I know I struggle with this subject greatly, evidently so does White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest
President Obama’s spokesman struggled a bit when asked to identify foreign-policy achievements that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton played a role in accomplishing, first panning the question as a “pop quiz” and then settling on an answer that highlights work in Iraq, even as an al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has invaded the country’s second largest city.“It feels a little like a pop quiz, but I’ve got a couple ideas,” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked to name the accomplishments, before saying that Obama and Clinton succeeded in “ending the war in Iraq [and] responsibly winding down the war in Afghanistan.” He also cited ”the success of our efforts to dismantle and destroy al-Qaeda core.”
Poor President Obama, his Foreign Policy strategies just seem riddled with failures, such a long way removed from all those promises in 2007-8 when he assured us, "I am running for President of the United States to lead this country in a new direction - to seize this moment's promise. Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them. Instead of pushing the entire burden of our foreign policy on to the brave men and women of our military, I want to use all elements of American power to keep us safe, and prosperous, and free. Instead of alienating ourselves from the world, I want America - once again - to lead."
Such grandiose promises as:
As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy - one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin. I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
To achieve that success, I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war. Let me be clear: we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 - one year after Iraqi Security Forces will be prepared to stand up; two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, we'll keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq: targeting any remnants of al-Qaida; protecting our service members and diplomats; and training and supporting Iraq's Security Forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress.
... America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we must retain a strong deterrent. But instead of threatening to kick them out of the G-8, we need to work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert; to dramatically reduce the stockpiles of our nuclear weapons and material; to seek a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons; and to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global. By keeping our commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we'll be in a better position to press nations like North Korea and Iran to keep theirs. In particular, it will give us more credibility and leverage in dealing with Iran.
We cannot tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of nations that support terror. Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a vital national security interest of the United States. No tool of statecraft should be taken off the table, but Senator McCain would continue a failed policy that has seen Iran strengthen its position, advance its nuclear program, and stockpile 150 kilos of low enriched uranium. I will use all elements of American power to pressure the Iranian regime, starting with aggressive, principled and direct diplomacy - diplomacy backed with strong sanctions and without preconditions.
All those lofty promises ... Today's headlines read so differently:
BAGHDAD—Islamist insurgents seized control of Iraq's second-largest city on Tuesday in a brazen military operation that underscored the weakness of the central government across vast swaths of the country.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a nationwide "state of maximum preparedness" after government forces fled Mosul in disarray following four days of fighting. He asked parliament to declare a state of emergency. But he didn't say whether military forces were mobilizing to retake the city, 220 miles north of the capital, Baghdad.
By nightfall, the militants were still expanding their territorial conquests. Local security forces said the fighters had taken over territory in the neighboring province of Kirkuk to the east and parts of the city of Sulayman Beg to the south.
Mosul was captured by rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS—a group that evolved from al Qaeda's Iraq affiliate. The takeover of a major industrial and oil center and the main city in northern Iraq marked a major coup for a group that only months ago was operating in the country's vast desert hinterlands.
It was the latest evidence of the disorganization that has beset Iraqi security forces since the U.S. military withdrew from the country in December 2011. It also underlined the determination of ISIS to establish an Islamic emirate encompassing the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, to weaken the already fragile Iraqi state and to expand the theater of the three-year-old civil war in neighboring Syria.
Hit after hit, he's just knocking 'em out of the park!
If this were a Baseball game Mr President, you've struck out every single time at bat ...
Two U.S. B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are being deployed to Europe for the first time. The deployment of the advanced aircraft will be used for “short term deployment” at Fairford, a Royal Air Force base in England — just three hours from Russia.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, CNN reported Tuesday.
“The training and integration of strategic forces demonstrates to our nation’s leaders and our allies that we have the right mix of aircraft and expertise to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations,” he continued.
The radar-evading B-2 bombers are likely being used as a show of force to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine after the Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.
Yeah, I'm sure Putin and Russia are just terrified ...
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama announced Wednesday night that all the 33,000 additional U.S. forces he ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 will be home within 15 months.
In a nationally televised address from the East Room of the White House, Obama said 10,000 of the "surge" forces would withdraw by the end of this year, and the other 23,000 would leave Afghanistan by September 2012.
Calling the deployment of the surge "one of the most difficult decisions that I've made as president," Obama said the military campaign was "meeting our goals" in Afghanistan and the drawdown would begin "from a position of strength."
"Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11," Obama said. "Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda's leadership. And thanks to our intelligence professionals and special forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11."
Yeah, it certainly looks as though Hamid Karzai's Afghanistan is ready for us to leave and will make a smooth transition into self governance, and the war is winding down so nicely.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Five American Special Operations service members and at least one Afghan soldier were killed when a United States Air Force B-1 bomber unleashed an airstrike on their position in southern Afghanistan, in one of the deadliest instances of friendly fire in more than a decade of war, Afghan and American officials said Tuesday.
Investigators were looking into possible causes, including faulty coordinates, an errant bomb or other human errors.
The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, said in a statement that five American soldiers had been killed “during a security operation in southern Afghanistan.”
“Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause,” he added. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen.”
The deaths happened Monday night in the restive Arghandab District of Zabul Province, where troops were conducting security operations connected to the presidential runoff election on Saturday, said Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwanai, the province’s police chief.
Let's not forget that recent "POW SWAP" --- 5 of theirs for one of ours - and such a loyal sort too ... such a stunning success that the "official story" has changed about 5 times already, at least it's not Bush's fault this time ...
Now the White House says Hagel made final call on Bergdahl as criticism of Obama over prisoner swap mounts
FInal approval for the prisoner exchange that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, members of Congress learned on Monday from administration officials.
'They indicated (it was) Secretary Hagel (who made the final call),' Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) said after a classified briefing, ABC points out.
'It was the president of the United States that came out (in the Rose Garden) with the Bergdahls and took all the credit and now that there’s been a little pushback he’s moving away from it and it’s Secretary Hagel?'
Last week, Hagel said the swap was a unanimous decision when speaking to the BBC.
'It was the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of National Intelligence, Attorney General,' he said.
'It was our judgement based on the information that we had that his life, his health were in peril,' Hagel also told the channel in defense of not giving Congress 30 days' notice of the plan.
'Can you imagine if we would have waited or taken the chance of leaks over a 30-day period?' Hagel said.
Yeah the diplomatic efforts by Dennis Rodman and the Obama Administration in North Korea are glowing nicely
(Reuters) - North Korea said it had detained an American tourist for violating its laws after entering the secretive state in April, bringing the number of U.S. citizens held by Pyongyang to three.
Pyongyang has held a number of U.S. citizens in the past, using them as a tool to extract visits by high-profile figures, including former President Bill Clinton, but it has recently rejected visits by officials to discuss their cases.
North Korea periodically accuses the United States of military hostility and conspiracy to overthrow its leadership. The two states have been locked in a tense diplomatic conflict over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
The latest American to be held was being questioned by authorities for conduct inappropriate for the purpose of his visit as a tourist, state media reported on Friday.
The North's KCNA news agency named him as Jeffrey Edward Fowle and said he entered the country on April 29. It gave no further details.
U.S. media reported that Fowle is 56 years old and from Miamisburg, Ohio, and worked in the Moraine city street department. A neighbor speaking on WDTN television in Ohio said he is a father of three who was traveling alone on the trip.
Calls to Fowle's family and his lawyer were not answered.
Japan's Kyodo news agency cited unidentified diplomatic sources on Friday as saying the North had detained a U.S. citizen in mid-May, and that the American was detained just before he was to leave North Korea, allegedly for having left a Bible in his hotel.
The Associated Press quoted Timothy Tepe, a lawyer acting as a spokesman for the family, as saying Fowle was not on a mission for his church and went to North Korea as a tourist.
A State Department official said Washington was aware of reports that a third U.S. citizen had been detained in North Korea. "There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad," the official said, adding no further information was available.
WAR VETERAN RELEASED
Two other Americans are currently being held by North Korea, both arrested after arriving on tourist visas and accused of crimes against the state. Korean American missionary Kenneth Bae has been in custody for 18 months and a second man has been held since April.
Let's not forget Iran, their "peaceful pursuit" of Nuclear Power, yeah such a convincing case Obama has made, that Iran is cooperating with EVERYONE !
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday there are still big gaps on key issues in the nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers as senior negotiators from the U.S. and Iran ended two days of discussions in Geneva.
Iran and six major powers—the U.S., France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Russia—are seeking to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal by July 20. An agreement would seek to address broad international concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for lifting tight international sanctions in Tehran.
This week saw what a U.S. State Department spokeswoman called an "intensification" of the talks as all sides acknowledge that time is running short ahead of July 20.
In Geneva, the U.S. and Iran held two days of bilateral discussions to try and advance the negotiations which have made little progress in recent weeks, according to diplomats. Iran will hold separate bilateral meetings with Germany, France and Russia in coming days before the full negotiations resume in Vienna next week.
The two sides have said they could extend the nuclear deadline by six months if needed.
On France's Radio Inter, Mr. Fabius said the biggest sticking point in the talks is what kind of nuclear infrastructure Tehran would keep after a comprehensive agreement—in particular how many centrifuges Iran will be allowed. Centrifuges can be used to enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity.
Most western nuclear experts say that Tehran would have to scrap large numbers of its roughly 19,000 centrifuges to ensure that the regime couldn't quickly produce enough nuclear material for a bomb. Mr. Fabius confirmed that Iran is demanding the right to deploy many more centrifuges than it currently has.
"We have advanced on a certain number of technical points…but we are still hitting a wall on one major issue which is the number of centrifuges," Mr. Fabius said. "We say that there can be some hundreds of centrifuges (in Iran) but at the moment, the Iranians say…we need hundreds of thousands of centrifuges."
Under an interim nuclear deal agreed last November, Tehran and the six powers agreed that Iran's future nuclear capabilities should be based on Iran's "practical needs." Western diplomats say Iran is basing its demand for large numbers of centrifuges on a demand for an expansive future nuclear enrichment program.
Mr. Fabius said Tehran could only need that number of centrifuges if it wanted the ability to produce weapons.
"So the question that will be asked in the coming weeks if the Iranians really accept renouncing nuclear weapons or not," he said.
Iran denies it has ever sought nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. Western officials have said currently it could take Tehran just a couple of months to produce enough nuclear fuel for a bomb.
On Tuesday, senior Iranian and U.S. officials held a full day of talks to try and nudge forward the nuclear negotiations. The two sides also met for more than five hours Monday afternoon in Geneva.
With so many successes, I can't wait for his last and final act, while we still have a Nation to save ...
Or have I been eating paint chips again?
Or have I been eating paint chips again?