In June 1961, President John F. Kennedy, on his first overseas trip, visited France. At the time France had not withdrawn from NATO’s integrated military command and the Alliance headquarters was still in Paris.
On June 1, 1961, President Kennedy addressed the North Atlantic Council. The following are from his remarks:
In an earlier post, in addressing West’s Turkey conundrum I said:
“On the one hand, most Western governments now regard JDP’s Ankara only a “nominal ally” if not an adversary, but they cannot turn their back on a country which enjoys a geo-strategic location surrounded by three seas and joining Asia and Europe, when tensions with Russia are on the rise. Turkey is a unique window into the Middle East. Sadly, it has also acquired a critical role in Europe’s dealing with its refugee problem…
“Thus, sanctioning Turkey has increasingly became a balancing act between targeting the JDP government and not alienating the Turkish people…”
An open-ended US/NATO military engagement in Afghanistan was never an option. The aim was achieving optimal conditions for withdrawal. On April 14, President Biden announced that US troops as well as forces deployed by America’s NATO Allies and operational partners will be out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The plan he said, had long been “in together, out together.” Have optimal conditions for withdrawal been achieved? No. But it is “out together”, regardless.
With inauguration safely behind, President Biden would now start addressing America’s polarization, Covid-19, and a wrecked foreign policy. He has a far heavier agenda than many of his predecessors.
Among his major tasks in the international arena would be restoring confidence in the Washington’s foreign policy steadiness and charting a reasonable course in relations with China and Russia. Washington’s traditional Western allies, disillusioned with the Trump presidency, would give Mr. Biden more than a warm welcome while anxiously watching domestic developments in the US. Because according to a CNN poll, 47% of Republicans still say the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. And remains to be seen whether going ahead with a second impeachment, though more than justified, was a politically wise decision.
On February 29, 2020, “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America” was signed in Doha. Throughout the text, one party is referred to as “the United States” and the other party as “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban”. Because Washington “only recognizes” the Kabul government.
Some believe that first impression is the last impression. So, they say one never gets a second chance to make a first impression. For others, first impressions count but last impressions are forever.
I had my first impression of the Afghan mujahideen in Pakistan. In 1989 Turkish President Evren paid a visit there. I was his director of private office. The program also included a meeting with the mujahideen leaders. The President was going to tell them that since the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan it was time to end their infighting and focus on rebuilding the country. The meeting was to take place at the guest palace where the President was staying. A few minutes before the meeting our Pakistani hosts told me that the leaders had arrived. Just to make sure that everything was ready, I went downstairs and peeked through the door. I saw like ten battle-hardened, somber looking warriors in their traditional costumes. Okumaya devam et →
Reaction to President Trump’s sudden announcement of troop pullout from Syria and the talks between Washington and the Taliban have reignited the debate on the war on terror.
On February 3, the New York Times editorial titled “End the War in Afghanistan” said:
“But as part of any withdrawal discussions, it should be made clear to the Taliban, the Afghan government and neighboring nations that if the country is allowed to again become a base for international terrorism, the United States will return to eradicate that threat…”
It then mentioned the possibility that the Taliban and regional players like Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India and China might work together on acooperative solution to stabilize Afghanistan and deny terrorists a regional base. And, it concluded by saying that America needs to recognize that foreign war is not a vaccine against global terrorism. (emphasis added) (1) Okumaya devam et →
President Trump’s remarks on the strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia did not break new ground. The principal challenge, as before, remains Afghan leaders forging a united front not only to fight the Taliban, al-Qaeda, tribalism, warlordism and corruption but also to achieve better governance.
The criticism Mr. Trump directed at Pakistan was more strongly worded than that of his predecessor who stated the following before a joint session of the Indian Parliament on November 8, 2010:
“… And we’ll continue to insist to Pakistan’s leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks must be brought to justice…”
Although President Obama left it at that, his choice of venue for those remarks must have caused deep consternation in Islamabad. Okumaya devam et →
For some time now, the Trump administration has been working on a “new strategy” for Afghanistan; a task which unfortunately offers little room for innovative approaches. Reportedly, this new strategy would authorize the Pentagon to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes against the Taliban and IS affiliates. It is understood that sending at least 4,000 more troops and lifting the restrictions that limited the mobility of U.S. military advisers on the battlefield are under consideration. This new strategy is also expected to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table. And, with the news that President Trump is frustrated with the delay in finalizing this new strategy and has threatened to fire General Nicholson, the top US military commander there, the question of Afghanistan has moved up on Washington’s agenda. Reports that Iran is gaining ground in Afghanistan as American presence wanes must add to the frustration. Okumaya devam et →