the key words are that this guy is the former adviser… don’t get excited. sit down… shut up
|Defense Secretary nominee, CIA Director Leon Panett|
The next great battle America faces is likely to involve cyberwarfare, Leon Panetta, the Central Intelligence Agency director, warned senators Thursday, predicting that “the next Pearl Harbor that we confront could very well be a cyberattack that cripples” America’s electrical grid and its security and financial systems.
Panetta – who as CIA director has stepped up the number of US drone strikes on insurgents in Pakistan – said relations with Pakistan remain “one of the most critical – and yet one of the most complicated and frustrating – relationships that we have.” He added, “They are a nuclear power and there is a danger those nuclear weapons could end up in the wrong hands.’
In Iraq, Panetta told lawmakers he believes it would be wise to support the request of Iraqi leaders for US troops to stay beyond their scheduled December pullout date, if they ask. “I have to tell you, there are a thousand Al Qaeda that are still in Iraq,” Panetta said. “It continues to be a fragile situation, and I believe that we should take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that we protect whatever progress is made there.” via csmonitor.com
The Obama administration recently unveiled its proposal for global cybersecurity. Statements from the Pentagon have also indicated that the government will consider cyberattacks originating from foreign countries to be equivalent to acts of war meriting military response.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is retiring on June 30 and therefore his visit to Europe was a chance for him to express his frustration with some members of the NATO alliance while allowing his successor Leon Panetta to backtrack if necessary or inherit the new policy. Gates essentially warned the Europeans that US patience was wearing thin.
Gates claims that the national restrictions were hampering operations in Afghanistan and premature European troop withdrawals linked to domestic political considerations were debilitating to the common effort.
The Libyan mission against a 3rd rate opponent in Europe’s backyard and with no ground troops involved was similarly languishing due to a lack of will and a lack of available resources. This was a reflection of the fact that most NATO countries do not even devote a meager 2% of their budgetary outlays to defense spending.
The United States could not live with a situation where it primarily foot the bill:
“Some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the US share of Nato defence spending has now risen to more than 75 percent – at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home,”
There was growing resentment over the freeloaders:
In the past, I’ve worried openly about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance: Between members who specialize in “soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping, and talking tasks, and those conducting the “hard” combat missions. Between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership – be they security guarantees or headquarters billets – but don’t want to share the risks and the costs. This is no longer a hypothetical worry. We are there today. And it is unacceptable.
Such a disparity has long existed in NATO and one could hear such American mutterings since the 1960s when the United States believed that Western Europe had sufficiently recovered from the devastation of the Second World War and had become economically prosperous under the American security umbrella. The Europeans however grew accustomed to disregarding the American dissatisfaction because during the Cold War they knew that the United States could not risk the loss of Europe to the Soviet Union.
This time around they would be advised not to underestimate the seriousness of Defense Secretary Gates’ remarks.
First of all as Gates remarked that the Cold War is a receding memory. Mutual suspicion still exists between the United States and Russia, as witness the antimissile shield that the United States wants to construct in Eastern Europe against Russian opposition. However, this is a far cry from the Cold War. Russia’s main pressure point is not tank battalions crashing across the Fulda Gap into West Germany but oil and gas pipelines to Western Europe and European dependence on Russian energy.
The United States, since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has not been in as parlous an economic condition as it is today and many American citizens as illustrated by recent polls ascribe the yawning deficits partially or primarily to the defense expenditures.
The growing importance of the Asia-Pacific area in the world economy means that that region is increasingly supplanting the European Union as a hub of economic activity. The same considerations that ensured the American defense of Europe now apply at least to the same degree in the Pacific region. Gates made this clear to the Europeans as well
President Obama and I believe that despite the budget pressures, it would be a grave mistake for the U.S. to withdraw from its global responsibilities. And in Singapore last week, I outlined the many areas where U.S. defense engagement and investment in Asia was slated to grow further in coming years, even as America’s traditional allies in that region rightfully take on the role of full partners in their own defense.
While Gates did not specify whom the Asian countries had to be defended against, it is no secret that a growingly assertive China preoccupies the United States economically and militarily. The United States would like to see the Europeans acting more like India, Vietnam and South Korea. If that will not happen then the United States will not prop up NATO on its own.
by Amiel Ungar via israelnationalnews.com
As the U.S. debates its future role in the Libyan conflict, Defense officials slammed the brakes on any broad participation Thursday, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying there will be no American ground troops in Libya “as long as I am in this job.”
Under withering congressional probing and criticism of an ill-defined mission to aid a rebel force that officials know little about, Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen sketched out a largely limited role for the U.S. military going forward, with Gates saying some other country could train the rebels trying to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
“My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” said Gates. “Somebody else should do that.”
Asked by one lawmaker whether the U.S. involvement might inevitably mean “boots on the ground” in Libya, Gates replied, “Not as long as I am in this job.”
The U.S. turned over control of the military operation to NATO Thursday, just hours before Gates and Mullen told Congress that future U.S. participation will be limited and will not involve an active role in airstrikes as time goes on.
They were unable; however, to answer key questions from clearly agitated lawmakers about the length of the operation and how it will play out if Gadhafi does not relinquish power.
The U.S. goals are unclear and officials don’t know who the rebels are, said Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, adding that if it came to a vote he would not support U.S. involvement in the operation.
He and others repeatedly complained that Congress has not been consulted on the Libya operation, and chafed that the legislative branch is not willing to be a backseat driver.
Gates and Mullen insisted that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s military has been degraded by as much as 25 percent, but Mullen noted that regime forces still outnumber the rebels by about 10-to-1.
Meanwhile, they said the opposition groups are fractured and operating independently city by city, and just 1,000 of the rebels are militarily trained.
Their comments came as Gadhafi’s forces struck forcefully back at the rebels this week, recapturing lost ground and triggering pleas for help from the battered and failing opposition forces.
Gates said that he believes political and economic pressures will eventually drive Libyan leader Gadhafi from power, but the military operation will help force him to make those choices by degrading his defense capabilities.
Gates and Mullen testifed before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in the wake of new revelations that small teams of CIA operatives are working in Libya.
Gates declined to comment on the CIA activities in Libya.
U.S. officials have acknowledged that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed.
The CIA’s precise role in Libya is not clear. Intelligence experts said the CIA would have sent officials to make contact with the opposition and assess the strength and needs of the rebel forces in the event President Barack Obama decided to arm them.
Meanwhile, battlefield setbacks are hardening the U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition probably is incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention, a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press.
The administration says there has been no decision yet about whether to arm the opposition groups, and acknowledged that the U.S. needs to know more about who the rebels are and what role terrorists may be playing there.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. must better explain to the American public that this is not an open-ended conflict and that the U.S. will not become embroiled in a civil war.
Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., said he has concerns about U.S. objectives in Libya.
“History has demonstrated that an entrenched enemy like the Libyan regime can be resilient to airpower,” McKeon said.
Associated Press writers Adam Goldman and Robert Burns contributed to this report.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has presided over a foreign policy racked by timidity, inconsistency and indecision. And, if this account from The Daily is to be believed, she knows it via washingtonpost.com By Jennifer Rubin
Some will attribute this to exhaustion or “been there, done that.” But my assumption is that it isn’t any accident that she’s announcing this at the time of the biggest internal policy dispute of Obama’s term. In handling the Egypt crisis, it seems apparent that Obama didn’t listen to her, perhaps didn’t even consult her. On this internal conflict over foreign policymaking read here and here.
Moreover, it’s long been a joke that Hillary has been shoved into a lot of minor assignments. And her husband, Bill, has just criticized Obama’s energy policy. What do you want to bet that every night (you can put in a joke here because I’m not going to do so) they talk about how Obama is messing up and that she could have done a much better job.
And she’s right, too!
I wonder when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates makes a similar announcement.
In my humble opinion, Clinton–who has given many hints at our disagreement with Obama’s approach–realizes that the White House’s foreign policy is disastrous. A major dispute broke out over how to handle Middle East upheavals. Clinton endorsed a traditional U.S. approach of supporting friends and opposing enemies, which seems revolutionary under the current president.
Who will replace her? Well if she does wait until November 2012 we will only find out if Obama is reelected. But maybe Obama will have her leave sooner due to policy disputes or because he wants to have his own person in rather than a self-admitted lame duck.
And remember what I have warned: If the new secretary of state is Senator John Kerry then I recommend you buy a fallout shelter in New Zealand, lay in a supply of food, and hide there. Otherwise, disregard anyone else named as a candidate because nobody knows who it will be and when it will happen.
Let’s recognize that this is not just the result of Clinton being tired. A key element here is the heating up of the conflict between the liberal and radical wings of the Democratic Party.
via rubinreports.blogspot.com image via jblaque.livejournal.com