M. Hollande Goes to America

Hollande’s state visit to the United States, only the fourth state visit from any foreign leader since Obama took office, holds much in the way of symbolism.

Obama’s Berlin Speech Delivered the Right Message

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy made his iconic Berlin speech — with its famous line of “Ich bin ein Berliner” — the parallels to the one delivered by his successor Barack Obama last week are unavoidable.

France aghast as Economist mocks baguette-wielding Obama

British news magazine The Economist has managed to upset the French again, this time by publishing a mock-up of Barack Obama in a stripy T-shirt, red scarf and blue beret, accompanied by the words “broken” and “lousy”.

Obama’s 'Twitter Town Hall', a democratic breakthrough?

The Twittersphere became a hotbed of activity Wednesday when Barack Obama appeared on the social network to perform his latest tech-savvy stunt – the first ever “Twitter Town Hall” Q&A. But was it a democratic breakthrough or just a publicity stunt?
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Withdrawal Symptoms: Afghans Anxious Over Obama’s Out of Afghanistan Plan

US President Barack Obama has finally set out a troop pullout plan for Afghanistan. But amid rumors of businesses shutting down and talk of a likely civil war, many Afghans are wary of what the future holds.

McChrystal Fired: Happy Taliban, Happy ISI

In an earlier blog post, before Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, I said the US president had two choices: Accept McChrystal’s resignation and appear thin-skinned. Reject it and look like a wimp.
 

When Obama took the thin-skinned option, public opinion was surprisingly supportive about McChrystal’s ouster.
 

There are many reasons why kicking out McChrystal based on a shoddy piece of one-sided reporting, written in testosterone-driven prose and published in a pop-culture magazine was NOT a good idea.
 

The best reason is best described in the New York Times piece, "Pakistan Is Said to Pursue a Foothold in Afghanistan," by Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt and Carlotta Gall.
 

Obama’s overreaction to published locker-room quotes has handed the Taliban, its al Qaeda friends and their Pakistani state intelligence backers their biggest PR coup in years.
 

Haven’t they always maintained that “the Americans” are too divided, too fractious, too encumbered by democratic forces at home to ever win this war?
 

Paris: The ‘most anti-McChrystal city'

Okay, I’ve read the text – or should we say, I’ve squirmed through the offending Rolling Stone article on Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
 

As a resident of Paris, I’m amused to learn that the City of Lights is, to quote a McChrystal adviser, “the ‘most anti-McChrystal city you can imagine.’”
 

For the record, I’m not taking offense. I guess if you’re the top US commander in Afghanistan, soldering through the dust of Helmand and you’d just like a Bud Light Lime, candles and Bordeaux on the table might seem a bit ooh-la-la-la.
 

But I’m being deliberately flippant. There are some serious issues at stake and I’m wondering what the good general is thinking as he makes his way to that White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan today.
 

The meeting, by the way, is closed to the press. So we can only guess what will happen behind closed doors.
 

Runaway Lips: The Other Side of McChrystal’s Big ‘Oh Boy’

When the big Gen. Stanley McChrystal gaffe news just broke, experts across the globe were desperately scrolling past near-naked pics of Lady Gaga on the Rolling Stone Web site, seeking the offending piece.
 

But now it’s online and the very first sentence of the Michael Hastings’ piece makes me squirm.
 

‘How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?" McChrystal asks at the start of the piece.
 

How did he get screwed granting Hastings such access?
 

Yes, yes, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s latest gaffe is a big “oh boy” even by McChrystal’s standards.
 

In the Rolling Stone article, “The Runaway General,” which portrays him as a lone wolf in typically testosterone-driven, pop-culture magazine prose, McChrystal takes on a slew of Washington bigwigs.

 

He will pay for his folly of course: the top US commander in Afghanistan has been summoned to the White House for a sound drubbing, no doubt.

 

Calderon's bluffs on immigration and the war on drugs

 

On Wednesday President Felipe Calderon met with President Barack Obama at the White House.  The top issues that both presidents discussed were obviously  the war on drugs and immigration, the latter got to the agenda, if it wasn’t for the anti-immigration law SB1070 that was approved last month in Arizona, causing outrage in all sectors of the Mexican society, otherwise this state visit was going to focus only on the war on drugs and border security.