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Entries in NATO (6)

Sunday
May202012

Obama Sees ‘Emerging Consensus’ on Eurozone Rescue

Jewel Samad/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- There were a couple new faces in town at the annual Group of Eight summit, and a couple new allies for President Obama, who has been urging Europeans to follow America’s lead. And with 4 million jobs created in the United States in last 26 months, the Europeans are listening.

The global economy dominated the day, and while no bold, specific steps were laid out, a broad, shared path was embraced by the G-8 leaders Saturday at Camp David.

The president continues to argue that in the middle of the economic crisis, the U.S. went one way, spending on stimulus for growth, and the Europeans went the other, with austerity and spending cuts.

And while Obama admits that Europe “is more complicated,” he shamelessly touted America’s growth. Through the recession “economic growth [gave] us more room to take a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and debt,” he said.

Without mentioning austerity once, he set a clear tone in the morning. Growth and jobs must be the G-8′s top priority and everyone “must take steps to boost confidence and growth in Europe,” he said.

“A stable, growing European economy is in everybody’s best interests—including America’s,” Obama said.

“If a company is forced to cut back in Paris or Madrid, that might mean less business for manufacturers in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee,” he said, adding that in turn, that could affect the American families and communities dependent on that business.

Obama said there had been genuine progress during the two-day summit, and said Saturday night that “there’s now an emerging consensus that more must be done to promote growth and job creation right now.”

Saturday’s focus on the Eurozone comes on the heels of elections in France and Greece that ushered in new leaders who are focused on growth, a blatant rejection of the austerity model championed by Germany.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that growth and deficit-cutting were not mutually exclusive, but reinforced each other. She added that everyone seemed to agree.

“That is great progress,” she said.

The joint Camp David Declaration reflected the mission of growth but included a very stern warning.

“Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs,” the G-8 statement read. “The global economic recovery shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist.”

And both America and Europe feel those headwinds. The G-8 leaders also agreed that they support Greece staying in the Eurozone—a statement that underlines just how large the damage could be to the global system if Greece left. Large and unpredictable. Last week, many analysts argued that a Greek departure was imminent and last Thursday, Fitch ratings agency dropped Greece to the lowest possible grade for a country not in default.

After his brief speech, President Obama headed into a bilateral meeting with Merkel before catching the overtime shootout of the Champions League final game between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Merkel was again in the spotlight when Bayern Munich lost, but after a long day, the other leaders offered sympathy—in several different languages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct202011

White House Takes Credit for Gadhafi, Bin Laden

Libyan National Transitional Council fighters hold what they claim to be the gold-plated gun of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi at the site where the latter was allegedly captured in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images) (WASHINGTON) -- Asked about whether the death of Gadhafi vindicates his foreign policy, President Obama -- at a joint appearance with the prime minister of Norway -- said “we did what we set out to do in Libya,” and the success of the operation “underscores the capacity of us to work together as an international community.”

Norway contributed to the NATO mission in Libya by providing pilots and humanitarian aid. “Increasingly wherever we have the possibility of working with outstanding partners like Norway I think we’re going to be even more effective,” the president said. “On a whole range of international issues, there is enormous capacity, and we are able to leverage greater resources, more effectiveness, at lower cost when we’re able to work together.”

The president emphasized the internationality of the NATO effort, and that’s part of what a senior White House official tells ABC News is the way Obama looks at foreign policy.

“What we’re demonstrating is you can move to a more targeted use of U.S. force and be more successful in achieving our objectives,” a senior White House official tells ABC News. This means a “smaller footprint, a more targeted use of force. It means less of a cost to taxpayers and troops, and also clearly results in our ability to take care of our interests.”

“With al Qaeda, we’re going after them in a very targeted way,” the senior White House official says. “With Libya, we identified the unique capabilities the U.S. has to go after Gadhafi,” and then NATO took the lead. The U.S. role from that point on was to be the “glue” of the operation “keeping the coalition together,” providing “targeting, intelligence, refueling, and command and control.”

“Bin Laden, Awlaki, Gadhafi have all met their demise in some fashion because of decisions the president made” utilizing this foreign policy view, the senior administration official said.

Part of this is pursuing foreign policy based on the different aspirations and abilities in different countries. “We’ve clearly learned that democracy is made by the people in these countries,” the senior White House official said. “Libyans marched into Tripoli. They own their future. They don’t expect the U.S. to do it for them.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep042011

NATO: Afghan Army’s Desertion Rate Double Last Year

Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/U.S. Marine Corps (WASHINGTON ) -- More and more Afghan soldiers are choosing not to respond to the call to duty.

The Washington Post reports that at least one in seven Afghan soldiers walked off the job during the first half of 2011, according to NATO statistics.

More than 24,000 soldiers deserted their jobs between January and June—nearly twice as many as in the same period in 2010.

June saw 5,000 soldiers—nearly 3 percent of the 170,000-strong force—leave their positions.

Afghan and coalition officials are confident they can restore loses and reach their goal of expanding the army to about 200,000 soldiers, despite the recent rise in desertions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Obama's Strategy in Libya Vindicated by Gadhafi Downfall?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When President Obama announced military intervention in Libya in March, he was criticized by liberals for injecting the United States into a third war, and by conservatives for doing it too slowly.

As the mission dragged on, from "days and weeks" to months, the bipartisan criticism only grew, with charges that Obama was "leading from behind" and violating the War Powers Act in the process.

Now, the impending downfall of Moammar Gadhafi brings one of Obama's key foreign policy objectives closer to fulfillment, and signals that the president's strategy was at least partly a success.

"As of today, I think it is a partial vindication of the so-called Obama Doctrine, at least for certain kinds of cases," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military and foreign policy analyst at the Brookings Institution.

Obama had justified limited, pre-emptive U.S. military action in Libya as part a broad "international mandate for action" and compelling humanitarian interest to prevent "violence on a horrific scale," all while not requiring formal congressional approval.  He charted a course for greater U.S. support for multinational action instead of isolationism or unilateral force.

"The robust leadership of the president is pretty clear here," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, "and had a tangible impact on the outcome in Libya."

But the administration should avoid a victory lap too soon, foreign policy experts warn, with Gadhafi's whereabouts still unknown and the transition to new government in Libya in flux.

"Obama hasn't yet proven that he's going to avoid the problem George Bush faced in Iraq: the problem of catastrophic success," O'Hanlon said.  "We should all be a little chastened by the example of 2003 in Iraq and any feeling of triumphalism just because the bad guy falls.  We've seen what follows."

Two months after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush delivered a speech claiming victory in toppling Saddam Hussein's regime.  Eight years after that moment -- what has become known as his "mission accomplished" speech -- the war still lingers.

"The danger is that we will have another 'Mission Accomplished' moment, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy, NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen, President Obama, and their various pro-intervention advisers give each other a lot of high-fives, utter solemn words about having vindicated the new 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine, and then turn to some new set of problems while Libya deteriorates," Harvard University professor Stephen M. Walt said in a blog post on ForeignPolicy.com.

Speaking from his seaside compound on Martha's Vineyard, Obama offered reassurances that NATO allies would not abandon Libya but instead remain "a friend and a partner," continuing military and diplomatic ties to "safeguard" the Libyan people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun212011

John McCain Admonishes Jon Huntsman on War Stance

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Arizona Sen. John McCain offered some blunt advice Tuesday to Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and other critics of continued U.S. military involvement in Libya and Afghanistan.

"I hope that all of these candidates as the campaign goes on understands what our national security requirements are, that we are the world's leader, America has to lead, as we are not leading in Libya, which is one reason why that conflict, third rate military, has not been concluded," McCain told ABC News.

"I hope that they will learn and listen to people like Gen. David Petraeus and others, who has the highest not only respect and admiration but a record of success," he said.

Huntsman has said "we just can't afford" participation in the NATO operation in Libya, and he's raised concerns about prolonged involvement in Afghanistan, where he says, "we're wasting our money and we're wasting our strategic resources."

McCain wouldn't directly say whether Huntsman's views should disqualify him from getting the party's presidential nomination.

With President Obama poised to announce a reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beginning next month, McCain said he agrees with Defense Secretary Robert Gates that a "modest withdrawal" is "important."

But he added that he would be "very reluctant to reduce the surge troops capability," referring to the more than 30,000 troops President Obama ordered sent to Afghanistan in 2009 to help stem the violence there.

"I believe that one more fighting season and we can get this thing pretty much wrapped up,"” McCain said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May082011

White House: U.S. Won't Increase Presence in Libya

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with ABC News’ Christiane Amanapour, President Obama’s National Security adviser Tom Donilon insisted that the United States would not increase its presence in Libya due to NATO's success in protecting the embattled nation's civilians.

"NATO is still running this operation now, we're supporting it," Donilon told Amanpour. "They have the assets that are needed for them to engage in the civilian protection mission, and they are engaging."

Recalling NATO's ineffective war policy in Bosnia, where the U.S. "gave the Europeans the lead and they weren't able to protect the civilians," Amanpour asked if the United States policy of "leading from behind" will be ineffective in achieving the desired results in Libya.

"Will the U.S. step up more involvement?" Amanpour asked the White House National Security Adviser.

"No," responded Donilon. "When the president made this decision, there was an immediate threat to 700,000 Libyan civilians in the town of Benghazi. We've had a success here in terms of being able to protect those civilians. Now we need to continue that civilian protection mission and continue to put the pressure on Gadhaffi."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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