Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A former State Department adviser calls President Obama a "dithering" chief executive with control issues that jeopardize America's foreign affairs policy, in a new book that makes the case the current administration has damaged U.S. interests in the Middle East.
A former senior adviser in the Obama administration says that "ravenous" political faction-fighting between aides to the president and those around then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Obama's presidential-primary rival in 2008, hobbled U.S. policymaking in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
An award celebrating the power of literature to promote peace has been renamed in honor of the late Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke. Author Barbara Kingsolver will be this year's recipient.
The talking heads have already picked over the bones of the Obama administration's review last week of Afghanistan policy, but missed out on an overall estimate of progress in "the war on terrorism."
President Obama lost the war in Afghanistan during the "Great Dithering" of 2009. This was the period when he had all his advisers, including noted national security strategists David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, huddled together loosely for about nine months. They were trying to find the most politically viable way to deliver on Mr. Obama's campaign promises to personally track down Osama bin Laden and put his head on a pike while simultaneously running the corrupt Karzai regime out of town. Well, they failed in those efforts and now are simply trying to find a way to start leaving in time for Mr. Obama's re-election campaign.
U.S. officials were concerned that the Saudi ambassador to the Philippines might be engaged in "terrorism facilitation" because he intervened to get local authorities to free two suspected terror financiers, secret State Department communications posted by Wiki-Leaks reveal.
Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars," is days away from release and already causing a stir. As the title implies, it's not only about the U.S. "overseas contingency operations" President Obama is overseeing but also the personality clashes and policy conflicts the White House has shielded from public view. Since the Obama team invited Mr. Woodward into its midst and thus legitimized his enterprise, whatever fallout comes from the book will be a self-inflicted wound.
The Pakistani-based militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba is being viewed increasingly by U.S. political and military leaders as a global terrorist threat. But most Pakistanis remain unaware of the group's activities and agenda and continue to give it significant support.
Pakistan's worst floods in 80 years are increasing worries in Washington that the disaster will undermine the South Asian nation's political stability and jeopardize U.S. gains across the border in Afghanistan.
Islamist terrorists may exploit the chaos and misery caused by the floods in Pakistan to gain new recruits, the country's president warned Thursday — remarks echoed by a leading U.S. senator who said America would stand by its vital wartime ally during the crisis.
The questions go back and forth between the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry, who once was the military commander in Afghanistan, and "special envoy" for "AfPak" Richard C. Holbrooke, usually airborne; Deputy Secretaries of State James B. Steinberg and Jacob J. Lew; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, also frequently airborne; and Mr. Eikenberry's four deputies, who also hold the rank of ambassador. A lot of cooks have produced a thin diplomatic and economic gruel. CYA (cover you're a**) appears to be the operative phrase that holds it all together.
Pakistan and Afghanistan sealed a landmark trade deal Sunday as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed the two neighbors to step up civilian cooperation and work together against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Now that President Obama has replaced the top general in Afghanistan, some key senators said Sunday he needs to consider reshuffling his diplomatic leadership there as well.
"Mike Sheehan is the person I would most want at my side when trying to stop terrorists," Mr. Holbrooke wrote, calling the book "a primer for the next president."
Richard C. Holbrooke said America would not condition its assistance to the country, but warned that Congress might not be generous if it felt that Pakistan was not taxing its own citizens enough.