Archive for the ‘President of the United States’ Category

Desmond Tutu: Obama For America’s global image

November 9, 2008

On the night of America’s election last Tuesday, an Ethiopian American immigrant told Peace and Freedom that Barack Obama had more a global impact on the image of America than any other man ever…

***

By Desmond Tutu
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B01

CAPE TOWN I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief and wonder. It can’t be true that Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan, is the next president of the United States.

But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my native South Africa on April 27, 1994.

We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.

A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we had our first shock, hearing your president respond not with the statesmanlike demeanor we had come to expect from a U.S. head of state but like a Western gunslinger. Later, it seemed that much of American society was following his lead.

When war began, first in Afghanistan and not long after in Iraq, we read allegations of prisoner abuse at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and of rendition to countries notorious for practicing torture. We saw the horrific images from Abu Ghraib and learned of gruesome acts performed in the name of gathering information. Sometimes the torture itself was couched in the government’s euphemisms — calling waterboarding an “interrogation technique.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07
/AR2008110702896.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Advertisements

Cost Nearly Doubles For Marine One Fleet

March 17, 2008

By Peter Baker 

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2008; Page A01

A year after Sept. 11, 2001, the White House set out to build a fleet of state-of-the-art Marine One helicopters for the al-Qaeda age that would be safer, more powerful and more reliable than the iconic white-topped aircraft that have landed on the South Lawn for decades.
Marine One lifting off of the White House South Lawn

Marine One lifting off of the White House South Lawn

But the al-Qaeda age has met the military acquisition process. Six years later, the cost of the new helicopters has nearly doubled, production has fallen behind schedule, and the bulk of the program has been put on hold while the government tries to figure out how to salvage it.

The Pentagon confirmed this month that the cost of the fleet of 28 new super-sophisticated helicopters has jumped from $6.1 billion when the contract was signed in 2005 to $11.2 billion today. Outfitted with cutting-edge communications equipment, antimissile defenses and hardened hulls, each of the VH-71 helicopters, to be dubbed Marine One whenever the president is onboard, will cost $400 million — more than the most recent Boeing 747 jetliner outfitted to serve as Air Force One when it was delivered in 1990, even when adjusted for inflation.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/16/AR2008031602936.html?hpid=topnews 

Race for the White House: Enter Bill Clinton

January 2, 2008

By Suzanne Goldenberg in Greenfield, Iowa
The Guardian (UK)
January 1, 2008

Past failures are a recipe for success, says Hillary’s ‘number one supporter’ Failure is not usually an attribute used to sell American presidents but that is how Bill Clinton is pitching his wife to Iowa voters in the final days before the state caucuses. Hillary Clinton has a crucial quality for an occupant of the White House, the former president argues: the strength to carry on after getting it wrong.

For some, this makes a compelling argument, coming from the only living Democrat to have occupied the Oval Office for two terms. Who better equipped to offer a lesson on the makings of a president than Bill Clinton? Yesterday (DEC31) saw a new variant of the Clinton pas de deux: Bill on a campaign swing from the west of the state and Hillary from the east, with a planned late-night reunion at a New Year’s Eve party in Des Moines.

The Clinton running for president offers a brisk 20-minute address on policy. The Clinton who has already been president delivers an hour-long lesson on the challenges of the White House and his wife’s accomplishments.

Read the rest:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/
0,,2233781,00.html

Putin Digs In

October 14, 2007

Vladimir Putin of Russia boasts of a resurgent Russia and scolds the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense. But his game is a potentially dangerous one.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 15, 2007

For the last several years, gradually at first but at an accelerating tempo, Russia has reasserted itself in a revision of its Cold War ways. Once hopeful of a new Russia willing and able to cooperate more readily and effectively with the rest of the world community in fighting terrorism, dealing with nations like Iran and North Korea, and developing missile defenses; the U.S., NATO allies and others began to see a new more cantankerous Russia.

Some call this the “resurgent Russia.” We call it the recidivist Russia.

The driving force in all of this is President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Владимир Владимирович Путин
Vladimir Putin

Mr. Putin’s reluctance to join further with the West on issues such as fighting terrorism and fostering democracy, especially among the former Soviet Republics, has turned into intransigence.

The differences between Putin, the West, and the United States especially, were never more starkly on display than they were on October 12, 2007. In an effort to resolve differences between the U.S. and Russia, the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense waited to meet with Mr. Putin before they met with their Russian counterparts.

They waited. And waited.

In what looked like an intentional display of power, some say President Putin made his guests wait for something like 40 minutes.

Then Mr. Putin launched upon a derisive criticism of the U.S. and especially the missile defense effort to include the Czech Republic and Poland.

Now Mr. Putin insists, unless the U.S. missile defense plan is scrapped or vastly revised, Russia will withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and deploy medium range nuclear armed ballistic missiles facing Europe. He has already walked away from the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which limited concentrations of troops and tanks, as an expression of anger at US plans to site a single radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Moscow would be forced to take measures to “neutralize” the missile defense shield if it is built as planned.

It seems Mr. Putin will attempt to use European fear and public opinion plus his vast oil wealth as the levers of power to convince a weakened U.S. president to relent on missile defense.

As soon as Rice and Gates left Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow regarded the joint Japan-U.S. missile defense effort as an “object of concern.”

So it isn’t just the Poland-Czech Republic plan that bothers the Russians – it is anything labeled missile defense.

Recall also that Russia and China conducted their first ever joint military training exercise under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). China and Russia have united to block U.S. and U.K. proposed sanctions against President Ahmadinejad and Iran over its nuclear program. And Russia and China have even blocked sanctions against Myanmar.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters on the way home from Russia: “My own view is that the Europeans are beginning to wonder what the Russians are all about.”

Gates continued, “And I think it would be frankly harmful to Russia’s interests in Europe to unilaterally suspend or withdraw from this treaty [the INF], in terms of the sense of security and reassurance in Europe of the predictability of the future.”

U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan commands the European Command and he wants to curtail plans to reduce U.S. forces in Europe. He said: “In this era of persistent conflict, we have some fault lines that are there in the European Command (area of responsibility) that we have to pay attention to. We don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of a resurgent Russia.”

Finally, the day after the dressing down by President Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Rice said:
“In any country, if you don’t have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development.”

She added, “I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. I have told the Russians that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma.”

What’s next? We’ll have to wait and see….

Related:
Putin Says Nyet
https://johnibii.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/putin-again-nyet-to-us-misile-defense/
and
Cold War Redux
https://johnibii.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/is-mr-putin-listening/
and
Kremlinology 101 Redux