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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Obama should agree with new French president on some points



In an article in the Huffington Post Robert Naiman suggests that Obama should agree with Francois Hollande the newly elected French president on two points. First he should agree that a new deal in Europe promoting growth rather than emphasizing austerity should be promoted. Secondly, he should agree with Hollande that withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan should be speeded up.

As Naiman points out Obama is likely to try and convince Hollande not to withdraw French troops more quickly.. Naiman says that both Hollande and Obama agree on ending the Afghan war. On this I think that Naiman is incorrect. Obama is not that nterested in ending the war at present. In fact the Strategic Partnership Agreement extends U.S involvement in Afghanistan until at least 2024.What he is interested in is to commit less troops so that there are fewer casualties and less negative political reaction in an election year. He knows that the war is unpopular. But at the same time he is committing the U.S. to financing Afghanistan's military to the tune of about a billion a year after 2014.

Obama still supports NATO's involvement in Afghanistan. He simply wants other NATO members such as France to share in the cost both in terms of troops and financially.

Perhaps Obama will make common cause with Hollande on changing European austerity policy. However, I would not be surprised if he were luke warm even to that knowing that U.S. ally Britain and key European player Germany are in favor of continuing austerity measures as are most financial capitalists. For more see the full article.

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