Romney to talk foreign policy
Afghanistan enters its 12th year, Do DHS and the Pentagon know how to share? Panetta delivers pumpkin pie and more.
Advantage Romney? The GOP contender will seek to strengthen his foreign policy credentials today with a major speech at the Virginia Military Institute. According to advance excerpts provided to reporters, the speech will draw on his vision of "peace through strength" as he works to better establish himself as a statesman and commander-in-chief. He'll craft a contrast with Obama on the crises in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, and he'll make a point of explaining that the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya was not the result of a spontaneous protest against the "Innocence of Muslims" video but "likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11, 2001" and the "deliberate work of terrorists."
Advantage Romney? The GOP contender will seek to strengthen his foreign policy credentials today with a major speech at the Virginia Military Institute. According to advance excerpts provided to reporters, the speech will draw on his vision of "peace through strength" as he works to better establish himself as a statesman and commander-in-chief. He’ll craft a contrast with Obama on the crises in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, and he’ll make a point of explaining that the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya was not the result of a spontaneous protest against the "Innocence of Muslims" video but "likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11, 2001" and the "deliberate work of terrorists."
In the speech, titled "The Mantle of Leadership," he’ll ref George Marshall and Winston Churchill and lay out his priorities in each of the world’s hot spots, according to The Cable’s Josh Rogin, and explain how he believes it’s time to "change the course" in the Middle East.
On Iran: "I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf the region — and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions — not just words — that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated."
On Syria: "Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran — rather than sitting on the sidelines."
On Afghanistan: "I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war — and to potential attacks here at home — is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation." http://bit.ly/VCVk2u
Obama campaign traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, on the upcoming speech: "We’re not going to be lectured by someone who has been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy every time he’s dipped his toe in the foreign policy waters," Psaki told reporters. "The only person who has offended Europe more is probably Chevy Chase." http://nbcnews.to/WFxdyf
New Obama ad criticizing Romney on Benghazi attack remarks. http://bit.ly/R6sQeX
Handicapping the speech, talking points with Michele Flournoy and Colin Kahl. http://bit.ly/SXCfBV
Welcome to Monday’s edition of Situation Report and, as of yesterday, the 12th year of the war in Afghanistan. Follow me @glubold or hit me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for Situation Report here: http://bit.ly/NCN9uN or just send me an e-mail and we’ll put you on the list.
Afghanistan isn’t ready. A report on Afghanistan to be released today from the International Crisis Group says there is a real worry that the regime in Kabul could collapse upon NATO’s withdrawal in 2014. This comes at a time when more U.S. government officials and others are talking about how important the political transition is even as the focus has remained on the security transition. More people are beginning to fear a failed transition given Karzai’s pledge to step down (required by the constitution) near the same time as ISAF withdrawals. "The window for remedial action is closing fast," says Candace Rondeaux, senior Afghanistan analyst for the group.
From the report: "A repeat of previous elections’ chaos and chicanery would trigger a constitutional crisis, lessening chances the present political dispensation can survive the transition. In the current environment, prospects for clean elections and a smooth transition are slim." http://bit.ly/Q7I69b
Sunday marked the beginning of the 12th year in Afghanistan. Here’s what the dean of the Pentagon press corps, Bob Burns, wrote 11 years ago Sunday: "WASHINGTON (AP) Forty U.S. and British warplanes and an armada of warships and submarines pummeled strongholds of the al-Qaida network and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan on Sunday with Tomahawk cruise missiles, 500-pound gravity bombs and computer-guided bombs. It was the first wave of an anti-terrorism campaign promised after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States."
Largely overlooked: preliminary talks for establishing a U.S.-Afghan security agreement began last week. The U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Commission, which will lay the groundwork for the actual security partnership agreement, began Oct. 3, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Afghan Minister Zalmai Rassoul convening the meeting. http://1.usa.gov/SGuobN
Meanwhile, Panetta is strengthening mil-to-mil relationships in South America. Pentagon pressec George Little told Situation Report that the U.S. and Uruguay agreed to update their defense cooperation agreement, adopted in 1953. "In a meeting between Secretary Panetta and Minister Huidobro at the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas in Punta del Este, the two defense leaders agreed that — even as the two nations currently enjoy a close military-to-military relationship — updating the agreement will strengthen it even further," Little wrote in an e-mail. "This agreement will modernize the framework for future U.S.-Uruguayan defense cooperation. The United States views Uruguay as a key defense partner in South America."
Right side, left side: Lt. Gen. John Kelly, Panetta’s senior military aide, is on the trip with Panetta but it’s his last one. The Marine is expected to soon head to U.S. Southern Command in Miami. He is overlapping with another Marine, Lt. Gen. Tom Waldhauser, who will replace Kelly, and who is also on the Doomsday plane.
Panetta is leaving for Brussels in about an hour. The bilat discussions today also included a thank-you from Panetta to Uruguay for its international peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Today, the secretary will address the conference ("Conferencia de Ministros de Defesa das Americas") where he will meet separately with Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.
Why South America bores reporters, from E-Ring’s Kevin Baron. http://bit.ly/PYyk8v
Happy Thanksgiving to Canada. In meeting with the Canadian delegation in Uruguay, Panetta surprised the Canadians with pumpkin pie for their day of thanks — Oct. 8.
Speaking of which: It was SRO at the Friday morning memorial service at the Canadian embassy for Henry Champ, longtime broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent, who died last month of lung cancer. Scores of government officials, reporters and friends and family showed up for Champ, who was born and raised in Manitoba. He was the husband of the WaPo’s Karen DeYoung.
From the WaPo obit: "With his chiseled features and arched eyebrows, Mr. Champ epitomized the foreign correspondent with a taste for hazard zones and a handsome wardrobe of trench coats and flak jackets."
Spotted at the ceremony (heads up from another guest): BG Paul Kennedy, head of public affairs for the Marine Corps.
Obit (9/24): http://wapo.st/RYMeq5
The Pentagon and DHS don’t like sharing, or so Rep. Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican and head of the House Intelligence Committee says. The number of defense contractor participants in the Pentagon’s data exchange program for cyber threats has actually been shrinking, says Rogers, reports Killer Apps’ John Reed. But this comes at a time when Pentagon officials have touted the number of companies "lining up" to join the program, designed to build a better sharing network on cyber-security between contractors and the government. But Rogers says there are less than 20 companies and the Pentagon has "lost" between five and seven companies. http://bit.ly/QZECaM
No lie: Word count today from Word doc was 1,492 until we added this line.
Now it’s 12 Years and Counting
- CNN: Blast kills two intelligence officers. http://bit.ly/UyC8Ua
- AP: Sunday marks the 12th year in Afghanistan. http://buswk.co/SHLnjF
- BBC: Report: Afghanistan could collapse after 2014. http://bbc.in/RpoOeW
- The Telegraph: Russia, India and Iran could help Afghanistan. http://bit.ly/Q78sat
- WaPo: Situation bleak for Afghanistan, outgoing Red Cross chief says. http://wapo.st/TkM4iy
The Two Sudans
- CNN: Sudan to reopen border with South Sudan. http://bit.ly/OMOw0J
- All Africa: South Sudan: Let us Mourn and Forgive. http://bit.ly/OhX3XM
- Sudan Tribune: Should South Sudan ratify Addis Ababa agreements? http://bit.ly/QOY6yw
- FP: How much military can you buy for $720 billion a year? http://bit.ly/SyM8LV
- Turkish Weekly: Shell fired from Syria lands in buffer zone. http://bit.ly/Q7tZAL
- CS Monitor: Chavez wins another term. http://bit.ly/Q7M7tm
- The Guardian: Live updates on Turkey-Syrian border. http://bit.ly/QKJWNk
- Reuters: Philippines, Muslims agree to landmark peace deal. http://reut.rs/QN7HG0
- NYT: A book deal for Julian Assange. http://nyti.ms/SMjbWw
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children. Twitter: @glubold
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