Above: President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House, Oct. 11, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) “Military All In But Obama Wasn’t” — Max Boot, Commentary Back in late 2009, when President Obama announced that he would send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan but only for 18 months, many conservatives were highly critical of his decision, arguing that the president did not have the temperament to wage a war successfully and that he was only going to throw away troops’ lives needlessly without trying to achieve victory. I was not one of them. I was willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, and I supported the president’s move as a way to arrest the decline in Afghanistan. Having sent more troops and first-rate commanders—first Stanley McChrystal, then David Petraeus, now John Allen—I thought that Obama was committed to a successful outcome and could not risk backing down without calling one of his major commitments into question. Read more …. My Comment: Max Boot is not alone …. pundits like Jennifer Rubin are now wondering if national security is taking a back seat to politics? As to what is my take …. I am still giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt …. and that both Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin are wrong. But it is still disquieting to read reports …. which I do everyday for this blog …. that the President is not involved in intelligence/national security issues to the level that would make me feel comfortable.
Time to decide? There are reports that Germany wants Greece to hold a referendum on future membership in the euro zone. Reuters A Greece Euro Exit Could Make Lehman’s Collapse ‘Look Like A Tea Party’ — CNN London (CNN) — The wheels are coming off the wagon. The fat lady is about to sing. The proverbial is about to hit the fan. It doesn’t matter which saying you use, the facts are inescapable. Greece’s membership of the eurozone is untenable under the current conditions and everyone knows it. Some like Hungary’s finance minister say openly Greece will leave the euro. The only question is what catalyst will force it out and when. The nearest deadline to hand is the country’s June 17th elections, when the Greek voters will decide whether to support parties who will adhere to the bailout agreements or those who want to tear them up. Read more …. More News On The Greek Crisis Debt crisis: as it happened – May 21, 2012 — The Telegraph Europe Raises Threat Level against Athens — Spiegel Online Greece’s new prime minister meets party leaders ahead of EU summit, June 17 elections — Washington Post/AP Greek leftist brings message to Europe: “Let’s talk” — Reuters Greece’s Would-Be Savior Launches Charm Offensive — New York Times Alexis Tsipras warns Greek crisis is also Europe’s — The Guardian An exit by Greece would sorely test the eurozone — Boston.com/New York Times Alexis Tsipras interview: ‘Greece is in danger of a humanitarian crisis’ — The Guardian Global markets on edge over Greece despite G8 pledge — Reuters Europe’s Worst Fear: Spain and Greece Spiral Down Together — Landon Thomas Jr., New York Times What’s next for Greece — Chris Isidore, CNN Is a Greek Exit from the Euro Inevitable? — Michael Schuman, Time Greece and the euro: the essential guide — Luke Harding, The Guardian What could happen next if Greece leaves the eurozone? — BBC
U.S. Army Capt. Tyler Vest, center, speaks with an Afghan soldier while U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Noonan looks on as they finish a combined patrol clearing operation in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, April 30, 2012. Vest and Noonan are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod From M16s To Boots, Afghan Troops Feel Slighted — Seattle PI/AP GARDEZ, Afghanistan (AP) — They say their M16s are dust-prone antiques. Their boots fall apart after a couple of months, they complain, and many of their helmets are cracked and patched. Yet they set out on patrol. They are the men of the Afghan National Army, the critical part of the huge machine being built to protect Afghanistan’s security after the NATO alliance is gone in less than three years. Read more …. My Comment: The Afghans have a point about the weapons …. and this is not the first time that I am reading about the poor quality of the footwear. As to both sides treating each other with disrespect …. I have also heard about that “issue” on more than one occasion …. but I say …. welcome to the Army.
There is heightened security for the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, Illinois. Officials estimated over 500 demonstrators came out to protest on Saturday. CNN NATO Leaders Seek Common Path Out Of Afghanistan — Reuters CHICAGO (Reuters) – NATO leaders gather in Chicago on Sunday for a summit that will chart a path out of Afghanistan, as Western nations seek to fend off fissures in their alliance and ensure Afghanistan can hold a still-potent Taliban at bay when foreign troops withdraw. President Barack Obama hosts the summit in his home town, Chicago, a day after leaders of major industrialized nations tackled Europe’s debt crisis, backing keeping Greece in the euro zone and vowing to take steps necessary to revitalize the world economy. Read more …. MIDDLE EAST Syrian opposition reports clashes in capital. Syria: Damascus clashes prompt claims of high-level assassinations. U.S. tells G8 Syria’s Assad must go, cites Yemen as model. Lebanese soldiers kill two anti-Assad group members. Qatar and UAE call on their citizens to leave Lebanon for security reasons. IAEA chief to visit Iran for nuclear talks. U.N. seeks Iran nuclear deal before Baghdad talks. Iran finance minister: ‘Rest assured’ record oil prices over nuclear sanctions. Yemen clashes kill 34 militants, soldiers: officials. ASIA Taiwan’s Ma signals no China change as term starts. China dissident Chen Guangcheng arrives in the US. China security chief seems to keep his hold on power. Sri Lanka marks 3rd anniversary of end of war. Sri Lankan president orders release of Sarath Fonseka. Pakistan blocks Twitter because of material considered offensive to Islam. Thousands mark Thailand Red Shirt crackdown. Even $3 trillion can’t buy China love or good PR. AFRICA Sudan’s President Bashir ‘believes in need for peace’. Sudan releases four foreigner seized in disputed area . Sudan army frees captured UN deminers. Bombs kill Somali soldiers in Mogadishu. Rights group accuses Egypt’s military of torture. Eritrea President denies stifling free speech. EUROPE Frankfurt sees 20,000 protest austerity. 7 charged with terror crimes in Real IRA crackdown. Serbian voters go to polls to new elect president. At least 7 dead after quake rocks northern Italy . Deadly northern Italy earthquake hits heritage sites. Italy bomb attack was probably isolated act – investigator. Ukraine under increasing fire over jailed ex-PM. Spain reeling over financial fears: ‘Will my money be safe?’ ask customers in Madrid banks. AMERICAS Protesters prepare for larger NATO demonstration. Repsol: Exploratory oil well off Cuba comes up dry. New hints at looser rules on travel stir hope in Cuba. Argentina: Black market grows with currency. Rising price concerns as Dominicans vote for president. Honduras prisoners surrender after violent clashes. TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR Lockerbie bomber Megrahi is dead. Yemen army presses drive to retake Qaeda bastion . Al-Qaeda leader Ayam al-Zawahri calls on Saudi Arabia to rise up. ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS World leaders back Greece, vow to combat financial turmoil. Economists: Greek economic problems could spread. Facebook gold rush: Fanfare vs. realities . Google says it has China’s approval for Motorola deal. Obama pledges tough enforcement of Wall Street reforms.
NATO Summit: Who Will Foot The Bill For Long-Term Afghanistan Security? — Christian Science Monitor A war-weary US faces off with wary NATO allies in Chicago about money and support for Afghanistan after US combat troops withdraw in 2014. Don’t expect any “Mission Accomplished” speeches. When NATO nations meet in Chicago May 20, one question will top the agenda: What happens in Afghanistan when US combat troops leave? To be sure, some troops from NATO countries, led by the United States, will likely stay behind after 2014 – both to train Afghans and act as a hedge against the Taliban’s return. The summit will try to iron out some of those details. Read more …. More News on Afghanistan Nato summit: Obama to tackle Afghanistan’s future – live coverage — The Guardian NATO Leaders Map Strategy for Afghanistan Exit — Reuters World leaders set to tackle Afghanistan’s future — AP World leaders set to tackle Afghanistan’s future — New York Post Nato summit to discuss withdrawal from Afghanistan — BBC NATO considers future of Afghanistan — Deutsche Welle NATO to pressure Canada to help foot bill for Afghanistan security — National Post NATO Buzzword: ‘Sustainment’ In Afghanistan — NPR White House Balances Money, Security In Afghanistan — NPR Bomber Strikes U.S. Soldiers in Southern Afghanistan — New York Times Two NATO troops killed in southern Afghanistan — L.A. Times Afghan attack kills two NATO soldiers, two children — AFP Suicide blast ‘kills 10′ at Afghan checkpoint in Khost — BBC In Afghanistan, New Group Begins Campaign of Terror — New York Times Taliban: NATO nations should leave Afghanistan now — Stars and Stripes/AP UK special forces ‘to stay in Afghanistan after 2014′ — BBC UK May Keep Troops in Afghanistan Post-2014 to Fight Terrorism — Reuters UK special forces will stay in Afghanistan in anti-terror role — The Guardian NATO won’t pay $5,000 per truck to Pakistan: Panetta — New York Daily News Why Britain’s pledge to end Afghanistan’s deadly heroin trade has failed — The Telegraph Taliban, poppies returning to once-secure Afghan province — McClathcy News In Afghanistan, fears that a NATO withdrawal will lead to another civil war — Global Post NATO summit: Why US, allies don’t just call it quits in Afghanistan — Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor What the NATO Summit could mean for Afghanistan’s women — Khorshied Samad, FOX News The View Of The War From Afghanistan — NPR