“President Obama will be laying out a new economic plan, apparently, we had an old one” SORT OF STUFF

Since its weekend I will try to offer  something entertaining about politics. Here are some pictures you can both have fun with and make conclusions for further consideration.

The world this week according to Kal:

Related jokes of the week:

“President Obama says the Democrats are waking up. Which is great when you’re having a nightmare.” – Jay Leno

“Yesterday President Obama told voters that he’s a Christian. But you see how Fox News reported it? They said Obama admits he’s a follower of the bearded radical from the Middle East.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama said today that education is the key to our economic turnaround. He said once Americans start getting smarter, the economy will start to improve. So you know what that means: we are screwed.” –Jay Leno

“The president is 49 years old, but it’s never a good sign when your age is higher than your political approval rating.” –David Letterman

“President Obama announced his plan to remove all combat troops from Iraq by the end of August. So thank you to all the men and women serving in Iraq and ‘Good luck in Afghanistan!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Larry Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, is stepping down. So finally some good economic news, I’ll tell ya, Summers didn’t want to leave, but apparently he was out of bad ideas. Actually, Summers is actually the third Obama economic adviser to leave the White House since July. In face, the only jobs opening up these days are for White House economic advisers.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama will be laying out a new economic plan. Apparently, we had an old economic plan.” –Jay Leno

“Last night in only his second Oval Office address, President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said we have given the Iraqis a Western-style government. Well, we certainly have, haven’t we? Their economy is in shambles, their Congress is corrupt, the country is broke, welcome aboard!” –Jay Leno

Here you see how I view west – Eastern Europe (non EU) relations, same old stick and carrot theory:

And last but not least a little bit of EUrony:

(photo from The Independent)

Have a great weekend!


NATO: “Enlargement? Georgia? Really?”

On 17 May, the Group of Experts appointed by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to lay the groundwork for a new Strategic Concept for NATO presented its analysis and recommendations to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The draft document says NATO for the first time must be ready for counter-insurgencies outside the territory of its 28 member-states.

NATO must win the war in Afghanistan, expand ties with Russia, counter the threat posed by Iran’s missiles, and assure the security of its 28 members, according to its new mission statement for the next decade. Not much is said about enlargement and Georgia-Ukraine. Although the report reiterates Nato’s “open door” policy, it says only that the allies “should make regular use of the Nato-Ukraine and Nato-Georgia commissions to discuss mutual security concerns and to foster practical co-operation”.

One of the major failures of NATO’s partnership structure was the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, in which two Alliance partners engaged in hostilities over issues that remain unresolved.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will use the recommendations from the experts to draft a new Strategic Concept, or mission statement, for approval by leaders of NATO states at a summit in Lisbon in November.

You can download the full report here: nato report

Maintaining the Open Door. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO’s membership has expanded from sixteen members to twenty-eight. This open door policy has been an engine of progress towards a Europe whole and free and has contributed much to the collective security of Alliance members. Further enlargement has been under consideration in the western Balkans and with respect to Georgia and Ukraine. Consistent with Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the principles for enlargement, the process for states that have expressed their desire for membership should move forward as each state fulfils the requirements for membership. It should go without saying that NATO is an entirely voluntary organisation.

Reccomendations for further cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine:

1.    The Allies should make regular use of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia commissions to discuss mutual security concerns and to foster practical cooperation, including on defence reforms. The clearer NATO articulates its position to the partners and the more accurately it can assess their perceptions, the more adept the Allies will be at defusing crises and building trust.

2.    The Allies should also employ NATO’s crisis management mechanisms, in association with the partnership commissions, to assess and monitor security developments affecting these two countries.

NATO states must reverse a steep decline in defense spending despite economic constraints if the alliance is to meet the security threats it faces. Experts said only six of NATO’s 26 European members were meeting their defense spending target of two percent of GDP.

In the coming decade, NATO would not only have to meet its main goal of collective defense of its 28 members, but deploy forces further afield and guard against unconventional threats such as terrorism and cyber attack, the experts said. Secretary Albright explained the report’s two underlying conclusions: “First, the Alliance has an ongoing duty to guarantee the safety and security of its members. Second, it can achieve that objective only if it engages dynamically with countries and organizations that are outside its boundaries.”

The previous strategic concept focused mainly on NATO’s peacekeeping role in places like Bosnia and Kosovo. It was adopted in 1999, soon after the end of the Cold War and before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States forced the alliance to take on missions such as counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan.

Reading the following quotation I finally got to believe that NATO isn’t convinced enough and determined enough to confront Russia and not make compromises over the sovereign decisions of independent states that are seeking NATO accession. NATO instead is designing an Alliance equivalent of the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy that will offer close links and assistance but without the prospect of actual membership.

In addition, NATO’s diplomatic efforts with Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the other countries of the Caucasus, and other nonmember states show that nations do not have to be part of the Alliance to join with NATO on projects that benefit all.

So tired of Wests “open Door” policies…!

Can the West trust Viktor Yanukovych?

Joining NATO is clearly not at the top of Yanukovych’s agenda, as it was for his predecessor, however good NATO-Ukraine relations do need to be on the agenda, argues Damon Wilson of Foreign Policy. He goes further and states that though the window has closed on rapid movement toward NATO, both sides should ensure there is substance to underpin NATO-Ukraine cooperation. So far, unfortunately, the signals from Kiev are not promising, as Yanukovych has disbanded the committee intended to coordinate work across all ministries to advance Euro-Atlantic integration and tasked the Foreign Ministry to formulate a new national security law that codifies Ukraine’s "non-bloc" status. There is no need to close doors today to tomorrow’s options, says the author.
"Ukraine should not have to choose between Europe and Russia. As neighbors with intertwined culture and common history, it is only natural to expect Russia and Ukraine to have close, good relations. Over time, a stable Ukraine, tethered firmly to the transatlantic community, can help ensure equal relations between Moscow and Kiev and ensure that history does not repeat itself," – an article reads.
So what can Washington expect from Yanukovych? Foreign Policy asks. As engagement between the United States and Ukraine restarts (relations have been on hold since Obama’s election and pending Ukraine’s election), there are a number of key issues on which the future of the relationship will hinge, argues Wilson. Read the full article that gives a very good analyses of what ectually west can expect from the newly elected Ukrainian President.
Continue reading

After Kazakhstan, now Latvia not to take part in NATO exercises in Georgia

Latvia will not take part in the NATO military exercise in Georgia, which will take place from May 6 till June 1. Airis Rikveilis, the head of the Latvian defense minister’s office, told BNS that Latvia does not plan to participate in this exercise. "The situation is that we cannot send any additional people there. The military exercise plan has already been approved and this exercise is not in the plan," he said, adding that the financial situation is not the reason this time.
As you already know, earlier kazakhstan  refused to take part in NATO exercises.  Still Kazakhstan’s decision hasn’r had an effect on another member of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia remains on the list of exercise participants, and will "definitely take part" in the exercise, a Defense Ministry spokesperson in Yerevan told Interfax. 


Russia pulls out of NATO meeting over Georgia

Russia will pull out of a meeting with senior NATO military officials to protest what its envoy described Monday as "provocative war games" planned by the alliance in Georgia. "If there will be no reaction (to a Russian complaint about the exercises) we will take certain measures. I can reveal one of them now: the meeting of the commanders of the general staffs of Russia and NATO, planned for May 7, will not take place,"  the envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, said in an interview with Vesti-24 television, quoted by the Interfax news agency. Read  AFP full report.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan refused to take part in NATO-organized war games in Georgia in a show of support for Russia.  "No, we will not take part," Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov told reporters "We are too busy. Yes, it’s our final decision."-  Reuters reports.

Standing NATO force for Europe proposed

Britain will propose creating a NATO rapid deployment force to defend mainland Europe while alliance troops serve further afield, in an effort to persuade member states to do more in Afghanistan. Reuter is reporting.