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FPI Afternoon Roundup

FPI Afternoon Roundup

December 4, 2009

FPI is pleased to offer the Afternoon Roundup, a daily compendium of essential foreign policy news and analysis, to FPI Overnight Brief subscribers. The Afternoon Roundup will be sent each day Monday through Friday in the late afternoon. If you prefer to receive only the Overnight Brief and wish to unsubscribe from the Afternoon Roundup, click on the “Manage your subscription” link at the bottom of this email. To sign up for our Press List and other mailings from FPI, please visit our website .

FPI Event: U.S. Missile Defense in a Proliferating World: Threats and Challenges in the New Missile Age

Please join the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) on Tuesday, December 8th from 6:00-8:00 PM at FDD for a screening of the documentary "33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age" and a discussion about missile defense. Featured guests include James Carafano of The Heritage Foundation, Cliff May of FDD, and Jamie Fly of FPI. A reception with drinks and refreshments preceding the event will begin at 6:00, and the screening will begin at 6:30. FDD is located at 1726 M Street NW, Suite 700. For more information, visit our website . Please RSVP to Rachel Hoff at


Sen. John McCain writes: “I think President Obama made the right decision to embrace a counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan and to resource it properly….I have spoken with our military and civilian leaders, and I think the 30,000 additional U.S. troops that the president has called for -- plus greater force commitments from our allies -- will enable us to …create the conditions for success in Afghanistan…. What I do not support…is the president's decision to set an arbitrary date to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan. A date for withdrawal sends exactly the wrong message to both our friends and our enemies …all of whom currently doubt whether America is committed to winning this war. – Foreign Policy

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton writes: “This week, President Barack Obama reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to our core goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and prevent their return to either country.…This is a crucial test for Nato. After September 11, the alliance invoked Article 5 of its charter for the first time, affirming that the terrorist attacks planned in Afghanistan and perpetrated in the US were attacks on every Nato member. The members of the alliance have paid a steep price in lives, but we must remain firm in our resolve.” – Daily Telegraph

NATO Sec. Gen. Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes: “President Obama made an important speech this week in which he laid out America's strategy for this mission. He made a substantial commitment of resources, including more than 30,000 U.S. troops. And he made clear to any doubters that the United States is determined to do what it takes to finish the job. But this is not just President Obama's war. We all face the same threats from what is happening in Afghanistan: threats from terrorism, from drugs, from extremism. This is an alliance effort, and we will finish it together.” – Washington Post

Sen. Jim Webb writes: “I have great regard for the careful process the Obama administration employed in its efforts to define a new approach for the long-standing military commitment in Afghanistan and to put an operational framework in place for our responsible withdrawal. I intend, nevertheless, to continue to call on the administration to clarify to the American public and Congress how it defines success and how we reach an end point.” – Washington Post

“The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan bears ominous similarities to the disastrous Soviet war there 20 years ago, when a modern army was humbled by small guerrilla bands and the invaders struggled to prop up an unpopular government in Kabul. But comparisons like these, often cited by critics of President Barack Obama’s planned surge, have emphasized similarities while ignoring key differences in the position of the Soviet Union then and the United States and NATO today. A close reading of history suggests that there is still a chance that the allies can succeed where the Soviet Union failed.” – Associated Press

Obama Administration

“President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan over the objections of fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill is straining a relationship already struggling under the weight of an administration agenda that some Democratic lawmakers fear is placing them in a politically vulnerable position. The result has been a subtle shift in which Democrats in Congress are becoming less deferential to the White House, making clear that Mr. Obama will not always be able to count on them to fall into line.…” – New York Times


Hassan Abbas writes: “For both Pakistan and India, Afghanistan risks turning into a new disputed territory, like Kashmir, where conflict has damaged both countries for more than 60 years. In Afghanistan today both countries have an opportunity to reject that precedent and act on their mutual interest in stability. Pakistan must be able to focus internally on its future. Financially insolvent and politically paralyzed, Pakistan needs international help to bring development to its liberated tribal areas and hope to the young people – 65 percent of the population – who live there. For India, stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan would ease its rise to global economic power. Both countries should take advantage of the opportunity for cooperation provided by the Pakistani Army’s campaign against Waziristan’s militants.” – Daily Star


Amir Taheri writes: “Whichever way one looks at it, things are not going well for the Khomeinist regime in Tehran.… At home, the sad saga is punctuated by one anti-regime demonstration after another. The next mass protests are scheduled for next week as the nation marks the traditional ‘Students Day’. At the same time, the latest data published by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) paint the picture of an economic meltdown with double-digit inflation and unemployment wrecking the lives of millions. One sure sign that the country is in crisis is the dramatic increase in the number of appearances by the ‘Supreme Guide’ Ali Khamenei.” – Asharq Alawsat
“Political activists who escaped to Turkey after fleeing Iran's post-election unrest claim they are being subjected to a campaign of threats and intimidation by agents of the Islamic regime. Several have told the Guardian that they fear for their lives after being tracked down by Iranian security personnel in a country they previously regarded as safe. Some say they are desperate to leave for a more secure country after being accosted in the streets of the Turkish capital, Ankara, and threatened on the internet.” – The Guardian


“The agency in charge of the post-war reconstruction of Iraq did not have enough money, staff or understand its mission, a senior British military official said today. Major General David Wilson, the senior British military adviser at US Central Command in Florida where the invasion was planned, said that he repeatedly raised concerns about plans for humanitarian work and reconstruction.” – Times of London


U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer writes: “Sitting with President Barack Obama at the historic State Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, I watched as our nations' leaders launched a new phase in the enduring global partnership between the United States and India that will shape and define the 21st century. Prime Minister Singh's visit was a watershed in the partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies. We are moving forward from phrases like ‘natural allies’ to ‘indispensable partners’ and ‘one of the defining relationships in the next century’.” – Times of India


Alan Philps argues: “A clear cause for the cooling of relations between Moscow and Tehran is the Iranian rejection of a Russian-supported proposal under which Iran would send low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for enrichment….The Kremlin has not taken this rebuff lightly. A lot of effort and Russian prestige went into putting together this proposal. There are objective reasons for the Russians to be angry with Iran, and to ditch their previous reticence about sanctions. These factors coincide with a subtle change in the balance of power inside Russia between Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev.” – The National
“He answered pleas from workers in beleaguered one-factory towns and retirees anxious about pensions. But it was Vladimir V. Putin’s response to a question about his political future that drew the most attention on Thursday at a lengthy public forum. Would he run for president again in 2012? ‘I’ll think about it,’ Mr. Putin said.” – New York Times


Kerry Murphy Healey writes: “It’s time for the international community to end its inappropriate—and ultimately unsuccessful—efforts to influence Honduran politics and instead recognize the profound strength of the Honduran people and this tiny nation’s inspirational commitment to democracy. To have held fast to core democratic values in the face of crippling economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation and vociferous condemnation in the international press has required enormous strength of character.” – American Maggie

North Korea

Gordon Chang writes: “So why is Bosworth going to Pyongyang? His trip, announced by the president just after he left Beijing, looks more like an effort to placate the Chinese, who would, for their own purposes, like to see the six-party talks continue indefinitely. Beijing believes that as long as the negotiations continue, the U.S., Japan and South Korea can be persuaded to provide crucial assistance to the North. If the talks end, China will get stuck with the rather large bill for keeping its North Korean ally afloat.” – Forbes

“Lee Kyung-hee took a deep breath Thursday, and then she recounted the nightmare when her newborn was killed before her eyes in a North Korean prison. Lee spoke at a news conference held by a coalition of North Korean human rights activists that is urging that an international tribunal put North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on trial on charges of human rights abuses. Acting on behalf of 150 North Korean refugees, the Antihuman Crime Investigation Committee wants the International Criminal Court at The Hague to determine whether ‘the extreme, systematic and widespread violations perpetrated against us constitute crimes against humanity.’” – LA Times


Zaki Laidi writes: “As recently as five years ago, it was not possible to talk seriously about the international system without the premise of an American superpower wielding the power of life and death over the planet. Today, the simplification works the other way round. It has become common currency that the US is in decline and President Barack Obama represents an America that gladly accepts we live in a multipolar world. Yet, at the very least, this hypothesis is debatable. If the world is multipolar, it is very imperfectly so, and American diplomacy aims to keep things this way.” – Financial Times

Editorial: “For our money, one of the better parts of President Obama's speech at West Point this week was his connection between a healthy economy and U.S. national security. To quote: "Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy." We only wish Mr. Obama understood the link between the larger welfare state he is trying to build at home and the economic weakness that will undermine our military power.” – Wall Street Journal


“Turkey does not have any serious alternative to the EU and the west. Yet the current uncertainty is beginning to have a negative impact on the relationship. Surely, Turkey needs to undertake the political reforms and fulfill the criteria for membership just like all the previous candidates. But it also needs and deserves the same support and the level playing field given to previous candidates. It is worth remembering that European support played a key role in the accession not only of central and eastern Europe but also the successful transition of southern European countries to democracy. To withdraw that support from Turkey now would hurt not only its political transformation but also European credibility around the world.” – Guardian


“The highest court in Myanmar has agreed to consider an appeal by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the country’s battered democracy movement, over an 18-month extension of her longstanding house arrest, her lawyer said Friday. The decision by the Supreme Court comes after a lower court’s rejection in October and coincides with tentative signs of a thawing of relations between the country’s military government and Western countries.” – New York Times


“A renegade faction of Guinea's presidential guard opened fire Thursday on the African country's leader, amid rumors of deep divisions within the army nearly three months after a military-led massacre of protesters at a peaceful rally. President Moussa ‘Dadis’ Camara was shot at by his military aide who heads the presidential guard, Communications Minister Idrissa Cherif said. He refused to say whether the 45-year-old president was wounded.” – Associated Press


“Just six months ago Néstor Kirchner, a former Argentine president, was left for politically dead after he suffered an embarrassing second-place finish in congressional elections. One day after the loss, which was viewed as a referendum on the leadership of Mr. Kirchner and his wife, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, he resigned as leader of the Peronist Party.But rather than retreat to his Patagonian home of Santa Cruz, Mr. Kirchner, the politician known as the Penguin, has been clawing his way back.” – New York Times


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A New Afghanistan Strategy: Implications for the United States and the NATO Coalition
With an Address by U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy
American Enterprise Institute
December 7

U.S. Missile Defense in a Proliferating World: Threats and Challenges in the New Missile Age
Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies
The Foreign Policy Initiative
December 8

The Changing Strategic Gravity of Al-Qaeda
Jamestown Foundation
December 9

"Dr. Strangelove" Speaks to Today's Strategists: A Book Discussion of The Essential Herman Kahn
Hudson Institute
December 14

Afternoon Roundup is a daily product of the Foreign Policy Initiative, which seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness. To submit comments or suggestions, email


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