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President Obama speaking in Europe

There is a shift taking place in the world economy, and the United States must make friends with those we considered enemies. China, Japan, and India are the richest countries in the world behind America, and we are forced economically to make financial agreements. Many European countries are starting to think that U.S. is more concerned about its relationship with other countries, as opposed to them.

Last week President Obama, his wife Michelle, and his administrative team made a

President Obama with his wife, Michelle

six-day, four-nation tour to Europe. The purpose and focus of the trip was to discuss a broad range of economic and security matters as well as reaffirm our friendship and solidarity with the European countries.

The trip began in Ireland where President Obama has family roots, and was well received with large crowds lining the streets to welcome him. Everywhere he went in small villages or large cities, he was warmly greeted. His message for the Irish was inspirational despite current economic troubles; “we both will weather the storm and come out better.”

The next two days were spent in England, where President Obama made his first official state visit, where there was ceremony, and a special formal dinner. The president was given the opportunity as the first American president to address both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in Westminster Hall with a speech.

President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of England

During the formal evening dinner, President Obama stated, “Our relationship rest on common language, common history, and common adherence to the rule of law, the rights of men and women, and our relationship never rests.” It was obvious that throughout the president’s visit in England, he emphasized the “special relationship” that the two countries have and they must continue to work together.

In a joint interview in the Times Newspaper in London, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron said they are committed to working together “on rebuilding our economies.” “We are two different countries but our destination must be the same: strong and stable growth, reduced deficits and reform of our financial systems,” they wrote.

The next stopover during the president’s trip was a visit to France. In France, he was given an opportunity to meet with the Group of Eight nations(G8), which includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

President Obama at the G8 Summit in France this year

The goal of these nations is to be a catalyst for action, and collaborate economically and militarily. At the conclusion of the G8 Summit, the leaders issued a statement expressing support for the democratic uprising in the Middle East and North Africa. The leaders also asked senior foreign and finance ministries to meet in coming months to forge a framework of unity and continuity. They also are planning to help Egypt and Tunisia to recover stolen assets, and praised economic political development in both countries.

The final stop on the president’s European trip was in Poland. In Poland, President Obama met with Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, and assured him that the U.S. contacts with Russia will not come at the expense of the security of Poland. Our president is holding Poland’s transformation to democracy as a model for the world.

Strategically, the European trip was extremely important to the United States and the countries that that President met with during the six day trip. There is an economic recession in many of these countries, and there is a need for an international bailout. This trip was the initial discussion of a global plan and more meetings will be necessary to resolve the different global problems.

In order for the United States to be economically successful, we need the European nations. President Obama reassured the European nations that strategically we are strong allies, but because of the global recession, America cannot afford to pay the global bills without more help.

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On Monday, March 28, 2011, President Obama held a nationallytelevised speech where he

President Obama

attempted to give his plan, strategy, and reason for bombing and intervention into Libya. Based on his explanation, the bombing of Libya was necessary to save lives and promote freedom. It is a limited invasion in terms of time and scope and the international coalition has prevented massacre.

Without America leading this global coalition, Gadhafi would have showed no mercy on his people, and he had already compared the rebels and demonstrators to “rats.” In certain parts of the country, Gadhafi had turned tanks, bombs, and soldiers on innocent citizens, and the people need food and medical supplies.

As a result of the conditions, the United Nations initiated a “No-Fly” zone, an arms embargo, and put a global freeze on Libya’s billions of assets. There are certain Arab countries that are also supporting the “No-Fly” zone, but there are others that do not support the bombing of a sovereign country.

Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, and certain countries believe that the “vital interest” in Libya. There are other countries in that region in the world where citizens are being murdered and not allowed to demonstrate and protest, but the existing government is still supported by the United States.

Last week there was a London Conference where 36 countries and the UN Secretary General Bar Ki-moon, which was hosted by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

This conference tried to work out a plan to get rid of Gadhafi. The media gave the impression that all the major countries are supporting this NATO coalition, but only two African countries: Tunisia and Morocco, attended the conference. The entire African Union refused to attend the London Conference, along with China, Russia, India, and Pakistan.

As the Libyan conflict continues to intensify, it is obvious that the strategy and plan must be continually made “up on the fly”. During President Obama’s speech on the Libyan conflict, he was adamant that there will be no ground troops, and the leadership of the military operation is no longer under the control of the United States.

But many American citizens do not believe President Obama when he says that his administration will not attempt to overthrow Gadhafi by force. “To be blunt,” said Obama, “we went down that road in Iraq.” Nevertheless, it appears that President Obama is following in President Bush’s footsteps and the Libyan strategy is starting to get messy.

Dr. Boyce Watkins from Syracuse University has surveyed over 650 African Americans and 27% are against President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya. There were 24% who supported the action, and 49% who were undecided. As this conflict drags on, it is a recipe for confusion and spending money that we don’t have.

Many African Americans are starting to not trust President Obama, and skeptical of our military and government. Many believe that we should stop trying to police the world and concentrate on the problems at home.

Minister Farrakhan and many African American leaders are criticizing the United States government for launching military action against Libya without justification. They have accused America of just wanting Gadhafi out of the picture to secure oil interest and set up a puppet government. They are asking for a ceasefire on all sides in Libya, and let the people vote on whether Gadhafi should remain in power.

This is a good idea, but in Libya there will be no peaceful transfer of power. Gadhafi has demonstrated that he will murder to stay in power, and President Obama has stated that he desires a regime change.

In the final analysis, whether we agree or disagree with President Obama, history is not on the side with Gadhafi. He will probably leave and live in a friendly country with his billions, or he will die in his country trying to stop the movement of freedom.

The leaders of the 111th session of Congress are working at a feverish pace to complete unfinished business and bills. Many of the lawmakers are well aware that they will not be back, so they are leaving their legacy: be it bad or good. The Democrats have from the beginning had an agenda and a strategy, and time is running out.

Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Majority leader

Senator Harry Reid has threatened the Republicans that he is willing to work until December 30, and get the work completed. Many Republicans and Democrats know that is not realistic, but Reid knows that the tables will be switched in 2011. With the Republicans with more power in the Senate and a majority in the House, Reid wants major bills passed now and not later.

Reid wants to complete an approval of ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, legislation to repeal the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, a “package of land, water, and wildlife” bill, the passage of the Dream Act, as well as the confirmation of several presidential nominees. It is obvious that Reid will not get all this done in the next 10 days.

Usually the main reason that the lame duck sessions are so important is to complete its work on the spending or appropriation bills that form the basis of the annual federal budget. President Obama was personally involved in this lame duck session, because if the Bush tax cuts deal was not finalized, all Americans taxes would have increased by at least $2,500.

2010 bill signing ceremony

President Obama at a bill signing ceremony

The Senate passed the Bush tax cuts on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by a vote of 81-19, and the House approved the measure by a vote of 277-148 on Thursday, December 16, 2010. Without the president getting involved the tax cut bill, it would not have passed so rapidly.

President Obama and congressional Democrats agreed to compromise in their opposition to extending the lower tax rates to the wealthy Americans, and also agreed to a lower estate tax than had been scheduled to take effect. In return, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits with payroll tax cuts and other tax breaks, which conservatives generally opposed as government stimulus measures.

Many political experts believe that this is an indicator of how President Obama will operate with a split Congress, during 112th session. Instead of change, President Obama is talking about compromise, and he is ready to make deals to initiate a bi-partisan conversation and a sharing of power.

At President Obama’s 29th bill signing ceremony for the Bush tax cut legislature, there were representatives from both parties at the event. At the signing ceremony President Obama said, “The final product proves when we can put aside the partisanship and political gains, we can get a lot done. If we can keep doing it, if we can keep that spirit, I’m hopeful that we won’t just reinvigorate this economy and restore the American dream, I’m also hopeful that we might refresh the American people’s faith in the capability of their leaders to govern in challenging times.”

Obama with Dems at bill signing ceremony

Obama signs at another 2010 bill signing ceremony

The president has acknowledged that he was not completely satisfied with the tax cut deal, but his goal was to get the work done before the deadline. It is obvious that the “to do list” for the 111th Congress will not be completed this year.
With 29 bill signing ceremonies completed, there was unprecedented work done, and the implementation of the groundbreaking legislatures will take years. But now there is a different Congressional session getting ready to start, with different representatives, and with a different set of priorities.

The work of the 111th Congress will never be completed, because one session carries to the next session and it takes months and years to get new bills operating and implemented.

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In Lisbon, Portugal during the third week of November 2010, there was a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At this summit, the leaders of 48 countries decided that there would be no pullout in Afghanistan in July 2011. There are 150,000 troops deployed in this U.S.-led war, and the United States has 115,000 to 120,000 troops in the country.

At this NATO summit, it was decided that the target date for the end of this war would be at the end of 2014. In 2011, it would be the beginning of a transitional period where the Afghan troops would begin to take a more active role in the security of their country.

Presently President Obama, U.S. officials, and NATO leadership has decided to remain vague about their departure from Afghanistan. The U.S. has decided that NATO will play a larger role in the conflict, but the bigger question becomes, “Who are the U.S. and NATO really fighting?”

The U.S. has decided to partner with the Afghan forces; the majority of the Afghan soldiers are either new or they are paid Taliban soldiers who have decided to join forces with Americans, where they know they will be getting paid. Many experts believe in the entire country, there are only 200 to 250 Taliban soldiers fighting in the country.

Since 2001, there have been 1.6 million U.S. military personnel that have been deployed in the Afghan War, with the cost in the trillions of dollars. Some American soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan three or four times; after nine years, it is not stopping.

Many thought that the purpose of NATO Summit was to decrease the size of the troops, but instead they have decided to become more entrenched. President Hamid Karzai who is increasingly upset by the Western Troops presence will continue to get rich along with his family by remaining in power.

There has always been an allegation that the Karzai family is involved in selling drugs, but it has never been substantiated. Nevertheless, with other illegal charges surrounding the president, the U.S. remains one of the president’s prime supporters.

The Afghan country has no air force and navy, but the U.S. and the NATO forces have decided to remain in Afghanistan and train the police and troops, even though there is a trust factor. These Afghan troops and police can decide at any time they are going to quit and walk off their post. They can slip back in to their village and never be heard of again.

The U.S. and NATO can call this a war, but when there is no definitive enemy, it is hard to define if your strategy is winning or losing. For President Obama to tell the country that he is keeping our country safe by fighting the Afghanistan war is fraudulent and ridiculous.

The real reason for the NATO summit is for the countries to get on the same page and develop a strategic partnership. The world is changing and it is important that the alliance is internally cohesive, and strengthen the security and prosperity for all the member countries. By enhancing the cooperation of Europe and other Western countries, the United States does not have to stand alone, and can extend the Afghan War into 2014.

At the summit meeting in Lisbon, NATO leaders adopted a new “Strategic Concept” that will serve as a roadmap for the next ten years. The new “Strategic Concept” offers partner countries around the globe more opportunities for dialogue, and commit NATO to reinforce cooperation with Russia.

We all thought the Afghan War would end in July 2011. Maybe you can figure out why our president needs three more years to end the Afghan War, because I sure can’t.

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