Friday, 22 September 2017
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editorials

New York Times

The Pentagon Meets the Real World
Many crucial details are missing from the military budget released last week by the Obama administration. But the initial signs are encouraging.

Foreign Affairs
The Precedents for Withdrawal: From Vietnam to Iraq by Bennett Ramberg
As Washington ponders how long to stay in Iraq, it would do well to remember the limited impact of the United States' withdrawal from Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s, Lebanon in the 1980s, and Somalia in the 1990s.

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New York Times

Holding Mr. Bashir Accountable
After the International Criminal Court this week ordered his arrest on war crimes, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan's ever-ruthless leader, ordered the expulsion of 13 international aid groups that keep millions of impoverished Sudanese alive with food and medical care. If Mr. Bashir does not reverse the expulsion, it should be considered added proof of his guilt.

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Wall Street Journal

A Dialogue With Lebanon's Ayatollah
I have not found in the whole long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict even one neutral American position. We used to love America in the region in the '40s. [President Woodrow] Wilson's principles [of national self-determination] represent freedom facing a Europe that was colonizing us. But America now is living a policy worse than that of British and French colonialism." So said Muhammad Hussein Fadhlullah early one morning last week, and I suppose I should not have been surprised.

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New York Times

NATO's Mission
NATO will be marking its 60th anniversary with a summit in early April, which will be hosted by France and Germany. Much of the preparatory hoopla has been celebratory, in large part because an eight-year chill in trans-Atlantic relations is seen as drawing to an end. President Obama is still soaring on European popularity charts, and Europe's current leaders are a pro-American bunch. France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has also decided to lead his country back into full NATO membership, putting to rest the Gaullists' longstanding ambition to be a counterweight to Washington.

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New York Times

Combat and Community
You drive up to the forward operating base in Wardak Province in an armored Humvee, with the machine-gunner sticking up through the roof and his butt swinging on a little perch just by your head. Outside there's a scraggly downtown, with ragamuffin Afghan children, almost no old people (the median life expectancy is 45) and dust everywhere. The dust of Afghanistan piles up in front of the storefronts and covers the ruins of the buildings destroyed during the Soviet period, or during the civil war or during some lost conflict from centuries past.

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The New York Times

The Next Guantánamo
The Obama administration is basking in praise for its welcome commitment to shut down the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay. But it is acting far less nobly when it comes to prisoners held at a larger, more secretive military detention facility at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

End of the Clash of Civilizations
On his visit to Turkey last week, President Obama made important progress toward recalibrating America's relations with the Islamic world. The president steered away from the poisonous post-9/11 clash of civilizations mythology that drove so much of President George W. Bush's rhetoric and disastrous policy.

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The Washington Post

Why we should get rid of West Point
Want to trim the federal budget and improve the military at the same time? Shut down West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy, and use some of the savings to expand ROTC scholarships.

What Burma needs from the White House
When President Obama was elected, I was filled with hope that America would regain the moral standing to aid those who are impoverished and oppressed around the world. I have since rejoiced to see him reversing the most obnoxious policies of

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New York Times

60 Miles From Islamabad
If the Indian Army advanced within 60 miles of Islamabad, you can bet Pakistan's army would be fully mobilized and defending the country in pitched battles. Yet when the Taliban got that close to the capital on Friday, pushing into the key district of Buner, Pakistani authorities sent only several hundred poorly equipped and underpaid constabulary forces.

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New York Times

Medvedev's First Year
On Thursday, Dmitri Medvedev marks his first year as president of Russia. There is little cause for celebration as the Russian economy is facing its worst crisis for more than a decade. Unemployment is approaching 10 percent, inflation 15 percent, and the credit squeeze is hurting all Russians from the factory floor to the oligarchs.

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New York Times

An Agenda for Mr. Netanyahu
President Obama has set clear and appropriate priorities ahead of the visit to Washington on May 18 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Speaking to Jewish-American activists last week, Vice President Joseph Biden conceded, "You're not going to like my saying this," and then he laid out the administration's list.

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The New York Times

New Commander for Afghanistan
The war in Afghanistan is not going well. And President Obama has the right to choose his own top commander. We hope that his decision this week to fire Gen. David McKiernan and replace him with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal means that the president and his team have come up with a strategy that will combine aggressive counterinsurgency tactics with economic development. That is the only chance for turning around a must-win war that America isn't winning.

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The New York Times

Military-Industrial Redux
The Pentagon has been rightly shamed by reports that 96 major new weapons programs are running almost $300 billion over estimates and averaging 22 months behind delivery. As Congress took aim this week at this sorry performance, defense officials rushed to announce that they would be hiring 20,000 new managers and engineers during the next five years to ride herd over weapons development.

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New York Times

Mr. Obama and Mr. Abbas

President Obama's meeting this week with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was a reminder of how much the Palestinians and leading Arab states, starting with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, must do to help revive foundering peace negotiations.

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The New York Times

The Cairo Speech
When President Bush spoke in the months and years after Sept. 11, 2001, we often — chillingly — felt as if we didn't recognize the United States. His vision was of a country racked with fear and bent on vengeance, one that imposed invidious choices on the world and on itself. When we listened to President Obama speak in Cairo on Thursday, we recognized the United States.

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The New York Times

North Korea's Threats
North Korea is developing a frightening track record of making good on its threats. True to its word, in recent weeks it has conducted a second nuclear test and several missile tests. It also may have resumed making fuel for nuclear weapons. And the threats keep coming. Over the weekend, the North vowed to make more nuclear weapons and to take "resolute military actions" against efforts to isolate it.

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New York Times

Afghanistan's Failing Forces
The news from Afghanistan is grim. In the first week of June, there were more than 400 attacks, a level not seen since late 2001. President Obama was right to send more American troops to fight. That violence will surely increase as strengthened ground forces step up the pressure on Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctuaries. But it is also true that there can be no lasting security — and no exit for American forces — until Afghanistan has a functioning army and national police that can hold back the insurgents and earn the trust of Afghan citizens. Neither comes close today.

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The Washington Post

A weak spot in our defenses
Congressional computers have been penetrated, probably by the Chinese. The avionics system of the F-22 fighter may be compromised. Computers of our presidential candidates were hacked into -- and probably not by teenagers on a lark. Last year's advance of Russian tanks into Georgia was accompanied by the disruption of Georgian government computer systems

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New York Times

Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev
By the time President George W. Bush left office, Russian-American relations had deteriorated alarmingly. Russia bore a good part of the blame, harassing opponents, stifling a free press and bullying its neighbors. But Mr. Bush both enabled former President Vladimir Putin's worst impulses and ignored his occasionally legitimate complaints.

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New York Times

$1.75 Billion boondoggle
An unlikely alliance of senators — led by Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and including Edward Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut — is backing an indefensible defense budget boondoggle: the wasting of $1.75 billion on seven additional F-22 fighter jets that the Pentagon says it neither wants nor needs.

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The New York Times

After the F-22
We were pleased to see the House join the Senate in voting to end the F-22 jet fighter program. The votes were important victories in President Obama's effort to ensure that the Pentagon spends precious tax dollars on essential equipment — not glitzy, self-indulgent toys.

Why Won't Obama Talk to Israel?
In his global tours and TV appearances, President Obama has spoken to Arabs, Muslims, Iranians, Western Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Russians and Africans. His words have stirred emotions and been well received everywhere.

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