The Kabul conference has come and gone, a half day fest which put the finishing touches on the plans for Afghani security and how it can be helped by fully 70 governments, all in attendance, and, of course, with the United Nations represented by its secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. On Monday, Mrs. Clinton was in Pakistan; on Tuesday, Kabul; on Wednesday, South Korea, right onto the edge of its demilitarized zone with North Korea. Today, she is in Hanoi and, of course, she has reproached the government of Vietnam for its well-documented contempt for human rights. So we know she travels well.
In a New York Times story on Pakistan and Afghanistan, David Sanger writes: Inside the Pakistani Army and the intelligence service, which is known as the ISI, it is an article of faith among some officers that the United States is deceiving them, and that it will replay 1989. If that happens, some Pakistanis argue, India will fill the void in southern Afghanistan, leaving Pakistan surrounded by its longtime enemy.
David Sanger's story in today's NYT about the Obama administration's unsuccessful back-channel efforts to get Iran to agree to a nuclear deal finishes with this telling--and not unrelated--detail: Mr. Obama is reported to have sent Ayatollah Khamenei two private letters this year, but he received only one response, mostly a litany of past grievances. And now comes the news that Iran is charging those three American hikers with espionage. At this point, it's almost impossible to see how Obama meets his self-imposed end-of-the-year deadline for diplomatic progress with Iran.
If you don't know the answer to that question, don't worry. Just go read David Sanger's nice profile of him in today's Times. (Hint: He's the top White House aide overseeing the restructuring of GM and Chrysler--and the administration aide arguably most responsible for helping Chrylser avoid liquidation.) Update: It's probably worth quoting Sanger's summary of the Deese memo that kept Chrylser from being liquidated. It's a pretty important insight when you weigh the administration's approach to the auto industry generally: "Mr.
I'm a day late on this, but don't miss David Sanger's intriguing story on what the transitionistas are uncovering about the inner functionings of the formerly-opaque Bush administration: “For a bunch of small-government Republicans,” one former denizen of the White House who has now stepped back inside for the first time in eight years, “these guys built a hell of an empire.” Eight years ago, there were two deputy national security advisers; today there are a half-dozen, each with staff.