revenues and a dramatic 29 percent jump in ticketed
passengers. During the same period, AAA improved on-time performance,
fleet performance, maintenance schedules and overall passenger miles."
Ariana Afghan Airlines Chairman and Afghanistan's deputy minister of
Finance Mohammad Mustafa Mastoor: "In early 2013, with assistance
from the U.S. Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability
Operations (TFBSO), the airline management implemented a top-to-bottom business
plan review of operations, customer service, maintenance, flight services,
ground handling, fleet oversight and finance... The results speak for
themselves and I am proud to report that Ariana Afghan Airlines is on the
way to greater increases and better service for our customers for years to
Justice's National Security Division is led by John Carlin, whose focus
is stopping terrorism. A profile here by the WaPo's Sari Horwitz.
The Navy puts in a $18 billion order for 10 new nuke-powered subs. Defense
News' Christopher Cavas: "The Navy announced a record $17.645 billion
contract Monday to build 10 new SSN 774 Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack
submarines. The order assures prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat
and chief subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding of
submarine orders through 2018. The fixed-price incentive multiyear contract for
10 Block IV subs provides for two ships per year over the five-year period, each
yard delivering one sub per year." More here.
How Reps. Mac Thornberry and Rick Larsen's views on defense show the difference
between Republican and Dems on a number of national security issues, by
Defense News' John Bennett, here.
Randy Forbes says the Army has an opportunity in Asia. Virginia
Republican Randy Forbes for the National Interest: "In the May 1954
issue of the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine, Dr. Samuel
Huntington, a young scholar slated to make his mark as one of the most
influential political scientists of the next half-century, penned an eloquent
and direct challenge to the military services. Huntington observed that when
there are major changes in the principal threats to a nation, these changes
‘must be met by shifts in national policy and corresponding changes in service
strategic concepts.'... In other words, each military service isn't guaranteed
a ‘fair-share' of the budget indefinitely, but a level of resourcing
commensurate with the strategic contribution it can make toward the security of
our nation." Read more here.
Buck McKeon: No ENLIST act in the NDAA. Politico's Seung
Min Kim: "House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon on
Monday signaled his toughest opposition yet to including a provision allowing
young undocumented immigrants to serve in the military into a must-pass defense
policy bill. His chief concern: Including a provision involving immigration in
the National Defense Authorization Act would complicate the process for passing
the sweeping legislation, which is done every year. ‘I'm in favor of a
discussion of that policy, but not on putting it on our defense bill,' McKeon
said during an interview with conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham on
Monday. ‘I don't think that's where it belongs.'" More here.
A new ICG report examines the situation in Fallujah and the prospects for
compromise after the upcoming parliamentary election. ICG in an
email to Situation Report yesterday: The report "essentially argues
that the Baghdad government was motivated chiefly by political considerations
in its military response to protests in Fallujah, and that Fallujah's
acceptance of jihadist help in repelling Iraqi forces must be unwound. The aftermath
of this week's elections could be the opportunity for beginning to forge a
sustainable positive relationship between Fallujah and Baghdad, and enable both
the get out of the current violent cycle." Check out the full report
Militants in Iraq target early voting stations, killing nearly 50
people. From the AP: "Militants on Monday targeted polling
stations across much of Iraq and a crowd of Kurds jubilantly dancing on the
street as soldiers and security forces cast ballots two days ahead of
parliamentary elections, officials said. The attacks, including a suicide
bombing northeast of Baghdad, left at least 46 people dead. The wave of attacks
was an apparent attempt to derail the balloting process and discourage the rest
of the country's 22 million registered voters from going to the polls on
Wednesday in the first nationwide elections since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S.
forces. The early balloting for police and soldiers is meant to free up the 1
million-strong military and security forces so they can protect polling
stations and voters on election day." More here.
Assad is really running for president. The WSJ's Sam Dagher
in Homs: "President Bashar al-Assad declared Monday that he will run
for a third seven-year term in a June 3 vote, an announcement his supporters in
this embattled city celebrated while opponents warned was a blow to peace
"The widely expected formal announcement reflected Mr.
Assad's confidence after his regime scored battlefield gains against rebels in
recent months, even as he faces international condemnation over a conflict that
has killed more than 150,000 people in three years.
"‘The candidacy of his Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
for the presidency of the republic is a message to external powers: The war in
Syria has only increased his popularity and hasn't affected him one bit,' said
a statement by the ruling Baath Party. The party staged rallies here in the
central city of Homs, in the capital Damascus, and other parts of the country to
cheer the president. As word got out in Homs, hundreds of his supporters
celebrated on the campus of the main university.
"...But Khaled Abu Salah, an opposition activist from the
Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, saw the announcement as an end to any chance for
peace in Syria. Mr. Abu Salah said in a Facebook message from Turkey that Mr.
Assad's candidacy ‘blows up any political solution that could save
Syria.'" More here.
World War I in photos. Part one of a ten-part series
by the Atlantic's Alan Taylor: "...On this 100-year anniversary, I've
gathered photographs of the Great War from dozens of collections, some
digitized for the first time, to try to tell the story of the conflict, those
caught up in it, and how much it affected the world." See the first
45 photos here.
I have observed the drama of the political debacle and have already comment
in Financial Time.com on the salient points. Therefore, will not go into
the details of the political swing that the voters have put the Republican put
to the top most power both Congress and Senate not to show off but to see how
the Republican behave and work for the national interest and General American
This Political placement done by American voters points out that they are
the master of all power and the Both the Party politicians are the Servants of
the General American Public who could change their Servant to suit their needat
any time .
With this background it could be said that both the Republican party
congress and Senate and the Democrat party + the President to see whether plays
the role in the interest of the nations development and Nationals Welfare or
So that it becomes absolutely easy for them to decide from which party they
are to select to run the the American affairs as Next President and his set up
to support him/her to avert any future Infight for power and obstructionist
Now, coming to the point of the President's policy of no war and settle all
disputes with diplomacy, dialog and discussion and that he did because he
realized how the democrats retrieved the country from the total destruction
left by G W Bush regime.
Because he loves the country more than his life unlike many others, he just
could not compromise with such critics views those who all earn their living by
criticizing without analyzing what would be the country's and its
population that is just recouping from a terrible Global Recession,
unemployment, and bringing back the troops home safe and sound, and also
killing the AL Queda chief who his predecessor could not do.
His difference with Republican Party Congress and minority Senate was on
morality. Republican Party is now not the same as fifty yeas back it was, it
has become a corrupt, sex scandalous war mongering and Anti national
I just high light instance: Taking the Country to war on pure lies by a
President was it not heinous crime, then ventilating the name of the CIA agent
to the press was not it a crime, looting the treasury was it not a crime,
emptying the huge money left by its predecessor Clinton Regime in the name of a
false war, was it not a crime committed with the nation and opening a torturing
cell was it not a crime against humanity?
Where upon the Ex President is a wanted criminal smearing the entire build
up Glorious name of the country By this Republican Party and once again these
Congress and Senate is trying to get the President do the same so that the
American citizen blames the President as they do to G W Bush.
But they are mistaken this President would not buzz an inch without legal
backing and without financial budget sanction to run the war by both the
Congress and Senate and even the population. To be explicit the population
understands better the motives of all.
I am definite that relevant experts on the subjects concerning national
issues which are in gridlock created by the Republican Congress and
Minority Senate with the intent to defame the President that left no
alternative than for the President to get things moving by passing Congress and
This would be clear if the analysts considers the approval ratings of both
The Republican Congress Mr. Speaker who threatened the President in violation
of all legal ethics and decorum of the constitution. .And his work as Speaker
The minority Senator is still openly stating the same things he state
before. He was the person who with Eric Cantor and the Speaker Boehner
conspired with the then presidential Candidate MITT ROMNEY to eliminate 47%
American Middle Class and poor and luckily were caught red handed by the
democrat activists during last presidential election. Was it we should call
patriotic welfare or heinous crime.
American Public is far more intelligent than the political Leaders running
the country's affairs. Pushing the President would be of no use than to burn
their own boat forever.