FROM James Kitfield
What Will We Leave Behind in Afghanistan After 2014? Less than a year ago, the US and NATO promised continued assistance and training for ten more years, with the Pentagon talking of 6 to 9000 soldiers. Then, the White House said a “zero” troop option was “on the table.” Could drones and limited special forces prevent the country’s collapse? Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai met yesterday with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Today, he lunched with the President at the White House, and afterwards they spoke to reporters. Today’s meeting between Presidents Obama and Karzai was billed as crucial to mapping the end of America’s longest war. At the Pentagon yesterday, Afghanistan’s President Karzai said he hoped the US would make sure his country would “not ever again be threatened by terrorists.” But many factors have reduced his clout in Washington and with the American people.
High-level Talks in Moscow At the United Nations less than a month ago, Russian President Medvedev was asked about Iran developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons. "In some cases" he said," sanctions are inevitable ." But in Moscow yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said sanctions would be "counterproductive." He was standing next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton .
The US and Russia: Iran and Nuclear Weapons At the United Nations less than a month ago, Russian President Medvedev was asked about Iran developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons. ”In some cases” he said,” sanctions are inevitable .” But in Moscow yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said sanctions would be “counterproductive.” He was standing next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s in Moscow to talk about Iran’s nuclear program. Also on her agenda is renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty , which expires in December, a major goal of President Obama. At the United Nations last month, President Obama expressed a sense of urgency about nuclear weapons. Has he really been able to “re-set” relations with Russia after all? Even if the Cold War rivals agree to reduce their nuclear weapons, will Congress go along?
A New Thrust against Nuclear Weapons George W. Bush took a dim view of treaties designed to ban the testing of nuclear bombs and limit proliferation of materials and technology. Today, Barack Obama made history as the first American president to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council and in persuading all 15 members — represented by their heads of state — to approve a resolution including steps toward what the President calls "a world without nuclear weapons." But critics say he's "overselling" provisions that can't be verified and which won't make the world any safer from rogue states or international terrorists. What will it mean for Iran and North Korea? Will it help persuade the US Senate to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty it rejected in 1999?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?