Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

KOREA IN THE LIMELIGHT: THE NEVER-ENDING STORY OF THE 38th PARALLEL

November 23, 2010
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“Has President Obama’s brief stay in Lisbon been intended towards a Western-front pact with Russia included to curtail other world powers from the temptation of going beyond their economic ambitions?”

https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/ November 21, 2010

Less than 72 hours after the historic NATO Summit in Lisbon that put an official end to the Cold War, the world stands abashed to a new North Korean provocation of its neighbour at the same time life-long adversary.

One of the principles that both North & South Korea have resorted to is precisely that of ‘just war’ although not in the manner President Obama employed to justify US presence in Iraq & Afghanistan. Korea, in fact was one nation up till the victorious Allied troops (USA & USSR as main actors) decided to end Japan’s 35-year colonial permanence by jointly occupying Korea as trustees, with the 38th Parallel as the demarcated control zone. However, the reference to said demarcation line dates back to an 1896 dispute between Russia and Japan over Japan’s British-recognised rights over the Korean peninsula.

The latest tense developments between the two Koreas with the North bombing of a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea has brought to front-page new risks of war in the Asian scenario. Not to be taken lightly due to North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, the affair has gone beyond a mere skirmish in the frequent incidents provoked mainly by the last Stalin-cut Communist regime in the world. Although North Korea may be applying once more its calculated-risk provocation strategy to improve its position in forthcoming meetings to negotiate its nuclear development, the near end of Kim Jong Il’s regime with the succession entrusted to his youngest son may provoke a will of confrontation beyond usual limits.

What was in the NATO-Russia agreement that may have to do with this international incident?

Would an expanded NATO alliance have to intervene in case of an open conflict between the two Koreas?

The UN Security Council has been convoked to an emergency meeting. In said council seats China with its veto power. If Russia has now ended the Cold War and is an ally of the NATO allies, only China can block any resolution to condemn North Korea’s supposed attacked against its southern neighbour.

What is in store for us in the next few hours in the ever increasing risk of international nuclear conflict at the 38th Parallel?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour

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OBAMA’S METAMORPHOSIS: FROM PEACE AWARDEE TO MISSILE SHIELD PROMOTER

November 21, 2010
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“ …. Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.  ……  The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.” Barack Obama (Oslo, Norway  December – 2009)


At the end of his term as 2009 Nobel Peace awardee, I come to understand better Obama’s rather contradictory speech at the Oslo Nobel ceremony last year.

Obama’s personal peace convictions have come up against the reality of the tasks of the man that took over the Oval Office from a belligerent predecessor who left him the bitter inheritance of a questionable invasion of Iraq and a rather shaky strategy to defeat Al Qaeda’s expansive terrorism at its Afghanistan roots. No less relevant was the status of international relations with the European allies across the Atlantic or the state of the thawing Cold War with defunct USSR’s successor, Russia.

The recently concluded NATO Summit celebrated this weekend in Lisbon has taken a gigantic leap towards a stronger military alliance that has declared Russia, at last, as an ally. The Cold War seems to have been finally buried for good, or least up till a new confrontation crops up between Russia and the USA.

Why my reluctance to accept Lisbon’s alliance declaration at face value?

First, Medvédev and Obama signed earlier this year a renewed START agreement that should conclude in a joint reduction of their missiles’ arsenals. Nevertheless, said agreement may never come into effect if and when the new Republican majority in the US Congress decide to reject same. Both Republicans and the White House are presently engaged in a bluff & counter-bluff game to put pressure upon each other prior to the constitution of the new Congress in January, 2011.

Second, Afghanistan topped the NATO meet priority list and the conclusions reached of a gradual withdrawal to end in 2014 seemed to please not only Karzai but the NATO members as well. Not so, Medvédev, who doubts that such deadline is realistic.

Third, instead of heading towards peace, NATO expansion with a missile shield to protect Europe with Russian cooperation, may well be a means to combat international terrorism but likewise it is a sign that more wars and conflicts are expected from territories to the East of Europe.

Are we about to set new standards for ‘just war’ which may well surpass reasons of shear military logistics to enter other areas of international relations such as economics?

Are we assisting to a new distribution of geo-political power that will only move the demarcation line further towards the East of the Atlantic?

Has President Obama’s brief stay in Lisbon been intended towards a Western-front pact with Russia included to curtail other world powers from the temptation of going beyond their economic ambitions?

So far, since I started my posts in this English blog in April, 2009, my humble views have made bulls-eye on major international issues. Those who have followed my Spanish blog  http://www.blogger.com/profile/06825435168558835379 since 2005, have seen that we have likewise pointed out certain flaws in US-EU relations which have led to this rather estranged situation, apparently cleared in a 90-minute meeting as an appendix of the NATO Summit. Unfortunately, time will prove that encounter insufficient to patch the tattered relations dating back to the clashes during the 8-year Bush Administration. Obama has not been too observant to realise that his problems back home in such vital issues such as the economic crisis, climate change and military alliances have only one possible firm ally – the European Union.

Obama has now reached his objective, the EU’s support and that of Russia for a missile shield. Likewise, the NATO partners have approved his proposal of a more powerful NATO military alliance. Nevertheless, Obama in his metamorphosis has left out his search for peace and a more balanced distribution of wealth to curtail the miseries of millions in underdeveloped nations around the world. He has become unworthy of the Nobel Peace Award granted him in 2009.

His true problems start now not only in the home front but before millions of citizens of different races, religions and cultures who had looked up to him as a symbol of democracy in peace.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


OBAMA’S RETURN TO EUROPE: WHAT IS IN STORE AFTER THE G-20 FLOP?

November 19, 2010
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Sad to say but true, President Obama is not only a questioned leader in the USA but also as a world leader before the eyes of some of his staunch allies, particularly in Europe.

This weekend’s NATO Summit in Lisbon will be the first encounter after the disheartening G-20 performance by the cast of developed & developing nations’ leaders meeting in Seoul. Said summit will be followed by yet another bilateral one between the USA & the EU which may not count with Obama’s presence.

The disheartening results of an ineffective meet such as the one held in Seoul, whereby developed democracies on both sides of the Atlantic succumbed to a subtle Chinese strategy of political abstraction, cannot but have cooled even further already estranged EU-US postures in the economic field. China had its ways at the Seoul summit and as of today has further aggravated economic tensions with the latest communiqué from its central bank by raising its reserve ratio 50 basis points. Furthermore, the Communist Asian superpower has set its protectionist mechanism to curtail foreign investment in Chinese real estate and enterprise as a precautionary measure to avoid speculation.

True to say, the EU’s stance at the G-20 meet wasn’t all that unanimous, with Germany applying pressure on the USA in a similar manner as China but with different tactics. I keep asking myself why both superpowers – the USA on one side and the EU as a whole bloc of 27 state & 500 M population on the opposite side – haven’t yet decided to sit down to draw out a single strategic route for the economic crisis resolution.

The opportunity was missed when the EU-US bilateral summit scheduled in Spain in May was cancelled due to Obama’s overloaded agenda on the home front. Since then, six months have elapsed and the crisis has not only grown in intensity but rather new doubts have been raised as to the best common ground solutions no one seems to venture into.

The NATO encounter will have Afghanistan at the top of the priority list. The US seems more worried about ensuring military backing from the EU partners than solving other issues on hand. Indeed, probably the new common adversary encased in Al Qaeda’s terrorism requires a collective effort in lieu of a defunct ‘cold war’ with the extinct USSR now converted into an ally represented by Russia. Nevertheless, even in this new ‘war against terrorism’, I see a lack of realism in the world leaders’ analysis.

¿Can we forget that China, the emerging superpower with UN veto rights, not only is not a full-pledged democracy but likewise is a traditional sly manipulator of world political tensions in such vital issues as Iran & Korea?

Resolving favourably the Afghanistan issue is yet light years away, if ever a satisfactory solution is feasible on medium term. Yet, NATO members are attending the issue as ‘top priority’ with the presence of a no less insignificant and worthless Karzai. Instead, these nations should be discussing not only a common defence with Russia against ‘international terrorism’ (not only Al Qaeda), which goes from fanatic movements bent on destabilising democracies but also implies ‘economic terrorists’ who are capable of sinking the world into further long-term crises whilst bolstering their unscrupulous enrichment schemes.

While the powerful in economy and the military meet in Lisbon, the Nobel Peace Awards Committee has cancelled this year’s ceremony because China has not allowed the 2010 awardee, Liu Xiaobo, nor any family member, to travel to Oslo; Haiti is plagued by cholera and the population has uprisen in revolt against the UN Blue Helmets; Indonesia suffers from volcano eruptions with death toll rising; the Sahara territory under Moroccan dominion is isolated from the world whilst possible abuses are being committed; More than 30,000 children die each day due to hunger, and malnutrition shortens the life expectations of many thousand more; There are over a billion hungry people in the world today according to FAO’s malnutrition report, with almost 2/3 in Asia (where China & India have the largest populations) and 1/3 in Africa & Latin America.

I could go on to cite numerous such situations, not to mention that poverty has increased even in developed countries (15 M in 2009) the world over.

I wonder how our leaders can meet time and again to discuss economic & military issues and get nothing resolved to the world’s citizenry’s satisfaction in what really counts.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


OBAMA AFTER G-8 / G-20 CANADIAN RENDEZVOUS

July 5, 2010
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Seventeen months after taking oath of office and three G-20 summits held since then, President Obama must review his track record on international achievements thus far.

Whilst Obama’s first year was loaded with international engagements that culminated in a Peace Nobel Award, 2010 has been mainly centred on a domestic agenda laden with Republican rebuffs and unsavoury surprises on the home front. This may have been initially essential to curtail far too rapid popularity erosion and possible Democratic defeats in the forthcoming congressional elections in November but became even more demanding after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with incalculable impact on the US coastline.

A week after the latest international G-8 & G-20 summits in Canada and coinciding with the traditional 4th of July celebrations, Gulf Coast beaches were solitary scenes on an otherwise jam-packed day. The fireworks on such a relevant day for the United States were not limited to the evening sky glitters nationwide but to a series of worrying issues both on the home front as well as abroad.

In the local scene, unemployment hit a 10% record figure which if properly considered would stand for as much as 16.5% seeking a job in the 50-star nation. Temporary jobs created by the Administration over the last months to undertake the census were not enough as private entrepreneurs languished with a lack of steady job offers. Consumption isn’t at its best, not even with the 4th of July festivities on the going. America is immersed in a serious economic crisis that may not go away so easily and end, as Krugman predicts, in another Great Depression.

What really is worrying is that Obama has stood alone in the last G-20 meet and one of its staunch allies in the G-8 & G-20, Great Britain, is now in the limelight due to the British Petroleum fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico and Cameron’s insistence in totally withdrawing U.K. troops from Afghanistan by 2015. Tension was added by Britons’ demand for stronger actions by the U.K. cabinet in defence of BP, to avoid its shares plummeting further due to the Gulf of Mexico rig spill. Will Obama finally kick someone’s ass or is he going to take a beating himself?

G-20 silence on Israel’s undaunted policy of striking first as a defence measure, mainly backed by U.S. permissiveness while condemning Iran and North Korea leaves an unsavoury taste for freedom-lovers around the world. No matter what are a nation’s alliances, any world leader must have the stamina to demand its ally to fulfil international agreements towards peaceful coexistence. The United States has thus far consented Israel too many whims to honestly stand out as a firm defender of human rights and democracy. This situation is further aggravated if one considers that Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Award in 2009.

Has the concern for domestic issues blurred Obama’s vision of the international front loaded with unresolved conflicts or is he being forced by American issues and K-Street lobbies to give leeway in such matters as the closure of Guantanamo, the unstable Iraq regime, the war in Afghanistan or the Israeli-Palestinian endless confrontation?

On the other hand, Obama may have decided to make a strategic halt to assess where he stands today after his solitary stand at the G-20 summit. If he decides for a G-2 push, his best bet as a partner would be the European Union with a carefully planned diplomatic action amongst the less conceited and more reliable members instead of the usual partners. It’s Obama’s turn to move a piece on the international chessboard. The world is watching.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


OBAMA AFTER A YEAR IN OFFICE: THE HONEYMOON IS OVER

January 20, 2010
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Anti-Obama Campaign

On the day of President Obama’s first anniversary in Office, the Democratic Party’s defeat in the senatorial elections in Massachusetts has been the final bitter drop to a rather complicated year.

Obama has had a rather full year with a rather favourable start due to his popularity as candidate, President-elect and during the first half of 2009. Three main issues have weighed heavily on White House decisions in this twelve months sin taking oath as America’s 44th President and first Afro-American to preside the world’s most powerful nation.

A change in Bush’s Iraq policy was probably the issue that best met with citizenry approval. This included the closure of the Guantanamo installations, a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. However, the international warfront did not end with the announcement of an orderly troop from Iraq. The anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan was likewise inherited from the Bush Administration. If new Iraq policy seemed acceptable, new troops for Afghanistan have met both with political and citizen objections.

Obama’s decision to reinforce American troops in Afghanistan clash with its effects on the U.S. budget precisely at a time when not only Republican politicians question such expenditure but also meet criticism from some Democrats.  True to say, the Obama Administration has had to dump public funds to save the American car industry and salvage the country’s largest banks. Such financial effort has further strained U.S. reserves and added to the overburdened public expenditures.

To top it all, Obama’s promised health reform is another burden to the already overloaded public deficit. Resistance to said bill has already provoked tensions within the Democratic Party and has been the Republicans’ main issue brought up against the White House in 2009. The degraded version passed by Congress is up for the Senate vote just when the bitter defeat for the Massachusetts senatorial post has grabbed the Democrat’s majority in the Upper House.

What awaits President Obama in his second year in Office? With the honeymoon over, the White House advisors must drain their minds to come up with creative solutions to the dark clouds up ahead.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


OBAMA AFTER COPENHAGEN

December 20, 2009
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Almost a year after taking oath of office and with the unexpected Nobel Peace Award to his brief presidential CV, President Obama must be evaluated as to his effective achievements in his first year in the White House.

Surely, media all over the world but more so the U.S. press will undertake a point by point fulfilment analysis of the President’s electoral promises. From a global point of view, one must get down to brass tacks to properly evaluate Obama’s first year in office.

At this point and time, the closing of the U.N. Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen could be the best indicator of the pressures the U.S. President must have been subjected to in the last twelve months since his historic election.

The U.S. stand on curtailing CO2 emissions showed signs of a shift away from the irresponsible disregard of the Bush Administrations (2000-2008) of the Kyoto Protocol; a new will to participate was expressed upon Obama’s takeover. However, after the Asian Presidential tour in November that ended with a China-US meet, thunder clouds again appeared in the December Copenhagen summit skies.

Obama’s charms lost force and the Chinese Government did not succumb to his persuasive speeches. Moreover, China has a firm grip on U.S. Government Bonds which are the funding source for the Obama’s anti-crisis strategy.

The Asian posture, mainly China and India, have remained unchanged in spite of the President’s efforts during his Beijing summit and at the first dignitary banquet at the White House in honour of India’s Prime Minister Singh. Without the United States and China accepting the European Union’s CO2 cutback proposal and financial scheme, any alternative agreement would be a whitewash that would fall short of all minimum expectations.

And this is exactly what has happened.

Obama’s four-hour negotiations resulted in a lame pronouncement initially only back by India and South Africa, to later add in China and Brazil. President Obama has sought a way out that has put his goodwill relations with the European bloc in jeopardy.

Obama has likewise had his hands pretty tied up at the home front to make any spectacular promises on the principle issues at stake at the Copenhagen meet.  How much of Obama’s climate change posture is due to a need to face up to global challenges for approval of vital bills into laws?

At the outset of the New Millennium’s second decade, the world’s most powerful man Barack Obama, as Head-of-State of a nation whose international supremacy is put to test, must set up a visionary list of priorities in his quest of long-term objectives. A clash of interests among main issues vital before the eyes of the average American such as healthcare, Afghanistan troops, Guantanamo, Iraq withdrawal, unemployment, climate change, sustainability, etc. have been cleverly manipulated to cast the shadow of a doubt as to Obama’s capacity to live up to his campaign promises.

Has Obama’s lukewarm speech before the Copenhagen climate change assembly anything to do with the upcoming voting of indispensible funding and bill approvals on the mentioned issues in the U.S. Senate?

Have potent lobbies influenced the Obama Administration to prevent signing a new protocol that could prejudice vested interests profits and multinational expansion strategies?

There are relevant lessons to learn from Copenhagen. One that cannot be missed is Obama’s failure to live up to expectations in Oslo earlier this month. He now has to double his efforts not only to turn his words into acts but also to end his so-called just wars.

Obama must admit he cannot walk alone towards a better world in peace. We, the people of the world, are watching.


Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


THE PITTSBURGH SUMMIT & THE WORLD’S FUTURE

September 26, 2009
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After Obama’s call for “.. a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect ..”, and his insistence that “.. work must begin now”, one would expect world leaders to seriously involve themselves in concrete actions at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. Thus far, the foremost outcome of the meet is the concession of exclusive powers from G-8 to G-20 to resolve the international economic issues.

G20 Pittburgh

I have analysed the final declaration of intentions. Aside from a lack of specific rules, I’m afraid that world leaders have failed to establish a strategic order of priorities in the 31-point document. Stating so optimistically that what has so far been done “has worked” is a rather hasty conclusion.

The economic recovery process, thus far, has a long way to go. From dumping huge amounts into the banking & financial entities to save the system, the governments must return to balanced budgets and inflation adjustments, each state applying specific measure in an unevenly distributed crisis.

President Obama spoke at the UN General Assembly of four pillars as fundamental for the world’s future – non-proliferation & disarmament, the promotion of peace & security, the preservation of our planet and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people. Other world leaders agreed while some remained silent. Still others dared question his posture.

In the very same week, the first three of such pillars were exposed to be dynamited by an issue which ended up stealing the headlines at the summit that had worked on the strengthening of the fourth pillar – “global economy that advances opportunity for all people”.

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only delivered a tirade of religious nonsense at the UN assembly but also an offensive speech that questions the average intelligence of Mankind. In his own right as Iran’s President to preach out his restricted views, Ahmadinejad launched a challenge to world leaders as a clear provocation of what was to come after. Naively picking up the glove, Israeli Prime Minister Nethanyahou availed of his turn to accuse the assisting assembly of ‘lack of decency’ for having politely withstood his adversary’s tirade without abandoning the hemicycle.

West trio

Referring to these speeches is necessary in order to comprehend how Iran stole the show at the Pittsburgh summit. The joint press conference – Obama, Brown & Sarkozy – versed on Iran’s new provocation in the nuclear front. It is evident that the Middle East is the centre of all tensions, a permanent time bomb at the base of Obama’s four pillars. I missed seeing the other two leaders – Medvedev & Hu Jintao – with veto rights at the UN Security Council in said press conference. This is a clear sign that Obama’s wink to Russia has only gone halfway through and China’s approval must wait till after the November bilateral meeting during Obama’s state visit.

Meanwhile this tense situation prevails, scarcely any of the well intended resolutions at the G-20 Pittsburgh summit are worth the paper they are printed on.

There will not only be hard times for placement of 50 M new unemployed all over the world but further risks of armed conflicts East and West of Afghanistan. Whilst the best result of this summit is the decision to grant the G-20 first choice to lead the world in its growth and development, the lack of a convinced single voice to support Obama’s four pillars may well be a wrong point of crossing of the Rubicon at the wrong time.

After all the words at the General Assembly and debates at the G-20 meet, the Pittsburgh assistants have gained a little and lost a lot. They may have missed the best opportunity to show the world how united and decided they are to solve crucial world politics.

The world now faces a new Waterloo.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Madrid


OBAMA’S MISSILE SHIELD SCRAPPING, A WINK TO RUSSIA

September 19, 2009
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obamaWith the healthcare debate still smouldering in the home front and with the Pittsburgh G-20 summit around the corner, the White House announcement that scraps Bush’s missile shield scheme in Eastern Europe came both as a surprise and a relief for most Europeans.

Probably only Polish and Czech politicians could have been disappointed with the withdrawal of the multi-billion dollar scheme in their respective territories. However, it is known that Poles in border towns where said long-range missiles were to be installed breathe with relief with the announcement.

The prolonged study of the project and its final scrapping go far beyond the technical aspects reflected in the final report as yet not made public. Two important factors must have played prominently in President Obama’s decision. First, the economic crisis with its enormous pressure on public spending warrants cutbacks in all superfluous expenses; use of existing SM-3 interceptors is easily applicable to the sea-based Aegis system as early as 2011. Secondly, Russia’s permanent objection to Bush’s missile shield project has caused a tense ‘wait and see’ attitude since Obama assumed office.

It is this second reason which, on the verge of the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, seems the main political card the Obama Administration wishes to include in the card pack to be played at the negotiations table on September 24-25.

anti-missileWithout really withdrawing the military menace to Iran, the USA can lure Russia into a more receptive stance towards NATO reinforcement in the Eastern European-Middle East front. Russia cannot forget that once before both Poland and the Czech Republic belonged to the extinct USSR military treaty and these former Soviet allies are now EU states and NATO members.

Furthermore, in spite of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in the next few years, the Afghan warfront is a common ‘Achilles’ heel’ for both the USA and Russia. Where the Americans are now trapped in a frenzied battle to wipe out insurrection in Afghanistan, the extinct USSR Army (now mainly Russian) had already suffered heavy losses in the battlefields a decade ago. Russia cannot forget that then, Talibans and warlords alike, received underhanded U.S. military support.

shieldThis announcement comes at a time when President Obama must wade through deep waters both in the home front and in the international scenario. While the world watches how Obama plays his cards at the G-20 summit, American vested interests and The Establishment shall be observing how he construes his state policies affecting armament expenditures in the upcoming budget. No one can deny that the world conflicts and the arms race are a permanent source of revenue for American business groups. The Iraq and Afghanistan warfronts, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have enriched numerous entrepreneurs but mainly maintained alive multinational industries involved in aviation, armament, construction and allied services.

President Obama’s dilemma is how to push through this wink at Russia without neither bruising The Establishment’s sentiments nor upsetting vested interests back home. Needless to say, maintaining the see-saw balance may prove vital for the approval of a relatively decent healthcare law.  The USA can no longer decide at will, when the rest of the world with the EU states present at the G-20 summit, are there to have their say.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Madrid


OBAMA’S EXTENDED HAND TO THE MUSLIM WORLD

June 4, 2009
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Obama Cairo

When I wrote “Middle East: Obama’s Simmering Volcano” on April 20th., I foresaw President Obama’s firm intentions of veering away from the Bush Muslim-hatred speech that targeted on the Muslim world as the centre of the “axis of evil”.

Today’s speech at El Cairo University and remarks during the stopover visit at Saudi Arabia are a clear indication of the President’s extended hand policy that may for the first time go far beyond the historic words he has pronounced. Indeed, Obama’s speech deserves a special consideration and I would say a thorough attention of some of the keynotes that envision future U.S. foreign policy.

There are two differentiated audiences to which Obama’s speech was addressed to, the Muslim world in general with special emphasis in the Middle East and Central Asian regions, and the 9 M Muslim populations living in the USA. However, White House strategists surely have taken into account that any words pleasant to Muslim ears would in turn have been like sour grape to Jewish communities not only in Israel but specially so amongst the powerful Jewish business sectors in the homeland.

 

Oama MubarakPresident Obama’s humble mea culpa on the Iraq invasion and Afghanistan warfront did not make him waver in his plea for Muslim nations to make an effort to likewise extend their hand in sign of their own goodwill. The firm support for the Alliance of Civilizations created at the proposal of Spain’s Prime Minister, Rodríguez Zapatero, and eagerly seconded by Turkey’s Erdogan under the umbrella of the United Nations, is a clear proof that President Obama has had intense contacts during his first official spree to Europe and Turkey last April. Likewise, citing the Al Andalus Route that established Muslim culture in Andalusia with Córdoba as the seat of learning, was a clear wink to the tolerant model of peaceful co-existence established by the Muslims in the Spanish Peninsula with Christians and Jews in a the prosperous cradle of cultures. However, his advisors should check up historical quotes as Al Andalus in no way was in the same century as the Inquisition.

 

Obama Saudi visit

Unfortunately, the challenge launched must now turn from mere words of the best intentions to actions that show proof of said extended hand in goodwill and peace. President Obama has set up a historic precedent. Now his Muslim counterparts must reply to his extended hand.

 

Madrid, June 4, 2009


OBAMA’S WATERLOO – MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, IRAN OR GUANTANAMO ?

May 23, 2009
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In the first trench of his mandate, not only has President Obama inherited all of the Bush Administration follies from warfronts to the economic crisis but now has started to create his own.

From some of the inherited woes not properly handled once in the seat of power, the Obama Administration may find itself in the limelight precisely of present-day decisions taken in the wake of election promises that may never be fulfilled.

Obama may09In a previous blog (Middle East: Obama’s Simmering Volcano) last month, I pointed out the risks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Much has occurred since then, unfortunately in an unfavourable direction.

That simmering volcano has spout out lava towards the East, farther into Central Asia, sending its tremors way beyond the radius of the Middle East conflict zone. Another inherited conflict emanating from the 9-11 terrorist attack has now exceeded the Afghanistan borders and clearly infected neighbouring northern Pakistan.

Iran now has launched its trial missiles in an arrogant stance of its potential nuclear military power. Sitting amid the principal conflict zones affecting the U.S. military involvements in Iraq & Afghanistan with the added need to aid Taliban-invaded Pakistan, a U.S.-Iran confrontation is in the offing. Indeed, the Muslim-dominated part of Asia seems to be a firm candidate to be one of President Obama’s principal woes on short term. This may be the main reason for his June 4th. message to be delivered from Cairo, Egypt to the Muslim world.

guantanamo1Nevertheless, the turn of events on the home front may have put another of Obama’s woes unexpectedly in the limelight – GUANTANAMO.

In spite of being a long-term inheritance in U.S. foreign policy not only attributable to the Bush Administration, then candidate Obama’s election promises obliges the present U.S. Administration to a definite Guantanamo closure at the earliest. Now in this second 100-day trench at the White House, the Obama team has come up with numerous inconveniences to carry out said election compromise. The legal aspects so lightly considered then are building up a steep climb to fulfilment. Beyond the torture practices during the Bush era, definite closure of the dreaded jail on foreign soil seems unattainable.

Cheney may09The possible mess-up is serving Republicans to fuel up debate and no less than former Vice-President Cheney has picked up the issue to criticize the new Administration’s frivolity at rejecting the Bush hard-line anti-terrorist policy. It must be remembered that Cheney is believed to be the principal strategist behind former President Bush’s most questioned decisions during the two-term White House occupancy.

guantanamo2President Obama’s latest speech to counter the disastrous 90 to 6 Senate vote rejection to fund Guantanamo closure was not at all convincing and obviously even further weakened with the timely Cheney address a few minutes after. Something seems to be moving the wrong way for the new Democrat Administration that occupies the White House scarcely 120 days from the swearing in.

US Seal & FlagThe power machinery of the Texas Clan may have just started its bulldoze tactic on the trouble-ridden Obama Administration. Atop its inherited woes, Obama may finally have commenced to face a self-merited Waterloo – GUANTANAMO.

 

Madrid, May 23, 2009


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