Monday, 20 August 2018
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US politics

The US-UK Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty has passed its final hurdle towards ratification on both sides of the Atlantic with approval coming from the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

The Treaty was signed in June 2007 by then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and then United States President George W Bush. It aims to streamline and improve defence export processes and allows for the export of defence articles, without a license or other written authorization, from the US to an "approved community" of recipients in the UK and US and the subsequent transfer of these articles within that community without further US authorisation. This has the potential to boost trade between both countries and benefit the economies of both nations by retaining control of such transfers but speeding up the process for sales of equipment with US-made components to the UK Ministry of Defence and UK-sourced equipment to the USA.

Ian Godden, Chairman of the defence indutry body A|D|S, said: "The approval of the Treaty by the Senate is most welcome news. It has been a long journey but we sincerely hope that it will be worth the wait given the potential benefits that could now result.

"The Treaty reflects the close working relationship of our armed forces and the industrial collaboration of our two countries and it should deliver clear benefits for our troops. The UK is the largest international supplier of defence equipment to the US and is second only to the United States in the global defence export market. Therefore, the long-term significance of this new defence export control regime should not be underestimated."

Aerospace Industries of America President & CEO Marion C. Blakey said AIA that welcomes passage of the U.S.-UK and U.S.-Australia Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties by the full Senate.

"Ratifying these treaties will provide important benefits to both our national security and our economy.

"The treaties will streamline the licensing system for defense exports to our staunch allies, the UK and Australia. AIA has long advocated that we should do everything possible to ensure that their troops and our troops are able to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the best equipment available.

"Passage of these treaties is in concert with the Obama administration's plan to modernize export controls. Our industry, with about 820,000 employees and 30,000 suppliers from all 50 states, strongly supports efforts to adjust outdated restrictions on American companies as we work to equip our closest friends and allies with the technology that allows our militaries to defend our mutual interests.

"We congratulate the Senate for passing the U.S.-UK and U.S.-Australia Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties, and thank both the House and Senate for passing the accompanying implementation legislation."

 

Report by Associated Press, December 19, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president, has died. He was 95.

Felt died Thursday in Santa Rosa after suffering from congestive heart failure for several months, said family friend John D. O'Connor, who wrote the 2005 Vanity Fair article uncovering Felt's secret.

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By Rep Ike Skelton, Chairman, US House Armed Services Committee

President-elect Obama's decision to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is superb. Secretary Gates is trustworthy, has a keen sense of duty, and has the qualities of an Eagle Scout, which he is so proud of being. I have great confidence that Secretary Gates will continue to lead our military with distinction and help ensure our national security through these challenging times.

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US House of Representatives approves FY09 Defense Authorization Bill

Congressman Duncan Hunter has been the bane of the life of U K defence esporters. He pushed a protectionist agenda when chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and anglo-US unclassified defence trade relations were kept on a more or less even keel as a result of the sterling efforts of Senator John Warner.

The U.S. House of Representatives has just amended and approved S. 3001, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, by a vote of 392 to 39.

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By George Friedman

Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. His advisers in foreign policy are generally Democrats. Together they carry with them an institutional memory of the Democratic Party's approach to foreign policy, and are an expression of the complexity and divisions of that approach. Like the their Republican counterparts, in many ways they are going to be severely constrained as to what they can do both by the nature of the global landscape and American resources. But to some extent, they will also be constrained and defined by the tradition they come from. Understanding that tradition and Obama's place is useful in understanding what an Obama presidency would look like in foreign affairs.

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By George Friedman

We are a week away from the 2010 U.S. midterm elections. The outcome is already locked in. Whether the Republicans take the House or the Senate is close to immaterial. It is almost certain that the dynamics of American domestic politics will change. The Democrats will lose their ability to impose cloture in the Senate and thereby shut off debate. Whether they lose the House or not, the Democrats will lose the ability to pass legislation at the will of the House Democratic leadership. The large majority held by the Democrats will be gone, and party discipline will not be strong enough (it never is) to prevent some defections.

Should the Republicans win an overwhelming victory in both houses next week, they will still not have the votes to override presidential vetoes. Therefore they will not be able to legislate unilaterally, and if any legislation is to be passed it will have to be the result of negotiations between the president and the Republican Congressional leadership. Thus, whether the Democrats do better than expected or the Republicans win a massive victory, the practical result will be the same.

When we consider the difficulties President Barack Obama had passing his health care legislation, even with powerful majorities in both houses, it is clear that he will not be able to push through any significant legislation without Republican agreement. The result will either be gridlock or a very different legislative agenda than we have seen in the first two years.

These are not unique circumstances. Reversals in the first midterm election after a presidential election happened to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. It does not mean that Obama is guaranteed to lose a re-election bid, although it does mean that, in order to win that election, he will have to operate in a very different way. It also means that the 2012 presidential campaign will begin next Wednesday on Nov. 3. Given his low approval ratings, Obama appears vulnerable and the Republican nomination has become extremely valuable. For his part, Obama does not have much time to lose in reshaping his presidency. With the Iowa caucuses about 15 months away and the Republicans holding momentum, the president will have to begin his campaign.

Obama now has two options in terms of domestic strategy. The first is to continue to press his agenda, knowing that it will be voted down. If the domestic situation improves, he takes credit for it. If it doesn't, he runs against Republican partisanship. The second option is to abandon his agenda, cooperate with the Republicans and re-establish his image as a centrist. Both have political advantages and disadvantages and present an important strategic decision for Obama to make.

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By George Friedman

The 2010 U.S. midterm elections were held, and the results were as expected: The Republicans took the House but did not take the Senate. The Democrats have such a small margin in the Senate, however, that they cannot impose cloture, which means the Republicans can block Obama administration initiatives in both houses of Congress. At the same time, the Republicans cannot override presidential vetoes alone, so they cannot legislate, either. The possible legislative outcomes are thus gridlock or significant compromises.

U.S. President Barack Obama hopes that the Republicans prove rigidly ideological. In 1994, after the Republicans won a similar victory over Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich attempted to use the speakership to craft national policy. Clinton ran for re-election in 1996 against Gingrich rather than the actual Republican candidate, Bob Dole; Clinton made Gingrich the issue, and he won. Obama hopes for the same opportunity to recoup. The new speaker, John Boehner, already has indicated that he does not intend to play Gingrich but rather is prepared to find compromises. Since Tea Party members are not close to forming a majority of the Republican Party in the House, Boehner is likely to get his way.

Another way to look at this is that the United States remains a predominantly right-of-center country. Obama won a substantial victory in 2008, but he did not change the architecture of American politics. Almost 48 percent of voters voted against him. Though he won a larger percentage than anyone since Ronald Reagan, he was not even close to the magnitude of Reagan's victory. Reagan transformed the way American politics worked. Obama did not. In spite of his supporters' excitement, his election did not signify a permanent national shift to the left. His attempt to govern from the left accordingly brought a predictable result: The public took away his ability to legislate on domestic affairs. Instead, they moved the country to a position where no one can legislate anything beyond the most carefully negotiated and neutral legislation.

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