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Move On (with no affiliation)

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

When I took on Barack Beat in June of 2009, I knew that I was commencing an uphill battle. A battle to motivate the staff writers. The struggle to drum up support.

In the end, I was certainly the only blogger left at Barack Beat, but I learned to love the medium. For more from Tina Carter, please visit reallivewords.wordpress.com or the Twitter feed at CarterTinaM.

It was a pleasure.

Thank you.

Categories: Uncategorized

Israel Elbows US as Iran Does Things the Hard Way

The Obama administration has always preferred bilateral diplomacy, but the administration is tightening its breeches.  Iran continues to advance its nuclear program and its post-election crackdown, including its prosecution of citizens who cooperate with satellite news programs.

In recent weeks, President Obama has threatened American companies that service the Iranian government¬† and rescinded invitations to Independence Day celebrations from Iranian diplomats. Now, according to Haa’retz, Israel is pushing its superpower allies to take on a more forceful Plan B.

According to the rationale of Israeli senior officials, the unrest in Iran permits “harsher steps” in the form of stiffer sanctions.

Israel has also been communicating with Germany, France, Russia and Japan on Washington’s persistence with the current path and on securing a military appendix to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran.

The news follows London’s Sunday Times allegations that Saudi Arabia will allow Israel to use its airspace in military assault against Iran and American vice president Joe Biden said that military action against Iran is within Israel’s right as a sovereign power.

Ha’aretz reports,

In an interview with ABC television, Biden said: “Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else. Whether we agree or not. They’re entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that.”

Biden insisted that pressure from Israel or other countries would not affect American’s planned dialogue with Iran. “There is no pressure from any nation that is going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed,” he said, adding that Washington believes this dialogue serves America’s interests, as well as those of Israel and the rest of the world.

Biden’s sentiment was only slightly undercut by President Obama’s insistence Tuesday that Israel does not have a green light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Jerusalem Post reports,

The president said that Biden had simply been stating the “categorical fact” that “we can’t dictate to other countries what their security interests are. What is also true is that it is the policy of the United States to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities in a peaceful way through diplomatic channels,” he said.

Nevertheless, the IDF has taken into consideration the possibility that it will not receive US permission to fly over Iraq on the way to Iran, and has drawn up an operational plan for this contingency. While its preference is to coordinate with the US, defense officials have said in the past that Israel was preparing a wide range of options for such an operation.

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10

Indonesia’s Vice Presidential Debates Satisfy

It is safe to say that the hemming and hawing of Indonesia’s presidential debates lowered public expectations for the VP round Tuesday, but the topic worked in Boediono’s favor. The running mate of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and a former central bank governor, Boediono employed the topic of national identity to throw some decisive barbs at his opponents.

Reuters reports Boediono’s most comprehensive statements.

“To increase prosperity, we must increase economic activity. Our vision is to create clean government to improve our national pride.

“We cannot create a national pride with indoctrination, repression and violence.

“We need to repair the infrastructure that has been left behind whether that’s roads or trains. Many of these problems come back to the problem of clean governance.”

His perpetual reference to “clean government” was no doubt a subtle way to remind viewers that both of his running mates were generals under oppressive and ruthless dictator Suharto. Indeed, Megawati’s running mate, Prabowo, is an alleged war criminal accused of ethnically-based exterminations, among other things.

To understand the weight of Boediono’s statements, one must remember that Indonesia is a former colony and dictatorship, and these experiences have made economic openness and ethnic cohabitation central concerns. On that account, Boediono’s seemingly-lackluster comments coaxed these memories from the recess of the minds of many, including Indonesians of Chinese descent, who were particular targets of both VP candidates Prabowo and Wirianto under the former regime.

According to Reuters, a number were convinced by Boediono that a man of military background will not herald the age of economic development or progress in human rights.

M. Noer Yusuf, private businessman in Banda Aceh, Aceh:

“I agree with the concept of SBY-Boediono that there has to be a mix between a people’s economy and a free market. I also saw that among those three vice presidential candidates, two of them are enemies of human rights. Indonesia will not develop if Europe and America regard us as their enemy.”

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10
Categories: Uncategorized

Obama Sends Ambassador to Syria

Al Jazeera is reporting the somewhat surprising news that President Obama is sending an ambassador to Syria. The United States has not had an ambassador to that country for the last four years. From the article:

By returning a senior US envoy to Damascus, Barack Obama, the US president, is seeking to carve out a far larger role for the US in the region as he works to rehabilitate relations with the Islamic world and the Arab Middle East, the [Washington Post] said.

A senior administration official told CNN: “It’s in our interests to have an ambassador in Syria.

“We have been having more and more discussions and we need to have someone there to engage.”

I say “surprising,” but it shouldn’t be, as relations between the US and Syria have been improving in recent months. What’s surprising is the timing, considering what’s going on in Iran right now, as Syria and Iran are often assumed to be close by US observers, and are connected in the public mind. Perhaps President Obama (or Syria?) is trying to break that link.

In any case, the presence or absence of an ambassador-rank diplomat is largely a symbolic move, and if nothing else gives a bit of leverage to the Obama administration in that the ambassador may now be recalled, which is always a dramatic bit of international theater. Not an overwhelmingly important event, then, but worth noting.

Categories: Syria