Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document

Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document

 

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s advisers will remove religious terms such as “Islamic extremism” from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”

The officials described the changes on condition of anonymity because the document still was being written, and the White House would not discuss it. But rewriting the strategy document will be the latest example of Obama putting his stamp on U.S. foreign policy, like his promises to dismantle nuclear weapons and limit the situations in which they can be used.

The revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the United States talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education.

That shift away from terrorism has been building for a year, since Obama went to Cairo, Egypt, and promised a “new beginning” in the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. The White House believes the previous administration based that relationship entirely on fighting terror and winning the war of ideas.

“You take a country where the overwhelming majority are not going to become terrorists, and you go in and say, ‘We’re building you a hospital so you don’t become terrorists.’ That doesn’t make much sense,” said National Security Council staffer Pradeep Ramamurthy.

Ramamurthy runs the administration’s Global Engagement Directorate, a four-person National Security Council team that Obama launched last May with little fanfare and a vague mission to use diplomacy and outreach “in pursuit of a host of national security objectives.”

Since then, the division has not only helped change the vocabulary of fighting terror but also has shaped the way the country invests in Muslim businesses, studies global warming, supports scientific research and combats polio.

Before diplomats go abroad, they hear from the Ramamurthy or his deputy, Jenny Urizar. When officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration returned from Indonesia, the NSC got a rundown about research opportunities on global warming.

Ramamurthy maintains a database of interviews conducted by 50 U.S. embassies worldwide. And business leaders from more than 40 countries head to Washington this month for an “entrepreneurship summit” for Muslim businesses.

“Do you want to think about the U.S. as the nation that fights terrorism or the nation you want to do business with?” Ramamurthy said.

To deliver that message, Obama’s speechwriters have taken inspiration from an unlikely source: former President Ronald Reagan. Visiting communist China in 1984, Reagan spoke to Fudan University in Shanghai about education, space exploration and scientific research.

He discussed freedom and liberty. He never mentioned communism or democracy.

“They didn’t look up to the U.S. because we hated communism,” said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter.

Like Reagan in China, Obama in Cairo made only passing references to terrorism. Instead he focused on cooperation. He announced the United States would team up to fight polio with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a multinational body based in Saudi Arabia.

The United States and the OIC had worked together before, but never with that focus.

“President Obama saw it as an opportunity to say, `We work on things far beyond the war on terrorism,”‘ said World Health Organization spokeswoman Sona Bari.

Polio is endemic in three Muslim countries — Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan — but some Muslim leaders have been suspicious of vaccination efforts, which they believed to be part of a CIA sterilization campaign. Last year, the OIC and religious scholars at the International Islamic Fiqh Academy issued a fatwa, or religious decree, that parents should have their children vaccinated.

“We’re probably entering into a whole new level of engagement between the OIC and the polio program because of the stimulus coming from the U.S. government,” said Michael Galway, who works on polio eradication for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Centers for Disease Control also began working more closely with local Islamic leaders in northern Nigeria, a network that had been overlooked for years, said John Fitzsimmons, the deputy director of the CDC’s immunization division.

Though health officials are reluctant to assign credit to any one action, new polio cases in Nigeria fell from 83 during the first quarter of last year to just one so far this year, Fitzsimmons said.

Public opinion polls also showed consistent improvement in U.S. sentiment within the Muslim world last year, although the viewpoints are still overwhelmingly negative, however.

Obama did not invent Muslim outreach. President George W. Bush gave the White House its first Quran, hosted its first Iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and loudly stated support for Muslim democracies like Turkey.

But the Bush administration struggled with its rhetoric. Muslims criticized him for describing the war against terror as a “crusade” and labeling the invasion of Afghanistan “Operation Infinite Justice” — words that were seen as religious. He regularly identified America’s enemy as “Islamic extremists” and “radical jihadists.”

Karen Hughes, a Bush confidant who served as his top diplomat to the Muslim world in his second term, urged the White House to stop.

“I did recommend that, in my judgment, it’s unfortunate because of the way it’s heard. We ought to avoid the language of religion,” Hughes said. “Whenever they hear ‘Islamic extremism, Islamic jihad, Islamic fundamentalism,’ they perceive it as a sort of an attack on their faith. That’s the world view Osama bin Laden wants them to have.”

Hughes and Juan Zarate, Bush’s former deputy national security adviser, said Obama’s efforts build on groundwork from Bush’s second term, when some of the rhetoric softened. But by then, Zarate said, it was overshadowed by the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and a prolonged Iraq war.

“In some ways, it didn’t matter what the president did or said. People weren’t going to be listening to him in the way we wanted them to,” Zarate said. “The difference is, President Obama had a fresh start.”

Obama’s foreign policy posture is not without political risk. Even as Obama steps up airstrikes on terrorists abroad, he has proven vulnerable to Republican criticism on security issues at home, such as the failed Christmas Day airline bombing and the announced-then-withdrawn plan to prosecute 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York.

Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist and former Bush adviser, is skeptical of Obama’s engagement effort. It “doesn’t appear to have created much in the way of strategic benefit” in the Middle East peace process or in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he said.

Obama runs the political risk of seeming to adopt politically correct rhetoric abroad while appearing tone deaf on national security issues at home, Feaver said.

The White House dismisses such criticism. In June, Obama will travel to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, and is expected to revisit many of the themes of his Cairo speech.

“This is the long-range direction we need to go in,” Ramamurthy said.

GOP Will Win House and Senate

GOP Will Win House and Senate

Posted By Dick Morris On April 7, 2010 @ 10:17 am In Congress, News, Obama, Politics | 300 Comments

Stanley Greenberg and James Carville claim that the Republican Party has peaked too soon. Incredibly, Greenberg says that “when we look back on this, we’re going to say Massachusetts is when 1994 happened.” Stan’s only claim to expertise in the 1994 elections, of course, is that he’s the guy who blew it for the Democrats. Right after that, President Clinton fired both of the flawed consultants and never brought them back again.

article-1135603-034A1057000005DC-377_468x286

Their latest pitch is that the highpoint of the GOP advance was the Scott Brown election and that, from here on, things will “improve slightly” for the Democrats.

Once again, Carville and Greenberg are totally misreading the public mood. Each time the Republican activists battle, they become stronger. Their cyber and grass roots grow deeper. The negatives that attach to so-called “moderate” Democratic incumbents increase. And each time Obama, Reid and Pelosi defy public opinion and use their majorities to ram through unpopular legislation, frustration and anger rise.

Were Obama’s ambitions to slacken, perhaps a cooling-off might eventuate. But soon the socialist financial takeover bill will come on the agenda, followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants, cap-and-trade and card-check unionization. Each bill will trigger its own mobilization of public opposition and add to the swelling coalition of opposition to Obama and his radical agenda.

And, all the while, the deficit will increase, interest rates will rise and unemployment will remain high.

Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Vows More Nuclear Cuts

Obama Vows More Nuclear Cuts

April 8th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

captphoto_1270726537893-1-0

PRAGUE (AP) – President Barack Obama says a new arms pact with Russia sets the stage for further cuts in the two nations’ nuclear arsenals.

Obama says he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE’-tree med-VYEH’-dyev) also have agreed to expand discussions on missile defense, and will aim for a dialogue on cooperation in that area.

The treaty was signed by the two leaders in Prague on Thursday.

Obama called the spread of nuclear weapons to more states an unacceptable risk to global security that could raise the specter of arms races from the Middle East to East Asia.

CBO: Obama’s Fiscal Policy Is Unsustainable

CBO: Obama’s Fiscal Policy Is Unsustainable

April 8th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

Obama US Russian Nuclear

The Hill:

Fundamental changes to the federal budget will be needed to rein in unsustainable deficits, Congress’s budget watchdog said Thursday.

“U.S. fiscal policy is unsustainable, and unsustainable to an extent that it can’t be solved through minor changes,” Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

Spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, plus defense programs and debt interest, will exceed the rest of the federal budget in 10 years if most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are extended, as President Barack Obama has proposed, Elmendorf said.

“It’s a matter of arithmetic,” Elmendorf said of getting record deficits under control.

“Government would need to make changes in some set of the large programs, large parts of the tax code that we think of as the fundamental parts of the budget.”

Elmendorf’s remarks come a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also called on policymakers to put in place a plan to reduce deficits.

“Unless we as a nation demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, in the longer run we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth,” Bernanke said in a speech Wednesday.

The CBO projects that Obama’s policies would produce deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.

The deficit would bottom out in 2014 at a level equal to 4.1 percent of gross domestic product, which is higher than the 3 percent level considered to be sustainable by the White House and independent economists. Deficits would again rise after 2014.

The debt-to-GDP ratio would go from 63 percent this year to 90 percent by 2020, the CBO said. A “select group of countries,” including Greece, which is facing a fiscal crisis, have debt levels that high, which is “worrisome,” Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf cautioned against a fiscal retrenchment that is too quick and could hamper an economic recovery. The deficit levels are expected to drop from 10 percent this year to nearly 4 percent within four years, “the most rapid withdrawal of fiscal stimulus since the Second World War,” he said.

The ideal timing for deficit reductions would be “at some point beyond the next few years,” he said.

Jobless claims increase

Jobless claims increase

AP

 so much for an economic recovery

The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers.

The increase also may result from the difficulty the Labor Department has in seasonally adjusting the claims around the Easter holiday, which falls on different weeks each year.

“This is … a volatile time when the numbers move around quite a bit,” a department analyst said.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ended April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. That’s worse than economists’ estimates of a drop to 435,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

California also closed its state offices for a holiday on March 31, which likely held down the claims figures. On an unadjusted basis, claims rose by 6,500 to nearly 415,000.

Initial claims have dropped four out of the past six weeks and many economists say they are likely to soon resume their decline.

Read More:

Frank Marshall Davis, alleged Communist, was early influence on Barack Obama

Frank Marshall Davis, alleged Communist, was early influence on Barack Obama

By Toby Harnden, UK telegraph

 Obama had close ties to Frank Marshall Davis

Although identified only as Frank in Mr Obama’s memoir Dreams from My Father, it has now been established that he was Frank Marshall Davis, a radical activist and journalist who had been suspected of being a member of the Communist Party in the 1950s.

Mr Davis moved to Honolulu from Chicago in 1948 with his second wife Helen Canfield, a white socialite, at the suggestion of his friend the actor Paul Robeson, who advised them that there would be more tolerance of a mixed race couple in Hawaii than on the American mainland.

A bohemian libertine who drank heavily and loved jazz, he became friends with Stanley Dunham, Mr Obama’s maternal grandfather in the 1960s. Mr Davis died in 1987 at the age of 81, five years before Mr Dunham.

“He knew Stan real well,” said Dawna Weatherly-Williams, a close friend of Mr Davis “They’d play Scrabble and drink and crack jokes and argue. Frank always won and he was always very braggadocio about it too. It was all jocular. They didn’t get polluted drunk. And Frank never really did drugs, though he and Stan would smoke pot together.”

While his mother was in Indonesia during part of his teenage years, Mr Obama lived with his white grandparents. Mrs Weatherly-Williams said that the poet was first introduced to the future Democratic presidential candidate in 1970 at the age of 10.

Read More:

US Refuses Visas to all Israeli Nuclear Scientists

US Refuses Visas to all Israeli Nuclear Scientists

Clarice Feldman

In a new and ridiculous policy, the US is denying Israeli scientists who work at the Dimona  reactor site an opportunity to refresh their knowedge, Joshua Pundit reports:

Ma’ariv reported today that the Israeli government was stunned when every nuclear technician at Israel’s Dimona reactor who had submitted visa requests to visit the United States for ongoing university education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering had their visa applications summarily rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor.
This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration. Up until now, it was routine for Israeli nuclear scientists and technicians to receive such visas and to study at US universities.[snip]eportedly the US has an unofficial embargo on selling anything to be used at the site.

Professor Zeev Alfasi, the head of Nuclear Engineering at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev stated that “the United States doesn’t sell anything nuclear-related to the Dimona reactor, and that means absolutely nothing. Radiation detectors, for example have to be purchased now in France because the USA refuses to sell these to Israel.”