Posts Tagged ‘Robert Gates’

Fidel’s busts’ Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today’s Carnival is named after those busts of Fidel Castro Hugo Chavez is planning to install in Caracas while Cuba continues to hold political prisoners and harass their wives.


Via Real Clear World Video: Greg Grandin, Michael Shifter, Kevin Casas-Zamora and John Coatsworth discussing Latin America

Médicos cubanos en Venezuela huyen por Colombia de la tiranía castrista

Henry Kissinger ‘cancelled warning against political assassinations’
Henry Kissinger cancelled a warning against carrying out international political assassinations just days before a former Chilean ambassador was killed in Washington, according to a newly released State Department cable
, via The Latin Americanist

A Study of Productivity in Latin America

Federalismo pisoteado

US pledges help to fight Caribbean drug trafficking

Lula to decide on Battisti
Brazilian president gets court papers on ex-terrorist
, via Gates of Vienna

Judge allows start of bids on controversial Brazil dam

China and Brazil sign trade deals at Bric summit

El Nuevo Tablero Territorial: reconstrucción anti tsunami

Rural poverty in Colombia

Chilean Businessman Found Dead in Havana Apartment

Los Estefan hablaron con Obama sobre la situación de los DD.HH en Cuba

Cuban security agents again halt march by Ladies in White
For the second time in as many weeks, security agents denied the female relatives of jailed dissidents permission to hold their protest Sunday.

Héctor Larroque Rego, Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week, April 18, 2010

The Other Interview

Intransigent Cuba
Protest songs
Grumbling is not the same as dissent

DiCaprio and Norton attend eco-conference

Ecuadorean threat to oil giants
The Ecuadorean government has threatened to take over foreign oil concessions if the companies resist growing state control of the industry.

Ecuador May Begin Mine Royalty Talks Next Month, Chamber Says

Michelle Obama Visits Haiti

Justice for Haiti

Rebuilding Haiti
Dreaming beyond the rubble
While a barely functioning government struggles with a huge refugee problem, the world has agreed on money and a plan to turn a “Republic of NGOs” into a state


Congress vs. Honduran Democrats
American liberals are still sore about the ‘coup’ that ousted Manuel Zelaya.

La Gringa’s Mango Ice Cream Recipe

Robin Givhan examines Michelle Obama’s first trip abroad alone

Oklahoma Taxes Money Orders to Mexico: Mexico Threatens Oklahoma with Trade War

Adios Amigos. Hola Czarinna de Diplomacia

Obesity in Mexico? Sra. Calderon should remind Mrs. BO no one is getting killed on the border because they are fat!

The “Other” Side of the Mexican Border

Fleeing Drug Violence, Mexicans Pour Into U.S.

Proceso en la guarida de “El Mayo” Zambada

Mexico’s culture wars
As the capital grows more liberal, conservatives are rallying elsewhere

Political battle brews in Nicaragua as 2 judges refuse to surrender their gavels
The refusal of Sandinista judges on the Supreme Court to step down after their terms expired is the latest effort to thwart democracy in the Central American country, opposition leaders and analysts say.

Chiriquí Center is Getting Closer

El caso Grütter

Peru town copes with being devoured by mine

Peru’s Machu Picchu ruins reopen to tourists

Cuban Revolutionary-Turned-Critic Carlos Franqui Dies in Puerto Rico

Unveiling of bust in Caracas is postponed

Chávez pays 1-day visit to Castro brothers

Colombia blasts Venezuela’s detention of fishermen

We despise you and dislike you, but please gringos send some dollars, the arepa project ain’t working well

Of course, hackistry plays a role too…

19 de abril as a dysfunctional holiday

Via Jeremayakovka, Boxer Edwin Valero found dead in jail

The fighter was a household name in Venezuela and had a huge image of President Hugo Chavez tattooed on his chest, along with the country’s yellow, blue and red flag.

GLORIA ESTEFAN: ‘Our Gloria’ Betrays Cuban Fans, Jumps On Obama Bandwagon

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Free Trade’s Friends
The case for Free Trade with Latin America
Let them eat sushi
The incredible Colombian travel advisory
Chavez Rallies to Defend His Government

At Real Clear World:
Flyin’ High with Evo

Bringing a water pistol to a knife fight, parts 1 & 2

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Bringing a water pistol to a knife fight: Part 1

Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran’s Nuclear Drive

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.

Jennifer Rubin:

Really, it’s jaw-dropping that, at this stage, Gates must sound the alarm, reminding everyone that nothing they’ve done so far has or is likely to work. Indeed, it’s hard to see how what the Obami are presently doing won’t impair those military options. After all, Obama is giving the Iranians cover to move ahead with their nuclear program while the UN dithers over negotiations about ineffective sanctions. The problem, we must conclude, is Obama, himself, who seems blissfully unaware of his own inadequate and misguided efforts. (”Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared. He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement.”)

The Obami seemed unprepared for the failure of engagement last year and are only now working on a sanctions effort; Gates’ memo suggests we are now no more prepared for what is in all likelihood the outcome of the next round of dithering: an Iranian regime undeterred from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.

Scott Johnson:

As always with stories like this, one wonders about the motives of the Times’s sources. Why would anonymous officials leak word of a highly classified memorandum suggesting that the administration has no policy beyond what has proved to be empty talk? These apparently well-informed officials must think that we have something to worry about.

Or, you might look at the issue from the Obami point of view, “who, me worry?”

Bringing a water pistol to a knife fight: Part 2

If the water pistol doesn’t work, then make them laugh:
Fight Al-Qaeda with satire, ridicule: researchers

Satire and ridicule can help win the fight against Al-Qaeda by stripping it of its glamour and mystique, a team of researchers argue in a report released in London and in comments to AFP.

Beating the Islamist movement is as much about winning the battle of ideas and undermining Al-Qaeda’s counter-culture cachet as it is about conventional anti-terrorism operations, said the report.

“Terrorism must be defeated through the deliberate ‘toxification’ of the al-Qaeda brand; not by making it seem dangerous, but by exposing it as dumb,” Jamie Bartlett, one of the report’s authors, told AFP.

“Al-Qaeda has to be ridiculed as the equivalent of a middle-aged dad at a school disco: enthusiastic, incompetent and excruciatingly uncool.”

How’s this for a start? Hey Bin Laden Your Brother Married a Goat!

Somehow I can’t believe that broadcasting “Your Brother Married a Goat” to every cave on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border will win us the war on terror. First of all who knows, maybe Bin Laden’s brother has a thing for four-legged creatures. More important is that once you forget the nice “peace, love and granola,” feelings, history has taught us that Islamists respect just one thing, Raw Power. Sticks and stones may not worm, but American Munitions are a better substitute than satire.

It’s bad enough when you have incompetents making foreign policy decisions; what’s even worse is to have unprepared incompetents who lack basic street smarts.

The case for Free Trade with Latin America

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Today’s Investor’s Business Daily editorial explains why it’s needed:
Free Trade’s Friends

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Latin America and the Caribbean last week, making stops to shore up allies Colombia, Peru and Barbados, on the heels of the signing of the first major U.S. defense pact with Brazil in 30 years.

He’s doing his job, and not a moment too soon, given the den of dragons the region has become. Colombia’s FARC terrorists have now made common cause with Mexico’s drug traffickers, whose violence is spilling over the U.S. border.

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has allied with Iran and Russia, touting nuclear cooperation with both. Chavez also is acquiring as much as $9.5 billion in Russian arms — bad news, given his history of supplying terrorists and threatening neighbors.

His ally, Bolivia, is setting up a de facto Russian air force base to check U.S. allies in Peru and Chile. And his other ally, Ecuador, is making a name for itself as a money laundry for pariahs like Iran.

So it says something that the one issue Gates came out strongly for was passage of the U.S.-Colombia free trade pact. “I would hope that we would be in a position to make a renewed effort to get ratification of the free-trade agreement. It’s a good deal for Colombia. It’s also a very good deal for the U.S.,” said the defense chief.

The reasons are easy to understand. A stable, prosperous Colombia will serve as a beacon for others to imitate and contrast sharply with Chavez’s failed economic model. It also will send a message to the region that the U.S. can be trusted as an ally.

The irony is that Gate’s plea addresses not just Hugo Chavez, but also the failures of President Obama and congressional Democrats.

The president claims he wants free trade with Colombia, but has done nothing to rouse votes on Capitol Hill or to prod House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who personally iced the pact in 2008.

Mire in domestic politics, Congress remains in thrall to union cash, with Pelosi unwilling to move to a vote until Big Labor gives the nod, something the AFL-CIO says it will never do.

Even so, Obama’s Cabinet officials are pushing forward.

Colombia’s presidential palace told IBD that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk called President Uribe’s office Thursday to say he’s expecting action soon. That’s welcome news.

It’ll be more than a bit strange if Obama’s own Cabinet pleads for free trade with Colombia while Obama and Congress’ Democrats continue to throw up obstacles. But that’s how it looks.

Must be that “smart diplomacy” we’ve been reading about.

The US is seeking deeper security co-operation with its Latin American allies, US defence secretary Robert Gates has said.

Coming, and going

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

At Memeorandum:


Russia announces rearmament plan

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow will begin a comprehensive military rearmament from 2011.

Mr Medvedev said the primary task would be to “increase the combat readiness of [Russia’s] forces, first of all our strategic nuclear forces“.

Gates readies big cuts in weapons

Now, as the only Bush Cabinet member to remain under President Obama, Gates is preparing the most far-reaching changes in the Pentagon’s weapons portfolio since the end of the Cold War, according to aides.

Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the offi cials said.

More cuts are planned for later this year after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.

No further comment… for now.


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