FROM Tony Karon
The UN General Assembly and Obama's 'Political Potholes' President Obama's appearance at this week's annual meeting of the UN General Assembly may set a record for brevity. After a quick chat with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his own address, he'll be leaving. Tony Karon of Time magazine says there are more pitfalls than prospects for the leader of the free world.
Afghanistan, Eurozone Questions Linger Despite NATO, G8 Resolve After thousands of protesters clashed with police this weekend, many Chicago businesses encouraged workers to stay home today. Meantime, at the Convention Center, NATO leaders agreed to pull troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with President Obama insisting that "stabilizing" that country is still a "vital" priority. The NATO meeting came hard on the heels of the G8 summit Friday and Saturday at Camp David, which supported the President's call for "growth" as opposed to "austerity" in the Eurozone. Agreements produced by these back-to-back summits could have long-term consequences for Afghanistan and the European economy. We hear what they mean for the US and other Western powers.
Afghanistan, Eurozone Questions Linger Despite NATO, G8 Resolve President Obama hosted back-to-back summits from Friday at Camp David until today in Chicago. The G8 agreed that Greece should stay in the Eurozone, but the battle over "growth versus austerity" is far from over. NATO leaders agreed to pull troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with President Obama insisting that "stabilizing" that country remains a "vital" priority. Will NATO provide the funding required for local police and a national army? Are such meetings all that useful? Did the President get what he wanted? Will the US have to live with continued uncertainty in a rapidly changing world?
Iran Reportedly Capable of Building Nuclear Weapon The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to make public new evidence that Iran's nuclear program does have what the IAEA calls a "possible military dimension." That's led to an "uptick in media chatter" by Israel and other interested parties. Tony Karon reports for Time magazine.
Middle East Democracy versus the 'Club of Kings' Over the weekend, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border, a sign that the current military regime may be more responsive to its people than the Mubarak government was. The US is playing it down, but it's another sign of changing priorities in the Middle East. Last week's G-8 Summit promised $20- to $40 billion to help Egypt and Tunisia turn the so-called "Arab Spring" into peaceful democracy. At the same time, US ally Saudi Arabia is conducting a worldwide campaign to keep kingdoms and other autocracies just as they are. Segment image: A Yemeni soldier who joined sides with anti-regime protesters hold a rifle bearing the slogan "leave" during a demonstration calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on May 27, 2011. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Arabia and the 'Club of Kings' Over the weekend, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border, a sign that the current military regime may be more responsive to its people than the Mubarak government was. The United States is playing it down, but it's another sign of changing priorities in the Middle East. Last week's G8 Summit promised $20- to $40 billion to help Egypt and Tunisia turn the "Arab Spring" into peaceful democracy. At the same time, US ally Saudi Arabia is doing its best to keep autocratic regimes in place in Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, and even Morocco and Jordan. Does the US agree that the "Arab Spring" has reached its limit or are US and Saudi interests diverging after decades of trading oil for protection? Are the Saudis more worried about Iran or an "Arab Spring" in their own country? What about Israel and the world's oil supply?
Dissecting the Iran Memo President Obama has tried diplomacy, but yesterday Iran announced that it's starting work on a new plant to enrich uranium. The President's fallback strategy is getting the United Nations to step up sanctions designed to prevent Iran from "reaching the threshold." That means developing the capacity to build a nuclear bomb. But what if that doesn't work? Sunday's New York Times revealed a Top Secret three-page memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying the US does not have an effective long-range policy.
Dissecting the Iran Memo Diplomacy's at a standstill, so President Obama is pushing for UN sanctions to prevent Iran from learning how to build an atomic bomb. What if that doesn't work? In a secret three-page memo leaked to the New York Times , Defense Secretary Robert Gates himself says there is no plan, no effective long-range policy. Would sanctions impacting the whole population turn Iranians against their Islamic leaders? Are there other ways to accomplish regime change? If the US can't take military action, what about Israel? Is there any realistic alternative to living with an Iran that has mastered nuclear technology?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.