Archive for the ‘president’ Category

Georgia’s President Defends Actions Prior to War With Russia

November 29, 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Friday defended the decisions made in the run-up to the August war with Russia, telling a parliamentary commission that Georgia had responded to Russian “intervention.”

He also repeated assertions that his government had neither sought nor received advance approval of the Aug. 7 attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia, in particular from the United States.

Associated Press
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“We didn’t ask for a green light from anyone,” he testified. “We were telling our friends that Russia was conducting these provocations, which were completely out of any sort of framework.”

Russia’s military response to the attack was overwhelming. It routed the Georgian military, inflicted severe damage on Georgia’s economy and aggravated already troubled relations between Moscow and Washington – a staunch backer of Mr. Saakashvili.

Opposition politicians have been increasing their criticism of Mr. Saakashvili over the run-up to the war.

Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia said Wednesday that Georgian officials perceived a July visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as encouragement for the use of force against South Ossetia. Former Ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili also said people in Mr. Saakashvili’s circle told Mr. Kitsmarishvili that Miss Rice “gave the green light” – something Miss Rice herself has denied.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/29/georgian
-president-defends-russia-war-moves/

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Belarus Not Planning to Deploy Russian Missiles to Counter U.S., Face Poland and Czech Republic

November 18, 2008

Belarus said it isn’t negotiating with Russia about placing short-range Iskander missiles inside the former Soviet state as a counter to the U.S. missile-shield project.

Belarus has no plans to deploy the missiles as part of Russia’s response to the U.S. missile-shield project in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site late yesterday. The country may acquire the missiles as part of modernizing its military, according to the statement.

By Paul Abelsky, Bloomberg

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko supported Russia’s plan to deploy Iskander missiles in its Baltic Kaliningrad exclave and was negotiating to place them inside Belarus, the Wall Street Journal said on Nov. 14. citing an interview with Lukashenko.

Can Obama Say Goodbye to BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe

November 16, 2008

Sorry, Mr. President. Please surrender your BlackBerry.
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Those are seven words President-elect Barack Obama is dreading but expecting to hear, friends and advisers say, when he takes office in 65 days.

For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side — on most days, it was fastened to his belt — to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

 
Above: Senator Barack Obama with two campaign constants: his BlackBerry and his chief strategist, David Axelrod.  Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
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“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/us/politics
/16blackberry.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Race, Obama, World: After U.S. Breakthrough, Europe Looks in Mirror

November 12, 2008

In the general European euphoria over the election of Barack Obama, there is the beginning of self-reflection about Europe’s own troubles with racial integration. Many are asking if there could be a French, British, German or Italian Obama, and everyone knows the answer is no, not anytime soon.

By Steven Erlanger
The New York Times

It is risky to make racial comparisons between America and Europe, given all the historical and cultural differences. But race had long been one reason that Europeans, harking back to the days when famous American blacks like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin found solace in France, looked down on the United States, even as Europe developed postcolonial racial problems of its own.

“They always said, ‘You think race relations are bad here in France, check out the U.S.,’ ” said Mohamed Hamidi, former editor of the Bondy Blog, founded after the 2005 riots in the heavily immigrant suburbs of Paris.

“But that argument can no longer stand,” he said.

For many immigrants to Europe, Mr. Obama’s victory is “a small revolution” toward better overall treatment of minorities, said Nadia Azieze, 31, an Algerian-born nurse who grew up here. “It will never be the same,” she said, over a meal of rice and lamb in the racially mixed Paris neighborhood of Barbès-Rochechouart.

Her sister, Cherine, 29, is a computer engineer. Mr. Obama “really represents the dream of America — if you work, you can make it,” she said. “It’s a hope for the entire world.”

But the sisters are less optimistic about the realities of France, where minorities have a limited political role, with only one black deputy elected to the National Assembly from mainland France.

Has the Obama election caused any real self-reflection among the majority here? “It’s politically correct to say, ‘O.K., great! He’s black,’ and clap,” Nadia said. “But deep down, there’s no change. People say one thing and believe another.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/world/europe
/12europe.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Obama Election Sparks Discussion of Race, Leaders Other Lands

November 12, 2008
A Tehran news weekly was shut down by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week after featuring President-elect Barack Obama on its front cover and asking the question, “Why doesn’t Iran have an Obama?”
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Fox News
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The news magazine Shahrvand-e Emrouz [Today’s Citizen] went too far for the hardline president, who quickly had Iran’s Press Supervisory Board ban the publication, the Times of London reported.

The closure of the propular reformist weekly suggests that Ahmadinejad is determined to silence his critics as he prepares for elections next June that could hand him a second-four year term.

The Iranian media has blamed numerous problems in recent weeks on Ahmadinejad. His expansionary budget is blamed for rampant inflation, oil prices have plummeted, aides have admitted that he suffers from strain and exhaustion, and an embarrassing forgery scandal claimed the scalp of his interior minister last week, the Times reported.

This week, however, Ahmadinejad collected support from some newspapers for his message of congratulations to Obama, which several newspaper commentaries on Tuesday presented an important opportunity.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an official ...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi
Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,449945,00.html
 
 Could Britain Have a Black PM?

From the BBC

Now the US has elected its first black president, how long until the UK has a black or Asian prime minister?

 

When Barack Obama claimed that his story could only have happened in America, he might have been looking across the Atlantic for evidence.

The odds of a black or Asian person taking the keys to 10 Downing Street any time soon are slim.

Tony Blair acknowledged as much in 2001, when he suggested the US was ahead of the UK in having people from ethnic minorities occupying some of the top political posts.

Mr Blair was mindful of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice at the heart of the White House, but probably hadn’t even heard of Obama.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7714056.stm

 

 

 

China’s Hu Jintao Phones Barack Obama: “Two Nations Should Respect Each Other”

November 8, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – China and the United States should “accommodate each other’s concerns,” Chinese President Hu Jintao told US president-elect Barack Obama Saturday in a telephone conversation, state media reported.

Hu and Obama spoke on a range of issues including the current global financial turmoil, Xinhua news agency reported early Sunday, in what is thought to be the first conversation between the pair since Obama’s election victory.

“Hu pointed out that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 30 years ago, bilateral relations have generally kept developing despite setbacks,” the report said.

The report did not say how long they spoke for.

“China and the United States should respect each other and accommodate each other’s concerns, and appropriately settle sensitive issues between the two countries, particularly the Taiwan issue,” Xinhua quoted Hu as saying.

China's President Hu Jintao speaks at a celebration meeting ... 
China’s President Hu Jintao speaks at a celebration meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 7, 2008. China held a meeting on Friday morning to award people who made outstanding contributions to the Shenzhou VII manned space flight, Xinhua reported.REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA)

China on Thursday urged Obama to oppose independence for Taiwan, saying that the proper handling of the issue was key to good relations between Beijing and Washington.

During Saturday’s phone conversation, Obama, who defeated his Republican rival John McCain in Tuesday’s election, said China was a “great” nation, the report quoted the Democrat as saying.

“In today’s international arena, US-China relations are relations of vital importance. The development of US-China relations is not only in the interest of both nations, but also benefits the world,” it quoted Obama as saying.

 

Rahm Emanuel Pick Indicates “Obama is No More Mr. Nice Guy”

November 6, 2008

Barack Obama is signaling a shift in tactics and temperament as he moves from candidate to president-elect, picking sharp-elbowed Washington insiders for top posts.

His choice Thursday for White House chief of staffRahm Emanuel, a fiery partisan who doesn’t mind breaking glass and hurting feelings — is a significant departure from the soft-spoken, low-key aides that “No-Drama Obama” has surrounded himself with during his campaign. And transition chief John Podesta, like Emanuel, is a former top aide to Bill Clinton and a tough partisan infighter, though less bombastic than the new chief of staff.

By LIZ SIDOTI and NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

The selections are telling for Obama, who campaigned as a nontraditional, almost “post-partisan” newcomer. People close to him say the selections show that Obama is aware of his weaknesses as well as his strengths and knows what he needs to be successful as he shifts from campaigning to governing.

“No one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel,” Obama said in a statement announcing the selection.

Obama, who survived a long contest with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, also has made it clear he will rely heavily on veterans of her husband’s eight-year administration, the only Democratic presidency in the past 28 years. Podesta was President Clinton‘s chief of staff, and several other former Clinton aides are on Obama’s short lists for key jobs, Democratic officials say. Some of them helped write a large briefing book on how to govern, assembled under Podesta’s supervision.

Obama himself brims with self-confidence, to the point that some people view him as arrogant. But to a greater degree than many presidents, he appears willing to lean on Washington insiders associated with other politicians.

Still, he is also certain to bring to the White House a cadre of longtime aides.

Emanuel accepted Obama’s offer with a gesture of bipartisanship, addressing part of his statement to Republicans. “We often disagree, but I respect their motives,” Emanuel said. “Now is a time for unity, and, Mr. President-elect, I will do everything in my power to help you stitch together the frayed fabric of our politics, and help summon Americans of both parties to unite in common purpose.”

That would come as news to some Republicans.

In contrast to Obama’s collegial style and that of his top campaign advisers, Emanuel is known as a foul-mouthed practitioner of brass-knuckled politics who relishes both conflict and publicity. He once mailed a dead fish to a political foe.

But he also earned a reputation for pragmatic efficiency, whether the goal was winning House elections for Democrats or working with Republicans to enact Clinton’s centrist political agenda.

“Rahm knows Capitol Hill and has great political skills,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “He can be a tough partisan but also understands the need to work together.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081106/ap_on_el_pr/obama;_
ylt=Ai_QF7iBJ4B4Y4lCCNEnNcqs0NUE

Presidential Transition Period Dangerous, Says Joint Chiefs Chairman

November 6, 2008

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that the United States is vulnerable to attack or other incidents during the presidential transition period and that the military is ready to respond.

“When you go back and look at the number of incidents that have occurred three or four months before an inauguration to about 12 months out, back to the ’50s, it’s pretty staggering the number of major incidents which have occurred in this time frame,” Adm. Michael Mullen said, noting that the danger is compounded by current world conditions.

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

The Sept. 11 attacks, for example, occurred eight months after President Bush took office, at a time when many key appointments had not been made.

Recent preparations for the transition in the Pentagon were aimed at preventing any attacks, and if an attack or incident does take place, the military is ready to respond, Adm. Mullen told Sara A. Carter, national security reporter for The Washington Times.

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen ...
US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on Capitol Hill in April 2008 in Washington, DC. US and Russian military chiefs met face-to-face for private talks in Helsinki Tuesday, trying to mend a relationship “clearly” marred by Russia’s invasion of Georgia, officials said.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Alex Wong)

Shifts from old to new administrations are “always a challenging time in our country, always have been,” Adm. Mullen said.

“Transitions are always difficult,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of effort into it, and we’re ready.”

The chairman said he is concerned about the transition because of the global threats and opportunities facing the United States at the present time, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I consider this a time of vulnerability, and I’ve worked this for months to have a transition team prepare for a new administration, mindful that this new administration, they don’t take charge until the 20th of January,” Adm. Mullen said.

The four-star admiral, who is the designated chief military adviser, stated that the military serves “one commander in chief always” while at the same time he will be going to “great lengths” to respond to the Obama transition team.

“You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life.” – Bush to Obama

November 5, 2008

President Bush has called Barack Obama to congratulate him on winning the presidency.

The two-term Republican president told the Illinois senator upon his historic win: “What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters.”

Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in dominant fashion, besting Republican John McCain.

Bush promised Obama a smooth transition to the White House.

Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president told Obama: “You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself.”

From the Associated Press

President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator ... 
President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) during a congratulatory phone call from the Treaty Room at the White House November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Draper/Handout

Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace; Emboldens Enemies

November 5, 2008

Especially today, as he hail and honor a new and historic president elect, this might be a good time to reflect upon the way we respect each other in America….

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Sen. ... 
U.S. President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) during a congratulatory phone call, from the Treaty Room at the White House in Washintgton, November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Draper
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Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

By Jeffery Scott Shapiro
The Wall Street Journal
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According to recent Gallup polls, the president’s average approval rating is below 30% — down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.

This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, “Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.”

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.

The president’s original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country’s current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.

Like the president said in his 2004 victory speech, “We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122584386627599251.html
The Wall Street Journal