National Security Network

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Terrorism & National Security

Foreign Policy Sunday Blitz

Report 28 September 2009
After a week of intense international engagement, the administration’s top foreign policy officials hit the Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the difficult foreign policy decisions that lie ahead. Fareed Zakaria laid out the stakes for the Administration, taken together: “He wants to demonstrate at home that engagement does not make America weak.” This weekend, the President’s top advisors took on a number of serious issues: Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay – and confirmed that the Administration is moving forward with its core strategy of strength through engagement while carefully considering the implications of its policy decisions. On ABC’s ‘This Week’ Bob Woodward drew a contrast with the past: “As we all know from covering George W. Bush, all you had to do was find out what his gut was and then they would have meetings about how to implement what his gut was. In this case, I don’t think Obama has a gut, and he has opened the door very aggressively to other options, and they’re not going to be rushed.”
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Iran

Odious Ravings Don’t Detract From Need to Engage Iran

Report 23 September 2009
Today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak to the United Nations General Assembly. He will make predictably odious statements, and they will be seized upon by conservatives in the U.S. as evidence that the U.S. should abandon its policy of engaging the Iranian regime. These critics should be ignored. Conservatives who argue for abandoning engagement are stuck in the failed policies of the past: unilateral and unrealistic sanctions, useless saber-rattling, and wild notions of regime change. This stance defies the opinions of top military leaders and leading Iran experts. While the U.S. must be ready to deploy internationally backed pressure if needed, the best means forward with Iran is to stay committed to the policy of engagement.
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Energy

To Lead on Climate Change, Senate Must Act

Report 22 September 2009
President Obama spoke to a special working group on climate change at the United Nations today, where he urged action. National security experts, retired military officials, and many prominent conservatives are in agreement that the challenge of climate change poses a threat to our way of life, global order, and our security. But tackling these issues will require action from all areas of government. After eight years of denial and dithering by President Bush, the Obama administration has broad public support for its efforts to revive international climate negotiations. But given America’s inability to pass effective legislation on climate change, the world remains skeptical.If the impact on our way of life and the generations that follow us isn’t enough, Senators should recognize that their inaction has dangerous consequences for our national security.
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Afghanistan

Cheney vs. Obama, another round

News USA Today 22 September 2009
Afghanistan

Obama in the Midst of Clear-Eyed Review of Options for Afghanistan

Report 21 September 2009
As the uncertainty surrounding the flawed presidential elections demonstrates, getting Afghanistan policy right will require more than a purely military approach. Currently, a significant and important debate is taking place amongst credible military and foreign policy experts over whether a full-bore counter-insurgency strategy is the right course for America’s national security. Contrary to his predecessor, President Obama is weighing all the options on the way forward in Afghanistan and is focusing on getting the strategy right.  
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Iran

Administration Continues Steady Hand with Iran

Report 8 September 2009
The Obama administration set the end of September as a deadline for Iran to accept talks over its nuclear program or face greater sanctions. The lessons of the last eight years make it clear that Iran can withstand unilateral US sanctions and maneuvers --only a unified international community can have an effect.  Engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community.The Obama administration set the end of September as a deadline for Iran to accept talks over its nuclear program or face greater sanctions. The lessons of the last eight years make it clear that Iran can withstand unilateral US sanctions and maneuvers --only a unified international community can have an effect.  Engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community.   
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Iran

September is Decision Time for Iran

Report 28 August 2009
The inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second presidential term earlier this monthhas not dissipated discontent with the regime or ended political turmoil. Political and religious leaders have organized behind the scenes and opposition leaders continue to make explosive allegations against the government.
This coming month, the fractious regime will be pushed back into the international spotlight. A clogged September calendar will see Iran dominate the agenda of international meetings in Frankfurt, Vienna, Pittsburgh, and New York. Despite Iran’s political uncertainty, engagement remains the best way of forcing a decision from the regime – either move in a new direction offered by the Obama administration or face consequences from a united international community. 
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Afghanistan

After Seven Years of Neglect, Afghanistan Situation Remains Perilous

Report 24 August 2009
Years of neglect from the Bush Administration caused conditions in Afghanistan to grow steadily worse and set the stage for the challenges the Obama Administration is now wrestling with. Americans and Afghans both deserve a media and public debate that asks hard questions and engages in regular, unvarnished reassessment of the mission. Both are ill-served when, instead, what we get is a constant refrain of “Obama’s war” and stories that spend more space on lazy Vietnam parallels than on developments on the ground.
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Military

Gen. Paul Eaton Reacts To Obama's VFW Speech

Press Release Washington DC 17 August 2009
Today, NSN Senior Adviser Gen. Paul D. Eaton (Ret.), who spent more than 30 years in the military including being in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, provided the following reaction to President Obama's speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Convention: "As someone who served in and helped lead our military for nearly 3 decades, I understand what the men and women of America's armed forces need in order to effectively protect the nation and succeed in their personal lives. And today, President Obama laid out a comprehensive and progressive vision for how we treat America's most precious resource. He demonstrated a thorough understanding of how to integrate all elements of national power—diplomatic, economic as well as military—and echoes what every battalion and brigade commander understands and expects from their Commander in Chief."
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