Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

U.S., India Face Blackmail From Pakistan on Terrorism

November 30, 2008

Pakistan says “sorry” but tension with India forces withdrawal of troops in tribal areas facing Afghanistan where taliban and al-Qaeda roam….

*****

The United States and India face tactics bordering on blackmail from a militarized Pakistan – where civilian control is still very dodgy — as they coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to analysts and officials on both sides.

By Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Times of India

In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its “Afghan move” to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Pakistani troops and tanks on patrol in the tribal areas facing Afghanistan.
REUTERS/Abdul Rehman (PAKISTAN)

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, “Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures.”

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don’t get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan’s withdrawal of troops from the Afghan front would obviously undermine the US/Nato battle in Afghanistan and allow breathing space for Taliban and al-Qaida. It would also ratchet up confrontation with India, which is at low ebb right now because Islamabad has been forced to engage on its western front and this minimizes Pakistan-backed infiltration into Kashmir, allowing India to tackle the insurgency in the state.

Related:
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure
and
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_Indi
a_face_Pak_blackmail_on_terror/article
show/3777307.cms

At G-20, China Did Not Commit Bailout Funds Despite Huge Reserves

November 16, 2008

China got what it wanted in Washington’s financial summit — a promise of a bigger role for developing countries in global finance — but gave no sign Sunday whether it will respond by using any of its $1.9 trillion in reserves in a bailout fund.

By JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

China has been pushing for developing countries generally — and itself specifically — to have more influence at the International Monetary Fund and other global bodies. Analysts say that might be Beijing’s price to give in to foreign appeals to dip into its reserves and contribute money toward an IMF emergency loan fund for struggling countries.

The Washington summit was an “important and positive” step toward “the reform of the international financial structure,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. It made no mention of possible bailout contributions, and a man who answered the phone at the ministry press office said he had no information.

Leaders from 21 nations, including China, and four international organizations attended the emergency two-day summit intended to address the financial crisis sweeping the globe.

Summit participants vowed Saturday at the conclusion of the two-day conference to cooperate more closely, keep a sharper eye out for potential problems and give bigger roles to fast-rising nations. But the leaders avoided many of the harder details leaving them to be worked out before their next summit, after President George W. Bush is gone and President-elect Barack Obama is in the White House.

China says it will cooperate with the IMF but Chinese officials say its most important role will be to preserve global growth by keeping its own economy healthy. Beijing announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package last week, at a time of slowing economic growth and fears that falling exports could lead to layoffs and factory closures.

“China’s economic power is growing, so China could contribute and help ease the financial crisis,” said Wu Jinglian, a prominent economist and Cabinet adviser. “But the first priority is to keep our own economy growing. That will benefit every country in the world.”

A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside ...
A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside the prefabricated temporary housing in Yingxiu, Sichuan Province in China Nov. 8, 2008. Six months after the worst quake to hit China in three decades, the future remains uncertain for many survivors. Jobs are hard to come by, and government aid payments are about to end. Many people are still in temporary housing. China’s leaders have called reconstruction a priority. Last week, the government announced plans to pump $146 billion into the effort over the next three years. Some 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion) will be spent on ensuring schools, hospitals and other public facilities are built to higher standards.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_re_as/as_asia_meltdown_summit_1

Can Washington save the Big Three automakers?

November 9, 2008

With the Big Three US automakers teetering on the edge of insolvency, it appears Washington may finally be ready to come to Detroit’s rescue.

Only hours after both General Motors and Ford Motor Co. announced large third-quarter losses — and stressed that they are both rapidly running out of cash — President-elect Barack Obama focused on the industry’s plight during his first news conference since Tuesday’s election.


Above: 1910 Ford Model T

“I have made it a high priority for the transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust,” Obama told reporters gathered in Chicago.

AFP

Just how bad a situation the automakers are facing was hammered home on Friday, when GM reported a 2.5 billion dollar net loss for the third quarter, bringing to nearly 57 billion dollars its losses since the beginning of 2005.

Ford’s 129 million dollar quarterly loss, meanwhile, brought to nearly 24.5 billion dollars the deficit it has run up since plunging into the red in 2006.

Yet the losses only partially state the true depth of the problem for the automakers.

Going into the third quarter, GM had 21 billion dollars on its books. By the end of September, that had plunged to 16.2 billion dollars, coming perilously close to the 11 billion to 14 billion dollars it says it needs on hand to keep the company operating.

GM logo
Ford burned through 7.7 billion dollars in the quarter, though its reserves are nearly twice as richer thanks to a massive line of credit it acquired last year.

Though it doesn’t report its full financial data, the privately-held Chrysler LLC is also thought to be fast running out of cash: one reason, analysts believe, why its parent, Cerberus Capital Management, was so eager to sell Chrysler to GM.

That deal, however, was scuttled by GM, and observers believe Cerberus may now rush to find another buyer as the economy continues to worsen.

“I doubt there’s anyone who challenges the fact that we’re operating in difficult times, perhaps as difficult as we’ve ever faced in the auto industry,” GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said during a Friday conference call with reporters and industry analysts.

Detroit’s situation has certainly worsened in the face of the current economic crisis that combines what many describe as a “perfect storm” of factors, such as high fuel costs, tight credit, job losses and rising commodity prices.

 

But the seeds of the current crisis date back to the last big oil shock, of 1979, which helped the Japanese gain a foothold for small, fuel-efficient products.

As gas lines faded from memory, the Asian automakers continued to gain ground by focusing on quality, something GM, Ford and Chrysler have only recently come to grips with — and with varying degrees of success.

Further compounding the situation, Detroit has been consciously slow to embrace changes in the American automotive marketplace, especially the shift from big trucks to small, fuel-efficient passenger cars.

And even where it has, lamented Consumer Reports’ auto analyst David Champion, it has needed “more models that were exciting for people to buy.”

Again, Detroit has begun to address that complaint, and a flood of more fuel-efficient — and exciting — models are on tap to debut over the next several years. The challenge now will be to keep that flow going.

GM President Fritz Henderson said Friday the automaker will have to cut back on some product programs in order to ensure liquidity.

Read the rest:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081108175210.5dfg9d6x&show_article=1

Al-Maliki stressing US departure from Iraq

November 1, 2008

Iraq’s prime minister is pushing the idea that the U.S. departure is in sight in a bid to sell the security deal with Washington to Iran.

To reinforce the message, the Iraqis are asking for changes to the deal that would effectively rule out extending the U.S. military presence beyond 2011.

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his allies are also describing the agreement not as a formula for long-term U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation — the original goal when the talks began earlier this year — but as a way to manage the U.S. withdrawal.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, pictured here in May 2008, ... 
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, pictured here in May 2008, said on Friday he will submit the text of the controversial security pact with the United States to all of his country’s neighbours.(AFP/File/Qassem Zein)

It’s unclear whether this will be enough to win over the Iranians and Iraqi critics — or whether the U.S. will go along with the demands submitted by the Iraqi Cabinet this week.

The Iraqis want expanded Iraqi jurisdiction over U.S. troops and elimination of a clause that could allow the soldiers to stay past a tentative Dec. 31, 2011 deadline.

Iran strongly opposes the agreement, fearing it could lead to U.S. troops remaining in a neighboring country indefinitely.

With Iranian sensitivities in mind, the Iraqis also want an explicit ban on the U.S. using Iraqi territory to attack its neighbors — a demand that was reinforced by last Sunday’s U.S. raid against a suspected al-Qaida hideout in Syria.

If Washington won’t bend, key Iraqi politicians believe the deal will never win parliament’s approval. U.S. diplomats are studying the proposals.

But some U.S. officials in Washington have privately expressed doubts about chances to reach an agreement before the U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S. mission expires at the end of next month.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081101/ap_on_re_mi_ea
/iraq_selling_security;_ylt=AtZG6ZxgQyjqNM29_PKrqHCs0NUE

China Defense Minister Blasts US Arms Sale to Taiwan

October 14, 2008

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China’s defense minister has demanded that the U.S. cancel a $6.5 billion arms sale to Taiwan, saying it created “obstacles” in relations between Beijing and Washington.

Liang Guanglie’s remarks are the latest show of pique by Beijing over the arms package that includes Patriot III missiles, Apache helicopters, and parts for F-16 jet fighters.

Officials bow to a picture of Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Nationalist ...
Officials bow to a picture of Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Nationalist Party which ran China until 1949, during Taiwan’s National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei October 10, 2008.REUTERS/Nicky Loh (TAIWAN)

Washington must “strictly adhere to its commitments on the Taiwan issue, immediately cancel all items regarding arms sales to Taiwan and cease U.S.-Taiwan military relations,” Liang was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday as telling visiting U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The sale has not “not only damaged relations between the two countries and two militaries, but also created obstacles in exchanges and cooperation in all areas including high level exchanges between the two militaries,” Liang was quoted as saying at his Monday meeting with Hagel.

That was an apparent reference to Beijing’s suspension of some senior-level visits and other planned exchanges, announced earlier this month to the Pentagon but not publicly confirmed by Chinese officials.

Claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a perennial bugbear in relations between Beijing and Washington. China strongly objects to U.S. legislation requiring Washington to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself from Chinese threats to attack if the island moves to cement its de-facto independent status.

However, despite the suspension of high-level military contacts and a further diplomatic protest from Beijing, experts say they don’t anticipate a wider rift developing over the latest arms sale.

Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have eased since the inauguration of Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou, who has pledged to build bridges with the mainland in contrast to the more confrontational tone taken by his independence-leaning predecessor Chen Shui-bian.
F-16 June 2008.jpg
Above: F-16

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081014/ap_
on_re_as/as_china_us_taiwan_1

Bush: North Korea must declare nuclear programs

April 19, 2008

By Jeremy Pelofsky 

CAMP DAVID, Maryland (Reuters) – The United States and South Korea on Saturday demanded North Korea submit its long overdue accounting of its nuclear weapons programs but offered no clues about how long they would be willing to wait for it.
President George W. Bush (R) and South Korean President Lee ... 
President George W. Bush (R) and South Korean President Lee Yoon-bak walk towards a news conference at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, after private talks at the Presidential retreat, April 19, 2008.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

Meeting for the first time at the secluded presidential retreat, President George W. Bush and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also warned that once the declaration had been made, the information would have to be verified.

They appeared to back away from a reported proposal under which, according to sources familiar with the matter, Washington would list its concerns about the nuclear programs which Pyongyang would then acknowledge.

Some U.S. conservatives have criticized that idea as giving in to North Korea and aimed at getting a deal before Bush leaves office in early 2009.

“You know, there’s all kinds of rumors about what is happening and what’s not happening,” Bush said at a news joint conference with Lee. “Obviously I’m not going to accept a deal that doesn’t advance the interests of the region.”

North Korea, which tested a nuclear device in 2006, failed to meet a December 31, 2007 deadline to reveal its nuclear weapons programs, a deal struck with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080419/wl_nm/korea_usa_dc_3

US recession may not take big toll on China: experts

January 9, 2008
By P. Parameswaran 

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A US recession will dampen China‘s surging exports but the impact on the world’s most populous nation, which is taking steps to cool down a red-hot economy, may be limited, experts say.

But they also cautioned that Beijing must be prepared to face protectionist trade policies from Washington as a result of a recession, with the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the credit rout showing little sign of easing.

Many experts believe there is a greater than a 50 percent likelihood of the United States, a huge absorber of Chinese exports, plunging into at least a short, shallow recession over the next 18 months or so.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080109/bs_afp/us
chinaeconomy_080109041727

U.S. Brokered Bhutto’s Return to Pakistan

December 28, 2007

 By Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 28, 2007; Page A01

For Benazir Bhutto, the decision to return to Pakistan was sealed during a telephone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just a week before Bhutto flew home in October. The call culminated more than a year of secret diplomacy — and came only when it became clear that the heir to Pakistan’s most powerful political dynasty was the only one who could bail out Washington’s key ally in the battle against terrorism.

It was a stunning turnaround for Bhutto, a former prime minister who was forced from power in 1996 amid corruption charges. She was suddenly visiting with top State Department officials, dining with U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and conferring with members of the National Security Council. As President Pervez Musharraf’s political future began to unravel this year, Bhutto became the only politician who might help keep him in power.

“The U.S. came to understand that Bhutto was not a threat to stability, but was instead the only possible way that we could guarantee stability and keep the presidency of Musharraf intact,” said Mark Siegel, who lobbied for Bhutto in Washington and witnessed much of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122701481.html?hpid=topnews

Gates: U.S. Could Build Euro Missile Defense Now and Activate It Later

October 24, 2007

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 

PRAGUE, Czech Republic – The United States might delay activating its proposed missile defense sites in Europe until it has “definitive proof” of a missile threat from Iran, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

Robert Michael Gates
Robert Gates

At a news conference after meeting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Gates said the United States would proceed with current plans to build the sites in Europe but possibly wait before putting them in working order.

The proposal has already been presented to the Russians, who strongly oppose having U.S. missile defense ….

Read the rest:
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071023/ap_on_go_ca_
st_pe/gates_43

Related:
Missile Defense Obstacles In Poland, Czech Republic

A ‘Realistic Chance’ of Success

September 14, 2007

 By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
Friday, September 14, 2007; Page A13

As always, the inadvertent slip is the most telling. Discussing the performance of British troops, Gen. David Petraeus told Sen. Joe Biden of the Foreign Relations Committee that he’d be consulting with British colleagues in London on his way back “home.” He had meant to say “Iraq,” where he is now on his third tour of duty. Is there any other actor in Washington’s Iraq war drama — from Harry Reid to the Joint Chiefs — who could have made such a substitution? Anyone who not only knows Iraq the way Petraeus does but feels it in all its gravity and complexity?

When asked about Shiite militia domination of southern Iraq, Petraeus patiently went through the four provinces, one by one, displaying a degree of knowledge of the local players, terrain and balance of power that no one in Washington — and few in Iraq — could match.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091301415.html?hpid=opinionsbox1