Friday, February 20, 2009

NATO Half Full? (and North Korea too)

Secretary of State Clinton sees the positive side of the news from the NATO ministerial meeting. Asked by James Rosen whether she thought the committment by the other 26 alliance members to send an additional 1,400 troops was a "disappointingly low figure"--signaling that, so far, the Obama team has been no more successful than the Bush one in convincing Europeans to take up more of the burden--she replied:
Well, we are only at the beginning of that process. Secretary Gates knew that there were some who were ready to commit now, and [he] obviously made the ask. But we are in the midst of our policy review, and I think that a number of countries are waiting to see more specifically what our plan is, why we think their contribution of troops would be helpful. But also, it's important, James, to point out that we want their civilian help as well. We want their help training the Afghan army; we want their help training the Afghan police. So there's going to be a number of ways people can contribute.

I found it interesting that the fallback is to go back to the old "we provide the military and they can provide more civilian help" divide, which is something I thought we were trying to move away from.

Also interesting to read the discussion about North Korea and it reminds me of known unknowns and unknown unknowns. On a North Korean enriched uranium program: "I am going to be as, as, as clear as I can be about this. I think that there is a, a sense among many who have studied this that there may be some program, somewhere. But no one can point to any specific location. Nor can they point to any specific outcome of whatever might have gone on, if anything did."

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Joan Stepsen
Hi tech pharma
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