Sunday, 28 November 2021
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Max Boot, Los Angeles Times wrote:

President Obama and his aides continue to impress with their handling of Afghanistan. Not only have they approved a major troop increase and a de facto commitment to nation-building, but now they have shifted personnel to make the most effective use of the added resources and turn around a failing war effort.

The big news is that Army Gen. David D. McKiernan is out after just 11 months as the top commander. He will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Just as important, if less heralded, is the decision to appoint Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who had previously served in Afghanistan as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, as the second-ranking commander. His role will be vital: to help the overstretched NATO staff pull together its disjointed war effort.

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by Sally McNamara

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with President Obama at the White House this week, a privilege normally reserved for fellow heads-of-state. Moscow has reciprocated this extraordinary display of friendship by pulling out of the NATO-Russia Council meeting set for May 19, and expelling two NATO officials from their Moscow offices after NATO expelled two Russian diplomats suspected of spying.

After meeting President Obama, Minister Lavrov delivered a public speech outlining multiple Russian concerns, including deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe and NATO's eastern expansion. Lavrov also stated that Moscow is open for cooperation with NATO allies and regional powers on Afghanistan.

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by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D.

In his first 100 days in office, President Barack Obama completed two whirlwind tours of Europe and Latin America. His message on both continents was simple: America has made many mistakes in the past, but we're ready now to listen to others and be more flexible. It was a hugely popular message that brought him thunderous applause, particularly when he criticized or apologized for America--to an extent that no other sitting American President had done before on foreign soil.

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By George Friedman

U.S. presidential candidates run for office as if they would be free to act however they wish once elected. But upon election, they govern as they must. The freedom of the campaign trail contrasts sharply with the constraints of reality.

The test of a president is how effectively he bridges the gap between what he said he would do and what he finds he must do. Great presidents achieve this seamlessly, while mediocre presidents never recover from the transition. All presidents make the shift, including Obama, who spent his first hundred days on this task.

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by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.

The Russian and Eurasian Policy Project was inaugurated to assist policymakers in the legislative and executive branches who will formulate U.S. policies toward Russia and Eurasia. The project's task force is composed of leading experts on Russia and Eurasia who have extensive policy experience in Russian and Eurasian affairs and national security in both Republican and Democratic Administrations. This task force report is intended to be both prescrip tive and descriptive in recommending policies that are realistic, possible to implement, and balanced.

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By George Friedman

The weeklong extravaganza of G-20, NATO, EU, U.S. and Turkey meetings has almost ended. The spin emerging from the meetings, echoed in most of the media, sought to portray the meetings as a success and as reflecting a re-emergence of trans-Atlantic unity.

The reality, however, is that the meetings ended in apparent unity because the United States accepted European unwillingness to compromise on key issues. U.S. President Barack Obama wanted the week to appear successful, and therefore backed off on key issues; the Europeans did the same. Moreover, Obama appears to have set a process in motion that bypasses Europe to focus on his last stop: Turkey.

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by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. and Owen Graham

After attending the three summits--G-20, NATO, and the EU--President Obama arrived in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday for the final stop on his inaugural European tour. Obama's visit to Turkey highlights the importance Washington attaches to this country as a key regional player, a veteran NATO ally, and an influential Muslim state.

During the NATO summit on Saturday, the alliance unanimously chose Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's prime minister, as the next secretary general. Turkey was initially against the nomination, however, alleging that Rasmussen was insensitive to

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By Kim R. Holmes

President Obama's election hasn't ushered in all the good international feelings he hoped for. Some of our thorniest problems under Bush are getting even thornier: Russia, which rebuked NATO over Georgia's membership by invading Georgia, has bribed Kyrgyzstan into shutting down a U.S. supply base for Afghanistan, pressured Ukraine and others on energy supplies, and threatened the U.S. with retaliation over missile defenses in Europe. North Korea seems to be preparing for another provocative missile test. Iran just tested a satellite that shows its determination to acquire long-range missiles and demanded an apology from the U.S. before it will participate in the high-level talks Obama wants.

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