"One of the most frustrating tendencies of mainstream leaders in the United States is their willingness, year after debilitating year, to embrace policies that have no hope of succeeding." - Bob Herbert
"Last week, voters made a powerful statement about leadership: They'd like some, please. So far, there's no evidence that either President Obama or the top Republicans in Congress were paying the slightest attention." - Eugene Robinson
"First, he went a long way toward establishing a truly special relationship between the world's largest democracy and the United States. He embraced an issue that was important to Indians and, despite the certainty of Pakistan's public unhappiness with the decision and China's less public but nonetheless undoubted discomfort with it, he showed courage and vision in doing so.
Second, he found an issue that could measure up to or even trump the Bush administration's nuclear deal with India, thus ensuring a strong sense of momentum in a relationship that must move forward if both countries are to rise to the challenges of the new century.
Third, he underscored that his administration was serious about turning rhetoric about rethinking multilateralism, and working with a new set of powers, into action. While working within the framework of the G-20 was a step in that direction, that process actually began two years ago under the Bush administration. Adjustments made in the structure of international financial institutions were another positive step, but frankly were rather underwhelming, leaving behind serious representational imbalances.
Admittedly, what the president said in his speech to the Indian Parliament -- "in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed U.N. Security Council that includes India as a permanent member..." Of course, he can't go and promise such things to every country he visits, but he has set the bar pretty high. In Indonesia, where things are more unsettled than Pakistan, there will be petty little officials who are just looking for some real or imagined slight, so that they can complain to the press. Makes you wonder who has more clout here, al-Qaeda or the tea party...
The AP reports that an internal review of our military's policy in Afghanistan has begun: "The Obama administration has begun its review of whether the administration's Afghan war strategy is working well enough to start withdrawing U.S. forces in July, an official said Tuesday. The review is being conducted so the White House can measure whether Obama's 2009 order to commit 30,000 more troops has resulted in progress in the decade-old conflict. It will be presented to the president in mid- to late-December, said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations." I doubt if Obama will then announce any changes before the end of the year, so this is pretty much a non-news item, unless you want to write into the analysts and add your armchair quarterback's ten cents... What do you think we should do there over the next 30 years?
"The location of the missile was about 35 miles out to sea, west of L.A. and north of Catalina Island. A Navy spokesperson told KFMB it wasn't their missile. He said there was no Navy activity reported in the area Monday evening. On Friday night, Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, launched a Delta II rocket, carrying an Italian satellite into orbit, but a sergeant at the base told KFMB there had been no launches since then." This is usually where most missiles bearing satellites are launched, and they are done between 3-4 in the morning. I have fond memories from when I used to work all night along the Monterey Bay, watching the occasional launch in the predawn, as it arched up and winked out of sight, leaving our atmosphere... I'll even admit to seeing black helicopters flying past, in formation of five, at dawn's early light, taking the scenic coastal route while ferrying the Governor down to LA...
As to what this missile could be, launched in daylight: "When asked, however, what he thought it might be, the former ambassador Ellsworth said it could possibly have been a missile test timed as a demonstration of American military might as President Obama tours Asia. "It could be a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine … to demonstrate, mainly to Asia, that we can do that," speculated Ellsworth.
Ellsworth said such tests were carried out in the Atlantic to demonstrate America's power to the Soviets, when there was a Soviet Union, but he doesn't believe an ICBM has previously been tested by the U.S. over the Pacific. Officially, at least, the projectile remains a mystery missile..." ... One that will never be solved, as the military will ignore all future requests, knowing that it will soon drop out of the public's short term memory... Now, tell me, what is the Event?