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USA And The Future Of The World
The Moscow Times » Issue 4186 » Opinion
Medvedev Under Obama’s Charm</b>
13 July 2009By Oleg Reut , Peter RutlandU.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Moscow was an impressive diplomatic performance. Obama was able to establish what he called a “tone of mutual respect” without yielding any ground on matters of principle. Even though the visit was short on concrete deliverables, it may well prove to be a pivotal event that will define the character of U.S.-Russian relations for the next four to eight years. Especially in the modern media environment, it is often images and impressions more than anything else that fix a particular historical event.

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The commencement speech on Tuesday at the New Economic School was the centerpiece of the visit. Hope is a hard sell in Moscow — as it was in Cairo — but Obama seemed to pull it off. Obama’s goal was to shift the orientation of U.S.-Russia relations from the past to the future and focus on what kind of society — and world —we want to live in. It is unfortunate that the speech was not shown on any major Russian television channels or reported by the U.S. networks. While CNN did carry a clip from an interview with Obama in Moscow on Tuesday morning, it asked him how he felt about Michael Jackson.

Obama won one important concession from President Dmitry Medvedev: agreement to allow up to 4,500 flights a year across Russian territory carrying military supplies and personnel to Afghanistan. The Kremlin even agreed to drop the usual airspace transit fees. But what Medvedev gained most of all was recognition as an equal partner. Obama referred to Russia as a “great country” and a “great power” — something that never goes unappreciated among Russia’s leaders and people. Moreover, Obama described Medvedev as “professional” and said, “President Medvedev and I are committed to leaving behind the suspicion and the rivalry of the past.”

Obama was a gracious guest and showed that he was not interested in scoring points off Russia’s democratic deficiencies, thus avoiding a topic that has always irritated the Kremlin. In his pre-summit interview with Novaya Gazeta, Obama carefully worded his answer to the touchy issue of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s new trial, clarifying that “although the new charges … appear to be a repackaging of the old charges … I think it is improper for outsiders to interfere in the legal processes of Russia.”

It is true that Obama made an uncharacteristic misstep, describing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an interview with The Associated Press as someone with “one foot in the old ways of doing business.” But Obama appeared to have made amends for the comment in his friendly breakfast meeting with Putin on Tuesday.

The summit was interesting more for what was not said. Obama made no direct public reference to the Georgia war, and Medvedev did not raise the issue of U.S. military bases in Central Asia. The problem, though, is that reality has a habit of creeping back in. In the months to come, those troublesome topics will surely be making the headlines. Russia continues to believe that foreign military bases in neighboring countries is a threat to its national security, while the United States continues to see Central Asia as a region of “vital interest” for them. (This phrase comes from the 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy.) Important topics such as climate change, energy policy or the global financial system were not part of the public pronouncements.

The most substantive agreement was the pledge to come up with an arms control treaty by the end of this year to replace the expiring START I. Although commentators welcomed the proposal to cut the respective arsenals by one third, the proposed ceiling for warheads (from 1,500 to 1,675) is only slightly below the range that the two sides agreed to in the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty of 2002 (from 1,700 to 2,200). Moreover, Washington did not budge on its intention to keep the warheads from dismantled weapons in storage, while Moscow’s position was that they should be destroyed.

Medvedev was not able to persuade Obama to disown the plan to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic — something the Foreign Ministry had repeatedly insisted was a firm condition that had to be met before Russia would agree to reductions in nuclear weapons. Instead, Medvedev had to accept a milquetoast offer from Obama that both sides would to “continue to discuss the issue.” The one reason behind the spat is something neither side wants to publicly acknowledge. The Poles want the interceptors because they feel a U.S. military presence on their territory would serve as a tripwire against any future Russian aggression. Russian-Polish animosity, which has a 400-year history, is much deeper than the 44 years that Moscow dominated Warsaw during the Cold War.

Russian critics may well criticize Medvedev for caving in to Obama’s charm and not fighting hard enough to secure the demands Moscow placed on Washington before the summit. But as a Gazeta.ru editorial put it, the summit was “a visit of symbols and gestures.” And while in diplomacy, it’s always hard to separate the facade from the substance, sometimes the style is the substance.

Oleg Reut is a lecturer at Petrozavodsk State University. Peter Rutland is a professor at Wesleyan University and an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.
<b>Obama Rewrites the Cold War
The President has a duty to stand up to the lies of our enemies.


There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.

Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: "The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful."

The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not "competition in astrophysics and athletics." It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet "sphere of influence" was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.

It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended. One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push "reset" -- or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said.

Mr. Obama's method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip. He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.

The approach was evident in his speech in Moscow and in his speech in Cairo last month. In Cairo, he asserted there was some sort of equivalence between American support for the 1953 coup in Iran and the evil that the Iranian mullahs have done in the world since 1979. On an earlier trip to Mexico City, the president listened to an extended anti-American screed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and then let the lies stand by responding only with, "I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for the things that occurred when I was 3 months old."

Asked at a NATO meeting in France in April whether he believed in American exceptionalism, the president said, "I believe in American Exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." In other words, not so much.

The Obama administration does seem to believe in another kind of exceptionalism -- Obama exceptionalism. "We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand," one Obama handler has said. What they don't seem to realize is that once you're president, your brand is America, and the American people expect you to defend us against lies, not embrace or ignore them. We also expect you to know your history.

Mr. Obama has become fond of saying, as he did in Russia again last week, that American nuclear disarmament will encourage the North Koreans and the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions. Does he really believe that the North Koreans and the Iranians are simply waiting for America to cut funds for missile defense and reduce our strategic nuclear stockpile before they halt their weapons programs?

The White House ought to take a lesson from President Harry Truman. In April, 1950, Truman signed National Security Council report 68 (NSC-68). One of the foundational documents of America's Cold War strategy, NSC-68 explains the danger of disarming America in the hope of appeasing our enemies. "No people in history," it reads, "have preserved their freedom who thought that by not being strong enough to protect themselves they might prove inoffensive to their enemies."

Perhaps Mr. Obama thinks he is making America inoffensive to our enemies. In reality, he is emboldening them and weakening us. America can be disarmed literally -- by cutting our weapons systems and our defensive capabilities -- as Mr. Obama has agreed to do. We can also be disarmed morally by a president who spreads false narratives about our history or who accepts, even if by his silence, our enemies' lies about us.

Ms. Cheney served as deputy assistant secretary of state and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs from 2002-2004 and 2005-2006.
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> "We have already taken some steps that are building the foundation for a 21st century education system here in America, one that will allow us to compete with China and India and everybody else all around the world," Obama told a cheering crowd in Warren Michigan where he announced the American Graduation Initiative.

Comment Columnists / Eric Margolis
<b>Blast it all, Russia deserves the West's respect</b>
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia
Surprised Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Vladislav Vorobev
Translated By Dinara Dussembaev
1 July 2009
Edited by Robin Silberman
Russia - Rossiyskaya Gazeta - Original Article (Russian)
The Russian Diplomats are Pleasantly Surprised
It seems as though the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is deeply confused. In the high-rise of the Smolensk Square, no one expected that the new treaty negotiations regarding restrictions on strategic offensive arms would suddenly begin to gather momentum. However, the Russian diplomats are actually glad to see this type of confusion.

"The degree of progression is above our initial expectations," declared Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. But only a week ago our Ministry of Foreign Affairs sources informed us that the negotiations are moving very slowly; that there are still lots of stones left unturned and that it will be hardly possible to sign the new agreement by December 5, 2009, the expiration date of the former strategic arms reduction treaty.

In the last several months, three rounds of negotiations have already taken place. However, their results did not instill optimism in Russian-American relations. After all, the red button presented to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already been pressed. The reset has begun.

So the Americans were able to surprise the Russians. No doubt that negotiation process was affected by this key fact: four days remained before the U.S. president’s visit to Moscow. And Barack Obama has proven several times already that he is in the White House to solve real problems, not just to engage in political outings. In other words, he clearly demands concrete results from the American diplomats. It is apparent that the Russian diplomats are facing the same challenges.

At this point, Sergei Ryabkov is confident that by December they should be able "to prepare a comprehensive document outlining the verification measures and information exchange procedures, which contain provisions to ensure equal security and significant reduction of strategic offensive weapons through effective verification." However, it seems as though the success has not gone to the heads of the Russian diplomats.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently trying to figure out how to keep the Obama administration’s new signed agreements in effect. After all, Washington has repeatedly shown how easily it has broken their preceding agreements. That already happened with the anti-missile defense. There is no guarantee that it won’t happen again.

"No one should underestimate the degree of distrust that the Russian society has for American political policy. We should work and hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst,” noted Ryabkov. It is probable to assume that the American diplomats feel the same way.
Sohu, China
America Is Backing Off So What Do WeDo Now?
America is still the world’s only super power but it is a super power that has given up the role of the global policeman.
Translated By Jasmine Wang
Edited by Caitlin Krieck
On June 28th, when the Honduran Parliament, High Court and military leaders decided to overthrow the arbitrary but democratically elected left-wing President Zelaya, they expected a repeat of the events of 2002. Seven years ago, a coup threatened to overthrow the Venezuelan president Chavez and the United States reluctantly acknowledged the legitimacy of the power change. But George Bush was the president all those years ago and the man in the White House today is a very different type of world leader. The differences between Barack Obama and George W. Bush were made clear from the outset, beginning with Obama’s speech in Cairo, in which the new American leader notified the world that the U.S. would not be continuing its policy of interventionism. Rather, foreign affairs and conflicts will be dealt with through diplomacy.

Honduran right-wing politicians quickly realized they had miscalculated. Not only did Obama reiterate his non-interventionist principle and his unwavering condemnation of the coup, the American government on the whole explicitly indicated their support for the democratically elected Zelaya. The U.N. quickly followed suite, immediately denouncing the revolt and declared unanimous support for Zelaya. The Organization of American States pressed for Zelaya’s return to power within three days. Happy with his worldwide support, Zelaya has already announced his intention to resume the presidency.

Most Americans expected Obama to deviate from Bush’s interventionist policies but certainly not this quickly. Conservatives continued their attack on Obama. Republicans are now asking why the Obama administration should choose to stand behind a president deemed unfit to rule by both the Honduran Parliament and the High Court; from their perspective, a neutral position is as good as approval for Zelaya.

The Europeans are similarly surprised at Obama’s new approach. After the controversial Iranian election, the new administration did not lean towards either party and merely reinforced the belief that the voices of the Iranian people must be heard. The U.S. has commented on the situation only from a human right perspective.

As a result, the outspoken British and E.U. governments became the unwitting leaders of the pack. Khamenei has begun to see “Evil Britain”, rather than the “Great Devil” of the U.S., as Iran’s number one public enemy. American television quickly latched onto this recent news- talk show host Jon Stewart excitedly jumped up and high-fived his stage crew on the Daily Show. Iran later detained 8 staff members of the British embassy, announcing that the E.U. is no longer qualified to participate in G6 talks regarding nuclear proliferation in Iran. An angry European Union is considering pulling out ambassadors to Iran.

America has truly changed and if nations around the world do not take this change seriously, then events like the miscalculated Honduran coup and the E.U.’s over-hasty denouncement of Iran will continue to occur. Visiting Russia, Obama called for a break with the Cold War mentality, asking to “reset relations between the United States and Russia.”

America is still the world’s only super power but it is a super power that has given up the role of the global policeman. It is more willing to influence international affairs through cooperation and diplomacy rather than brute force. Foreign Policy is but an extension of the country’s internal affairs and Obama is choosing to concentrate on the domestic crisis, giving America a little breathing space in the international arena. After all, the U.S. is still a long way from economic recovery, proper Medicare reform and a consensus on climate change. America cannot afford to embroil itself in a new predicament, but the resetting of its relationship with the world is going take some getting used to.
China.com.cn, China
<b>Why is the G8 Silent On the U.S. Dollar</b>?
By Yu Fenghui
1. http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2009/07/cru...ak-cia-and.html
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Crucial insight on Taliban-Pak-CIA and its likely devastation of India</b>
jul 17th, 2009

this is the most likely outcome of the "piss process". and it is something all parties -- obama, osama, manmohan, zardari, hafiz sayid, the saudi king, begum zia -- can agree to (oh, the nehru dynasty will decamp to italy at an expeditious moment and will be long gone before mughalistan actually happens).

i don't usually pay any attention to asia times, as it is funded by the chinese government, but this interview is on the money.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev

A forward.
An interesting interview and analysiswith serious implications for India.


Rajiv Malhotra wrote -  The above review of a Harvard scholar's new book is important reading. It is in line with my thesis that when (not if) US walks away from the
Af-Pak conflict, it will outsource the war to Pakistan's army. Then the Taliban-Pak target will become India. In essence the US will save itself from Taliban (short term only) by deflecting them towards
India. I also see China supporting Pak through money, arms and keeping the tensions alive on the Indo-Tibet border. The endgame for Taliban-Pak --  recreating Mughalstan across north India from
Afghanistan all the way to Bangladesh, of which a map has been on display for some decades. See:

Posted by nizhal yoddha at 7/17/2009 11:18:00 AM 0 comments <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Getting to be time for the soldiers in her christian majesty's secular Indian army to prepare to die for secularism. They were willing to shoot innocent Hindus protesting for their rights (Amarnath movement) on the grand, alien, anti-indigenous, anti-Hindu principle of secularism, perhaps they may be willing to die for the same?
Pity Bharatam has no Kshatriyas (or that the few there may still be in the Indian army are drowned by its enforced secular culture and direction - in other words: Pity Bharatam has no Kshatriyas).

2. http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2009/07/gat...tack-india.html
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Gathering Storm: China to attack India based on Obama’s ‘surge, bribe and run’ time-table?</b>
Jul 17

Most scholars, starting with Roderick McFarquhar are agreed that China brilliantly timed its last attack on India to coincide with the Cuban missile crisis. because the Soviets (our ostensible allies) were busy sorting out their own problem, it prevented them from lending India a helping hand in our conflict.

This history is very relevant today. Bharat Verma has raised the alarm on a Chinese attack – in addition one has to ask – <b>will China attack India as soon as ‘surge, bribe and run’ is completed in Af-Pak?</b>

Consider the favorable circumstance
1. The Yanks (another of our ostensible allies – we have a lot of them) will be busy sorting out the economic mess, for which they need Chinese help
2. The Yanks will want to gracefully ‘surge, bribe and run’ out of Afghan theatre, for which they need Pak’s help. Once they have run away they will outsource Afghan and Kashmir policy to the bearded Pak army – both regular and baggy trouser
3. For reasons 1 and 2 above – the Yanks will not be able to help us
4. The economic crisis has created a mass of testosterone-crazed, newly unemployed Han men – that have to be re-direct to some kind of violent enterprise
5. There is another spineless wimp neo-Nehru in the Indian PM’s chair. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss etc.
6. there is a stealth Sino-Mohammedan candidate in charge of the ‘free world’
7. Only last year, the ever perfidious Albion – had a change of heart regarding China’s position in Tibet (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/opinio...ef=opinion). err ….by the way – this may legally invalidate India’s claims to it’s north-east
8. The number of Malayali advisor’s in the defense establishment is the same as 1962

it is – to use a Churchillian phrase – a Gathering Storm
Posted by Ghost Writer at 7/17/2009 05:42:00 PM 1 comments<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

3. And:
Friday, July 17, 2009
<b>krepon: Avoiding One Pitfall in U.S.-India Relations (ah, roll over and play dead, right?)</b>
jul 17th, 2009

(at link)

<b>ADDED:</b> 4. Cross-post since it's on the same topic:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>"piss process": 11/26 invasion by pak terrorists forgiven by manmohan singh</b>
jul 16th, 2009

utterly shameful capitulation by manmohan singh to pakistan's gilani. undoubtedly the pakis are ROTFL.

i saw a video of the two. manmohan singh shaking gilani's hand with both of his, in the fashion of someone greeting a much-loved friend. this, when gilani is the voice of a terrorist state and its rogue army.

then manmohan singh sat (like a flunky) on the edge of his seat while gilani relaxed comfortably in his.

this is the PM of one of an incipient great power dealing with the puppet PM of a failed, terrorist state? next he'll be declaring "india loves you, [insert name of favorite mohammedan strongman here]"

the body language gives it away: manmohan singh is a servant.

much like jawaharlal was never able to see himself as better than white people, manmohan singh can only think of himself as a retainer and flunky of the americans and of the mohammedans. this cannot be for the paltry world bank pension: there must be mucho dinaro in his swiss bank account, thanks to the yanks and to the saudis. no wonder he doesn't want to go in that direction.

indians didn't elect this guy or the italians. they 'won' through massive fraud. and they have the esteemed navin chawla to stonewall all investigations of the fraud.

2009 is the tipping point: the year that india has gone over the edge into irrelevance. there are no historical parallels, not even romans falling to the barbarian goths, vandals etc. this is the first large state that has decided to voluntarily fall apart. by 2025, there will be no india, only 'mughalistan', 'christiststan1', 'christiststan2' and 'maostan', these being the territories formerly known as north india, south india, northeast india, and central india.

Posted by nizhal yoddha at 7/16/2009 08:28:00 PM 0 comments <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->All a grand setup of course. Making it look "voluntary", i.e. secular, for the christo archive - which took a lot of social engineering for 'manufacturing consent' locally (media, history whitewashing, etcetera), cheating and silent genocide of the Natural Traditionalists, of course.
Even the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was for long wrongly imagined to have been a 'secular' event, until historian Ed Gibbons wrote on how it was actually christianism that had murdered Rome. One <i>could</i> simply have asked any Roman traditionalist who could have told them it was christianism that was to blame. But then, the Romans were kinda dead already.

A good summary of the christo archive and its effects (what's dubbed 'history'), and why to take the stealth assassin christianism seriously:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"To the victor belong the spoils--and the history....a historical reconstruction is still largely dependent on what has survived, or more precisely on what the victors have permitted to survive and what their successors have gone on to edit and collect.
-- The Excellent Empire - The Fall of Rome and the Triumph of the Church, by Jaroslav Pelikan<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China
by F. William Engdahl

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government’s ”independent“ NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its “private” Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I turned 60 this year. Walter has been so much a part of my life, of who I am. And I have been dreading this day for years: Walter Cronkite gone. There is not one major (public) event in my life that Walter didn't lead me through. Not one. From Kennedy's death to the moon landing to the King & Bobby Kennedy assasinations to Vietnam (where my friends were dying), Walter was the one who gave me the news, who led us through the events, who gave permission to the complex emotions we all felt. I am crushed. I cannot stop crying. I feel so badly for all the younger people who are lacking an icon, a family member like Walter. He was there for the evening news (there truly was no other, no choices -- CBS & Walter. Who could choose otherwise?) But I also fondly remember "You Are There" -- which no one has mentioned. This was a major part of my Sunday nights as a kid. The TV was never on during dinner. Except Sunday. Sunday & Walter (we called him "Uncle Walter".) We watched the Civil War, WWII, major American events -- all with the introduction & the sign-off of, "You Are There." And I was. TV tray in front of me, history via Walter on the TV. That remains one of my most wonderful childhood memories. I will never get over missing Walter. I was furious when they made him retire in the '80s. I am furious that he's been taken away from us -- others of us will die, I will die -- but Walter? Never Walter -- I wanted him to be here throughout my life, just as he was at the beginning of my life. Some of us should live forever. My first nominee would be Walter. I guess the best I can do is to continue to carry him with me, just as he'd carried me for every day till now. This is an incredible loss -- even for those younger folks who don't yet realize it, Walter's death makes all of us a little bit less than we were yesterday. Walter -- thank you, from the bottom of my grateful heart, for all you helped me through, for all that you made simpler & more reasonable & more understandable & more compassionate. Till the day I die, I will never forget you, nor will I cease being grateful for your central presence in my life. But "that's the way it is"; goodnight, Uncle Walter.
Why does Engdahl not have any articles on Western/NED involvement in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal? His scope seems to be limited to East Asia including Burma, and Central Asia (including Pak), and EU. Is it just because he is exploring oil interests.
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Jul 18 2009, 10:47 PM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Jul 18 2009, 10:47 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why does Engdahl not have any articles on Western/NED involvement in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal?  His scope seems to be limited to East Asia including Burma, and Central Asia (including Pak), and EU.  Is it just because he is exploring oil interests.
Those who don't know NED is also referred as CIA's another wing, started during Regan's days and support of right-wing Think-tank. link
More on NED-China
Soros's Son started Tibet riots.
At this moment Left and Right wing both are active in China.

Regarding India, they just have to bribe officials and work is done. India is very easy target. Do you think appointed Prime Minister gives any confidence?

B.Raman had some pointers on India
<b>National Endowment for Democracy of US</b>
US History -
<b>America’s Place In The World</b>
Saturday, July 4th, 2009

The Spectator Lecture, Royal Geographical Society, presented in London 30th April 2009
Die Zeit , Germany
<b>Barack Obama Between Appearance and Reality</b>
By Christoph von Marschall
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->And the public did not miss out on entertaining news either. It all began with the Inauguration galas and analysis of the First Lady’s fashion choices. For weeks, the nation was fascinated by the search for the right dog for the White House. This was followed by the creation of a vegetable garden – an action that incorporated several messages, from the conservative love for agriculture, to the call for a healthy diet, to the ever-growing eco-trend. <b>Four trips abroad, the speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and his appeal for nuclear disarmament when visiting Moscow all underline the president’s global demand for leadership</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Obama can be happy with his overall popularity rate. Shortly after taking office, he registered between 63 and 67 percent, depending on the survey. Today, he averages 58 percent, a good number when compared to his predecessors – and astonishingly positive, taking into account that Obama received it in the middle of a deep recession. <b>The overall picture, however, also includes the fact that the number of citizens who feel Obama is on the wrong track has significantly increased from 19 percent at the end of January to 36 percent</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When looking behind the scenes, the discrepancy between appearance and reality is sometimes even bigger than that of his predecessor, Bush. Of course, that is also because Bush never laid claim to a transparent administration. Obama, on the other hand, did. Many American journalists complain that working conditions today are much harder than they were under the Bush administration. Instead of giving detailed explanations, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tries to wordily hide what is going on, which initiatives the president is currently working on and with whom he is communicating to win support. <b>Obama has never maintained buddy-like relations with journalists. During the election campaign, he was always open and friendly, which should not be confused with any personal interest. Once president, he clarified again that he cared about professional acquaintances, not emotional closeness. That, he gives exclusively to his wife and daughters</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The domestic agenda has priority. At the very top is health care reform, followed by the economic stimulus. Theoretically, Obama still holds a clear majority in Congress, but in practice he cannot rely on it. With every concern, he has to re-organize. If he is able to push this reform bill through the Senate, he will grow wings. Domestic success would create more international leeway for him.<b> Failure could slow him down – which also explains his caution. After all, he has only been in office for six months</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Obama's approval rating is already under 50%.
Mid America, people are already hanging flag upside down.
Today's his comment on Afghanistan, that he is not looking for "Victory" are making lot of people nuts.
Die Zeit, Germany
<b>Obama Has Done A Lot But Accomplished Little</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One could say that Obama has done a lot but achieved little. However, that would not be fair. Most of the problems were unforeseeable. The simple fact that a younger, more sympathetic and proavtice president has occupied the White House since 20 January does not mean that people will immediately denounce their long-cultivated self-interests. Well-paid doctors, powerful private insurance agencies, republicans and democrats are all looking ahead to elections next November.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Mainichi, Japan
The G8 Summit: Japan-U.S. Cooperation On Nuclear Weapons
Edited by Robin Silberman
Japan - Mainichi - Original Article (Japanese)

It has been three months since President Obama’s speech about his dream of a world without nuclear weapons. During the G8 summit in central Italy, the participating countries agreed to work on achieving the required conditions for a nuclear weapon-free world. Along with the U.S., Russian leaders agreed to a framework for a new nuclear disarmament treaty on the sixth of July. I welcome these developments as an opportunity for the total world abolition of nuclear weapons.
Of course, only having an “opportunity” is not enough to abolish nuclear weapons. But still, the fact that the nuclear states comprising G8: America, Russia, England and France, are set towards the same goal, has great significance. I would also hope for non-member China to be in agreement, because without cooperation between the five recognized nuclear powers under the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), a nuclear weapon-free world will be impossible.</b>

The leaders’ declaration encouraged efforts towards achieving quick results for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and also strongly supported the commencement of negotiations for the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which bans the production of high grade enriched uranium and plutonium. They have been proactive in dealing with the nuclear issue, and it has been a completely different summit from the previous ones.

“Different” because for 10 years, America has been slow to move on nuclear disarmament and arms control. The CTBT promoted by the Democratic Clinton administration was rejected by Congress in 1999, and the subsequent Republican Bush administration dismissed it as “meaningless.” The Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty proposed in the '90s by President Clinton also did not lead to any substantial discussions.

I would like to think that this previously hindered ideal is in the process of bouncing back. President Obama voiced his intention to host a nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C., during March of next year. Meanwhile, foreign minister Hirofumi Nakasone also expressed his intention of having Japan host an international meeting regarding nuclear disarmament/non-proliferation before next year’s NPT reappraisal conference in May. If the Obama administration, which referred to the U.S.’s moral obligation as a nation which has used nuclear weapons; and Japan, the only country to have experienced a nuclear attack, can cooperate in nuclear disarmament/non-proliferation, it will be a joyous thing.

To completely abolish nuclear weapons, it is also important to deal with countries beyond the NPT, that possess or are suspected of possessing nuclear weapons (India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea). Naturally, the G8 leaders denounced North Korea, a menace that continues its nuclear tests and missile launches. But I also appreciated the leaders’ demand that North Korea address the abduction issue.

From here on, the challenge will be for the Obama administration to solidly put its declarations and ideas into practice. Though the resolution for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, submitted by Japan to the United Nations Assembly, has been adopted every year since 1994, various countries - such as the U.S. and North Korea - have been opposed (as recently as last year and the year before last). It is strange how the U.S. and North Korea were on the same side in this respect, but needless to say, isn’t the Obama administration’s approval of this resolution a step towards the noble goal of total abolition?
John O'Sullivan
<b>America's Russian romance</b>
Central and Eastern Europeans fear Washington no longer loves them - and they’re saying it out loud
John O'Sullivan
Prague — From Thursday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Thursday, Jul. 23, 2009 09:12AM EDT

This week's diplomatic foray into Ukraine and Georgia by U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden has suddenly taken on the appearance of a fire-fighting expedition. And unless fires can be extinguished by bromides, there may soon be a conflagration.

Twenty-two distinguished Central and Eastern European political and intellectual leaders published an open letter last week to Mr. Biden's boss expressing their fear that America had lost interest in their region. The list of signatories brought together veteran anti-Communist dissidents such as Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa with post-Communist whiz kids such as former Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski and rising stars such as Alexander Vondra, the Czech Republic's deputy prime minister until the other day.

What unites such diverse figures is that they are America's best friends in Europe. Their countries are the firmest Atlanticists around, except for Britain and Portugal. Their attachment to the U.S. rests on solid foundations: gratitude for their rescue from Soviet domination in the Cold War; acute awareness that their independence relies on the protection of NATO; and belief that the West is united by a common democratic tradition.

Now they are worried that America no longer loves them in return. They fear that America's desire to “reset the button” for better relations with Russia means their interests may be neglected by Washington. They perceive that U.S. foreign policy under President Barack Obama is more “realist” - interested in promoting America's national interest more than its principles - than under recent presidents. And they see evidence of both dangers in the way the West has tamely accepted Russia's successful aggression in Georgia.

It is not altogether new for Central and Eastern Europeans to feel they are neglected by the U.S. and Western Europe. What is unprecedented, as John Vinocur pointed out in the International Herald Tribune, is that they should express such feelings so openly, so strongly and so undiplomatically. Their description of current Russian policy - “it uses overt and covert means of economic warfare, ranging from energy blockades and politically motivated investments to bribery and media manipulation in order to advance its interests and to challenge the transatlantic orientation of Central and Eastern Europe” - is harsh. But there is a great deal of evidence to support it.

Which is exactly why the letter poses such a complicated dilemma for Washington. If its analysis is correct, then the U.S. can hardly place much trust in its new “reset” Russian policy. So it can hardly agree wholeheartedly to the letter. Nor can it reject the letter out of hand, because it is signed by America's most distinguished European supporters.

Hence the assurances from Mr. Biden that America's new Russian policy will not come “at the expense of Ukraine” (and, by extension, of other post-Communist countries) - indeed, it might even be to their benefit. In case they failed to see this, he gave this further assurance: “We do not recognize anyone else's right to dictate to you or any other country what alliance you will seek to belong to or what relationships, bilateral relationships, you have.”

Such assurances would be more comforting to Central and Eastern Europe if Russia had not already violated such principles (and various international treaties) by invading Georgia and annexing two of its provinces - and done so with impunity and eventual Western acquiescence. What the restive Easterners want is closer integration with America so neither Russia nor other hostile powers will be tempted to future “revisionism.”

And integration with Western Europe? One fascinating aspect of the letter is that, although it pays the usual tributes to the European Union, its signatories plainly see the Atlantic relationship as the primary one and NATO as the main vehicle for Western defence. They both call for better integration between Europe and America on defence and foreign policies and warn against the political tendencies, including anti-Americanism, that might cause a long-term transatlantic breach.

But there is one tinny note in the letter. Its signatories claim the contributions their countries make to NATO and the EU, though modest, are still significant in terms of their population and GDP. That is not, alas, true. Almost all European NATO members spend between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of GDP on defence. If they were to raise that to America's 3 per cent, Russia would soon abandon revisionism.

Still, this wake-up call to the West is at least a start.

John O'Sullivan is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

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