Tag Archives: Biden

Russia Got Georgia On Its Mind

Vice President Joe Biden is in Georgia to renew ties with that nation even as Russia and Prime Minister Mikhail Saakashvilli were once again in a contest of words. The Russian government has made clear it will not tolerate other nations rebuilding the military forces of Georgia and is prepared to take “concrete steps” to prevent that from occurring. The Russian foreign ministry warned it would “sever military cooperation with any nation” that furnishes military assistance to Georgia. Biden told cheering crowds that “we, the United States, sand by you on your journey to a secure, free, democratic and once again united Georgia.” Although, the Obama administration has emphasized it will not sell out allies, there is always reality and the need to work with Russia on broader issues related to peace.

Barack Obama claims Russian President Medvedev has promised to withdraw his troops in Georgia to pre-conflict areas. The issue of the origin of the Georgia-Russian conflict are still unclear and there is some evidence Georgia initiated the conflict. Prudence suggests offering words, but not guns to the government of Saakashvilli.

Biden Tells Ukraine To Get Its Act Together

Joe Biden is on a trip to the Ukraine where he stopped to deliver a lecture in his own inimitable style. The country has been in constant turmoil during the past several months as politicians squabble over issues of power. He told politicians “Ukraine, in my humble opinion, must heed the lesson of history. Effective, accountable government is the only way to provide a stable, predictable and transparent environment that attracts investment.” Of course, Joe Biden in his life has rarely expressed anything in a “humble” manner, but he is right on target in telling the Ukraine it is time to focus on creating a government that can rule in such a manner that economic development ensues.

During the Bush administration, the Ukrainians were placated as part of the “get tough” approach to Russia. Obama is attempting to reach out to Russia and develop bonds of friendship and that means ensuring the Ukraine works cooperatively with its neighbor. Biden also made clear the Ukraine makes the decision as to whether it seeks membership in NATO and the United States would not exert any pressure for or against that action.

Attacking Iran–Bad Option, Says Admiral Mullen

Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear that American military leaders did not regard an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as an effective way to deal with issues of peace in the Middle East or Asia.” I worry a great deal about the response of a country that gets struck. It is really a really important place to not go if we can not go there in any way, shape or form.” The issue of attacking Iran has recently become an issue due to ridiculous comments by Vice President Biden that America would not interfere with an Israel strike at Iran. President Obama quickly put to rest any suggestion he wants such an attack to occur.

The problem with Israel leaders is not their belief Iranian nuclear capabilities could be destroyed, but the total absence of any understanding as to what would occur AFTER the attack. Iran would send hundreds of missiles toward Israel and other targets. Riots would break out, and any hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be over.

Obama Moves To Restore Ties With Russia

Hardly a day goes by without the new administration encountering a problem left over from the Bush era when bluster and threats took the place of intelligent diplomacy. Vice President Joe Biden was in Munich to discuss issues of security and he came out in favor of working in a more cooperative mode with the Russian government over issues such as missile. “It it time to press the restart button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.” He emphasized the need for missile defense systems but said there would be an effort to consult with other nations prior to building such installations. Henry Kissinger who was in Moscow called for the United States to abandon the Bush program of building missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and accept the Russian offer to cooperate with them on this issue.

There is no need for missile bases on the border of Russia. Bush claimed they were necessary to ward off attacks from “rogue nations” like Iran or North Korea. Nonsense, why would either launch a missile attack on the European Union?

Obama Will Gradually Withdraw US Troops

Incoming Vice President Joe Biden on a trip to Iraq promised its government that Barack Obama will proceed in a gradual fashion to withdraw US troops in order to avoid creating any military issues for Iraq leaders. Biden visited the Kirkuk region where he urged the squabbling Kurdish and government representatives to resolve issues pertaining to the place of the oil-wealthy city in the Iraq nation. The Kurds want it to become part of their semi-autonomous region while the Maliki government will not surrender control of an area that promises to bea rich source of oil revenue in the coming years.

Regardless of whether American troops leave in 2010 or 2011 there will be unresolved issues remaining in Iraq pertaining to control of oil in the nation. The Kurds do not trust either Shiites or Sunnis to control them, given their experiences under Saddam Hussein. There is trouble brewing at the OK Corral and America will be unable to head off the shooting that eventually will erupt.

Biden Promises More Troops For Afghanistan

One of the characteristics of American foreign policy since 2001 has been to adhere to the Bush approach even while decrying Bush efforts in the conduct of foreign policy. Vice President elect, Joe Biden was in Afghanistan promising that more troops would be sent to that area in order to bolster the 64,000 US and coalition forces. He promised as the war in Iraq winds down, additional forces would be redeployed to Afghanistan. It is apparent the Obama administration will not seek to come across as “weak” in the fight against terrorism which it apparently believes is best confronted by more troops. In case, no one mentioned this to Biden, but the Soviet Union had over 120,000 troops in Afghanistan and it finally left the region.

The issue is not “more” but “what are our goals in Afghanistan?” before “more” or “less” is dispatched. Unless one is clear about goals and strategies sending “more troops” might be counter-productive. There is tremendous need for Obama, prior to making military decisions, to identify goals and how best to achieve them. Does anyone in the Obama administration actually know what “victory in Afghanistan” actually means?

Is Palin Winking Herself Back To Alaska?

Suzanne Goldenberg of the British Guardian spent the vice president debate night with a group of women in Florida. The topic of the notorious Palin wink repeatedly became a topic of conversation among the women. A few thought it effective as pointed out by Prisclla Glascock who said “I think women can relate with being in a situation where it’s very serious, you kind of have to step back and add that humor, whether it’s a wink or a shrug.” However, the majority of women appeared to share the feelings of host, Kit Pepper, who said, “the fact that this woman as a vice presidential candidate stood on national TV and winked at me completely insults me.” Some of the Democrats at the session enjoyed when Palin got feisty but it did not change their vote.

Lydia Gardner, a Republican local government official, commented: “I can’t imagine myself doing that wink” which she interpreted to be the behavior of something who lacks a sophisticated grasp of the world. Other Republican women “could not help disassociating themselves from Palin– even while praising her skill at using winks and a folksy turn of phrase to connect with middle America.”

Most of the women agreed Palin had done OK, but they were concerned that Palin recited caned lines. Republican Lisa Romine sighed and noted, “If I hear her say the word ‘maverick” one more time I am going to shoot somebody and I am a Republican.”

Palin And Biden–What Happened?

The debate is over and initial reports suggest not much changed as a result of ninety minutes of talking past one another. A CNN poll indicates Biden was judged the winner by a vote of 51% to 36% for Palin. Most reports from CNN indicate the average McCain supporter remained one as did the average Obama supporter. Palin’s folksy, cute approach to politics apparently pleased some but annoyed many others who want some substance and are tired of her fluff.

There is no question Sarah Palin simply lacks knowledge about foreign affairs and domestic policy. She claims to be an expert on energy and her main comment was “drill, baby,drill” as though somehow that would solve our problems. I continually hear from Republican analysts that Palin is a “fresh new voice” but no one ever cites exactly what she is saying. Can anyone who supports Palin explain her energy policy? Biden is accused of “being a politician.” For some reason, we have elections in which people who are termed, “politicians” run against other politicians. This means Palin and McCain are as much a politician as any other one who serves in Congress.

Inheent in teh Plain candidacy is a theme running through some Americans that suggests voters want “someone just like me.” I doubt if the average American wants Joe down the block or Mary who lives across the street to be placed in charge of solving complex economic and foreign policy issues. McCain has become the “unhappy warrior” who is angry the nation is going through a crisis just to interfere with his campaign. He will be remembered as Mr. Flip Flop who believes something at 8:00 a.m. and another thing at noon.

Sarah Palin was the wrong choice. One suspects if McCain had been wise and thought about what was needed in America he might have selected someone like Mayor Bloomberg.

Joe Biden Stands Up To Israel Lobby!

Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden bluntly told members of the Israel press the United States will support Israel’s right to make its own decisions and any action by Israel should be one made by its leaders without any influence on the part of the United States. “Israel has a right to defend itself and it doesn’t have to ask just as any other free and independent country.” He vowed the United States will “always standby Israel, without telling Israelis what they can and cannot do.” He made clear his view that the pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC “doesn’t speak for the entire Jewish community” and “it doesn’t speak for the state of Israel, no matter what it insists on any occasion.”

It is about time an American political leader has stood up to AIPAC and made clear they have no right to speak for the “Jewish community” of America since American Jews have differing views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Biden blasted the incompetence of the Bush administration in dealing with the Middle East. Senator Biden argued against a view that in dealing with Iran the situation was either war or peace. He insisted there was plenty of open ground for negotiation.

Senator Biden displayed his grasp of the Middle East by noting how the Bush administration insisted on withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon without taking into account the need to train a Lebanese army to fill the void which resulted in Hizbullah moving into the role of military power in Lebanon.

One can only wonder if Sarah Pallin has any grasp of what Biden discussed with the Israel press.

Surprise: Biden Backs Israel!

The political wars in America are heating up as Democratic vice president candidate Joe Biden angrily denied he said anything that might be construed as anti-Israel. he angrily denied an Army Radio report which claimed he told Israel officials three years ago that he was firmly opposed to an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and that Israel must learn to get along with a nuclear Iran. His press secretary, David Wade, insisted “this is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden’s thirty five years record of standing up for the security of Israel.” Wade added that Biden had made clear that a nuclear threat posed a danger to Israel and “we m ust prvent a nuclear Iran.”

The Army Radio report did not name any sources for its information and did not name the Israel officials supposedly told this by Biden. Most probably, we will not learn if this conversation actually occurred even if the alleged remarks of Biden make a lot of sense. Politics dominates what American politicians will say in the coming days.