The former governor or Alaska is visiting India this weekend. She devoted her time to discussing China’s sudden military buildup, purported her version of “Freedom Agenda,” and took on the U.S. media. The most important criticism she made was towards President Obama on Libya. AOL News notes:
Palin was coy about whether she planned to run for the White House, but at times sounded like she was campaigning. She took a swipe at President Barack Obama and what she described as his “dithering” response to the political upheaval in the Middle East, saying he “should have done more for Arab protesters.”
As I mentioned before, expect this “late to the game” argument to take off in the Republican Party. When you are out of power, it is much easier to makes claims about waiting to long before acting, but hindsight is always 20/20. Some have argued that Sarah Palin could be finding her own foreign policy doctrine. Benyamin Korn, Director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Pain writes an op-ed in the New York Sun describing it this way:
More broadly, Mrs. Palin’s address in India will be another step in the growing outline of what might be called The Palin Doctrine. It contrasts sharply with the foreign policy being conducted, if that is the word, by President Obama, who is perplexing not only the Arab world, to which he reached out in his Cairo speech at the start of his presidency, but even his own supporters in the liberal camp, and many in between, who are upset by what might be called his propensity for inaction. It’s an inaction that suggests the Arab League won’t be the only institution that might find itself surprised by the logic of the alert Alaskan.
In a world of uncertainty, Palin could be trying to re-brand herself in the George W. Bush mold of “the Decider” who will make a decision and never look back. It could be appealing to those who are looking for swift action and not just talk.
Famous diplomat, scholar, and lawyer Warren Christopher died at age 85 from kidney and gall bladder cancer. The Hill provides a nice summary of his accomplishments:
Christopher, who worked at the State Department under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, died of complication from bladder and kidney cancer, according to report. In 1981, he helped to negotiate the release of American hostages held in Iran. As the head of Clinton’s State Department, Christopher worked for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and negotiated a settlement to end the Bosnian war in 1995. After leaving the State Department, Christopher managed the Florida recount effort for Vice President Al Gore in the disputed 2000 presidential election.
The Associated Press reports
Christopher’s biggest accomplishment:
As he prepared to step down in as secretary of state in 1996, he said his proudest accomplishments included helping promote a ban on nuclear weapons tests.
President Obama is beginning his five day Latin America tour. Starting with one of the world’s preeminent rising superstars, Brazil, the presidents of both countries made wish list of promises:
After their talks, the two presidents issued a joint statement acknowledging their mutual commitment to building a world that promotes democracy, human rights and social justice. They pledged to work to work together on education, economic cooperation, technology and research, and promoting food security. In a nod to Brazil’s desire to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Obama expressed “appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration.’’ But it was not as ringing an endorsement as he gave India’s quest for a seat last year. They agreed that G-20 group of major economies should be the premier forum for coordinating international economic policy and both recognized the potential of reciprocal investments in infrastructure, energy and high technology. They also signed a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement that calls for creation of a commission that will study ways to boost trade as well as agreements and memos of understanding on issues ranging from cooperation on biofuels and climate change to the peaceful use of outer space. They also agreed to cooperate on safety and security for major sporting events, such as the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Both expressed a desire to move toward a conclusion to the stalled DOHA round of trade negotiations and Obama said Brazil wanted to be a customer for Brazil’s energy resources.
Two things made this standard diplomatic visit awkward. First, military action began in Libya today. Second, Brazil abstained in voting for the U.N. Security Council Resolution. I find this remarkable with Brazil’s rising status in the global sphere, especially in the Middle East where it helped negotiate a last minute nuclear deal, along with Turkey, to assuage Iran. The west did not take the bait. Nevertheless, Obama addressed Libya in the presence of those who did not vote for the resolution when he said:
“This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought,” Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”
“Today, we are part of a broad coalition,” Obama said. “We are answering the calls of a threatened people and we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.”
The awkwardness did have an effect when the president did not make a ringing endorsement for Brazil to get a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council:
However, Obama came to Brazil with none of the deliverables Rousseff hoped for. He did not endorse Brazil’s bid for the Security Council, saying only in a statement that he “expressed appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration.” That fell short of his November endorsement of India’s quest for a permanent seat on the Security Council, saying it would elevate India to “its rightful place in the world.” There has been worry in the past week about events in the Middle East taking the focus off Brazil during Obama’s trip, coming as it is at a moment when Brazil is economically strong and arguably has more political influence than ever. Anything that would take Obama’s attention away from the advances Brazil wants to see takes some of the luster off his visit.
“Operation Odyssey Dawn” is the new name for the western intervention effort. The U.S. contribution includes:
U.S. forces and planes will take part in the operation, called “Odyssey Dawn,” that will mainly target air defenses around the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Misrata. Some 25 coalition ships, including three U.S. submarines armed with Tomahawk missiles, are stationed in the Mediterranean, a military slide showed. Five U.S. surveillance planes are also in the area, it showed.
The New York Times reports how much ammunition the U.S. has given to the effort:
In a briefing Saturday afternoon, Vice Adm. William Gortney told reporters that about 110 Tomahawk missiles, fired from American warships and submarines and one British submarine struck 20 air-defense targets around Tripoli, the capital, and the western city of Misurata. He said the strikes were against longer-range air defense missiles as well as early warning radar sites and main command-and-control communication centers.
Moreover, the U.S. is not be in charge of the effort. Eventually, NATO will take over the duties:
But Mrs. Clinton emphasized that the United States was not leading the effort. “We did not lead this,” she said. “We did not engage in unilateral actions in any way, but we strongly support the international community taking action against governments and leaders who behave as Qaddafi is unfortunately doing so now.”By midweek, NATO will take over the operation of the no-fly zone and arms embargo, because it alone has sufficient command and control capabilities, under the direction of the supreme allied commander of Europe, officials said.