Archive for the ‘international’ Category

Obama Should Hire Hillary for International Role; Limit Biden

November 15, 2008

In the world of diplomacy, “bluring out the truth” is hardly an asset….

So the news that President-Elect Barack Obama is considering Hillary Clinton as a possible Secretary of State is delightful — showing real intellect and courage. 

While still Senator Obama,  the now future president was criticized for his lack of foreign policy experience.  So he hired as his vice presidential running mate the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a man with the reputation of a foreign policy and international affairs “expert.”

Yet sometimes, reputation doesn’t always mirror reality or facts.

Joe Biden also has a reputation for saying the wrong thing.  And he takes a lot of wind and time to say the wrong thing.  And even when he speaks the truth it is sometimes a truth that needn’t be mentioned or discussed.  Before the election when he said that some evil doer in the international community would create a crisis just to test the new president, there is no doubt that he believed that to be true.  But what did this utterance gain anyone?  I call this Joe Biden “blurting out the truth.”

In the world of diplomacy, “bluring out the truth” is hardly an asset….

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) greets Vice President-elect ... 
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) greets Vice President-elect Joe Biden at the Vice President’s residence in Washington November 13, 2008. Cheney, considered one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, welcomed Biden on Thursday for a tour of his new home to be.  It isn’t difficult to see why one might choose John Nance Garner’s “bucket of warm spit” over highly activists vice presidents….. REUTERS/Molly Riley

Hillary Clinton is well regarded in the world community and her husband is widely revered as a great president — especially in light of the last eight years many will tell you.  And now Bill Clinton is doing meritorious work on the international stage with his foundation.

Hillary would make a good Secretary of State and Barack Obama knows that.  I also have great hope that between Hillary and Barack there is enought knowledge and care for America that the two can agree to iolate Joe Biden from the international stage — especially when sensitive matters are involved.

And Hillary undoubtedly still wants Barack’s job after her rough and disappointing primary election effort….  She ran against Barack and could easlily do so again if left to her own (and Bill’s) devices.  Barack is, perhaps, taking a lesson from Abe Lincold who hired many of his foes believing “keep your friends close and your enemies closer….”

Commentator Charles Krauthammer referred to Joe Biden recently as “The Sage of Wilmington.”  Such pladitudes and more sincere sounding ones may be required in some numbers to soothe the ego of the future Vice President — but whatever it takes to keep him away from the leaders of the international community has to be done.

President-elect Barack Obama listens to Senator Hillary Clinton ... 
President-elect Barack Obama listens to Senator Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, June 27, 2008.(Jim Young/Reuters)

Obama’s statement that there can only be one President of the United States at a time shows me that he also knows that there can only be one person in charge of U.S. foreign policy: the Secretary of State.

For that reason: Joe Biden will have to be carefully managed away from meddling in the international arena.  It may be more productive and safer to allow him to meddle in something else.

Joe Biden can fulful any number of very positive roles in the Barack Obama Administration: but on foreign affairs he is best sent only to overseas funerals and weddings.  And even then there is some risk he’ll “blurt out the truth” which will require apologies and regrets all around….
********

Patrick Cox, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin wrote:

“When it comes to commentary about the office of vice president of the United States, no statement is more repeated than John Nance Garner’s observation that ‘the vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.’”

Today our Vice Presidents seem to do a lot more than fill buckets with warm spit….  Maybe some of them should be handed the bucket that John “Cactus Jack” Garner spoke of….

John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner, Vice President of the United States,
(1933-41).

********************

I have many Joe Biden stories, some related to me and some created by my own witnessing to events.  I’ll just tell two which are really one: in 1972 or ’73, I watched Joe Biden leave a Senate meeting room.  As soon as he was gone his own staff erupted in laughter and stories about stupid things the new Senator had said.  About 30 years later I was trapped in an elevator with Senator Biden and some staff.  When he got out on his floor and the doors closed, the back stabbing and derision of 30 years before was again on display….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
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 Clinton Among Top Picks At State

By Anne E. Kornblut and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 15, 2008; Page A01

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the top contenders to become secretary of state in Barack Obama‘s administration, officials familiar with the selection process said, part of what appears to be an effort by the incoming president to reach out to former rivals and consider unexpected moves as he assembles his Cabinet.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/11/14/AR2008111403863.html

Bill Clinton’s Foreign Deals May Complicate Hillary’s SecState Bid

November 15, 2008

Former President Bill Clinton‘s globe-trotting business deals and fundraising for his foundation sometimes put his activities abroad at odds with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and it could cause complications for her if President-elect Barack Obama picks her to be secretary of state.

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer

In this Oct. 20, 2008, file photo Democratic presidential candidate ...
In this Oct. 20, 2008, file photo Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. greet supporters at the end of a rally in Orlando, Fla. Former President Bill Clinton’s globe-trotting business deals and fundraising for his foundation sometimes put his activities abroad at odds with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and it could cause complications for her if President-elect Barack Obama considers her to be secretary of state.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

During her own presidential campaign, the New York senator criticized China for its crackdown on protesters in Tibet and urged President George W. Bush to skip the Olympics in Beijing. Her campaign was embarrassed by reports that her husband’s foundation had raised money from a Chinese Internet company that posted an online government “Most Wanted” notice seeking information on Tibetan human-rights activists that may have been involved in the demonstrations.

Hillary Clinton has campaigned as a champion of workers’ rights. Earlier this year, Brazilian labor inspectors found what they called “degrading” living conditions for sugar cane workers employed by an ethanol company in which Bill Clinton invested.

In the Senate, Clinton was an outspoken critic of a proposed deal under which a Dubai company planned to buy a British business that helped run six major U.S. ports. Meanwhile, the company, named DP World, privately sought Bill Clinton’s advice about how to respond to the controversy in Washington over the port plan, which the company later abandoned.

Obama met quietly with Hillary Clinton on Thursday at his headquarters in Chicago, and some Democrats were enthusiastic amid speculation the pair discussed the job of secretary of state. She declined Friday to say anything about the matter, and Obama is understood to be considering other candidates as his top diplomat, including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081115/ap_on_el_pr/clintons_over
seas_ventures;_ylt=AmVsEp6zhwt_ToT6MH0fueOs0NUE

No Consensus on How to Solve Somali Pirate Problem

October 18, 2008

Fox News
.
Despite international outrage at the persistence of piracy in the waters off Somalia, there appears to be no consensus yet on how to deal with the problem.

The varying approaches were underscored this week when a South Korea shipping company decided to pay the ransom that one band of pirates had demanded in exchange for freeing a ship on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a stalemate remains in the most prominent hijacking, in which Somali pirates took over a Ukranian ship carrying Russian-built tanks and other weapons.

U.S. and Russian warships have those pirates cornered, but the forces have yet to take action. The pirates had warned they would blow up the ship unless a ransom is paid, but have yet to follow through on the threat.

The case of a hijacked Panama-flagged cargo ship, on the other hand, ended Tuesday in a violent resolution when soldiers from a semiautonomous region of Somalia moved in.

“When we reached where the pirates had anchored their ship they started firing at us and hit our ship,” Operation Commander Abdirahshid Abdirahin Ismail said, according to an Associated Press translation.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,440467,00.html

Rights groups push China on press freedom for local media

October 18, 2008

Rights groups and media experts on Saturday gave a cautious welcome to China’s decision to allow foreign reporters greater freedom and urged Beijing to extend the same rights to domestic journalists.

By Marianne Barriaux, AFP, Beijing

China announced late on Friday that greater freedoms introduced for the Olympic Games for foreign reporters would be extended, giving them the right to interview consenting Chinese without first seeking government permission.

The rules were first introduced on January 1 last year as part of China’s Olympic media freedom commitments, but had been due to run out on Friday.

Domestic journalists, however, were not affected by the rules and were still laden with strict reporting restrictions — a fact deplored by rights groups and media experts.

Human Rights in China, a New-York based activist group, urged the Chinese government to also extend these freedoms to domestic reporters.

“The Chinese government should answer the calls of its own people,” said group executive director Sharon Hom.

“It should respect its own constitution which guarantees press freedom, a right that many Chinese journalists and writers have paid — and are paying — a great price to exercise.”

David Bandurski, a researcher for the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, said the issue of press freedom in China was determined by domestic media policy rather than rules governing foreign reporters’ work.

“This is not going to have any appreciable impact on domestic journalists,” he said.

“This is really about China’s international image. China has decided that the international benefits they are going to get in terms of their image of openness are sufficient to outweigh any negative coverage they might get.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081018/wl_afp/china
mediarightsoly2008_081018094742

China extends Olympic media freedoms for foreign press

October 17, 2008

China has extended the openness rule for international media put in place for the Olympics…but domestic news people will still be under tight restrictions…

Chinese journalists from Xinhua News Agency work at their office ... 
Above: Chinese journalists from Xinhua News Agency work at their office in the Main Press Centre (MPC) in Beijing in August 2008. China on Friday announced it had extended rules introduced for the Olympics allowing foreign reporters greater freedoms, but there was no easing of restrictions for domestic press.(AFP/File/Jewel Samad)

BEIJING (AFP) – China on Friday announced it had extended rules introduced for the Olympics allowing foreign reporters greater freedoms, but there was no easing of restrictions for domestic press.

The move means that foreign journalists will continue to be able to carry out interviews and travel around China with greater ease, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters at a late night press conference.

“This is not only a big step forward for China in opening up to the outside world, for the foreign journalists it’s also a big step,” Liu said.

The previous rules, introduced on January 1 last year as part of China’s Olympic commitments to give foreign reporters more freedoms, were set to expire on Friday, two months after the end of the Beijing Games.

As was the case during the Olympic period, foreign reporters will have the freedom to conduct interviews with consenting Chinese, rather than having first to seek government permission, Liu said.

Journalists will also be allowed to report outside the city in which they are officially based, rather than having to get authorisation.

However, reporters will continue to have to seek permission from local authorities to gain access to the sensitive Himalayan region of Tibet, where the military quelled protests against Chinese rule in March.

Liu also confirmed that, as was previously the case, the rules did not apply to domestic media and Chinese nationals would remain barred from working for foreign media organisations as journalists.

“We have to say that the conditions are not mature for Chinese citizens to become journalists alongside foreign journalists,” Liu said.

China’s ruling Communist Party seeks to maintain strict controls on the flow of information within the country, and the domestic press are kept on a tight leash.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081017/wl_afp/china
mediarightsoly2008_081017180029

China’s central bank pledges global cooperation

October 11, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – China’s central bank has pledged to continue international cooperation to tackle the global financial crisis and maintain market stability, according to state media.

The pledge on Friday came after China this week joined the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other major central banks to cut interest rates in response to the global financial turmoil and fears of a domestic slowdown.

“The PBOC (People’s Bank of China) will continue close contacts and cooperation with counterparts and international financial organisations to jointly maintain stability of global financial markets,” PBOC spokesman Li Chao told Xinhua news agency.

A bank employee counts out 100 Yuan notes in Shanghai in early ... 
A bank employee counts out 100 Yuan notes in Shanghai in early April. China’s central bank has pledged to continue international cooperation to tackle the global financial crisis and maintain market stability, according to state media.(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

The PBOC would monitor the crisis and take action to guard against financial risks, Li said.

The global economic slowdown had reduced demand for Chinese exports and affected China’s economy, he added.

But Li was confident that China could ride out the crisis, according to Xinhua.

“China has a huge domestic market and the liquidity is abundant,” he said.

“As long as we take strong measures to boost domestic demand, the economy has big potential for sustainable growth.”

A PBOC statement on the third-quarter meeting of its monetary policy committee said it would take flexible and prudent macro-economic control measures to boost economic growth, according to Xinhua.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081011/bs_afp/finance
bankingchinabank_081011042810

World powers pledge to combat credit crisis

October 11, 2008

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – Financial officials from the world’s wealthiest industrial countries are pledging decisive action to deal with the biggest upheavals to hit the global financial system since the Great Depression.

The big question is whether their one-page action plan will be enough to stop the bleeding as investors watch trillions of dollars of wealth melt away.

In an effort to expand the firepower the United States is bringing to the problem, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced late Friday that it had decided to go forward with a plan to buy a part ownership in a broad array of American banks. It would be the first time the U.S. government has employed such a program since the 1930s.

President Bush invited Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and their counterparts from the other G-7 countries to come to the White House Saturday morning for a meeting that the administration hoped would demonstrate global resolve in attacking the current crisis.

Bush, speaking on the economic chaos for the 21st time out of the past 26 days, said Friday that the government’s rescue program was aggressive enough and big enough to work. “We can solve this crisis and we will,” he pledged.

The G-7 officials wrapped up three hours of closed-door talks Friday with one of the shortest joint communiques in the history of the group. It was also the most direct in its promise to take “all necessary steps to unfreeze credit and money markets” to end a severe credit crisis that began in the U.S. a year ago but since has spread worldwide and has grown in furiosity.

Fears that banking systems had essentially frozen up have sent worried investors rushing for the exits. The Dow Jones industrial average just completed its worst week in history and has plunged by nearly 2,400 points over the past eight trading sessions. Over the last year, investors have suffered $8.4 trillion in paper losses.

In the midst of all that carnage, the G-7 countries — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada — sought to strike a determined tone to do what they could to combat the problem in their countries.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081011/ap_on_bi_ge/
financial_meltdown;_ylt=AoIDdmn.gli4kPt939Q43h2s0NUE

CBS Says Obama Won First Debate

September 27, 2008

UPDATED WITH FINAL NUMBERS CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.

Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.

Section Front

Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better.

Sixty-six percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-two percent think McCain would.

Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would.

We will have a full report on the poll later on. Uncommitted voters are those who don’t yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.

The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/09/26/politics
/horserace/entry4482028.shtml

Why Obama Won The First Debate

September 27, 2008

By Toby Harnden
The Telegraph (UK)

It was a very close run thing but the night goes to Barack Obama on points. John McCain came out swinging and landed some good punches but Obama never got rattled and jabbed back consistently. Although Obama is the front runner overall he was the underdog in this debate because the main subject was foreign policy.

After a bad week, McCain needed a game changer and this wasn’t it. Obama, on the other hand, needed to hold his own on McCain’s subject turf and he achieved that. The biggest worry about Obama is his readiness to lead and be commander-in-chief. Tonight, he may well have edged over that threshold.

 
McCain performed very well indeed and put Obama on the defensive several times – but he was unlucky in that Obama was on form too (he had some off days against Hillary Clinton) and ….

Read the rest:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/Toby_Harnden

In First Debate, Candidates Quarrel On Iraq, Express Optimism for Bailout

September 27, 2008

By Michael D. Shear and Shailagh Murray
The Washington Times

OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 26 — Sen. Barack Obama sharply criticized Sen. John McCain’s judgment on the war in Iraq, repeatedly telling his presidential rival “you were wrong” to rush the nation into battle, directly challenging the Republican nominee on foreign policy as the two met in their first debate of the general-election season.

McCain aggressively pushed back, accusing Obama of failing to understand that a new approach employed by Gen. David H. Petraeus in Iraq would lead to victory and mocking him as naive for his willingness to meet with some of the world’s most brutal leaders.

John McCain and Barack Obama

Candidates battle through sharp exchanges during first debate.

With 40 days remaining before Election Day and the U.S. economy teetering, the two clashed on taxes, energy policy, Russian aggression in Georgia and the threat posed by Iran. Neither made a serious mistake in an encounter that capped one of the most chaotic weeks of the campaign, nor was either able to claim a decisive victory.

The debate itself almost did not happen. McCain’s dramatic midweek announcement that he was suspending his campaign to focus on the nation’s financial crisis left the face-off in limbo as both candidates rushed back to Washington on Thursday and plunged themselves into the acrimonious negotiations over a $700 billion economic bailout.

On Friday, McCain reversed his pledge to stay in Washington until those negotiations concluded. And once on stage at the University of Mississippi, it was the exchanges about how to keep the United States safe that put the starkest differences between the two men on display.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/09/26
/AR2008092601944.html?hpid=topnews