You are hereBlogs / John Martin's blog / NATO Bows to Obama. Pakistan, too.

NATO Bows to Obama. Pakistan, too.

By John Martin - Posted on 04 December 2009

The President has bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emperor of Japan and others.  With all this international groveling, it's almost hard to believe Obama is being taken so seriously around the world.

This morning came the announcement that NATO has agreed to contribute an additional 7,000 troops to Afghanistan to help with our efforts there.  According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “At least 25 countries will send more forces to the mission in 2010."  Sounds like some serious international support for a President the GOP tries painting as weak and inexperienced, and unfit to lead the world's last remaining superpower.

Less publicly discussed, but no less important, has been the recent efforts by the Pakistani government in allowing us fight Islamic radicals within its borders.  During the Bush years, we'd occasionally hit militants with Hellfires within Pakistan territory, but since Obama has come into office, these attacks have escalated considerably, with the blessing and assistance of the Pakistani government.   Signs are also pointing to the possibility that these attacks will expand outside of the tribal areas and into Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan, where the Taliban leadership-- including Mullah Omar himself-- have often lived since 2001.  Why is Pakistan more willing to work with Obama than they were with Bush?  I mean, Bush never bowed to world leaders.  Didn't they get the memo?

Obama can bow to all the Emperors and Kings he wants, as far as I'm concerned.  It seems like a small (and smart) price to pay, especially if it helps gain the respect of the international community and convince the world to work with us.

Excellent. The word should be spread to the people who like to harp on the bowing, oppose Obama,  but also support the war...

What an excellent blog, John. If President Obama can carry out a successful mission in Afghanistan and if we are somehow able to start pulling out in 2011, even Rush Limbaugh will be bowing to him (ha-when hell freezes over, right?) Well, he'll offer some analogy about bending over and grabbing his ankles for Obama, so we'll just have to count that!

Seriously, this is very impressive news. When I think back to all the international reluctance and rejection of President Bush and his policies over the years, this is quite a milestone. Sure, we are providing the bulk of the troops, but 7000 extra troops is a welcome number to start with. Just ask any of the guys fighting over there. Go ahead bow, salute, or give a terrorist fist bump to our Commander in Chief-whatever works for you. I know this will be a huge challenge and won't be easy, but with support from NATO and even Pakistan, I am more confident in where this is headed.

Some people are making a stink about the fact that the 7,000 offered is short of the 10,000 the administration actually requested.  Seems like the President asked for more than he expected to get as a bargaining tool.  I never expected NATO to make an even LARGER committment after 8 years of being over there. 
I heard Clinton state that they were looking at a number between 5,000 and 7,000. Don't know where the 10,000 came from.
7,000 is almost but not quite 10,000. But any assistance is better than no assistance any day and if Clinton's figures were between 5 and 7, then this figure is just what the administration was expecting. I'm glad to see them committing more troops anyway, I just hope this will all be enough to put us back on the road to winning.
Love this blog, J1.  I'm trying to figure out how to condense it to a tweet!! ;-)

This is great news...thank you for posting!

Funny thing about respect, you have to give it to get it.

President Obama has been chipping away at the damage done over the past 8 years, little by little and it has apparently started paying off.

Politically Correct killing is *so much* nicer.

PC killing

That is both disturbing, offensive and way over the line. It sickens me that anyone can make light of the sad realities of war, which include the death of innocent women and children, not to mention our brave men and women in uniform who are our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and dear friends. I am comforted by the fact that President Obama actually took time to make this very difficult decision (despite pressure to step up the time frame) which was made more gut-wrenching for him because he actually took time to visit Dover Airforce base when bodies were somberly returned home, visited the graveyard of our fallen soldiers, spoke to the families of the wounded and deceased, visited and spoke with the wounded and spoke to our troops on the front lines. Your  (and the artist's) attempt to make a point or put humor into this is insensitive and hurtful to many of us who support our troops, stand behind this mission, and love this country.

It's a statement of liberal hypocrisy---not humor.    People are just as dead whether the President is Bush or Obama.


This cartoon is vile and offensive, and your rationalization that it is a statement of liberal hypocrisy is empty.  The left is upset with Obama's decision to continue the fight, and the right is upset because they will paint Obama as wrong, no matter what.

Obama campaigned on the promise to focus on Afghanistan, calling it a war of necessity.  If you voted for him, you had to know that, or else you weren't paying attention.

If you are a pacifist, I get that.  Just don't insult our intelligence by painting a false picture to justify your feelings.

The realities of war are often vile and offensive.   The armchair warriors who see it only from their livingroom TVs are the ones painting a false picture.

I guess it's easier to see war as noble and patriotic if you've never been there.



The realities of war are often vile and offensive.

I can agree totally with that statement.   But I also say that the armchair judges who put all war on an equal footing are not only painting a false picture, but are decieving themselves.  In a perfect world, not another human being would ever die in a war.  I would love that. But unless every person in every nation is of the same mind, war will always be with us.  The secret lies in choosing our battles carefully and wisely, and only fighting for our protection and survival as a people and a nation. 

Have you ever been there?  Served in combat?

And you have not seen the same anti-war protests happening now? Are you kidding me? The president is getting slammed with criticism from the left.  Have you read blogs on Huffington Post or other left-leaning sites? There is much anger directed at our president-from the same group that protested Bush's war policies, many (unfair) comparisons to Bush, etc. One thing I will say is that, unlike the right, the left progressives are consistent. On the other hand, the right never questioned Bush on any war decision and suddenly they are cirtical of President Obama when his policy pretty much met all of their hopes and demands. When Bush/Cheney rejected requests from commanders for more troops to nail Bin Laden or support the goals in the Afghanistan War, they sad idle for months and were later rejected. Did we hear any in the GOP complaining? That's the real hyprocrisy! If you are going to display a disgusting political cartoon, at least be sure the content makes sense and is founded in reality.

So now our Peace Prize winner has become a War President.    You don't find anything incongruous about that?

Incidentally, the Libertarian Right was always opposed to Bush's war policies.    Congressman Ron Paul (R. Tx), as quirky as he may be sometimes, voted against the Iraq mandate and has consistenly criticized U.S. wars in foreign countries that are not founded in reality.

Rumsfeld took a lot of flak (some of it justified), but he may have been right about Afganistan.  

-----No, the U.S. didn't "take their eye off the ball" or fail to send enough troops----it was kept low on purpose.   Mindful of the Russian experience, Rummy did not want to re-open that can of worms by sending in a huge military force and risk being seen as "occupiers" by Afgans.

Historically, the Afgans have not reacted well to armed foreign occupiers on their turf.    Rumsfeld believed a lighter, swifter swat-team force could be effective against Al Qaeda without the heavy footprint of massive military which might have been counter-productive.

Have we forgotten that most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia ?   Should we invade that country too?

IMO massive military force is a no-win situation for the USA against a multi-headed hydra whose network extends all around the world---not just Afganistan.


Rumsfeld was a fool and a total failure as Secretary of Defense.  You insult all of us by even thinking of quoting the man, let alone, actually doing that.  

Under his tenure, Bin Laden was allowed to escape from his caves in Tora Bora and flee to Pakistan.  If he or anyone in the Bush administration were serious about catching those responsible for 9/11 they seriously blew it in December 2001.     

Rumsfeld's point of view is valid considering the past experiences of other nations in that country.   And he was hardly a fool or total failure----that's just name calling.     Although I did NOT support the Iraq war initiative, it was striking that Rumsfeld managed to defeat the Iraq army in a matter of days.   

OK, so he didn't "get" Bin Laden.    So what?   Even if we had it wouldn't change anything that's going on now. 

And, last I checked, Obama's war initiative wasn't about Bin Laden, but about defeating the Taliban.

OK, so he didn't "get" Bin Laden.    So what?


Really.   While it may satisfy the public thirst for vengence, as a practical matter Al Qaeda and the jihadists would likely continue.    Bin Laden has become more of a symbol than anything.

Suddenly, Bin Laden is just a symbol? Mastermind behind 9/11 and countless other senseless acts? Such talk probably indicates that some are scared that Bin Laden will be captured or killed on Obama's watch so they better downplay his significance.
Have we forgotten that most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia ? Should we invade that country too?

That's incredibly disingenuous. The attackers' place of origin is irrelevant; their base of operations (erm, Afghanistan) was not.


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

The premise if flawed.   The jihadists are a worldwide network, not simply located in an isolated command center in Afganistan.

This war is folly.

That's your reason for (snarkily) suggesting we invade Saudi Arabia? Seriously?

I hate to be blunt, but it's to the President's credit that he doesn't get foreign policy advice from you.


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Rummy?  Really?

Alluding to Saudi Arabia is a distraction.  If a neo-nazi group, intent on overthrowing the government,  is located in Louisiana, if La is where their leaders, training and instructions originate, it really doesn't matter if some of their members are from Mississippi or New York....we eradicate the source.  Cut the head off the snake, so to speak.

And I'm sure you were just as outspoken against Bush...NOT!

I am no war hawk by any stretch of the imagination, but I think what the far-left are not seeing is that many wars are "necessary" wars faught to achieve peace. If we leave now, chances are violence will erupt and that part of the world will become even more dangerous (putting us at risk.)  As Obama has consistently declared, Afghanistan is a necessary war (turned more difficult by ignoring it for far too long and focusing on Iraq) while Iraq was a "dumb" war. I truly believe that Obama would not put our troops in harms way or commit more money to this war if he did not think it was in our national best interest, to protect our nation and to promote peace (get us home sooner than later!) I used to think Bush had our best interest in mind with Iraq until I saw he was lying to us about weapons of mass destruction and any real reason we should stay. Those cushy Haliburton contracts were a nice bonus for Cheney, but most experts agree Bush/Cheney had no real plan for Iraq or Afghanistan and thus failed the country in a big way. Hmmm, let's say Obama's speech had a different twist. What if Obama told us he was bringing all troops home now and this war wasn't worth another life lost? You'd be on here praising him, right? Fox News would be hailing him as the most deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, right? The GOP Senators, led by McCain, would be bowing down to him, huh? The silence is deafening. Oh, and if you think Obama is not getting the same-or worse-treatment as Bush by the left look at what I found on MSNBC.

The Obama-John Conyers feud continues… “Conyers, the second-longest-serving member of the House, said, ‘[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn’t anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues. And he said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it.’ Sitting in the Judiciary Committee’s conference room two days after Obama delivered his speech on Afghanistan, the 23-term lawmaker said he wasn’t in the mood to ‘chat.’ Obama’s move to send in 30,000 troops to Afghanistan by the summer of 2010 has clearly disappointed Conyers. He said he intends to press his case in writing soon. ‘I want something so serious that he has to respond in writing, like I am responding in writing to him,’ he said. ‘Calling in generals and admirals to discuss troop strength is like me taking my youngest to McDonald’s to ask if he likes french fries,’ Conyers said.”

"And I'm sure you were just as outspoken against Bush...NOT!"

Your continued attempts to plaster me with Bush-dung are entirely false and in your own mind.    You will not find a single statement from me on behalf of the Neo-con warmongers here or anywhere else.

Long before joining this group, I was in fact outspoken against Bush militarism and did NOT vote for him the second time because of that.

I supported Obama as an anti-war candidate who I hoped would bring some sanity back to U.S. foreign policy.    

So far, it doesn't look much different than the previous administration with regard to Afganistan.    Just a bigger footprint.

I am very saddened that the killing continues and our military is being ground into dust being wasted in a misguided foreign adventure.

I supported Obama as an anti-war candidate who I hoped would bring some sanity back to U.S. foreign policy.  

That is fine, but the President never campaigned on pulling troops out of Afghanistan and he frequently talked about increasing our presence there so that we could finish the job.

He did campaign on pulling troops out of Iraq which will happen with the Status of Forces Agreement by 12/31/2011.  Possibly sooner, based on the results of the upcoming civilian referendum to be held on 01/21/2010.    



Don't disturb the colors in Night's binary world by bringing in shades and degrees.

To a binary mindset like that it's either in/out, on/off, black/white/ up/down, right/wrong, right/left, you get the drift.

No where in that mindset is the allowance for numerous degrees and balance of interconnectedness of actions and decisions, where most of reality exists.


You forgot one more.   Alive/Dead.     And THAT is a reality of war.
Yes, it is. I don't know anyone who would disagree.
However, I'm surprised that you don't realize that there are also shades and degrees of "alive" and "dead."
Just ask Terry Schiavo's parents and husband. 
Binary mindset. So sad. 

Binary mindset = making oneself feel superior by impugning the intellect of people who disagree with you.

The Schiavo case was terribly sad.

But no more so than a perfectly healthy 19 yr old whose guts are splattered all over the ground.

Have you seen stuff like that?

Smelled the blood?

Heard the cries?

I have.


I have a to agree with Chance. I get your stance, but Obama frequently campaigned on getting the troops out of Iraq and finishing the job in Afghanistan. I guess you could consider how worse it'd be if we had McCain, who seems more itchy for war sometimes than Bush.  I never viewed Obama as a pure anti-war liberal so there isn't a hypocrisy with me. I continually view him as a thinking moderate.  His financial ideas are pretty liberal but I value the ideas sometimes over 'tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts'. Doesn't mean i'm not worried about overspending and financial carelessness. I'm not conservative in that area, but i'm not ignorant. 

Even you have to admit, which you kind of hinted to, that he's done very well as far as repairing relations and respect outside of the Afghan situation. 

I guess it's all a matter of one's filter and interpretation.


I took his campaign position on Afghanistan to mean he would REFOCUS there.

That may or may not include ending it, rapidly or otherwise.

It could, but I took it to mean that he would do there what hasn't been done over the last 8 years.

Finishing the job, then, could mean any number of things in terms of timeline. It would all depend on what we are capable of doing after having done so BADLY there since we took our eyes off the original strategy (if there really ever WAS an original strategy). 

I agree. That was my understanding too, that he wanted to focus on Afghanistan like we should have been doing before we started in Iraq...
Long before joining this group, I was in fact outspoken against Bush militarism and did NOT vote for him the second time because of that. I supported Obama as an anti-war candidate who I hoped would bring some sanity back to U.S. foreign policy.

For someone who supported Obama, you didn't do a very good job of listening to him:

"And that is why, as president, I will make the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war we have to win."

--Senator Barack Obama


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Yoink!  Now I'll have a nice new quote. 


Jon talked to Dan Rather last night about Afghanistan.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Dan Rather
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

I am truly sorry if my skepticism on the Afgan buildup has offended many good RFOers.     Perspectives always influence thinking on these issues I suppose.

As a U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam era, I have seen the effects of war up close and personal----perhaps more so than most on here.

I am neither a pacificist nor warmonger, just a vet from an almost-forgotten war from the past.

Now I am old and worthless, so my views on the subject probably don't count for much on the current issues with yet another military sacrifice looming on the horizon.

But those images of war will never be out of my memory.

Please forgive Nightwing for his nightmares---and try to understand a senior's perspective.



I think it's pretty presumptuous of you to make the statement that your SKEPTICISM on the Afghan building it what has offended RFOers.

I think you're not quite connecting the dots properly on our responses, and that may well be because of your own filters.

I think a great many of us are right there with you regarding the same mindset.

I think what was offensive to me is that you presume that because we don't share the same DEPTH of skepticism regarding the Afghan build-up, that some how we are card-carrying warmongers.

So it's not your SKEPTICISM as much as it is your BROADBRUSHING.

Several of us have a military background as welll.

Some do not, but still have very valid and reasonable positions on when, why, and how to enter or expand armed engagement.

If the world were shaped the way I want it to be shaped, the military complex would be dismantled and replaced solely with technologies and people trained to handle catastrophic natural disasters.

But, it ain't gonna happen.

So if our president gets us into or expands military engagement in our name, I may not like it, but if it is a war of last resort, instead of one of first resort like Iraq was, I would hope that the president and our military leaders would be developing a strategy that will, in the long run, keep as many people safe and last only as long as practically needed.

My skepticism in Afghanistan is that, while I feel confident Obama thought on this and studied as deeply as he could, I DON'T feel confident that he is getting the best information or best advice as he possibly could be getting.

Even so, I don't think that means we then either walk away (and create a security vacuum in the area that will create even more havoc), or that we keep the status quo. 

Follow RFO:

TwitterCafe PressFacebook




RFO Gear

Subscribe to General RFO Newsletter

General news and announcements for We will never share or sell your email address.