A Plan B for Obama

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by ajtr, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    A Plan B for Obama

    A stagnant economy. Declining American influence. Dictators on the march abroad. And a more Republican Congress coming soon. Barack Obama is in big trouble. But it's never too late. Foreign Policy has a plan, 14 in fact, for how the president can find his mojo again.

    Nearly two years ago, Obama swept into office promising to defeat terrorism, withdraw "responsibly" from Iraq, make peace in Afghanistan, forge "greater cooperation and understanding between nations," pursue a world without nuclear weapons, and "roll back the specter of a warming planet." And that was just one paragraph of his inaugural address.

    "Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans," the new U.S. president declared. "Their memories are short."

    If Obama's optimism wasn't immediately tempered by his predecessor's daunting legacy -- two inconclusive wars, an economy in free fall, soaring deficits -- it soon became evident that his vision might have exceeded his grasp.

    Twenty-two months later, Obama has notched a few significant achievements, and he remains popular around the world. But he faces rising discontent at home and a much less supportive Congress after midterm elections as economists warn ominously of a "double-dip" recession. Progress on issues ranging from climate change to Middle East peace to Iranian nukes has been scant -- and it's hard to find an autocrat who has unclenched his fist.

    In other words, it's time for a fresh approach. Take it from a president who knows a thing or two about missteps: "If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes," wrote Bill Clinton. "It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit." So read on for Foreign Policy's Presidential Plan B: 10 things Obama should do now, so that the next two years don't go to waste. From a politically savvy idea for raising taxes -- really! -- to a serious antidote for our oil addiction to unorthodox new ways to speak to Muslims around the world, here's how the president can get back on track.

    Avoid the Double Dip Nouriel Roubini and Michael Moran
    Take It to the People Robert Shrum
    Get Off Oil R. James Woolsey
    Build Up the West Bank Elliott Abrams
    Make a South Asia Command Bruce Riedel
    Stop Fawning Over America's Muslim Allies Ellen Laipson
    Rewrite the Rules of War Will Marshall
    Give the Public a Green Check James Hansen
    Cut (Really Cut) Military Spending Christopher Preble
    Dump the Nukes Joseph Cirincione
    Change the Rules of the Game in Pakistan Ashley J. Tellis
    Divide the Iranian Leadership Dmitri Trenin
    Get Tough on Human Rights Kenneth Roth
    Turn South Nancy Soderberg
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    TAKE IT TO THE PEOPLE

    Robert Shrum
    Facing a continuing array of grave challenges abroad and an even more divided and hostile Congress a mile down Pennsylvania Avenue, Barack Obama will have to either surrender to short-term political pressures or invent a new form of public diplomacy, one aimed at Americans themselves.

    His situation is very different from that of U.S. President Harry Truman after the 1946 midterm elections that decimated Democrats. Indeed, Truman's greatest achievements -- like the Marshall Plan -- came during the next two years. For that Republican Congress, at the dawn of the Cold War, politics stopped at the water's edge. Not today. Every question, from basic constitutional rights to the fight against terrorism, has become grist for the exceedingly fine grind of the partisan mill.

    And that was before the midterm elections. Imagine what the rest of Obama's term will be like.

    The United States can't afford two years of stalemate in foreign policy. At the same time, the president can't, for instance, leave Afghanistan regardless of the consequences to keep the support of his own party, or stay forever to avoid accusations from the opposition that he's "soft" on national security. Those attacks will come no matter what he does. To lead in the national interest, Obama should go beyond the familiar pattern of forging a bipartisan coalition of "responsible" members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. There won't be enough of them. On critical issues like Afghanistan and Iran, Obama will need to take his case to the people directly, as he did so convincingly as a candidate. This means a continuing conversation in town halls and speeches that connect both emotionally and logically with a majority of Americans. Foreign-policy-speak just won't do.

    Only if he moves public opinion will he be able to move Congress. Otherwise, he will be a prisoner of partisan maneuver and division. It's not just economic underperformance that could send Obama back to Illinois in two years. So could a festering, unpopular war or an appearance of weakness, waffling, or defeat on big-stakes questions like a nuclear Iran. Obama needs to become the diplomat-in-chief -- not just for U.S. allies overseas, but for his own citizenry at home.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    GET OFF OIL

    R. James Woolsey
    Americans borrow $1 billion a day to import oil. This is a huge share of the U.S. trade deficit and a major factor in weakening the dollar. Hundreds of billions a year go to the Middle East and end up funding improvised explosive devices and Wahhabi schools, which teach hatred of other religions, the stoning of women, death to apostates and homosexuals, and the need to work toward a worldwide caliphate. It is not an accident that 8 of the 10 largest oil exporters are dictatorships or autocratic kingdoms whose rulers profit massively from oil's gigantic economic rents.

    Oil also causes terrible environmental problems. Not only are its carbon emissions nearly as much as those of coal, but the so-called "aromatics" (benzene, toluene, and xylene) that constitute about one-quarter of what's in our gasoline tanks are highly carcinogenic. Careful and authoritative studies put the cost of dealing with the aromatics' damage to our health and consequently shortened life spans at well over $100 billion annually.

    For too long, American politicians have said that "foreign oil" is a problem and then gone on to propose ineffective or impossibly expensive solutions. Barack Obama needs to move away from oil, period. "Drill, baby, drill" can help some with the U.S. balance of payments, but will do nothing to undermine OPEC's control of the oil market. Nor are expensive nuclear power plants or wind farms the answer -- only 2 percent of U.S. electricity comes from oil. Cap and trade? The only major environmental policy measure that Obama has seized on is possibly a useful tool, if done right, for discouraging high-carbon electricity generation -- but it has almost nothing to do with oil's use in transportation. And besides, Obama hasn't been able to get it passed by Congress -- nor will he.

    Obama should not devote resources to solutions, such as hydrogen, that will take many years to develop and have high infrastructure costs. Instead, he should turn to a portfolio of steps that can move the United States off oil in the near term. Here are five things he can do now: 1) Create incentives for the large-scale production of plug-in hybrid cars and all-electric vehicles; 2) Mandate that fleet vehicles, such as city buses and some interstate trucking, be fueled with natural gas; 3) Follow Brazil's lead and move to an open-standard, flexible-fuel vehicle requirement so that alcohol fuels can compete with gasoline; 4) Require drastic efficiency increases for internal combustion engines; and 5) Encourage auto companies to move toward carbon composites, which will lighten automobiles and require smaller engines to propel them.

    Even if each of these solutions reduced oil transportation demand by only about 10 percent over the next decade, Obama could shatter oil's transportation monopoly -- now about 95 percent in the United States. If the president doesn't take such steps immediately, Americans face a grim future: falling ever more heavily into debt, funding terrorism, empowering dictators, contributing to climate change, and giving themselves cancer.

    R. James Woolsey, chairman of Woolsey Partners, is former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    BUILD UP THE WEST BANK

    Elliott Abrams
    Forget the peace talks. A lasting, final Israeli-Palestinian agreement is nowhere in sight. With the negotiations as background music, Barack Obama should get serious. The rest of his term should be spent building the institutions of a Palestinian state in the West Bank -- not chasing a dream.

    Over the past two administrations, Washington has given substantial aid to the Palestinian Authority. An increasingly reliable and well-trained PA police force -- in place of the late Yasir Arafat's criminal gangs masquerading as security forces -- has been created, and cooperation between Israel and the PA against terrorism is growing. The United States has supported the efforts of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to prevent the corruption endemic in Fatah, Arafat's stagnant political party, from infecting the PA again. West Bank GDP grew at an impressive 7 percent clip during 2009, even amid the global economic recession. But though many gains have been made, the Palestinian economy is still highly dependent on international aid, and extremist groups have proved that they still retain the capacity to launch attacks on Israel from the West Bank.

    If you build it, they will sign. The only way to reassure Palestinians that a state is possible is to make one, and the only way to reassure Israelis that their security will be enhanced rather than diminished is for them to see it with their own eyes. That won't happen for either side at Camp David or Oslo or Annapolis -- only right there on the ground in the West Bank.

    Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was deputy national security advisor handling Middle Eastern affairs in George W. Bush's administration.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    MAKE A SOUTH ASIA COMMAND

    Bruce Riedel
    South Asia is the epicenter of terrorism and the most dangerous place in the world today: Pakistan is a fragile state with what may be the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenal; India is an emerging great power, but one with precarious internal rifts; and Afghanistan is just struggling to survive. Yet the U.S. government is alarmingly unprepared to engage with the region -- even at the most basic organizational level. Instead of treating South Asia as a whole, the U.S. national security establishment has carved it up into an array of parts: In the military, Central and Pacific Commands each have a piece of the region, and, more confusing still, the desks at the State Department and the National Security Council that handle "AfPak" are separate from those that deal with India. This may make the Indians happy -- they don't want to be linked with failing states -- but it makes no sense for the United States.

    If Barack Obama is to really get serious about the region, he needs to create an executive bureau for Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan -- one that spans across the U.S. government. Good organization does not guarantee good policy, but a poorly constructed bureaucracy is almost always a recipe for bad policy. A new military command that puts Pakistan and India in the same theater would help enormously in improving U.S. strategic thinking about South Asia. No longer would one commander talk to the Pakistanis and another to the Indians; the Pentagon would have just one voice. And likewise for Foggy Bottom: An empowered assistant secretary of state for South Asia could travel regularly on diplomatic missions between Kabul, Islamabad, and New Delhi.

    Obama was right to recognize that the Afghan war could not be effectively prosecuted without dealing with Pakistan. But it's foolish to think that Pakistan can be effectively assisted without dealing with the issue that dominates its own strategic calculus: India.

    Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, was a senior advisor to three U.S. presidents on Middle Eastern and South Asian issues.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    STOP FAWNING OVER AMERICA'S MUSLIM ALLIES

    Ellen Laipson
    Barack Obama needs to rethink his approach to engaging the Muslim world. After the promise of his seminal June 2009 Cairo speech, his administration has not focused on any serious initiatives and has fallen into the trap of fawning over Muslims in ways that are contrary to America's core values. The message about religion should be tolerance, full stop. Holding a Ramadan iftar dinner in the Ben Franklin Room of the State Department, a faux ritual that predates the Obama administration, is particularly problematic. Public spaces should honor secular, civic virtues. Good intentions have gotten in the way of common sense and American values.

    Obama would be better off skipping symbolism and working to improve the effectiveness of Middle Eastern states in delivering services and expanding the participation of their citizens in public policy. The case of Egypt and its upcoming presidential election is a good place to start. The White House must try to ensure that the 2011 contest be fair and legitimate, for Egypt's sake and ours. But America's good work with grassroots activists needs to be complemented by a bolder public stance and even tough measures when governments fail to advance the most basic democratic reforms.

    In the end, Obama's legacy to U.S. relations with the Muslim world would be best served by strengthening public institutions, promoting democratic values and practices, and speaking out when gross injustices occur, even in states that are officially friendly to America.

    Ellen Laipson is CEO of the Stimson Center and was vice chair of the National Intelligence Council.
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    REWRITE THE RULES OF WAR

    Will Marshall
    George W. Bush, in the absence of broadly agreed-upon guidelines for fighting and meting out justice to terrorists, stumbled badly in attempting to write his own rules for the "war on terror." Barack Obama has done better, but his administration is just as bollixed up over the right way to detain and try suspected terrorists.

    Nine years after 9/11, let's get it right once and for all. Obama should lead an international effort to clear up confusion and ambiguities surrounding terrorism, war, and the "right" to resistance invoked by groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to justify attacking civilians and using them as human shields.

    Specifically, Obama should call for a new Geneva Convention -- the fifth -- to provide a common legal framework for combating terrorism. This would help the world resolve the "neither soldier nor criminal" quandary that has bedeviled two successive U.S. administrations. More importantly, it would stigmatize the routine use of violence against civilians in fragile or disordered countries around the world.

    A tough new anti-terrorism convention would give the international community new weapons in the struggle to discredit violent extremism. By designating mass casualty and suicide terrorism as crimes against humanity, it would take some of the glamour out of violence. It would also provide the legal basis for international tribunals to indict those who recruit the killers and plan the attacks. Finally, leading the charge for a new Geneva Convention would reinforce a core theme of Obama's foreign policy: restoring U.S. moral leadership within a framework of international cooperation for mutual security.

    Because terrorism is a global scourge, it makes no sense for every country to write its own rules for combating and punishing terrorists. It's time to arm the civilized world with the legal tools it needs to fight and defeat terrorists -- in a civilized way.

    Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    GIVE THE PUBLIC A GREEN CHECK

    James Hansen
    Climate policy is not rocket science. Our fossil-fuel addiction cannot be solved if fossil fuels are the cheapest energy. But fossil-fuel energy is cheapest only because the producers of fossil fuels receive direct and indirect subsidies and are not made to pay for their costs to society -- such as health risks and long-term climate-change remediation. Until Barack Obama tackles this fundamental incongruity, the United States will remain stuck in useless and costly political battles like the rancid, partisan, congressional cap-and-trade debacle of the last two years.

    Instead of getting a free ride, fossil fuels should pay their fair share via a gradually rising carbon fee collected from fossil-fuel companies at the domestic mine or port of entry. All funds collected should be distributed directly to the public on a per capita basis via a monthly "green check." This will spur the U.S. economy and promote clean-energy innovations. In the short term, more than 60 percent of the U.S. population would receive more in their green check than they would pay out in increased energy prices. (This won't be true for the wealthiest Americans, as they tend to use more energy.)

    The best part about a rising carbon price is that it provides the only realistic chance for an international climate accord. Obama was right not to depend on last year's 192-country, cap-and-trade talkfest in Copenhagen. But he can't give up on an agreement between the world's two top emitters: the United States and China.

    The Chinese will never agree to a "cap" on their carbon emissions. But China seems willing to negotiate a carbon price. Why? Not only are its leaders concerned about the country's environmental quality, they also want to avoid the fossil-fuel addiction that has hobbled the United States. More importantly, they stand to profit: Beijing is making enormous investments in nuclear, wind, and solar power. If the United States were to strongly incentivize green choices, China's factories would struggle to keep up with consumer demand. And once the United States and China agree on what the right carbon fee should be, most other countries will go along.

    Lest we forget, stabilizing climate change is a moral issue. Our fossil-fuel addiction, if unabated, threatens our children and grandchildren, and most species on the planet. If Obama dreams of being a great president, he needs to take on the great moral challenge of our century.

    James Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is author of Storms of My Grandchildren.
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    CUT (REALLY CUT) MILITARY SPENDING

    Christopher Preble
    Despite all the hype about Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his cuts of big-ticket military projects, the Pentagon's $680 billion budget is actually slated to increase in coming years. This is unconscionable at a time when taxpayers are under enormous stress and when the U.S. government must reduce spending across the board. Barack Obama can save big bucks without undermining U.S. security -- but only if he refocuses the military on a few, core missions.

    Unfortunately, the president has shown no real interest in cutting military spending or in revisiting the purpose of U.S. military power. Why not? For all his talk of change, Obama has continued on the path set by his predecessors. Like George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, he sees the U.S. military as the world's sole policeman, and its armed social worker. It is this all-encompassing mission that requires a large military -- and a very expensive one. Americans today spend more on their military, adjusting for inflation, than at any time during the Cold War, even though the threats that they face are quite modest.

    If Obama is serious about reducing the deficit and keeping U.S. troops out of "dumb wars," as he famously dubbed them, he should put his money where his mouth is. Cutting defense spending is the only reliable way to stifle Washington's impulse to send U.S. troops on ill-considered missions around the globe.

    The hawks will scream, but America will be just fine. Obama can capitalize on the country's unique advantages -- wide oceans to the east and west, friendly neighbors to the north and south, a dearth of powerful enemies globally, and the wealth to adapt to dangers as they arise -- by adopting a grand strategy of restraint. The United States could shed the burden of defending other countries that are able to defend themselves, abandon futile efforts to fix failed states, and focus on those security challenges that pose the greatest threat to America. A strategic shift of this magnitude will not only reduce conflict and make the United States safer, but it will enable Obama to reshape the military to suit this more modest set of objectives, at a price that's far easier for taxpayers to swallow.

    Christopher Preble is director of foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    DUMP THE NUKES

    Joseph Cirincione
    Barack Obama needs to get real about actual cuts in America's still-enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons -- or his nuclear legacy won't even match that of Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush.

    So far, the president has made modest progress shrinking stockpiles and preventing new nations and terrorists from getting nuclear weapons. But these gains have been hard won, and his entire strategy is now at risk: Negotiating the New START treaty with Russia took too long, and political opponents slowed Senate approval.

    Delay is dangerous. It threatens other planned efforts, including nuclear-test bans and a global lockup of all weapons materials. And it will create diplomatic havoc. Other countries agreed to stronger efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation based on Obama's promise to convince nuclear-armed states to reduce their arsenals. If reductions stall, so will cooperation. Countries will hedge their bets, and nuclear materials and technology will spread.

    But Obama can regain momentum by executing reductions that don't depend on Russia or the Senate. The first President Bush did this in 1991, unilaterally eliminating more than 3,000 weapons and denuclearizing the U.S. Army and surface Navy. Obama should begin by taking limited measures: disclose how many weapons the United States has in its nuclear stockpile, step up the pace of dismantlement of the estimated 4,200 excess bombs (Bill Clinton took apart about 1,000 a year, George W. Bush just 300, and Obama could get to 450 easily), and immediately cut the deployed strategic weapons to 1,550, instead of waiting the seven years the New START treaty allows.

    Then it's time for bold moves: Obama should unilaterally reduce the active U.S. arsenal to 1,000 weapons (which is still three times more than U.S. Air Force experts judge are necessary) and remove the 200 U.S. nuclear bombs that remain in Europe.

    Such cuts won't hurt U.S. or global security in the least -- and Obama has plenty of bipartisan, expert support for cuts of this size. They would put him on the road to fulfilling his compelling promise of a truly nuclear-free world.

    Joseph Cirincione is president of the Ploughshares Fund.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME IN PAKISTAN

    Ashley J. Tellis
    Ever since Islamabad reluctantly joined the U.S. campaign against terrorism in 2001, it has consistently pursued a strategy of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. To this day, Pakistan's security services continue to support various terrorist and insurgent groups -- such as the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Hezb-i-Islami -- that attack Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, even as Islamabad continues to extract large amounts of aid from Washington. As the July 2011 deadline for beginning the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan approaches, Pakistan's continued protection of the insurgents will undermine Barack Obama's plans to improve conditions sufficiently in Afghanistan so as to begin an orderly withdrawal.

    Yet both the Bush and Obama administrations have tolerated Pakistan's duplicity with regard to counterterrorism, primarily because the country remains the principal artery for transporting U.S. cargo -- food, water, vehicles -- and fuel delivered to Afghanistan. And, as the recent border closings by Pakistani forces have shown, the Obama administration must implement a Plan B that denies Pakistan the ability to hold the coalition at ransom: It must begin by planning to move larger quantities of supplies through the northern distribution network that runs from Georgia through Azerbaijan, to Kazakhstan, and then Uzbekistan to Afghanistan. Although U.S. forces now receive more supplies through this route than they did before, the dependence on Pakistan is still substantial -- and so consequently is Islamabad's capacity for blackmail.

    As a complement to increasing reliance on the northern route, U.S. assistance to Pakistan (totaling roughly $18 billion in civilian and military aid since 9/11) should be tacitly conditioned on Islamabad's meeting certain counterterrorism benchmarks. For starters, all transfers of major military equipment to Islamabad should be contingent on Pakistan ceasing support for militant groups that threaten coalition and national forces in Afghanistan. More extreme (and hopefully unnecessary) options would include expanded drone and air-power operations inside Pakistani airspace. Or -- and this is certain to catch Islamabad's attention -- more open support for Indian contributions to Afghan stability.

    The most important problem is that suddenly challenging Pakistan after a decade of acquiescence to its mendacity is tantamount to abruptly changing the rules of a game that Washington and Islamabad have gotten used to: It could result in even greater Pakistani obduracy and further support for its jihadi proxies. Although that is certainly an unpalatable possibility, the bitter truth is that the current state of affairs -- in which Washington indefinitely subsidizes Islamabad's sustenance of U.S. enemies -- poses far greater dangers to the United States. The Obama administration must make the difficult choice now and show Islamabad that the rules of the game have changed.

    Ashley J. Tellis is senior associate of the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
     
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    DIVIDE THE IRANIAN LEADERSHIP

    Dmitri Trenin
    Despite all that Barack Obama has to preoccupy himself with in Afghanistan and Iraq these days, it is Iran that is likely to be the U.S. president's most serious foreign policy-challenge in the coming months. By now it is clear that Iran is headed toward nuclear weapons -- and that's plural weapons, not just one. Iran's goal is a nuclear weapons arsenal. The only question that remains is whether this will be maintained for deterrence and regional power politics or actually used. That answer will depend on the balance of power within the Iranian leadership.

    Obama essentially has two options: He can provoke the Iranian leadership, or he can seek to influence it, tipping the balance in favor of the moderates. The options mentioned in policy circles so far include striking Iran, supporting an Israeli attack, or imposing ever more stringent sanctions. None will work, however, and each will backfire -- empowering the regime's most radical elements by offering them a pretext to attack Israel or the West. The president must resist the temptation to use highly visible, but blunt instruments of power.

    Instead, the Obama administration must work to isolate the religious fanatics and their allies among the Revolutionary Guards, empowering the moderates. Elements of such a strategy include: increasing economic and cultural openness toward Iran; coordinating closely with foreign partners, from Europe and Turkey to Russia and China; and aligning NATO's missile-defense plans with its erstwhile rival, Moscow. There is no guarantee, of course, that this strategy will succeed. What it does ensure is -- at the very least -- that the United States will not make matters worse by throwing a public-relations softball to Iran's radical fanatics. Iran's bomb may be inevitable; its use is still preventable.

    Dmitri Trenin is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    GET TOUGH ON HUMAN RIGHTS

    Kenneth Roth
    In the 1990s, the United States, though hardly perfect, did more than any other country to promote the responsibility to protect people facing mass atrocities. In Bosnia and Kosovo, though tragically not Rwanda, leaders learned that the slaughter of their people risked a forceful response from Washington.

    Unfortunately, President George W. Bush tainted such action when, finding no weapons of mass destruction, he tried to justify the invasion of Iraq retrospectively in humanitarian terms. Yet as Barack Obama recognized in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, "Force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans."

    Obama needs to put this principle into practice, and there is no better case for the humanitarian use of force than the urgent need to arrest Joseph Kony, the ruthless leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and protect the civilians who are his prey. And far from requiring a non-consensual intervention, Kony's apprehension would be welcomed by the governments concerned.

    The LRA began as a rebel movement in northern Uganda, but it now terrorizes the civilian population of northern Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as southern Sudan and the Central African Republic. Its cadre often descends on a remote village, slaughters every adult in sight, and then kidnaps the children, some shockingly young -- the boys to become soldiers slinging AK-47s, the girls to serve as "bush wives." Over more than two decades, many thousands have fallen victim to these roving mass murderers.

    The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Kony and other LRA commanders, charging them with war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the court depends on governments to make arrests.

    So far Uganda has done the most to pursue the LRA, but ineffectively. The LRA is not large -- an estimated 200 to 250 seasoned Ugandan combatants, plus at least several hundred abductees -- but as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently told me, Uganda lacks the special forces, expert intelligence, and rapid-deployment capacity needed to stamp out this enemy.

    In May, Obama signed a bill committing the United States to help arrest Kony and his commanders and protect the affected population. Now it is high time to act. Arresting Kony would reaffirm that mass murder cannot be committed with impunity. And it would show that, despite the difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the humanitarian use of force remains a live option at the Obama White House.

    Kenneth Roth is executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    TURN SOUTH

    Nancy Soderberg
    Barack Obama must start looking south, not just east and west. Like it or not, the U.S. economic recovery, success in the war on terrorism, and meeting the climate-change challenge all depend on successful partnerships with the developing world -- partnerships we just don't have. To get there, we need to dramatically restructure the leadership of our global institutions -- from the World Bank to the U.N. Security Council -- to better represent Brazil, Nigeria, India, South Africa, and the other countries that make up the world's 4 billion poorest.

    Take climate change, for instance. We can't get a deal unless the developing world sees us as helping it adapt to the effects of global warming. This will require money, not just rhetoric: Obama, instead of simply vowing to end fossil-fuel subsidies, should redirect those funds specifically for the purpose of meeting the U.S. share of the global pledge to provide $100 billion through 2020 to help the developing world take on climate change.

    But money alone isn't the issue. We also lack the basic tools to meet these challenges. For too many years, the U.S. military has been Washington's most visible outreach into the developing world. Diplomacy counts, and Obama needs to reinvest in the State Department. The president's modest proposed increase of nearly $4 billion won't cut it -- and Congress even axed that. What is needed is a generous 10-year plan to develop adequate State Department resources; otherwise talk of 21st-century diplomacy is just that. For when America shows up in times of need -- during this year's Pakistan floods or in fighting AIDS in Africa -- we not only reduce poverty, disease, and conflict, but also eliminate safe havens for terrorists. And that's something we can all get behind.

    Nancy Soderberg is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and president of the Connect U.S. Fund.
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Interview: Bob Woodward

    On Friday, the White House parted ways with a very publicly unhappy national security advisor and many blamed his hasty pre-election exit on the account in journalist Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars. Woodward tells Foreign Policy what he makes of Jim Jones's rocky tenure, why the president "is his own chief foreign policy strategist" -- and how he's still doesn't trust his generals.

    Foreign Policy: The big news yesterday is national security advisor Jim Jones announcing his departure from the White House. This is something that's been talked about almost from the very moment that he took the job in the beginning of the administration. There are people inside the White House suggesting that the account of his tenure as portrayed in your book perhaps hastened the departure. What's your sense of it? He obviously wasn't happy in the job.

    Bob Woodward: The account of his tenure squares with everyone else's. And he warned President Obama at the beginning, saying you know, "I was not a very good staff guy." I think he wanted to be secretary of state but he said when he'd been the aide to Bill Cohen, secretary of defense, or to the Marine commandant, it wasn't kind of his thing and, you know, they picked him anyway. As everyone knew, he was outside the circle.

    FP: Is this a story about presidents needing to be close to their national security advisors?

    BW: Obama told people he thought it was important to pick somebody who's kind of not part of the political in-crowd. Obviously he's gone the other way now with [new national security advisor Tom] Donilon so it's interesting to see.
    FP: The one thing that neither of these two figures is -- either Tom Donilon or Jim Jones -- is a big strategist type. You don't have anybody who's coming in with a grand vision -- it seems -- for what the Obama administration's footprint in the world should be.

    BW: I think that's right and it is now clear Obama's his own chief foreign policy strategist. He designed the Afpak option himself. Interestingly -- and no one has kind of put this together because it's a little complex -- but he took the Gates memo of October 30th in which Gates said "Oh, we could do 30,000 or 35,000 troops" and Gates clearly did not see it as an option he was offering but the president latched onto it and he latched onto what Gates said, "we can begin thinning out forces in 18-24 months." And like somebody grabbing onto whatever he could, the president took that and then set the withdrawal dates so in a real sense Obama's his own strategist on these things.

    FP: A lot of the commentary about the book has seized upon that and has made the point that it's very unusual the way in which Obama has interacted with the Pentagon, that he's been much more aggressive than say President Bush was in not just choosing options presented by the Pentagon but trying to create his own in the White House.

    BW: Which he did and of course if it works, he's going to be a strategic genius. If it doesn't work, a lot of Republicans, Democrats and the military people are going to say "See, none of us recommended this."

    FP: That's the account that really comes through very clearly and wasn't really sharply defined before this portrayal.

    FP: Is that the most surprising thing that you encountered in reporting the book? What did you expect to find in the national security process that you didn't find?

    BW: You know I try not to expect. ... I think that the point that Steve Coll made in commentary on this is right: that it's Pakistan. That we keep talking about Afghanistan, but we better think more and more about Pakistan. It is the powder keg of South Asia and the whole world. I remember studying World War I history in high school and college, you know, the Balkans, the powder keg of Europe and it blew up. Look at what World War I was, a prolonged international calamity. And you talk to the intelligence people and they're really worried about where this is going. Where Pakistan is going.

    FP: You have looked at the national security process very carefully, across multiple presidencies. How would you say the Obama version of handling a challenge like the wars, how's it different from Bush? How's it different from the Clinton era?

    BW: Well there's the cliché that I keep talking about -- that Bush is the gut player and he always said "I'm not a textbook player." And Obama's all textbook. And we think no gut but actually I think Obama's gut on this is very clear: He does not like war and he wants out. And bringing Donilon into the National Security Council as the national security advisor is a real kind of declaration of we're going...you know, the president's view is going to be more controlling here. And it just couldn't be clearer. Donilon has a world view that's very consistent with the president's. Both of them view the war in Afghanistan as an investment, like you would spend $8 billion on a roads project and you know, get the road done then you're out of there. And the president has made it clear this is a limited investment in terms of money and time and the military doesn't like that. It's an axiom, that you don't do these things on a timetable and there's a lot of evidence to support that.

    FP: You mentioned Donilon and how close his views are to Obama himself. But Secretary Gates is quoted in the book as saying he thought Donilon would be a "disaster." What does that mean, do you think?

    BW: Well it says that he felt Donilon didn't understand the military or respect them enough. Did you see the New York Times this morning, where they talked to Gates and Gates said, "Yes there were tensions, Donilon called, we had a meeting, we've ironed it out, everything's is fine." It's confirmation.

    FP: What role do you think politics is playing in this?

    BW: Presidents are political animals obviously, so this is part of what's going on.

    BW: Donilon and [retired Lt. Gen. Doug] Lute are the real skeptics about whether this is working or not [in Afghanistan.] Lute is very much trusted and respected by the president. He was in there saying in the strategy review, you know, "You don't need to do this. It's not a calculated risk but a gamble." And the four risk factors he lays out are in the secret orders for the monthly review and all four of them aren't going very well. Now here's the big question, I think, in all of this: Can miracle Dave Petraeus...

    Can he put Humpty Dumpty back together again? He did it in Iraq and he's a phenomenal general. And so I intentionally end the book with him kind of saying "Gee," back in 2007 when he's in Iraq, "Why didn't I take that Afghan job?"

    FP: Do you think he and Obama have established a real working relationship yet?

    BW: There's not much evidence of it. I thought one of the most telling moments when I talked to Obama was when I asked about [appointing Gen. Stanley] McChrystal, and he only met with him for ten minutes. I said, but this is your Eisenhower. He would not accept that and he went off saying "I'm not FDR" and "This isn't World War II" and so forth. And I just said to him, "But this is your war" and it's personal relations that count. The point is to spend ten minutes with the guy who's going to take over the war? I don't get that. But then he gets on a plane and goes every week on these campaign swings, you know, to send a political message of the day? It's a misallocation of time.

    FP: What do you think of the role Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is playing right now?

    BW: She supports the military. And that reduced the maneuvering room [for Obama] in a big way.

    FP: Now what do you make, of the big hullabaloo over Mark Penn's comments to you about whether Obama would contemplate putting Clinton on the ticket instead of Biden. Does that mean that there's any such contemplation actually occurring? What's your view at this point? Did this get misinterpreted?

    BW: Well I said it's on the table but you know, it's like, you know, a book's on the table, you may read it in the summer. Didn't mean they were talking about it then? I mean obviously they're worried about the November election but I mean Penn's point is a profound one in terms of electoral politics. Obama might need Hillary on the ticket.

    FP: But you're not saying you have any independent knowledge of sources telling you that right now President Obama is contemplating such a thing.

    BW: No, of course not. But look at the numbers. The numbers are stunning in those four areas that Penn identifies: with voters who are women, Latinos, working class and seniors. In the primaries she was two to one with those groups over Obama. Now, of course there's a negative side to Hillary Clinton also but the point there is there's a political calculation in this and it was quite humorous to talk to Hillary's aides about this. "No, no politics had absolutely nothing to do with her decision to become Secretary of State. She has no political ambition. She's out of that game. She's not running for anything" and so forth. And then you point out to them that part of her clout and weight abroad is connected, that every time she goes anywhere, the leadership in any of those countries sees a possible future president. And that enhances her stature. So it's so funny -- so they have to deny it but not too much.

    BW: Yes, I don't think it was out there that he couldn't get options from the Pentagon, that he laid into them and said "I want more options" and actually said "It's unacceptable that I'm not getting them."
     
  17. Patriot

    Patriot Senior Member Senior Member

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    How the U.S. Snoops on Russian Nukes From Space



    It’s been nearly a year since nuclear inspectors counted missiles in Russia as part of long-standing arms-control agreements. The Obama administration argues that they need to return ASAP, and so the Senate needs to ratify a new nuclear-arms treaty with Russia before the year ends. But the United States has ways to check out the Russian nuclear arsenal from space — that is, if you don’t need to be exact.

    “We have a wealth of advanced classified systems up there that can read license plates,” says Stephen Schwartz, a nuclear-arms expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “But you can’t see inside buildings and they have trouble seeing through clouds.”

    Verification is the heart of arms control. Before the United States and Russia started signing arms-control deals in the 1970s, each launched spy planes and satellites up into the sky to get a sense of how many missiles the other guy had. And even with the advent of missile-counters, the United States continues to throw satellites into space to snoop below.

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    Tomorrow, Cape Canaveral will launch what the director of the National Reconnaissance Office — the intelligence agency that manages the spy satellites — calls the “largest satellite in the world” into geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above the earth, where it’ll use “sensitive radio receivers and an antenna generally believed to span up to 100 meters (328 feet) to gather electronic intelligence for the National Security Agency,” as sat-watcher Ted Molczan told Space.com.

    The National Reconnaissance Office’s satellites are classified. But of the 438 U.S. military, government and commercial satellites hovering overhead, “you could characterize about 90 of them as collecting some form of intelligence, whether it is imagery, signals or detecting nuclear detonations,” says Brian Weeden, a former officer with the U.S. Air Force Space Command. (Globalsecurity.org has a good rundown of some of their capabilities.)

    When it comes to arms control, the satellites are good for “a rough sense of scale,” says Danger Room alum and arms-control wonk at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Jeffrey Lewis. That is, “you can count brigades and you can see bunkers,” and can watch heavy equipment moving in and out of nuclear-production sites.

    But anything more specific requires on-the-ground inspectors. “If a treaty calls for them having 500 delivery vehicles, you’d probably know the number was 1,000 and not 10,000,” Lewis continues, “but you would not be able to tell 500 from 1000.” You also wouldn’t know how many nuclear warheads are placed on a single missile. And you definitely can’t use them to see inside a nuclear bunker or silo.

    And you probably would have a time lag before you knew anything at all. Spy satellites are typically in low-earth orbit, between 300 and 2,000 kilometers above the earth, and they fly overhead an area and might not return for several days. “They can’t be everywhere at once,” Weeden says, “and there is competition for these assets, with the wars in Iraq, Af-Pak and everywhere else.”

    At the same time, while the verification provisions in the so-called New START treaty with Russia are more stringent than what’s in place now, they still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to stopping illicit proliferation like the “loose nuke” problem.

    Under New START, inspectors wouldn’t be able to count every warhead in the U.S. or Russian arsenals, they would just be able to “see if there’s a missile in the tubes or in the silo and then count the number of warheads on it,” Lewis says. But that’s still a progression in transparency from the predecessor treaty, which expired last December.

    “If the goal is to someday count every Russian warhead,” Lewis says, “New START is step in that direction.”

    But Baker Spring, a New START opponent from the Heritage Foundation, says it’s “blame shifting of the highest order, bordering on the astounding” for the Obama administration to use the lack of inspections as a cudgel on the Senate to pass the treaty. In 2009, the Obama team didn’t conclude a post-expiration bridging agreement with the Russians keeping inspectors on the ground until a new treaty could be ratified. If Obama was so concerned about verification, Baker says, he should have pushed for a verification add-on to the George W. Bush-era Moscow Treaty, which could have attracted Republican support, and then the administration “wouldn’t face the problems it faces in the Senate today.”

    Instead, it’s looking like now or never for New START. And while its inspectors won’t be able to totally stop the loose-nuke fear, unless they’re back on the ground under a negotiated accord, it’s hard to see a path toward more-stringent verification. “You can’t blow [New START] up and then expect the Russians to negotiate an even more robust treaty,” Lewis says. “The arms-control process will stop for some substantial period of time.”








    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/how-the-u-s-snoops-on-russian-nukes-from-space/
     
  18. Patriot

    Patriot Senior Member Senior Member

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    Intel: No arms treaty means U.S. may divert satellites to cover Russia
    Senate under pressure to ratify New START

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    President Obama talks about progress on the New START pact. On hand are former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (center), and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Marine Gen. James Cartwright (right). (Associated Press)

    In the absence of a U.S.-Russian arms control treaty, the U.S. intelligence community is telling Congress it will need to focus more spy satellites over Russia that could be used to peer on other sites, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, to support the military.

    The demand for these satellites - one component of the "national technical means," or NTM - has increased the urgency for the Obama administration to get the Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in its lame-duck session.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. spy satellites began to shift focus from Russia onto sites such as Iraq, China, Pakistan and India. Today, spy satellites are trained on Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "As the proliferation threat has grown over the past decade, as the terrorism threat has grown over the past decade and as the United States has been deploying troops in harm's way over the last decade, there has been a decline in the priority assigned to Russian strategic forces by national technical means and at the same time there has been a decline in our overall NTM capabilities," said Paula DeSutter, former assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance and implementation between 2002 and 2009.

    At issue are the "low Earth orbit satellites," which orbit at about 300 miles above the Earth. The satellites' sensors have improved in recent years to the point that they can take very high-resolution photographs and in some cases at least provide a rough picture of underground facilities with ground-penetrating radar.

    The newer satellites can see in the dark with infrared sensors and scan the electromagnetic spectrum for tell-tale signs of nuclear activity and wireless communications.

    Opponents of the treaty say that even if New START is ratified, the United States will still need to increase its overhead surveillance of Russia's strategic arsenal.

    The treaty, which was signed in April, would restore on-site inspections of Russian nuclear missile silos, bombers and submarines that have stopped since the old START expired in December. The new treaty also bars the Russians from interfering with or jamming spy satellites and restricts where various nuclear weapons can be located.

    Inside the intelligence community, battles rage among various offices and task forces over where to deploy the highest-technology spy satellites.

    "Having the inspections [in New START] will allow us to focus our resources on other targets right now," a U.S. intelligence official told The Washington Times.

    Daniel Gallington, who represented the defense secretary in 11 rounds of talks with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, said there has always been a competition for national technical means inside the intelligence community.

    "The thing about national technical means is that everybody wants them," he said. "The tactical guys on the ground want them, the strategic guys want them, anyone who has an intelligence account responsible for producing an estimate wants to use as much overhead and technical means as they can get. There are committees that sit down and try to figure out who gets what, and there is just never enough to go around."

    But Ms. DeSutter, noting that New START calls for 18 annual inspections of Russian sites, said the U.S. needs more eyes in the sky for verification.

    "Our overall satellite capability is not what it used to be and not what it ought to be," she said. "Eighteen spot inspections a year is not going to fill the gap left by inadequate NTM capabilities. If we want better coverage of Russia's strategic threats, we are going to have to launch more satellites."

    On Tuesday, Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, dealt a blow to President Obama's efforts to get the Senate to ratify New START when he said he did not think it was right to vote on the treaty in the lame-duck session. Republican leaders have said they will take cues from Mr. Kyl on New START before casting their own votes.

    On Thursday, 10 incoming Republican senators drafted an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, asking for a chance to vote on New START.

    Mr. Obama has designated Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as point man for ratifying the treaty.

    "There is no higher national security priority for the lame-duck session of Congress," Mr. Obama said Thursday, noting that the agreement would restore inspections. "We cannot afford to gamble on our ability to verify Russia's strategic nuclear arms."

    On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Agence France-Presse: "I think the earlier, the sooner, the better. You know, my thing is, from an intelligence perspective only, are we better off with it or without it? We're better off with it."

    John Noonan, a former missile-launch officer with experience in START inspections, pointed out that inspections were only one part of how the U.S. tracked the Russian arsenal.

    "I refuse to believe that all our intelligence assets that were in place for six decades of the Cold War have all of the sudden been tasked to other targets," he said. "Inspections are useful, but they are part of a larger intelligence picture."

    Among key concerns for the intelligence community is that it is difficult to get high-resolution coverage over a long period time of suspected missile sites and to search for hidden facilities over large swaths of territory.

    "The ability to cover large amounts of real estate with a high degree of detail persistently, which is 24/7, is a vast technological challenge that would consume resources that are not readily available today," said Wesley Covell, vice president of strategy for defense contractor Harris Corp. He declined to discuss specific U.S capabilities.

    Mr. Gallington, who is senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, said he opposed ratification of START because, even with the inspections on the ground, the Russians historically cheated on arms control treaties.

    Mr. Gallington said this was the case with regard to how the Russians defined the terms of the treaties. "They engage themselves in elaborate protocols to facilitate their cheating," he said. "They rely on language in the protocols that border on the outrageous. Classification definitions, counting rules, they are so intricate that essentially they negotiate an agreement in their own language," he said.

    However, Rose Gottemoeller, current assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance and implementation, praised the inspections regime in an article for Arms Control Today in September: "The United States will have the right to select, for purposes of inspection, from all of Russia's treaty-limited deployed and nondeployed delivery vehicles and launchers over the life of New START."

    She added that inspections would be supplemented by overhead satellites.

    "Information provided in notifications will complement and be checked by on-site inspection as well as by imagery from satellites and other assets that collectively make up each side's national technical means of verification," she wrote.

    Ms. DeSutter - Ms. Gottemoeller's predecessor - said the treaty allows for 18 inspections per year and the inspections, even if combined with satellite imagery, would hardly suffice to give much visibility into the Russian arsenal.

    © Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.
     
  19. Gavin121

    Gavin121 New Member

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    Obama was right to recognize that the Afghan war could not be effectively prosecuted without dealing with Pakistan. But it's foolish to think that Pakistan can be effectively assisted without dealing with the issue that dominates its own strategic calculus: India.
     
  20. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Pakistan is far more compressible than what you suggest. American policy makers know it.
    Pakistan could have clinched a deal with USA at the start against India if they are so desperate for it.
    Why Obama should change the clauses of deal, to the likes of Pakistan; which was signed between Musharaf and Bush.

    You are talking like a Pakistani who can not de link WOT in Afghanistan and animosity with India. Americans see WOT in isolation. When they started the operations they were ready to cover both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was Pakistan who opted to ally in the onslaught and gave consent for attacks on very Pakistani soil as well.
     

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