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September 25, 2009

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Bo, Excellent piece! There is no doubt that Obama has a different mindset and approach than we are use to seeing since the Kennedy-Nixon-Reagan era. Somewhat left of Clinton and Bush Sr. And a 100% u turn on GWB. But there are aspect of what he is trying that are worth looking at.

For one the US and the Russians have conservatively more than 100,000 nuclear weapons between us. Far more than is needed to ensure Assurred Destruction, especially with modern GPS/Laser guidance and manuverability capabilties. And far more than needed for Tactical use against the Chinese or North Korean armies. So his attempt to lower the inventories is a good initiative. I would be happy to see the Chinese at the table as well.

Secondly, I believe that the Afghanistan strategy needs to be well studied and thought out. The US has an advantage over what the Soviet Union had in that we have very sophisticated weapons for cave busting including unmanned and very lethal drones. We have a friendly government to support our presence. And we do not have the Soviets actively supporting the other side. So we are in a better position than the Soviets were. However, until we get Pakistan more commited to help fight from their side of the border this will be largely a holding action. The poppy economics are also very tough to overcome without airborne erradication. So I am willing to let him try to get a handle on the strategy before a huge force build up.

Iran is the toughest on his plate. I give him credit for making tough speeches and for getting the Brits and French to make strong statements. He better have the Russians on board after his missile defense giveaway. I don't really think he can attack Iran but he may have to step aside and let the Isreali's do it. The new reactor site is the perfect excuse for them. Waiting for the German elections to end in December to impose more sanctions shows the priorities of politicians worldwide. Sanctions will slow the Iranians perhaps but they will not deter them from creating the bomb. The question that remains is will they really face the retalliation of the US and use one once they build it? This is the question that all of the nuclear powers face. The key to ending the Iranian terror threat is to change the government. Obama certainly seemed to miss out on an opportunity to help that process along during the Iranian elections.

It appears to me that Obama is using a similar strategy in International affairs that he uses in Domestic affairs. He tells the listeners whatever they want to hear in order to get them on his side and mask his true intentions. These true intentions are kept very cloudy and one has to almost imply them from his associations and his past dialogues. It is very frustrating and
uncertain to have such characteristics in a President. And, I believe it could be very dangerous as he projects weakness to try to gain negotiating position with world players, many of whom as we just saw at the UN are unstable. In the end like him or hate him GWB labelled the "axis of evil" as Iraq (now defanged), Iran and North Korea. Despite the seeming outrage it caused the far left to be so direct, we are never the less facing Iran and North Korea with this President as well. No change except that now Iran is willing to buy their enriched Uranium from us.

Totally agree with my mid-west counterpart. Still hunkering down and praying. Economy won't get better if we cut all of our ties with the world. The China embarago is a joke! Just glad I don't live on either coast. Perhaps the nukes won't reach us.

I do believe that this is one of the most frightening times in our history. The US, as many of us know and love, will never be the same again if we fail to let our representatives understand how worried and upset we are. Rational letters...not letters filled with anger...will hopefully get their attention. And is anyone talking with Michael Steele? The Republicans need a stated plan!

There is absolutely no way that had either John McCain or Hillary Clinton been elected we would be on this "ride". Hurry up 2010 elections and bring us new representation before it is too late.

Lisa in St. Louis

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