Morning Brief: Hope and hesitancy in Munich
Top Story U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference this weekend appears to have been well-received by European leaders. In particular, his pledge to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations was welcomed by Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. Unfortunately for the Obama administration’s boosters in Europe, as the Financial ...
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference this weekend appears to have been well-received by European leaders. In particular, his pledge to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations was welcomed by Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Unfortunately for the Obama administration’s boosters in Europe, as the Financial Times editorializes, “U.S. re-engagement comes at a price: they must be prepared to share more of the burden of troubleshooting around the world. Above all, that means in Afghanistan, where NATO is facing a test of its very existence…”
Gen. David Petraeus and special envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke also echoed Biden’s call for a greater NATO commitment in Afghanistan. Holbrooke predicted the conflict would be “much tougher than Iraq.” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer backed up his U.S. counterparts by calling on European countries to “share the heavy lifting.” How countries like Germany and France will respond to this call is still unclear. Their leaders mostly dodged the issue at the conference.
Former President Mohammed Khatami announced that he will challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s presidential elections in June.
U.S. war planners have developed three timelines for pulling out of Iraq.
Israeli aircraft bombed two targets in Gaza in response to ongoing rocket attacks.
Asia and Pacific
Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has delayed a decision on closing the United States’ Manas airbase, allowing time for more negotiation. A U.S. general said operations in Afghanistan would not be seriously affected by the closure of the base.
South Korea seems unperturbed by the North’s recent saber-rattling.
Over 100 people have been killed by brushfires in Australia.
Barack Obama is hitting the road to sell his stimulus plan to the American public.
Mexican drug cartels have begun hijacking police radio frequencies to deliver death threats.
Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson was removed as the head of a seminary in Argentina.
A car bomb believed to be planted by Basque-separatist group ETA exploded near Madrid.
Ukraine’s government is asking for emergency loans.
A new German economy minister will be appointed today.
Ongoing rioting in Madagascar has led to the resignation of the country’s defense minister.
South Africa’s high court ruled that citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote, possibly delaying this spring’s presidential elections.
Somalia’s new president arrived in the capital, greeted by cheering crowds but also mortar fire.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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