За последнее десятилетие много написано о дрейфе Индии в сторону США. Хотя Нью-Дели рьяно это отрицает, его растущие и более разнообразные оборонные закупки у США, усиливающиеся экономические связи, рост числа официальных визитов на различных уровнях и высокая интенсивность совместных военных учений убедили многих, что США — это новый предпочтительный партнер Индии. Периодические разногласия, например, по недавно заключённому Соглашению о логистической поддержке, отбрасываются как пережитки антиамериканизма в среде политиков и политических обозревателей, в годы холодной войны восхвалявших СССР и Китай.
It facilitates crime, bribery, and tax evasion – and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. And if Star Trek is right, we won’t have money of any sort in the 24th century. The post Why Are We Still Using Cash? appeared first on Freakonomics.
26 июля 1991 года Манмохан Сингх (тогда возглавлявший Минфин, а затем в течение 10 лет руководивший правительством) обратился к парламенту с призывом преобразить Индию. С той речи, в общих чертах обрисовывавшей первый бюджет избранного правительства под руководством премьер-министра Нарасимха Рао, началось путешествие Индии по волнам экономических реформ, с целью ухода от социалистического стиля управления в частном секторе.
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:37 P.M. EDT MR. EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. Nice to see you all. I do not have any comments at the top, so we can go straight to your questions. Kevin, do you want to start? Q Sure. So what is the White House reaction to Donald Trump encouraging Vladimir Putin to find and make public missing emails deleted by Hillary Clinton? MR. EARNEST: Listen, I'm periodically asked about the controversial comments uttered by the Republican nominee for President, and I don't make a habit of responding. What I can just make clear in this case is what the Obama administration’s approach to this issue is, and it's a pretty simple, common-sense one. The United States counters cyber threats targeting all Americans regardless of which political party they belong to. And that's consistent with the national security approach that's been taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents for virtually our nation’s entire history. Q There’s been a lot of concern about his comments, though. I guess my question is if you think that's overblown. MR. EARNEST: Well, particularly now, and particularly this week, there’s active political debate about the claims and rhetoric that are used by candidates on both sides. And I'll let others do that. But when it comes to our national security, and when it comes to President Obama’s approach to national security, we're going to do everything we can to protect the American people without regard to which political party they belong to or who they voted for in the last election. Q Harry Reid today came out and said that intelligence agencies should withhold briefings for Donald Trump, in part as a result of his comments. Is that something that the White House thinks should be done? MR. EARNEST: Well, the President has made clear that ensuring a smooth transition to the next President is a top priority, and it's certainly one of his top priorities for his last six months in office. And that requires a lot of advance preparation. And I can tell you that White House staff and agency staff all across the federal government are already working on the steps and procedures related to ensuring a smooth transition from one President to another. And that's important, in part because of the significant threats around the world. For more than 60 years now, the intelligence community has offered briefings to the presidential nominees of the two major political parties in an effort to facilitate a smooth transition. Again, in the same way that the Obama administration isn't going to start planning for the transition after the election, we're going to take steps in advance, the intelligence community is going to do the same thing in terms of preparing the potential next President. And they’re doing that based on a tradition that's been in place for more than 60 years. So the Director of National Intelligence has indicated he intends to conduct those briefings pursuant to that longstanding tradition, and he certainly is supported by this administration and this White House in doing so. What’s also true of the intelligence community is they understand what steps are necessary to protect sensitive national security information. And the administration is confident that they can both provide relevant and sufficient briefings to the two major party presidential candidates while also protecting sensitive national security information. The one other thing that I'll clarify, just to make sure that everybody understands this, is Director Clapper has also publicly indicated that his expectation is to provide the same information to both nominees. And that certainly seems appropriate. Jeff. Q Josh, Russia said today that the U.S. needs to handle this hacking issue on its own, responding to both comments by Donald Trump and others. Has there been any diplomatic exchange about this between Russia and the United States? MR. EARNEST: Well, let me take that in a couple different ways. The first is I want to be careful of trying to answer these questions that we're all cognizant of the fact that there is an ongoing FBI investigation into the cyber breach at the DNC, and so I'm going to be as circumspect as I can out of a desire to protect the integrity of that ongoing investigation. I just don't want to say anything that could be perceived even as having some kind of influence over the course of that investigation. That investigation, as always, is being led by the investigators who will follow the facts, and they’ll do so without regard to politics. I think the political sensitivities here are obvious, and that's why I'm trying to go to great lengths here to make clear exactly how this is being handled. So separate from that, so the reason I'm making that point right now is that the FBI has not revealed any information about who may have perpetrated the cyber intrusion at the DNC. There’s plenty of speculation out there. I recognize there’s been an analysis done that has indicated that the Russians are likely to blame, but that is not a conclusion that the FBI has chosen to publicize at this point. They’re conducting an ongoing investigation, and so I'll let them speak to whether or not they’ve made such a determination, and I'll let them speak to whether they believe it's appropriate to go public with such a determination. That all said, I do understand that Secretary of State Kerry indicated, after his meeting with his Russian counterpart, that he had raised cybersecurity issues with Mr. Lavrov. That certainly is not the first time that senior-level U.S. government officials have raised significant concerns about Russian activities in cyberspace. In fact, just yesterday -- I believe it was yesterday, maybe it was two days ago -- the President’s top homeland security advisor, Lisa Monaco, gave a speech at the International Conference on Cybersecurity up in New York, and in that speech, she noted “The global landscape is increasingly diverse and dangerous. Nations like Russia and China are growing more assertive and sophisticated in their cyber operations.” Mike Rogers, who is the Director of the NSA and the Commander of Cyber Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year. He said “Russia has very capable cyber operators who can and do work with speed, precision and stealth. Russia is also home to a substantial segment of the world’s most sophisticated cyber criminals who have found victims all over the world.” You’ve heard similar comments -- I’ll spare you the quotes for now, at least -- from Director Clapper, Secretary Carter, and other senior U.S. officials. The reason I cited those quotes, Jeff -- and we can go through other -- do more of them if it’s necessary -- to make clear that the Obama administration has been mindful of the cyber threat emanating from Russia for quite some time. And that threat takes a variety of forms. In some cases, as the Director of the NSA indicated, there are actors that are both affiliated with the state, and some actors that are affiliated with criminal organizations, and occasionally, those two actors will have different motives in conducting their operations. In all cases, the Obama administration and the United States government is committed to countering those threats, whether they emanate from Russia or anywhere else. And we will do so to protect all of the American people without regard to the political party that they support. Q So it is safe to conclude that Russia and the United States have had diplomatic exchanges about this hacking topic, with both regard to what the Republican nominee has said about it and with regard to the investigation related to the DNC? MR. EARNEST: Well, I can’t speak to the conversation that Secretary Kerry had with his counterpart. I do know that within the course of that conversation Secretary Kerry did something that he did not do for the first time, which is raise concerns with his Russian counterpart about some of Russia’s activities in cyberspace. I can’t speak with any more specificity than that. And those are messages that we’ve delivered both in private and in public in the past. And I gave you a couple of examples of the public expressions of concern we have about Russia’s activity in cyberspace and the potential threat it poses to U.S. citizens and U.S. national security. Q Briefly, on one other topic, China said today it will hold routine naval exercises in the South China Sea with Russia in September. Is the United States convinced that those are routine? And is that announcement generally a concern, or not? MR. EARNEST: Well, I don’t have any insight into what sort of exercises they’re planning. What I can tell you is that the United States conducted some exercises with Chinese military officials and Chinese military forces in the Pacific earlier this year. Just last week, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Richardson, was in China interacting with his counterparts and even touring some Chinese military facilities in China. So that kind of military-to-military relationship is not just one that exists between China and Russia, it’s also a relationship that exists between the U.S. military and the Chinese military. So I don’t know what exercises they are planning, but in the same way that the United States and China have a military-to-military relationship, I’m not surprised to hear that Russia and China are seeking to build on their military-to-military relationship, as well. Q But this is the South China Sea, which is a disputed -- MR. EARNEST: Yes, there’s no denying that this is a region of the world that is a sensitive diplomatic topic right now. But again, that doesn’t change the nature of the military-to-military relationship that the United States and China have. And I’ll let Chinese and Russian officials speak to the nature of their military-to-military relationship, but that’s not a particularly new development. Justin. Q I wanted to ask first about the reported split between al Nusra and al Qaeda. It’s a move that seems designed to sort of embed al Nusra more with the broader Syrian insurgency. And so I’m wondering if there’s a concern that doing so risks al Nusra, through their influence, radicalizing more moderate Sunni insurgent groups; it’s going to complicate our ongoing talks with Russia about a political transition in Syria; and how, or what our plans are to distinguish al Nusra from sort of the other insurgency groups that we’ve sought to protect to some extent. MR. EARNEST: Justin, I think it’s worth remembering from the beginning that it’s a direct result of Bashar al Assad’s failed leadership that extremist organizations have sought a safe haven inside of Syria. Extremist organizations like al Nusra, like ISIL and others, seek to take root amid the chaos. And that is deeply destabilizing, as we saw with ISIL’s advance over the border with Iraq. We’ve also seen that it poses a real national security risk to the United States and our allies. And our allies in Europe have been targeted and innocent people have been killed by individuals who traveled to Iraq and in Syria, got training, equipment, support, and then traveled back to the West and carried out terrorist attacks, killing innocent people. So the fact is that the extremist threat that exists inside of Syria is one that is serious and concerning to the United States and to our allies. That’s why you’ve seen such a robust response on the part of the Obama administration, building a coalition of about 67 countries and entities to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. But it’s not just ISIL that we've been focused on. On the very first day that President Obama, in late summer of 2014, authorized military action inside of Syria, U.S. military fighter pilots also hit extremist targets not affiliated directly with ISIL. So we've been mindful of the extremist threat in Syria literally since the first day of our military operations there. That all said, you will be surprised to hear me express some skepticism about the claims that you just cited. The United States continues to asses that Nusra Front leaders maintain the intent to conduct eventual attacks in and against the West and there continues to be increasing concern about Nusra Front’s growing capacity for external operations that could threaten both the United States and Europe. So President Obama and the rest of the Obama administration and our military actions have been focused on and directed against a variety of extremist groups inside of Syria, including both ISIL and the Nusra Front. Q I guess the question is more if -- I’m not surprised the United States will continue to distinguish between al Nusra and other opposition groups. But as they're clouding the picture on the ground in Syria, is there a concern among the administration that that will complicate our efforts either to negotiate a sort of political solution, or to win the hearts and minds of the Syrian people as we're trying to garner that if our attacks on al Nusra are seen as in a way bolstering the Assad regime? MR. EARNEST: Well, Justin, what I think is true is that you're accurately citing some of the complexities on the ground as it relates to the security situation and the political situation inside of Syria. I think what I would say is those complexities aren’t significantly changed by this newly issued public denial from leaders of the Nusra Front. Q I wanted to ask about something else. Kind of buried in Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday, he said that he’d look at the possibility of recognizing Crimea as Russian and at the possibility of lifting sanctions against Moscow. I’m wondering both if you have a reaction to that, but also if you've heard any alarm from U.S. allies that obviously faced tough domestic policies to keep those sanctions in place. MR. EARNEST: I haven’t been informed of any diplomatic communications in response to that political rhetoric. Again, I’ll let -- there are plenty of others, particularly this week, who are on duty responding to controversial comments uttered by the Republican presidential nominee, so I’ll let others handle that. But with regard to the policy of the Obama administration, since early 2014, the United States and the rest of the international community has been deeply concerned about Russia’s flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including by attempting to annex Crimea. That is an action that wasn’t just not recognized by the international community, it actually prompted an aggressive response from the international community in the form of well-coordinated and integrated sanctions that have placed economic pressure on Russia. There are also sanctions that have been targeted by the United States Treasury Department against certain entities -- Russian entities operating in Crimea and other Crimean entities that were complicit. So the United States has been very direct about our view that the attempted annexation of Crimea by Russia is a flagrant violation, an egregious violation, of international norms. And it's not a violation that the United States is prepared to tolerate. It also, by the way, is not an international violation that most of Europe is prepared to tolerate. And that is why you've seen the United States and Europe be able to coordinate so effectively to impose sanctions against Russia, to impose costs against them for this action. And the international commitment to that principle is rock solid. There was some doubt early on, you'll recall, that once these sanctions were put in place -- the biggest bulk of which, the most far-reaching of which were imposed in the fall of 2014 -- there was a lot of doubt about whether or not the United States would be able to maintain political support among the Europeans for keeping those sanctions in place. But yet that's exactly what we've done almost two years later. And I think that's an indication not just of the skillful diplomacy of the Obama administration and the State Department, it also is an indication that European leaders share some deep concern about Russia's actions inside of Ukraine, including the attempted annexation of Crimea. Q Last quick one on Russia, as well. Vice President Biden described Vladimir Putin as a dictator last night in the speech. I'm wondering if that's the administration's policy towards the Russians. MR. EARNEST: Well, what I can tell you is that there is a -- first of all, there is no official government designation about dictatorships, but there was included in the State Department Human Rights report a description of the political situation inside of Russia, with regard to the Russian government. And so I'll just read from it: "The Russian Federation has a highly centralized authoritarian political system dominated by President Vladimir Putin." That's a direct quote. It went on to say that Russia's institutions "lacked independence from the executive branch." So that's the official language that's used by the U.S. government to describe the system of government that is currently in place in Russia. Q And then I guess just to put a finer point on it -- does President Obama believe that Vladimir Putin is a dictator? MR. EARNEST: Well, again, I think you'd be hard-pressed to draw a distinction between the word that Vice President Biden used and the language that was included in the State Department report. Cheryl. Q Thanks, Josh. Looking ahead to September, when Congress returns, what would the White House like for Congress to do first? What needs to be done? MR. EARNEST: There are so many things that they left town -- Q How do you categorize it? MR. EARNEST: Well, maybe, I guess, first I would say that they left a day early, and maybe they'll come back a day early. We'll see. There's plenty of work to be done. I think the President has made clear what some of his priorities are, and I think if we saw forward movement on any of them in that first day that they're back, we would welcome that sign of progress. The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is Zika. Five months ago, the Obama administration sent up to Congress a specific proposal at the request of our public health professionals about outlining the resources that they need to do everything possible to fight the Zika virus. And Republicans in Congress have not succeeded in passing legislation to do that. And that means that our public health professionals both at the federal government but also at the state and local level are not getting the support that they need to do everything possible to fight the Zika virus. The President is quite concerned about this situation. The President, earlier this week, had a telephone conversation with the Governor of Florida. Based on public reports, there are now four suspected cases of non-travel-related Zika transmission. And that's concerning because of the threat that that virus poses to pregnant women and newborn children. So congressional action on that would certainly be welcomed. But the Obama administration has also been pressing Republicans in Congress to pass legislation that actually includes funding to fight opioid addiction. There's been a lot of talk from Republicans about this being a priority. We haven’t actually seen Republicans do anything significant when it comes to providing resources that are necessary to expand treatment options for the thousands of Americans who are fighting an opioid addition. Criminal justice reform; approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are a wide variety of priorities, but I guess progress on any of those four on the first day would be welcomed. Q And also, just the regular annual appropriations bills are still standing. So do you see September as sort of a money battle with Congress? MR. EARNEST: Well, I don’t know. I suspect it's going to be a dysfunction battle if the first eight months of this year is any indication. Republicans in Congress promised that if they were given the opportunity to run the United States Congress that they would get Congress moving again. And that was the subject of an op-ed that was penned by the Senate Majority Leader on the day after the last midterm elections. And as you point out, they haven’t passed the budget bills yet this year through both houses of Congress. And there are a whole bunch of legislative priorities, some of which I mentioned, that should be an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together, but the truth is, right now Republicans can't even work together among themselves to make progress on these priorities. So I don’t really know what September holds. But the pressure will certainly be on Republicans who worked hard and campaigned hard for the responsibility of running the United States Congress. Thus far, they've failed to perform that duty very effectively. And in expressing that view, I don’t think that's the minority opinion when you consider that the approval rating of Congress right now is in the teens. Kevin. Q Thanks, Josh. You'd mentioned pressure -- there may be a great deal of pressure tonight on Secretary Clinton. MR. EARNEST: She's up to it. Q Yeah? You think? Because I think it would be fair to say that the First Lady and the President both hit homeruns. I would say the pressure is on. Do you expect she'll hit a homerun? And what do you think she'll touch on tonight? MR. EARNEST: Well, listen, I haven’t been briefed about her speech, so I'd refer you to her campaign to talk to you about the kinds of things that she’ll prioritize in I think what everybody would acknowledge is an important opportunity for any candidate when you’re speaking to a live television primetime audience. Q Will you be satisfied with a double? MR. EARNEST: I think both Mrs. Obama and President Obama made a forceful case for why they believe -- why they’re strongly supporting Secretary Clinton’s campaign, and that’s based on their knowledge of what’s required of the job of President, but also based on their personal knowledge of Secretary Clinton’s character. So that’s why I would expect the President to watch the speech tonight. And he’ll do so with a lot of confidence in the candidate that he’s endorsed. Q I want to ask you about Gitmo. I know on occasion we’ll get an update on the number. Do you have anything to announce in terms of more detainees being moved, as we get ever closer to the President’s summer break? MR. EARNEST: I did get an updated count here. Again, the detainee population at Gitmo is 76, 32 that have been approved for transfer that are awaiting transfer at this point. I don’t have any updates in terms of potential transfers that may be upcoming, but once those transfers have taken place, we’ll announce them publicly so that you can certainly be aware of the steps that we continue to take to reduce the population of the prison at Guantanamo Bay in the hopes of eventually closing it. Q If I could, I want to draw your attention the Pope’s comments about the war on terror, broadly speaking. He said as a matter of fact that “the world is at war,” but he didn’t think it was a war of religions. Does the President share his viewpoint? And what’s his reaction to what the Pope had to say in the wake of the latest terror attacks in Europe? MR. EARNEST: I was just going to mention that, Kevin. Obviously, the American people and everybody here at the White House offers our profound condolences to loved ones of the Catholic priest that was killed by apparent ISIL sympathizers in France earlier this week. It’s a tragedy. And I know that Pope Francis is mourning the loss of that Catholic priest, and the rest of us are, as well. More generally, I will acknowledge I did not see the Pope’s comments before I came out here. But based on what you have relayed, it sounds like it’s quite consistent with the position of the Obama administration and what President Obama himself has articulated, which is it’s a fantasy for ISIL to suggest that they represent Islam in a fight against the world. The fact is ISIL has declared war against the rest of the world, but they don’t represent Islam. They represent a perverted, nihilistic world view that promises nothing but chaos and violence. And President Obama, I think like Pope Francis, continues to be confident that while that threat needs to be taken seriously, that the rest of the world, including the Muslim world, will prevail over the deeply dark, violent vision that’s put forward by ISIL. Devin. Q Hey, Josh. Thanks. A couple questions about the speech last night. One, I wanted to ask you about one line from the President. He said, “Anyone who threatens our values with their fascist, communist, jihadist, or homegrown demagogues will always fail in the end.” MR. EARNEST: Great line. Q Interesting line. When he was talking about demagogues, was he referring to Donald Trump? MR. EARNEST: What I can tell you is that as I was listening to the speech, it seemed clear to me that each of the categories that the President was describing, that the President didn’t have one person in mind. The President didn’t have one jihadi in mind; the President didn’t have one fascist in mind; the President didn’t have one domestic demagogue in mind. The President was talking about how, over the course of our country’s history, by adhering to our core American values, we’ve overcome threats emanating from individuals and organizations that could be aptly described using that criteria. Q He has referred to Mr. Trump as a demagogue before. He believes that Trump is a demagogue or can be a demagogue? MR. EARNEST: I’m sure you could do a Google search to see if the President has used that word directly in response to Mr. Trump. I don’t know if he’s done that before or not. It’s possible that he has. That portion of the speech was focused on the kinds of values that our country has pursued and sought to advance throughout our history. And our steadfast commitment to those values has served our country and our people quite well. And, look, the President ended his speech, I thought, in a way that was really powerful in terms of talking about the values of his mother’s family in Kansas. That’s a small-town community, El Dorado -- a place I’ve been to before, actually, not too far away from Kansas City. But this is typical of small towns all across the country that prioritize and value people who are humble, people who are kind, people who are generous, people who are honest, people who are unselfish. And those are the kinds of values that are rooted not just in the small towns in Kansas, though they certainly are. But those values transcend region. Those values transcend faith. Those values transcend political party. Those values transcend generations. Generations of Americans have been committed to those values. That’s served our country really well. And this is the kind of rhetoric that the President used in his very first convention speech in 2004, and that’s got a deep resonance today. And I think that’s in some ways -- it’s not uncommon for you all to ask a legitimate question in here about the President’s view of a divided America. And that passage of the speech, that four or five paragraphs near the end, it’s probably the most effective rebuttal of that question I’ve ever heard. And it certainly does reflect the President’s deeply held view. And it’s one that -- frankly, this is a view that he had before he was elected President, before he ran for President. And the fact that he is as committed to those values as ever, and the way that he sees the American people be committed to those values, is what gives him such strong optimism about the future of our country. Q And does he think Donald Trump threatens those values? MR. EARNEST: Well, there certainly are some rhetoric that we've heard on the other side of the aisle that contradicts those values. There is no denying that. But again, that's something that other people will have to decide in terms of whether or not that influences their decision in November. Q And just one more, quick follow. I was in touch with a number of servicemembers last night during the speech, a couple who are in theater, several who are here. And one of things that struck them was that the President did not mention -- as he has in all of his previous DNC speeches -- the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and troops who are in harm’s way right now. And I was wondering if there’s any kind of reason why the President didn't specifically mention those wars and the troops, aside from the fight against ISIL. MR. EARNEST: Well, first of all, Devin, I think the President certainly did talk about how disappointed he was to hear rhetoric on the other side of the aisle that describes the United States military as a disaster. In fact, the President described the United States military and the men and women who serve in it as the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. That was included in his speech. The President was introduced to the stage yesterday, last night, by a woman whose son served and gave his life for the United States in Afghanistan. And she told I thought a pretty powerful story about the way that the President has honored her son’s sacrifice and her family’s sacrifice for the country. So I think speeches to a political convention are a little different than speeches, for example in the context of a State of the Union, where there’s a set of issues that has to be covered. But I think the President made clear his deep appreciation for the service of our men and women in uniform who are serving our country all around the world, including right now in Iraq and Afghanistan, to keep us safe. Chip. Q Josh, thank you. On that same line, “fascists, communists, jihadists, and homegrown demagogues.” MR. EARNEST: You liked that line, too? (Laughter.) Q It certainly did stick out. I would venture to guess that probably about everybody who heard that speech -- MR. EARNEST: That's part of what made it so great. Q -- when he said “homegrown demagogues” thought of Donald Trump. So even if you're right that he was not referring to one individual, he was certainly grooving Donald Trump into that group of homegrown demagogues. You would concede that? MR. EARNEST: I would concede that most of the President’s speech was not geared toward subtlety. (Laughter.) I think the American people -- Q I’ll take that as a yes. MR. EARNEST: I think the American people understood quite directly the argument that the President was making. And the argument that he was making did not have -- particularly in that line -- did not have one single person in mind, but rather was talking about the kinds of values that generations of Americans have subscribed to -- Q He certainly put Donald Trump in the minds of the people who were listening. And he had to know he was going to do that. MR. EARNEST: Listen, again, I’m not suggesting that the President was trying to be subtle. I think the President was quite direct in the argument that he was making. Q But my question is, if Donald Trump was one of the “homegrown demagogues” he was referring to there, I know he doesn't think much about Donald Trump, but is it fair to group him with “fascists, communists, and jihadists”? MR. EARNEST: Well, again, I think what is fair is that the kinds of values that generations of Americans have been committed to and fought and died for have served our country quite well. It is the reason that people all around the world look to the United States as a beacon of freedom. It is the reason that people from all around the world travel to the United States. They desire to be a part of our country. They desire to be citizens of our country. It’s the reason that that diverse population signs up to serve this country in the military. And those values are what allowed the United States, for example, to defeat fascism in World War II. Those are the kinds of values that we have followed even as we have overcome the threat from terrorism. And it requires vigilance. It also requires a firm commitment to those same values, again, that transcend faith, that transcend region, that transcend generations, that transcend party. And it speaks to the unique character of the United States and the people who live here. Q And just one other. I want to follow up on Justin’s question about Crimea. You've covered the global politics of that issue pretty well. But what does the President think -- or if you haven’t talked to the President -- what does the White House think about the fact that a possible future President of the United States would say that maybe we should lift the sanctions, I’m looking into it; and I’m looking into allowing -- recognizing Crimea as Russian territory? MR. EARNEST: I have not spoken to the President about it, but I know the President believes that in order to counter Russia’s flagrant violation of Ukraine sovereignty, we need to preserve and present a united front. And at each step in mobilizing the international community to respond to this situation, President Obama has worked closely with our allies in Europe to ensure, for example, that in diplomatic exchanges with Russia about the situation in Ukraine, that the international community is on the same page. Obviously, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande have played a prominent role in all of that, in the context of the Normandy Group discussions. But what’s also clear is that as the international community has pursued sanctions to impose costs on Russia for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty that that's required effective coordination in the international community, as well. The point that we've made on a number of occasions is that the United States -- even if those sanctions were in place -- doesn't do a whole lot of business directly with Russia when you compare it to the economic ties between Germany and Russia, or Italy and Russia, or even France and Russia. Q Right, but I’m just asking, is it acceptable for a presidential candidate to say what Donald Trump said about Crimea? Is it acceptable? MR. EARNEST: What I’m trying to get at, Chip, is I’m not going to be able to respond directly to his comments. But let me just finish this thought by saying our ability to pressure Russia and to send a clear message about how we will not tolerate the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty is predicated on our ability to coordinate effectively with our allies. That's why it would be a bad idea to unilaterally withdraw. The United States ultimately has built a coalition that is imposing costs against Russia for violating those international norms. And the President believes strongly that the United States and our interests are better served by defending those international norms and coordinating with the international community to impose financial costs against Russia for violating them. And to unilaterally withdraw from that effort would weaken the United States. Suzanne. Q I want to follow up with yesterday in Trump’s comments. Trump said that he was being sarcastic when he called and encouraged Russian intelligence agencies to look into Hillary Clinton’s emails -- deleted emails, the hacked emails, that they would be richly rewarded. So can you clarify here, is this something -- a lot of people saw this as beyond the pale, this was unacceptable, and at the very least irresponsible, coming from a presidential candidate. How does the White House see this? Is this something that you see that’s just an off-the-cuff remark? Or is this something the White House is taking seriously as a national security concern? MR. EARNEST: Well, let me answer that question a couple different ways. The first is, I’ll let the Republican nominee explain his comments and explain his motivation. And I’ll let other people decide for themselves if they can figure out when Mr. Trump is being sarcastic and when he’s being serious. What I can speak to is the policy of the administration, and it’s a pretty simple one. It’s one I think is pretty intuitive, one that we’re all familiar with because it’s the same one that’s been pursued by Presidents of both parties since our nation’s founding, which is that the United States of America is committed to defending the American people without regard to which political party they belong to. And that certainly is true when it comes to our efforts to protect the American people in cyberspace. Q So what does that mean, Josh? I mean, people who want to know, is there any consequence, is there any reaction, is there any fallout to what he said -- is the White House taking what he said seriously? MR. EARNEST: And I guess my point is I’ll let others react to the controversial comments of the Republican nominee. I can be here to help you understand exactly what our policy is and how significant or how important that policy is. And when it comes to protecting the American people against all threats, including threats that emanate from overseas, including threats that exist in cyberspace, this country and this government is committed to protecting our citizens without first asking which political party they belong to. Q So is there any move afoot for White House officials to question the candidate or question the campaign at whether or not that was something that was, in fact, something that was real and acceptable? Or is it considered a national security issue? Does this administration consider it a national security issue, the comments that he made? MR. EARNEST: Again, I’ll let other people characterize his comments. I’ll let him explain them as best he can. But for me, we’re just going to stick to articulating what our policy is, and I think the differences in our policy and the rhetoric that is being put forward by the other side is quite different. Q And the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has said that there’s going to be a lot more material that’s relevant to the U.S. election that could come out. Is there anything that the administration is doing to prepare or respond to in any way? MR. EARNEST: Well, not that I’m aware of. And I’m not sure that anybody is quite sure what Mr. Assange is talking about. Mark. Q Josh, on the issue of hacking, in this cyber age, is there any reason to be surprised or outraged that foreign governments engage in hacking for intelligence gathering or mischief making? MR. EARNEST: Well, let me answer that question a couple different ways. The first is, in the interview that President Obama did earlier this week, he acknowledged that we have seen Russia engage in efforts to at least interfere in a democratic process in other countries, including in Europe. So we know that interfering in the political process in other countries is a tactic, or even a strategy, that President Putin has used before. The other thing that some have observed is that in this instance, the information wasn’t just hacked, it was also released. What that actually says about the potential perpetrator or their motive is something that the FBI will have to speak to. They’re obviously conducting an investigation here, and I’ll let them speak to it. But I guess the other element of your question is how serious is this. And I think the fact that this is something that has drawn the attention of the FBI and their careful scrutiny and their coordination with experts across the federal government is an indication that a situation like this is certainly something that we take seriously. Q Are you able to say if U.S. intelligence has a policy on hacking? MR. EARNEST: I’m not able to say what sort of policy may be in place, but the Office of the Director of National Intelligence may be able to provide you with some information about that. Q On last night’s speech, did President Obama know Hillary Clinton was backstage and was going to join him on stage after his speech? MR. EARNEST: He did know that, yes. Q And what did he do after the speech? There were about 40 minutes between the end of his speech and leaving the convention. What was he doing during that period? MR. EARNEST: President Obama had an opportunity to visit backstage with Secretary Clinton, members of her family. I believe he had an opportunity to see Senator Kaine. I actually wasn’t backstage with him once he’d finished delivering his speech, but I know that there were a number of people backstage that he was eager to see and spend some time with. Q And what’s he doing today? MR. EARNEST: The President’s schedule started a little later today, given the late-night arrival last night. The President is meeting with members of his national security team. He periodically, once a quarter or so, will receive an update on the terror threat picture, so he’s meeting with members of his team to receive that update again today. And we’ll have a readout of that meeting this afternoon. Paul. Q Josh, thanks very much. Just a couple of quick ones. The President has kind of hinted about possibly getting involved in the post-presidential period in venture capital. What particular area in sort of the VC world has he expressed any particular interest in? And what is it about sort of the VC world that interests him do you think? MR. EARNEST: As I recall, the President talked about this in the interview that he did with Business Week. And there are some aspects of that line of work that appeals to some of the President’s intellectual interests. There’s obviously a lot of interesting work that’s being done in the field of innovation and science that VCs are strongly supporting. As President of the United States, the President has an opportunity to be briefed on those kinds of -- on innovations and scientific developments. The President has got a council of advisors in science and technology, his PCAST, that he meets with frequently to get some updates on a variety of scientific innovations. And I know that he finds those conversations to be exceedingly interesting. And the intellectual rigor associated with those conversations is something that he genuinely enjoys. So I think that’s part of what the -- because that essentially was what would be part of -- I think part of what a venture capital operation would include is evaluating innovations and testing the likelihood of their success. So that, I guess, would be the other thing that I think that he's discussed appeals to him, is sort of the rigorous analysis of those kinds of ideas and plans. And again, that kind of rational consideration of options is something that the President doesn’t get to do as often as he would like in Washington, D.C. Too often there is a rather irrational and dysfunctional evaluation of options that I think the President has previously spoken to as being a source of frustration. But in the VC world there's a much more rigorous, cold-eyed analysis that's done, a rational decision-making structure is applied. And the President is pretty good at that and feels like that's something that he would both do well at and find to be incredibly interesting in his post-presidential life. I don’t know if he'll actually do it. But having read the interview and having heard him talk about this a little bit, I think those are a couple of things that appeal to him about that line of work. Q -- it's occurred to me that even in times that are far worse than today -- the dark era of the Civil War, the Great Depression -- Presidents then, Lincoln and Roosevelt, always spoke in terms of faith and optimism and hope for a future. Why is it, you think, that Donald Trump's darkness now is getting so much traction? We don’t live in times nearly as bad as the times I mentioned. Why is he getting so much traction? MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm not sure. And I know that there are a lot of theories that have been floated out there. I'll let other people speculate about that. But I will acknowledge that I was thinking about this a little bit myself earlier today, and the thing that occurred to me is, we don’t actually have to go that far back in our history to find an example of a time when the United States was facing a really tough challenge. When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States was on the brink of a second Great Depression. The U.S. auto industry was weeks away from utter collapse, costing millions of Americans -- at least a million Americans their jobs. There were hundreds of thousands of jobs that were being hemorrhaged from our economy every month. Q But why are people responding to fear now and they didn’t then? What's changed? MR. EARNEST: Again, I think -- stick with me on this. Even in the midst of what I would readily acknowledge was a scary time for our country in 2008 -- we saw these precipitous declines in the stock market; Congress had to vote for extraordinary legislation that would try to stabilize the financial system -- even in the midst of all of that, President Obama continued to articulate his hope, optimism and confidence in the future. There's no denying -- even Mitch McConnell won't deny that our country is in a far better position now than we were then -- something that the Majority Leader has committed to publicly. And President Obama continues to have a lot of confidence in the country and is more optimistic than ever about the future of our country, in part because we weathered those hard times and we came out stronger on the other end. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot more work that needs to be done. And the President walked through some of those examples last night. So, again, I can't account for the strategy that's being pursued by the Republican presidential nominee. But it's a lot different than the strategy that President Obama employed in 2008 and 2012, and I don’t think it's a coincidence that President Obama is actually the first President since President Eisenhower to win two national elections back to back, earning a majority vote from the American people* [President Reagan won twice with a majority of the vote. President Obama won twice - getting more than 51% each time. He's the first President since Eisenhower to do so.] Q I think you mean the first Democrat. MR. EARNEST: The first one since Eisenhower. He's actually the first President, Democrat or Republican, to get more than *50  percent of the vote twice. Q No, Reagan did it twice, actually. MR. EARNEST: Reagan did not do it twice. Q He got 50.7 in 1980, if I'm correct. The final question -- MR. EARNEST: I'll follow up with you on it. I'm confident the facts are on my side on this one. Q Okay. I could be wrong. The final question is, historians were always ranking Presidents, and the numbers kind of move up and down. Right now there's sort of a general consensus that of the 43 men who have been President that Obama currently bounces around 19, 20, 21 -- sort of in the middle of the pack. Does that strike you about right? MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm sure I'm biased. So, look, I also am confident that historians will spend a lot of time considering the Obama presidency. And I think historians acknowledge that, with time, that it's easier to draw a more precise evaluation. What that means for the actual numbers is something that historians will determine. Jane. Q Thank you very much, Josh. Donald Trump has mentioned that when he's elected President of the United States, that he will withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea. It seems like withdrawing troops from Korea, that it concerns the security of Korean Peninsula and the U.S.-South Korea relationship. What is the Democratic Party's view of withdrawal on Korean Peninsula? MR. EARNEST: Well, the United States of America has an ironclad commitment to the security of our South Korean allies. That is a commitment that transcends party. I know that President Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush, was committed to the U.S.-South Korea alliance. I know that President Clinton was, as well. So there has been a longstanding tradition of holding that alliance as a high priority and committing the United States to the defense of our South Korean allies. That's the policy of the United States. It is a policy that benefits our national security. It's a policy that President Obama has prioritized. And if there are people who disagree with that policy, even people who are running for President, I'll let them make their own case. Goyal. Q Thanks, two questions. One, as far as U.S.-India relations are concerned, President Obama has had a very cozy and personal relations with at least two prime ministers of India, including Dr. Manmohan Singh and now Prime Minister Modi. And not only business-to-business or country-to-country, but also on a personal basis. What do you think will be the future after he leaves? Because many, including these two prime ministers and millions of people in India will miss him. MR. EARNEST: Well, listen, part of President Obama's Asia rebalance has included prioritizing the United States relationship with the world's largest democracy. And President Obama has traveled multiple times to India. And the President has been warmly received by the Indian people on each visit. I know that he's enjoyed each visit. And the President has appreciated the effective working relationship that he's had with the leaders of both countries. Of course, President and Mrs. Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh and his wife here at the White House for the very first White House state dinner. And President Obama was able to work effectively with Prime Minister Modi to reach an agreement about the commitments that India would make in the context of the Paris climate talks. That was viewed by many as the lynchpin of completing the agreement in Paris. So I think it's an indication of the longstanding warm relationship between the United States and India. Some of that is a result of the deep investment of diplomatic capital that President Obama has made in that relationship. And he certainly is hopeful that his successor will do the same thing, because it benefits the American people and our economy, and certainly our national security. Q Do you think the President will have a word with President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton, whoever will be in the White House, before he leaves regarding U.S.-India relations and the future of U.S.-India relations? MR. EARNEST: Well, what President Obama has indicated is that he is committed to ensuring a smooth transition from the Obama administration to his successor. And I'm confident that will include conversations between President Obama and the President-elect when the time comes. I don’t know how wide-ranging that discussion will be. It certainly could include India. But whoever it is, President Obama is committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Q And second, as far as hate in America and trust in America is concerned, millions of people in India, they think that there is no country -- and of course the Indian-American community here -- on Earth where there's a trust in America, or many people want to come here. Now, there's a program, Invest in America. And does the President support, the White House support this program? Because thousands of people in India are lining up to come to the U.S. and invest in America, which is close to $500,000 to $1 million for a green card or to be here. They feel safer, and there's law and order and justice in America. MR. EARNEST: Well, Goyal, I'll admit I'm not familiar with that specific program. We can see if somebody around here is and can give you our perspective on it. We obviously -- and President Obama has made it a priority to seek out people who are committed to invested in the United States. Insourcing has been a top priority, and we certainly have welcomed the kind of investment that we've seen from countries around the world and from businesses around the world who recognize the opportunity that exists to invest in the United States. That obviously creates jobs and economic opportunity here in the United States, and we've gone to great lengths to try to encourage it. Brian, I saw you had your hand up. Do you want the last shot here? Q Thanks. I actually wanted to ask about the transition also. Next week, the GSA has made office space available to the two candidates. And I'm just wondering, has the President said any -- given any specific marching orders or instructions to his agencies, to his people about how they should pursue -- or to what degree they should cooperate -- MR. EARNEST: The President made clear at the beginning of this year that one of the top priorities of the federal government is to ensure the smooth transition from the Obama administration to the next administration. President Obama benefitted tremendously from the effective management and planning that was performed by his predecessor to ensure a smooth transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. It's one of the reasons that President Obama holds President Bush in high regard. President Bush was committed to that effective transition across political parties. And this is a testament to President Bush and his commitment to this country and to the institution of the presidency, and President Obama shares that commitment. President Obama has identified the same priority and has certainly used the strategy employed by President Bush as a template for his team. And so I can tell you that, for months, senior officials here at the White House have been engaged in planning, interacting with senior officials at a wide variety of government agencies to begin preparing now, months before the actual election, to ensure that that smooth transition takes place. And President Obama believes that this is what the American people can and should expect from their federal government. All right? Thanks, everybody. We'll see you tomorrow. END 2:41 P.M. EDT
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:10 P.M. EDT MR. EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. I do not have any comments to make at the top, so we can go straight to your questions. Darlene, would you like to start? Q Thank you. Let’s start with the breaking political news, or Republican convention news -- the statement from Melania Trump’s speechwriter that she made a mistake and incorporated some phrasing from Michelle Obama in Melania Trump’s speech. Do you have any comment on that today? MR. EARNEST: Nothing beyond what I said yesterday. Look, obviously, Mrs. Obama spoke movingly, in her own words, about her life story, about her values. And she was warmly received by the crowd. She got strong reviews from pundits. And I'm confident that in the future, aspiring first ladies or potential first husbands would draw on the same kinds of sentiments to advocate for their spouse. And Mrs. Obama is quite proud of the speech that she gave in 2008, and I'm confident that she’ll deliver another speech that's equal to the test next week. Q Can you say whether the news has made its way through various parts of the White House and reached the President and/or the First Lady? Are they aware of the statement from the Trump campaign? MR. EARNEST: I have not spoken to the President and the First Lady since that letter became public, so I'm not sure if they’re aware of it right now. Q To follow up on yesterday’s meeting the President had with the Attorney General and others on police matters. He talked about police departments around the country needing resources for things like bullet-proof vests and training and other items. Can you say if he’s preparing to ask Congress for money to provide police departments with those things? MR. EARNEST: Well, what is clear is that as is true of solving so many of these complex problems, there’s an important role for Congress to play. And has been true for much of the last 18 months, it's not at all evident that the Republicans who lead the House and the Senate are up to the job. Included in the President’s budget proposal were resources that could be -- could have been dedicated to those kinds of priorities, but as you recall, Republicans wouldn't even convene a hearing to discuss the President’s budget. Every year for the last 40 years, whether Democrats were in charge or Republicans were in charge of the Congress, there’s been a hearing about the President’s budget, where the President’s budget director has been called to testify, to discuss the priorities that are included in the President’s budget. And this year Republicans cancelled that hearing, and they wouldn't even discuss those proposals with the President’s budget director. It's particularly ironic because Republicans have, themselves, utterly failed to pass their own budget, either in the House or the Senate. So it's an indication that the congressional budget process is broken. And it's the American people that have to deal with the consequences. But the President obviously believes that our men and women in law enforcement would benefit from additional support from the federal government and the President is certainly eager to provide it. I don't have any news to make about an additional funding request, but when it comes to COP grants and funding for staffing and resources and equipment, the President believes that Congress needs to make that a priority. Q Lastly, the new British Prime Minister is on her first overseas trip. She’s in Germany today meeting with Angela Merkel. She’s supposed to go to France. When President Obama spoke with her last week, did he invite her to come to the White House? Would he like to see her here before his time in office is up? MR. EARNEST: I'm not aware that the President extended a specific invitation to Washington, D.C. I think the President’s expectation is that when she travels to China for the G20 that she will be in attendance and they will have an opportunity to see one another there. If there’s an additional meeting scheduled either before or after that conversation, we'll definitely let you know. Ayesha. Q Thanks. So Reuters reported yesterday that Donald Trump, if he wins the presidency, has a plan where he would purge any federal government officials appointed by this administration, and that he might seek legislation from the Congress to make it easier to fire public workers. And part of that is a concern because they fear that this administration might try to convert appointees to civil servants, which would make it harder for them to get rid of these appointees. I guess, first of all, is that a plan? Like is there any idea about converting appointees from this administration into civil servants as the term comes to an end? And then also, just a response to this idea that if Trump were elected that he would do this purge. MR. EARNEST: Well, I think just as a factual matter, my understanding is that there is a specific process that certain political appointees can enter into to make themselves eligible for a career civil service position in the federal government. And I know that political appointees in both parties over the years have availed themselves of that process. I will acknowledge I don't have a lot of detailed knowledge about what that process is, but I just know that that is a longstanding precedent. The second thing that I know, based on the Reuters reporting that I've seen on this, is that this is a policy priority that was identified and promoted by Governor Christie. I think it's fair to say that if you want to stack up the ethical record of President Obama and his political appointees against the ethical record compiled by Governor Christie and his political appointees that we'd welcome that kind of comparison. Q And on to Zika. So Florida health officials are investigating the case of Zika that may be actually locally transmitted and not connected to travel outside of this region. I was wondering, is the White House being kept abreast of this investigation? And also, like, is there a concern that now is this the start of maybe the disease spreading locally here in the United States? MR. EARNEST: Well, I've seen these reports of what could potentially be the first example of local transmission of the Zika virus. And by local transmission I mean an individual in the United States who has not traveled overseas to a Zika-infected location, but rather somebody who contracted the Zika virus through a mosquito bite here in the United States. It would be the first time that has happened. I know the Florida authorities are still taking a look at this, and they obviously would be the ones to confirm any results that they have reached. The Centers for Disease Control and other public health experts in the federal government have been in close touch with public health officials in Florida on this matter and I would expect that they will continue to be, both as they conduct the investigation and also as they initiate any needed response. That's going to be -- as we saw with Ebola, the effective coordination between federal public health authorities and state and local public health authorities will be critical to our success in combatting this virus, and it's certainly something that public health officials at the highest levels of the CDC are closely watching. I think what is unfortunate is those very public health professionals in the federal government that are responsible for fighting this disease, providing support to state and local health officials to prevent the spread of this disease, don't have all of the resources that they would like to have to do everything possible to protect the American people from the Zika virus. And the reason for that is simply Republicans have rebuffed that request. Yet, again, Republicans in Congress have a responsibility to step up and foot the bill for the response to a genuine public emergency, and Republicans in Congress dropped the ball in a way that makes the American people more vulnerable. And, again, I guess they'll have the seven weeks of a recess to think about the consequences of their failure to deal with this situation. That's unfortunate. But the federal government is certainly prepared to use the resources that we have to coordinate with officials in Florida, in this case, to investigate what happened and to respond accordingly in a way that's necessary to protect the people of Florida and the people of the United States. Michelle. Q Yesterday, when we were talking about this speech incident at the convention, you mentioned that, well, you know, it shows that there's bipartisan support of these kinds of values. But in this particular speech, the wording and phrasing was taken from the First Lady's speech. Even if the sentiments or the idea was the same, the words themselves were taken. Does that bother you, or does that bother the President? MR. EARNEST: Well, listen, I'll let people draw their own conclusions based on what they have seen of the speech delivered by both women, eight years apart. Q But now that we know that the words were taken, so that's changed. But I'm asking, does it bother you that those words were taken from the First Lady's speech, as though -- credit was then given, though it was maybe better placed somewhere else -- does it bother the President or you? MR. EARNEST: Well, listen, I think the focus that we've had has been on the substance of the speech. And the fact that Mrs. Trump received such warm applause and such a strong review of her speech based on a reflection of the same kinds of values that were included in Mrs. Obama's speech, I think that's an indication that the country has got a lot of common ground, even in spite of the political divisions that are on display at the convention. And I think that certainly buttresses an argument the President has been making quite frequently of late about the country not being as divided as it might seem. Q Well, how do you say that when some of the other speeches within the same basic time frame were blasting Secretary Clinton and President Obama? I mean, isn't that completely the opposite of what you just said? MR. EARNEST: Again, I think those are the kinds of speeches that might make it seem that our country is quite divided, but, again, a speech that closely tracks with what Mrs. Obama said eight years ago and highlighting the same kinds of values, highlight the importance of those values in terms of the next generation of Americans and in our system of government receives applause in the room and strong reviews from pundits -- again, I think that's an indication that there's a lot of common ground and that Americans are drawing on the same kinds of values. Again, their political leaders may have their differences, but the values of the country are still broadly shared. I think the real question -- and this is a question that ultimately the American people will determine in the fall -- is who is best suited to put forward an agenda and advance an agenda that embodies those values. And that's an assessment that the American people will make. Q Do the speeches matter at all? MR. EARNEST: Sure. The conventions matter and the speeches matter. And that's the reason the First Lady is working so hard on hers, and the President is working so hard on his, is that it does give people an opportunity to be heard and to make a case about what they stand for and what our parties stand for. And, again, the American people I think will have an opportunity to evaluate those speeches, and those who tune into both will have an opportunity to compare the values and the message that's included in both. Q So when Governor Christie last night called on this huge crowd to judge Hillary Clinton guilty or not on a number of accounts, what's your reaction to that? MR. EARNEST: I don't have much of a reaction to that, again, beyond the observation I made earlier about the ethical record compiled by Governor Christie and his political appointees in New Jersey. Cheryl. Q Thanks, Josh. To go back to the Reuters story about federal employees. If you remember, in early 2009, did this administration have a concern about agency staff that had been carried over from the Bush administration? MR. EARNEST: Well, look, the irony of all this is that it's Republicans in Congress, chiefly, who have, in many cases, been waging an all-out assault on federal employees. It's Republicans who have advocated for cutting pay and cutting retirement benefits from civil servants. So the President has been in a position of both making smart decisions when it comes to our budget, and there's some evidence that we can provide about growth and size of the U.S. government under President Obama is much smaller than the rate of growth of the federal government under self-described conservative Republican Presidents. So those are just the facts. So I think the President's approach to this has been much more responsible. Again, when it comes to Governor Christie, I think he's got a tougher case to make. Q Do you think there's any value in replacing agency heads and agency staff with people from the President has been able to select? MR. EARNEST: Well, look, we're balancing two priorities here, right? The President has talked about himself in terms of the value of fresh legs and new blood in important leadership positions in the federal government; that many of these jobs that are filled by civil servants are quite demanding, and having a schedule for turnover and giving different people with different perspectives and new insights, potentially, into the job is healthy for any organization and certainly is healthy for an organization as large as the federal government. At the same time, there's institutional knowledge that's accrued over time, and people develop an expertise in a role or in a field that could be valuable. And in some cases, there are negative consequences for losing that institutional knowledge and that expertise. So balancing those two things is certainly a challenge for any large organization that wants to preserve continuity. And that challenge is no less significant for the federal government, either. But the alternative to managing those kinds of changes is not changing at all, and I don't think anybody thinks that's an option and it certainly would not be an indication of a healthy democracy. So the American people are counting on this kind of transition to be effectively managed to enjoy the benefits of protecting institutional knowledge and expertise, and maximizing the benefits of fresh thinking and fresh legs and new perspective. And that's certainly what the President has made a priority as we prepare for a transition that's set to take place in six months or so. I guess six months from today, actually, now that I think about it. Q Only a half-year left. A couple questions on President Peña Nieto's visit from Mexico. As you know, that will be the day after Donald Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention. MR. EARNEST: I am aware of that. (Laughter.) Q How much of this discussion do you expect will center on Trump's proposals, including a wall between the U.S. and Mexico? MR. EARNEST: I would not anticipate much time at all being spent on discussing that. There are any number of important, substantive issues between the United States and Mexico, and what President Obama has found over his seven and a half years in office is that effectively investing in the relationship with Mexico has strengthened the security and the economy of the United States. And coordinating on countering narcotics and drug-trafficking and other security issues has improved the security situation on both sides of the border. President Obama has obviously worked effectively with the Mexican government to reach a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that would raise labor and environmental standards, would raise standards when it comes to intellectual property protections in a way that would level the playing field for U.S. businesses and U.S. workers. That certainly has important economic benefits for the American people and the U.S. economy. So I'm confident that the President will be discussing that with his Mexican counterpart as well. So there's plenty on the agenda that doesn't involve the Republican nominee. Q So is the visit or its timing, right between the two conventions, meant to highlight differences between Democrats and Republicans on treatment of Mexico or Latinos? MR. EARNEST: No, I think the goal is to highlight the importance of the strong relationship between the United States and Mexico. And President Obama has certainly invested in that relationship in a way that has benefitted the American people. I know that President Peña Nieto is committed to strengthening his country's relationship with the United States, regardless of who wins the presidential election. And he's looking to cement much of the progress that's been made under President Obama's leadership and create a strong platform for the next President to build on, in terms of our country's relationship with Mexico. So, look, I think the other thing is they'll have a series of meetings here at the White House over the course of Friday morning, and then the two Presidents will come out and speak to all of you and take some questions about what they discussed. So you'll have an opportunity to hear from them about what priorities they've identified and what progress they've been able to make by continuing this dialogue that they had just as recently as a few weeks ago in Canada. Q One more topic. In Turkey, after the coup and its aftermath, has that had an impact on anti-ISIS operations, either from Incirlik or elsewhere? MR. EARNEST: For a detailed explanation of that, I'd refer you to the Department of Defense. My understanding, based on what my colleagues at the Department of Defense have communicated to me, is that there has not been a significant disruption of our efforts against ISIL, in part because there are operations -- flight operations that are still taking place at Incirlik. In addition to that, there are capabilities that the United States maintains in the region, including aircraft carriers that could supplement any sort of disruption that occurs. And so my understanding is that the pace of operations against ISIL targets has not been affected by some of the turmoil that we have seen in Turkey over the last few days. That said, we've spent a lot of time talking even in this room about how strategically significant the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey is because of its close proximity to Syria. It allows our aircraft, both manned and unmanned, to spend more time over the battlefield. So we certainly have credited the Turks for their partnership and their cooperation in allowing the United States and our coalition partners to use the Incirlik Airbase, and it certainly has enhanced our efforts against ISIL in a way that has had positive national security benefits for Turkey. They're the country that has the long border with Syria, so they certainly are interested in making sure that that pressure is maintained. And we're going to work with them to make sure that we can use the Incirlik Airbase to do exactly that. Q I won't ask you specific figures, but have operations out of Incirlik been curtailed? MR. EARNEST: My understanding is that they have not. But I'd check with the Department of Defense and they can give you a specific accounting. If there had been any changes or decline in the numbers, it's been very small and easily compensated by some of the redundancies that I've described. But based on what I have heard, there has not been any significant reduction at all in our ability to use Incirlik Airbase to take strikes against ISIL targets in Syria. Chip. Q Thanks, Josh. Following up on the ISIS issue. With this meeting out at Joint Base Andrews, how big a role does the President play in dealing with the Secretary of Defense in setting the agenda and determining the goals for this meeting? And is this going to be a meeting that is going to end up with a specific plan for the final defeat of ISIS? MR. EARNEST: Well, Chip, you may have seen on the President's schedule that he had an opportunity to spend 45 minutes or so in the Oval Office with Secretary Carter just yesterday and he saw Secretary Carter a week or two ago at the NATO Summit in Poland. And since that time, I know Secretary Carter has done a little traveling, including in Iraq, to review our efforts there. So there was an opportunity for the President to meet with the Secretary of Defense in advance of this important meeting that the United States is hosting here. The meeting will bring together defense ministers and chief diplomats of a number of countries -- dozens of countries -- who are part of our counter-ISIL coalition, and they'll have a discussion about what we can do to continue to apply pressure against ISIL in Iraq and in Syria. There will be a particular focus on what additional steps need to be taken to take back Mosul. Obviously, Iraqi security forces have made a lot of important progress in that effort just even in the last few weeks, including the retaking of this particular military airstrip in Iraq known as Qayyarah. That was an important strategic objective and that will serve as an important logistical hub to supply forces that move against Mosul. So all of that was particularly important. I know that there will also be an extensive discussion at the State Department among the diplomats about how to provide additional stabilization in humanitarian support to Iraq. And you'll recall that one of the chief concerns that President Obama has is making sure that even as Iraqi forces succeed in driving ISIL out of villages and towns and even cities in Iraq, that we're prepared to rebuild, that the Iraqi central government is prepared to rebuild these cities. We know that one of the things that ISIL has done in some of these other communities is essentially, on their way out of town, tried to destroy the basic infrastructure of the community. And the credibility of the Iraqi central government depends upon their ability to mobilize resources and work effectively to rebuild the infrastructure and rebuild these communities so that people can move back into their homes. And that requires significant sums of money that, quite frankly, the Iraqi central government doesn’t have right now. Iraq, like many other countries that relies on energy as an important source of income for their country and as an important export in their economy, is struggling because the price of oil is lower now than it's been in quite a while. So providing this kind of financial support to the Iraqi central government is critical to rebuilding the country of Iraq and building political support for the Iraqi central government. And that political strategy has always been the cornerstone of our broader counter-ISIL effort. Q And somebody has got to ask it -- you said the President probably watched sports rather than the convention on day one. Same thing last night? MR. EARNEST: I'm not sure what he watched on TV last night, but it was not the Republican convention. Q You'll think he'll watch any of it as we move along here? MR. EARNEST: I don’t know. I don’t know. But I'll see if I can find out and try to keep you apprised. Q Have you talked to him about -- have you had a personal conversation with him about the convention at all since yesterday? MR. EARNEST: Yes. I know that he has certainly been following the news coverage of the convention. I just don’t know that he's watched much of it firsthand. Q Is there something else you can tell us about that conversation? And a transcript would be nice. (Laughter.) MR. EARNEST: I wouldn't release a transcript. You might be disappointed in the conversation. But it sounds like on Friday you may have an opportunity to seek his reaction to the week of events in Cleveland. Kevin. Q Catching up on Netflix. (Laughter.) I want to ask you about -- on a much more serious note -- the radicalization of American women. The U.S. intelligence community is warning law enforcement agencies around the country of a persistent terror threat posed by radicalized Western women. This was in a joint intelligence bulletin. And I'm wondering what that bulletin tells us about the effectiveness of the administration's counterterrorism strategy. MR. EARNEST: I haven’t seen the bulletin, Kevin. But obviously our intelligence community is quite attuned to the strategy that ISIL is undertaking to try to use social media to radicalize people to their cause and even potentially inspire them to carry out acts of violence. And you've heard me refer on a number of occasions to news releases that are issued by the Department of Justice, announcing their success in disrupting plots that could potentially be linked to ISIL. In most cases, these are cases that are not linked directly to ISIL having command and control of these operations, but rather ISIL inspiring individuals to carry out acts of violence. And periodically, there are announcements from the FBI or the Department of Justice that American women have been detained because they've been attempting to travel to Syria or Iraq and provide support to ISIL fighters by traveling to those countries and taking up arms alongside them as well. So we're certainly mindful of this risk. And the United States has been very focused on developing a strategy that is showing more and more results of countering ISIL's efforts online. And there are somewhat important lessons that's we’ve learned. The first is that the United States government is not going to be the most credible source of information in pushing back against ISIL. We know that ISIL is an organization that seeks to pervert Islam to advance their ideology, so elevating the voices of Muslim leaders can often be a valuable way, a persuasive way to push back against ISIL's attempts to pervert that religion. That's why the United States has been able to work effectively with Muslim nations like Malaysia and the UAE to house fusion centers that essentially can be the focus of strategic planning for that counter-messaging effort. And that has yielded some important results. The federal government has also been able to work effectively with technology companies. In the past, technology companies have been able to work effectively with the federal government to counter things like child pornography, to prevent social media tools from being used to produce and disseminate child pornography. A similar strategy can be applied to prevent social media from being used to produce and disseminate radicalizing images or messages from ISIL sympathizers. So there are obviously important free speech equities that have to be weighed into this, but there is a template for succeeding on this and we've been able to implement in an effective way. So we've made some progress in this effort. Our efforts have improved. But there is more important work that needs to be done. Q I want to draw your attention to something I crossed a couple weeks ago now. There have been a number of reports of U.S. diplomats being hassled by Russian governments, Russian agents. Is the White House aware of this harassment, continued harassment, not just in Russia but throughout Eastern Europe? And what, if anything, is the administration prepared to do about it? MR. EARNEST: Well, Kevin, I can't speak to any specific case, but I can tell you that the U.S. government and the White House, at the highest levels, is aware of the harassment that some U.S. diplomats have had to endure overseas, and the United States has communicated to the Russian government our strongly held view about how important it is for the Russian government to abide by their responsibility to protect diplomats who are in their country. Those views have been communicated in an unambiguous fashion. The President has said on many occasions that the safety and security of Americans serving overseas, whether they're diplomats or servicemembers, is his top priority. And that is certainly true as we register our sincere and serious concerns with Russian officials about the kind of harassment that you've described. Q Forty-seven years ago, man on the moon. Where are we in the U.S. space program? Is the President satisfied with where we are today? MR. EARNEST: Well, my colleagues at NASA I'm sure could document in more detail the important progress that we've made in the space program over the last seven and a half years. But over the last seven and a half years, we've seen an important transition from a space agency that's focused on maintaining a space shuttle, for example, and beginning to start working with private sector groups, private entities, to develop new technology that could allow humans to explore more of the solar system. And the President pursued this approach because it was a more effective use of taxpayer dollars. It had also had the potential to unleash innovation in the private sector in a way that could have positive benefits for the broader economy and certainly positive benefits for those local economies that are closely tied to the space industry. We can certainly get you some more data and metrics that document the important progress that NASA has made in the last seven years. Q Appreciate that. Just one more. Garry Marshall, film luminary, passed away at 81 years old. Any thoughts on his passing? MR. EARNEST: Well, obviously he is somebody who made a substantial contribution to American pop culture. And there are generations of Americans that were entertained on television and on film by his work. And he certainly is somebody that I think will be fondly remembered by his fans. And so obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. Karen. Q Josh, a Brexit question. The President has said and you have said, and the Vice President has said, that you want a smooth transition for the UK out of the EU. But all signs right now are pointing to the fact that the new Prime Minister said she's not going to invoke Article 50 this year. Is that too long of a delay in the opinion of the White House? And are there concerns about what the impacts would be on the global and U.S. market? MR. EARNEST: Well, Karen, the White House and the United States is not going to micromanage this process. This ultimately is about managing the relationship between two of the closest friends and partners of the United States -- specifically, the United Kingdom and European Union. So it is certainly in the interest of the United States for that process to be undertaken in an orderly fashion, mindful of the way that those negotiations could unsettle the global economy. I think both sides are keenly aware of the stakes here. And the good news is that both sides have an interest in undertaking this process responsibly. And we certainly are going to offer any support or facilitation that's required to ensure that this process is done in an orderly fashion. And the President has communicated that directly to the leaders of the EU and to the newly elected leader of the United Kingdom. And in both those conversations, he received assurances about a commitment to an orderly process. But how that process takes place and when that process take place is something that will be determined by the EU charter and by the decisions made by the negotiating teams on both sides. Q So orderly, responsibly, but you won't say quickly, as well? MR. EARNEST: Again, the timeline is one that should be determined by parties on both sides of the English Channel. Q And one on -- campaign-related. We’ve heard the President say that he often hears from foreign leaders and foreign officials who talk to him about this presidential election. The Vice President made some pretty candid comments in Australia, telling people at a town hall, don't worry about our election. And he said, “The better angels in America will prevail.” Is it appropriate to be so overtly political and make such an assurance like that? MR. EARNEST: Well, I think the Vice President is offering some reassurance to people around the world who have been a little unsettled by the tone and tenor of the political debate back here in the United States. I didn’t see the entirety of the Vice President’s remarks, but his effort is to reassure our close allies, including those in Australia, that the United States and the American people are committed to a set of principles that form the basis of our alliances and our relationships with countries around the world. And even despite some of the tension and dysfunction and colorfulness of the political debate, the American people remain committed to those institutions and to those values. And we're hopeful that people around the world, particularly our allies, will be reassured by that. Bill. Q Back to the question of potentially members of this administration serving in the next one, it's been reported that two Cabinet Secretaries, Tom Vilsack and Tom Perez, both are being considered as vice presidential nominees with Secretary Clinton. MR. EARNEST: I've seen those reports. Q Has the President, in fact, spoken to Secretary Clinton about them? And does he have a favorite? MR. EARNEST: Well, I've acknowledged in the past that President Obama has described his choice of Vice President Biden as the smartest political decision he ever made. And I think people like Secretary Clinton who know President Obama well personally can confirm that he means it when he says it. And the President feels as though he’s been extraordinarily well served by the expertise and experience and relationships and loyalty that Vice President Biden has brought to the job. So when you consider how well that turned out, it seems natural that Secretary Clinton might consult President Obama about the process that he undertook to choose Vice President Biden. I'm not going to get into the conversations that they had about them or exactly to what extent those conversations lingered on specific candidates. But obviously the two men that you just named are among those who are considered to be on the short list, and the reason that there is public speculation about their consideration for that important role is at least in part because they’ve served the country so well in the roles that they have now. So the President is extraordinarily proud of the work that Secretary Vilsack has done at the USDA and the work that Secretary Perez has done at the Department of Labor. These are individuals who are serious, who are focused on the right things. They’ve got their values in line, and these are two men who have dedicated their lives to public service and they’re in it for the right reasons. And so I guess my point is the reason that President Obama entrusted them with the responsibilities that they have now, which are substantial, their success in doing that job is exactly the same reason that people speculate that Secretary Clinton might be inclined to give them even more responsibility. Q It sounds like you're saying on behalf of the President that he is lobbying for one of these two to be the vice presidential nominee as the best way of continuing the stability and continuity with this administration. MR. EARNEST: Well, not necessarily. I mean, I think -- you didn’t ask me about Senator Kaine, but obviously he’s somebody else who’s -- Q He’s not a member of the administration. MR. EARNEST: He’s not a member of the administration -- that is true. But he is somebody who is the subject of some rather intense public speculation about -- Q I'm just asking about -- MR. EARNEST: Well, but I guess the thing is I think the President would consider Senator Kaine -- to adopt your terminology there -- one of his as well. Senator Kaine was one of the first public officials to announce a public endorsement of Senator Obama. Senator Kaine served as the chair of the DNC during President Obama’s first year in office. And Senator Kaine is somebody that the President deeply respects and I think it's been publicly reported even considered himself as a running mate back in 2008. Q Any one of the three. (Laughter.) MR. EARNEST: Well, I guess the point is that all of these individuals have fulfilled their responsibilities quite well. They’ve distinguished themselves. And the President is pleased that all three of them have distinguished themselves in serving the public while President Obama has been in office and while President Obama has been President. He has benefitted from their leadership and their good service to the administration and to the country. And so I don't know if the President has a specific favorite, but I know the President is extraordinarily proud of all three of those individuals. But, ultimately, he is going to defer to Secretary Clinton to make the decision that she believes is best. Juliet. Q Just to follow up a bit on that, continuing with this idea of these three figures, all of whom are just such close political allies of the President and also when you see the overlap between current and former members of, say, this administration and former Secretary of State Clinton's team. If you have to describe what that synergy looks like and to what extent, when Americans are thinking about who their next President is, how close is the overlap between the White House and the Clinton campaign and a future Clinton administration at this point? To what extent is it is a continuation of the President's term? MR. EARNEST: Well, there are some limits to how I can answer your question, in part because Secretary Clinton is going to describe what kind of President she will be. She will describe what agenda she will pursue and she will describe the values that she will rely on in setting that agenda. And so she should do that. So that's why it's hard to assess from here how closely the vision that she will describe is to the record of President Obama. But I think what I can say are a couple of things. The first is, President Obama, in offering his endorsement of Secretary Clinton, has talked about how he has seen firsthand her skills and her values, both as a candidate for President and as a Secretary of State. And the President obviously has enormous regard for Secretary Clinton and her leadership abilities. And he spoke at length about that a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte. Secretary Clinton herself has said publicly that she's interested in building on a lot of the progress that this administration has made. She's interested in continuing the work to raise wages, raise the minimum wage, fight for equal pay, increase funding for job training and education in a way that we can ensure that middle-class families in the United States are getting a fair shot at success, even in a 21st century global economy. We've seen Secretary Clinton talk about how important it is to build on the progress that we've made in digging out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Recession [Depression]. We've seen Secretary Clinton talk about how important it is to build on the new foundation that's been laid by Obamacare. She believes that there are some improvements that can be made, some tweaks that can be made. But she is interested in building on that progress, not tearing it down like Republicans have advocated. She is certainly a strong believer in things like the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. She is committed to implementing the climate change deal that was reached at the end of last year. So I think based on all of that, I think that you can rightly assess that the values and priorities of President Obama and Secretary Clinton overlap. That said, people in this room have not hesitated to highlight situations or particular aspects of her agenda that differ from President Obama. And that's natural. She's somebody with her own views, her own perspectives, and there may be some places where there's a little bit of a different view. She's going to be her own President if, in fact, she is elected. And, again, the President has talked about the value of fresh legs and a new perspective in the Oval Office after the last eight years. But the President is interested in that fresh perspective and those fresh legs being a part of someone who is committed to building on all the important progress that we've made over the last seven years. And that certainly is why President Obama has been so enthusiastic in his support of Secretary Clinton's campaign. And you'll obviously hear him talk a little bit more about this next week. Q And just briefly on next week, you mentioned that the President has not been closely watching every night the Republican convention. Do you expect that he will be regularly tuning into the DNC, again, before he goes there? Can you just talk about how you think he'll be watching that event? MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm confident that he'll watch the night that his wife speaks. Just get that on the record right away. (Laughter.) So we've got that box checked. Obviously he'll be speaking one of the nights. My expectation is that he would watch at least part of Secretary Clinton's speech when she delivers the speech accepting the Democratic nomination for President. Q Just a part? (Laughter.) Q -- switching channels? MR. EARNEST: Channel surfing, maybe a little bit. No, I suspect that he'll watch that speech as well. The other night, I don't know, I can't account for that. So we'll try to update you when that night arrives. Mike. Q Thanks, Josh. It is next Wednesday night that the President will be speaking. Can you talk a bit about what he sees as his role at the convention? Is it to defend his own record, make a case for Secretary Clinton? How does he balance those two? And are there any insights you can share into the speechwriting process -- how far along it is? MR. EARNEST: Well, I know that -- I can tell you that the speechwriting process has begun, but I think the President would be the first to say that he feels like there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to get that in shape. So I would anticipate that he'll be working on that over the course of this week and over the weekend. So with that in mind, I can tell you that certainly part of the speech will be devoted to laying out the values and priorities that President Obama has been fighting for over the last seven years and underscore how important it is that that fight continues. By focusing on the middle class, by focusing on how the United States can advance our interests around the world, including through the use of diplomacy, has yielded a lot of progress for the country. Our country is more prosperous and safer than when President Obama took office. And the President believes strongly that we can't afford to flush that progress down the drain. It's so important that the next President is somebody with the judgment and skill, experience, leadership to build on that progress. And that's the overarching case that the President will make, and I think it's the kind of case that the President hopes will resonate not just with Democrats who are committed to progressive values, but also among Americans that may not have a deep attachment to one party or the other. So obviously the core of the President's agenda and his speech will be those progressive values. But he believes that there's a very strong case to make, even to Americans that aren't registered Democrats but are concerned about making sure that the next generation of Americans has an opportunity to succeed in the same way that previous generations have. The President is enormously confident about that. The President is bullish on the prospects of future generations of Americans. And he'll have an opportunity to describe why. Q Considering what you said about his own viewing habits this week, is there a degree to which his speech might change or his thoughts about what he might want to say will change, based on how the rest of the RNC proceeds? It's been starkly negative, a lot of what we've heard on stage. I don't think "Lucifer" has been referred to in a primetime speech before. MR. EARNEST: Well, at least not at a political convention -- maybe at a -- well, maybe somewhere else. Maybe on a different channel. No, I do not anticipate the President making any changes to his speech or to his plans to deliver remarks based on anything that's said by anybody at the Republican convention. Q And lastly, is there an event at the White House that you've seen that you're looking forward to more than what will happen tomorrow here? MR. EARNEST: Well, it's hard to imagine -- (laughter) -- something more exciting than having the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals visit the White House. Look, I think what's true is that there's -- serendipity has led us to a situation where a rare Royals World Series Championship has coincided with my tenure at the White House. And so I'm obviously incredibly excited about that and really looking forward to tomorrow. Q George Brett -- MR. EARNEST: Hopefully so. We'll see. Fred. Q Thanks, Josh. One convention question. I've got a couple. But with regards to the convention, the platform calls for the end of the Johnson Amendment, which would basically allow churches to -- or pastors to endorse candidates from the pulpit. Does the White House have any thoughts on that type of rule? MR. EARNEST: I haven't seen the language that's included in the platform. I think I would just reiterate something I think the President has said, which is that one of the founding values of the country is the separation of church and state, both to ensure that state interests are not interfered with by religious authorities, but also to make sure that state interests are not interfering with the work of religious authorities. So the President believes that both our institutions of state and our institutions of religion in the United States both benefit significantly from observing that principle. Q Something I wanted to share with you -- Senator Sasse and Senator Lee have put forward a reform bill on occupational licensing. That's something that the White House has supported, some type of reform there. Would the White House, President Obama, support the Lee-Sasse bill? MR. EARNEST: I'm not aware of the details of their specific legislative proposal. But you're right that there are a number of executive actions that this administration has taken to try to streamline occupational licensing in a way that would make our economy more efficient. I know that one area where the administration has done a lot of work on this has to do with military veterans. There are a number of individuals who serve in the United States military who developed a set of skills that have been very valuable in their service to the country and would be quite valuable in the private sector. And in some cases, the transfer of those skills to the private sector has been impeded by overly burdensome regulations. And streamlining that process and facilitating the ability of our veterans to work in the private sector and use those skills in the private sector is something the administration has been quite focused on, both because it could improve the economic opportunity for veterans, but also could strengthen our economy. So again, I haven’t looked at the specific legislative proposal that's been forward, but there are some interesting things that the administration has been able to do using the President's executive authority. So look, that's something that they're interested in talking to the White House about. I'm sure they'd get their phone call returned. Q And just one last question. Last week, PolitiFact determined as mostly false President Obama's comment that it's easier to get a Glock than a book. The Washington Post fact-checker made a similar conclusion on that same point. Does the President actually believe that as fact, or does he say that kind of metaphorically to say -- to demonstrate how easy it is to get a gun? MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what I would just say is, with all due respect to the fact-checkers, when the President delivered that line to a room full of about a thousand cops, there was not a lot of evident disagreement. I think there is genuine concern on the mind of -- in the minds of law enforcement officials who work in these economically disadvantaged communities about how readily accessible illegal guns are and, frankly, how hard it is for kids in that community to get access to a quality education, or get access to high-quality educational opportunities that would eventually allow them to escape that neighborhood. And the point that the President was making is, rather than mobilize an effective policy response to that situation by increasing funding for schools or passing common-sense gun control legislation, too often -- at least in this Republican Congress -- those obvious solutions have been rejected, and as a result we've just asked law enforcement to deal with the problem. And we put law enforcement officers and police officers in a position where they're the ones that have to be the director of the after-school program or the drug counselor or the mental health professional. And that's not fair, particularly when you consider they're trying to fight crime in a dangerous neighborhood. So adding that burden to law enforcement is not fair. And I guess Darlene started out this briefing by talking about what are some of the steps that we can take to make the job of our law enforcement officers safer. One of the things that we could do is to ease the burden on law enforcement and make the kinds of investments in these communities that we know will have a tangible impact on the kind of opportunity that's available to kids that are growing up in these communities. Goyal, I'll give you the last one. Q Thanks, Josh. Two questions. One, as far as this summit on counterterrorism is concerned by the President and the Secretary of Defense and State, and -- defense ministers and also diplomatic security officials will be there. My question is that now ISIL, or ISIS, is spreading beyond these countries who will be at this summit. Do you think the President is going to meet all those countries where ISIL is spreading or will be spreading? And also, they are brainwashing the young people, (inaudible) money and other facilities on social media or Internet. And this requires much education for all the young people in those countries. My question is now, that they need money and they are buying -- they are sending the stolen oil and also buying arms. Are you going, or U.S. or these countries are going after those who are supplying them arms and buying their stolen oil? MR. EARNEST: Well, Goyal, let me just start out by saying that there are 40 nations that are represented at this conference, and many nations chose to send both their top diplomat as well as their defense minister. There will also be a number of multilateral organizations like the United Nations, NATO, EU and Interpol, who will also be a part of these discussions. And all of these organizations and these countries have made substantial contributions that benefit our fight against ISIL that is certainly focused on Iraq and Syria. This is the location where ISIL is attempting to form a caliphate. But we've seen that the mythology of that caliphate is being exposed for that it is. And that's because of the success that Iraqi forces have enjoyed in driving ISIL out of about 48 percent of the territory that they previously occupied in Iraq. The percentage of territory in Syria is a little bit smaller, but there have been important gains against ISIL, even in Syria, based on the success that our coalition has had in backing the efforts of fighters on the ground. And the thinking has been that so much of the ISIL ideology that is promoted around the world on social media is rooted in the idea that they are on the verge of establishing a caliphate. And that's why the international community has been focused on the effort of debunking that myth and depriving ISIL of the ability to have land on which they can organize and establish a caliphate. And we've made a lot of important progress in that regard. At the same time, the United States and our coalition partners have been prepared to take strikes against ISIL targets in other areas where concern has arisen. We've talked in the past about a couple of the strikes that have been taken against ISIL targets in Libya. We've talked a little bit about strikes that the United States has taken against ISIL targets in Afghanistan, and we'll continue to be mindful of risks that may emanate from other places that are related to ISIL and make sure that we can confront them. Q As far as this campaign is concerned, Madam Secretary Clinton was speaking last week at NOVA, Northern Virginia Community College, with Senator Tim Kaine. And she declared a number of things. One was that if she's elected President, she will make community colleges free for all, and all the young people will be out with the teachings of basics they need in their life, and that will help them out of these troubles and all that. And also, at the same time, she said that she will not have any taxes on the middle class, among other things. So are there any comments from the President when she's laying down all these -- future presidency? MR. EARNEST: Well, the two examples that you've cited are obviously consistent with some of the proposals that President Obama has put forward. So in his State of the Union address in 2015, President Obama laid out a clear proposal for giving hardworking students access to a free community college education based on a program that was actually pioneered by the Republican Governor of Tennessee. This is a proposal that had bipartisan support across the country, but unfortunately is not supported by Republicans in Washington, D.C. -- even though we've seen in Tennessee that it's been really good for their economy and really good for the middle class. As it relates to taxes, the President has a strong record on this in terms of protecting and making permanent tax cuts for the middle class, even as we ask those at the top of the income scale to pay a little bit more. And the President certainly believes that there's more that we could do when it comes to closing loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and well-connected. Q Finally, as far as education is concerned, when President Obama and Dr. Manmohan Singh initiative on education was signed between the U.S. and India, where does that stand now after -- MR. EARNEST: We'll get you an update. Obviously the connections between the United States and India include students in the United States that study abroad in India, and Indian students that study abroad in the United States. And so obviously that's just one measure of the important relationship between our two countries. But as it relates to the specific proposal, we can follow up with you with some more specific information. Thanks, everybody. We'll see you tomorrow. END 2:18 P.M. EDT
Представленная на сессии книга ставит вопрос: «Россию ждет революция?». Я пойду дальше в постановке вопроса — «Мир ждет революция?». И если действительно она ждет мир, то как соотносится российская революция и мировая? Сейчас тема мировой в общественном дискурсе отсутствует. Но отсутствие темы, еще не означает отсутствия соответствующего вызова. Проблема исторических революций подверглась в последнее время историографической […]
Июньский саммит Шанхайской организации сотрудничества (ШОС) в Ташкенте ознаменовался важным событием: Индия и Пакистан подписали меморандумы об обязательствах ратифицировать все договора, действующие в ШОС, что открывает им путь к полноправному членству в организации. Принципиальное решение о расширении Шанхайской организации сотрудничества за счёт присоединения к ней двух крупных государств Южной Азии было принято в 2015 году на саммите ШОС в Уфе, а в столице Узбекистана был совершён следующий необходимый шаг. Специалисты полагают, что новая геополитическая конфигурация ШОС может не только придать дополнительный импульс экономическому росту в странах-членах организации, но и способствовать переходу мировой системы из её нынешнего турбулентного состояния в состояние более плавной эволюции.
Июньский саммит Шанхайской организации сотрудничества (ШОС) в Ташкенте ознаменовался важным событием: Индия и Пакистан подписали меморандумы об обязательствах ратифицировать все договора, действующие в ШОС, что открывает им путь к полноправному членству в организации. Принципиальное решение о расширении Шанхайской организации сотрудничества за счёт присоединения к ней двух крупных государств Южной Азии было принято в 2015...
By Dr. Nehginpao Kipgen The Indian central government and the Kuki armed groups - the United Peoples' Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organization (KNO) - began their first round of political dialogue at Ashoka hotel in New Delhi on June 15. Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, who led the central delegation, chaired the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the armed groups and the Manipur state government. The issue of holding political dialogue has dragged on for years. The Indian Army and the Kuki armed groups have observed Suspension of Operation (SoO) since August 1, 2005. A tripartite agreement, involving the UPF and KNO, the central government and the Manipur state government, was formally signed on August 22, 2008. The SoO was possible after the Kuki armed groups responded former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call for resolving armed conflicts through dialogue. The Congress government agreed, in principle, to initiate political dialogue within the framework of the Indian constitution. In 2013, the Indian government made the assurance that political talk would begin immediately following the winter session of the national parliament but it did not materialize. How is the situation of the armed groups and the political atmosphere in New Delhi different from the previous years? Is there any sight of solution to the Kukis political demand under Prime Minister Narendra Modi administration? One significant development among the armed groups is its ability to present a collective political demand under Article 3 of the Indian Constitution, that is, statehood for the Kuki people, comprising lands in the hills of Manipur for which the chieftains possess legal land titles. The demand for a Kuki state comprising all the Kuki inhabited areas of Manipur was first submitted to the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on March 24, 1960 by the Kuki National Assembly, a political body formed in 1946. Now that the Kuki armed groups have reached a consensus agreement amongst themselves, the dialogue process can move forward quicker provided that there is seriousness on both sides. Since the demand for a separate state will affect the integrity of the Manipur state, the central government will need to tread judiciously. One immediate challenge will be on the question of competing demands. The Nagas, who form another major ethnic group in Manipur, also claim overlapping areas in the four hill districts. The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) claims a large chunk of Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts as their territory in their quest for greater or southern Nagaland. New Delhi has had several rounds of political dialogue with the Nagas, particularly the NSCN-IM. These competing demands of overlapping areas have given rise to insurgency problems for the past many years. Another major challenge will come from the Manipur government and the Meiteis, the single-largest populace of the state. Knowing the potential consequences of political dialogue between the Kuki armed groups and the central government, the Manipur state government inserted a clause in the initial tripartite agreement, that is, the territorial integrity of Manipur cannot be violated. Given the increasing distrust between the Kukis and the Meiteis over the three bills passed last year by the Manipur State Assembly, the political dialogue is even more significant. The Manipur government and the Meiteis are likely to oppose any attempt to disintegrate the state. Since this is the first concrete political dialogue, the process is expected to take months, if not years, before reaching any possible solution. Given the competing demands of the three major communities (Kukis for separate state; Nagas for greater Nagaland; and Meities for unhindered or greater access to the hill areas), any amicable solution is easier said than done. Though the Kukis would want to have a state of their own at the earliest possible, it is unlikely that the central government will give a serious consideration without examining the interests of the two other major communities of the state. Given the ground realities, there are certain measures the Kuki armed groups and the Modi government should take into account during the political dialogue process. First, given the deep apprehension among the hill people, particularly the Kukis, the government should consider implementing the Sixth Schedule provisions in the hill areas that would protect and safeguard the history, culture, land and identity of the tribal people. Second, given the disparity across the state, the state and central governments should take concrete steps to ensure the proper utilization of development funds and schemes. The status quo is that the valley districts are much more developed and advanced than the hill districts. Third, the government should review the existing political arrangement. Out of the 60-member legislative assembly, 40 are represented by the valley people and 20 by the hill people. This proportion needs to be revised. There must be political accommodation in such a way that the post of the chief minister is also rotationally or periodically given to representatives from the hill areas. Fourth, in light of the creation of Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh despite a strong opposition from the state government in 2014, it is possible for the central government to carve out a Kuki state from Manipur. Creation of states along ethno-lingual lines is not unprecedented in the history of the Indian Union, given the examples of Tamil Nadu for the Tamils, Nagaland for the Nagas, and Mizoram for the Mizos. Whatever the outcome it will be, holding the first round of political dialogue is a step in the right direction. Dr. Nehginpao Kipgen is a Political Scientist and Assistant Professor at the Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University. He is the author of 'Politics of Ethnic Conflict in Manipur'. His works have been widely published in more than 30 countries across five continents - Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Uma Purushothaman Security, Asia India will continue to walk the diplomatic tightrope between its relationship with the US and its other partners like China and Russia... Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last week imparted new energy into the Indo-US relationship with consolidation of relations in areas such as nuclear, defense, clean energy and counter terrorism. However, with no great breakthroughs announced, much was also left unsaid. First, let's look at what was accomplished. Defense ties were significantly augmented. The elevation by the US of India to a 'major defense partner' means that like US allies, India is now eligible to receive more advanced and sensitive technology, including dual use technology, from the US even though the defense relationship will remain primarily a commercial buyer-seller relationship. America’s refusal to export dual use technology to India has long been a sore point with Indian policy makers. Of all the areas in which the US and India have cooperated in the last decade, defense has been the most robust with India importing a little over $US10 billion worth of defense equipment, making it the second largest arms importer of US arms after Saudi Arabia. The finalization of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LIMOA)is also significant step forward as it shows that the Modi administration is overcoming Manmohan Singh’s government reluctance to sign the so-called 'foundational' agreements with the US. However, two more such agreements — the BECA and the CISMOA — are still not finalized. The commercial part of the Indo-US nuclear deal was finally operationalized with the Westinghouse announcement, and the US reiterated support for India’s entry into the export control regimes, again part of the Indo-US deal. Read full article
Американские ожидания против индийской рациональности: Индия как региональный проводник сетевой безопасности
Гурпрет ХуранаВо время «Raisina Dialogue», состоявшейся в марте 2016 года в Нью-Дели, адмирал Гарри Харрис, командующий Тихоокеанского командования США (USPACOM) назвал событие, состоявшееся в сентябре 2015 года, первым в истории трехсторонним (Австралия, Япония и Индия) министерским обсуждением. В своем комментарии адмирал Харрис обратился к «морской безопасности, включая свободу морских патрулей» и предложил «расширять эту систему трехсторонних и четырехсторонних встреч» путем вовлечения в эти форматы США для решения новых вопросов. Суть его заявления состоит в том, что высокий уровень «межсетевого взаимодействия», достигнутый в ходе комплексных учений Индии и США, не должен ограничиваться только этим, но и переходить на уровень «согласованных операций». Адмирал Харрис предлагает, хотя и не открыто, организовать в Индии «скоординированную программу свободных морских патрулей» в Южно-Китайском море. Очевидно, что такие патрули могут быть использованы для сдерживания растущей военной мощи Китая в этом регионе и для улаживания процессов «создания правовой базы» по морским-территориальным спорам между другими странами этого региона. Индия последовательно отстаивает позицию США по своей нейтральности в спорах в Южно-китайском море и предлагает свою помощь в решении конфликтов на основе хорошо установленных норм международного права и свободы судоходства в международных водах, в том числе и в этом регионе. Тем не менее, министр обороны Индии Манохар Паррикар потратил немного времени отстаивая позицию Индии, говоря, что «в настоящее время, Индия никогда не примет участие в каких-либо совместных патрулях, а будет только проводить совместные учения. Вопрос о совместном патрулировании сегодня не затрагивается». Этот случай указывает на «очевидное» несоответствие американских ожиданий по отношению к Индии и того, что Нью-Дели готовы предоставить своему «стратегическому партнеру». Это может быть объяснено контекстуализировано с помощью аналитического понимания важных политических позиций обеих сторон. Наиболее ключевыми среди них являются те, что озвучивают роль Индии как «гаранта сетевой безопасности» в Азии. Эта статья ставит своей целью проанализировать эту роль, чтобы понять «аберрацию», выстроить здоровые траектории развития государственных стратегических отношений и лучше понять точку зрения Индии по стратегическим международным политическим вопросам. Американская позиция Концепт «гаранта сетевой безопасности» появился после Диалога Шангри Ла в 2009 году, когда бывший министр обороны США Роберт Гейтс заявил: «Что касаемо Индии, мы можем увидеть значительный прорыв в наших отношениях – сотрудничество, которое было немыслимым еще несколько лет назад. В будущем мы видим Индию нашим партнером и гарантом сетевой безопасности в Индийском океане и за его пределами». Это заявление в дальнейшем еще несколько раз появлялось при разных обстоятельствах: формальных и неформальных, включая «Оборонный обзор за четыре года» (Quadrennial Defense Review, QDR). В его десятой версии (QDR-10) говорилось: «Индийская военная мощь активно растет с помощью усиления обороны, и сейчас она включают в себя длительные морские наблюдения, морские запреты и патрули, воздушные запреты и стратегические перевозки грузов. Индия уже установила свое мировое военное влияние с помощью борьбы с пиратством, миротворческих миссий, гуманитарной помощи и операций по устранению последствий природных катастроф. С ростом военных способностей Индия сможет поддерживать порядок в Азии, как гарант сетевой безопасности в Индийском океане и за его пределами». Индийская позиция В принципе, политическое руководство и законодатели Индии поддерживают предложенную их стране роль. Обращаясь к верхушке Индийского военно-морского флота и министерству обороны в 2011 году, бывший министр обороны Индии Аракапарамбил Куриен Энтони акцентировал, что морские соседи Индии могут рассчитывать на «безграничную поддержку своей безопасности и экономического процветания». Он продолжил свою мысль, сказав, что Индийское военно-морские силы: «Подмандатны быть гарантом сетевой безопасности островных государств в Индийском океане… большинство основных международных торговых путей проходит через морские территории этих стран. Это дает нам возможность быть действенными и стабилизировать силы в регионе». Не так давно, в 2013 году, бывший премьер министр Индии Манмохан Сингх сказал: «Мы стремимся взять на себя ответственность за стабильность в Индийском океане. Мы нацелены на это… чтобы стать гарантом сетевой безопасности непосредственно в нашем регионе и за его переделами». Эти ключевые позиции представляют собой ценную отправную точку при анализе проецируемой роли Индии «гаранта сетевой безопасности». В целях объективности их можно поделить на три части, и каждая из них анализирует конкретный аспект Индии в широком национально-стратегическом императиве при выполнения определенных ролей. Эти аспекты – географические зоны с потенциальными возможностями и культурным этосом. Географическая зона Первостепенные зоны интереса В силу своего географического положения и полуостровного расположения, наиболее важные национальные интересы Индии тесно связаны с событиями в Индийском океане. Это характерно как для океана в целом, так и для его северной части, более конкретно для регионов, отнесенных к категории «основные области морских интересов» в Стратегии индийской морской безопасности 2015 года (IMSS-15). На ранних этапах становления Индии как «гаранта сетевой безопасности» и индусы, и американцы говорили, что Индийский океан – это общая проблема, потом начали употреблять фразу «и за его пределами» и никогда особо не объясняли ее. Можно утверждать, что она относится к Персидскому заливу или Красному морю как к первостепенным областям морских интересов Индии, а не к Южно-китайскому морю, и несмотря на то, что Индия растет экономически и стратегически, для нее это «вторичная область морских интересов». (Такая классификация не означает, однако, уменьшения значимости Южно-китайского моря как жизненно важного интереса Индии). В этом контексте Индии профессор Махапатра справедливо задает вопрос: «Если Индия и США не могут адекватно проводить подобные виды патруля в Индийском океане, как они будут пытаться патрулировать воды Южно-китайского моря?» Геостратегические границы Различные определения «геостратегических границ» также имеют отношение к данной проблеме. В рамках военно-стратегического расчета, эта фраза относится к географическим границам, необходимым определенной стране для достижения «стратегической глубины» против потенциального государственного противника. Недавно американские аналитики, такие как профессор Джеймс Холмс, предоставили инструкции в своей работе «Готовься, Индия: Военно-морской флот Китая подталкивает Запад (в направлении Индийского океана)» и добавили их к тенденциям, которые были отмечены в Индии почти десять лет назад. Тем не менее, маловероятно, что Индии будет необходимо расширить свою стратегическую глубину против Китая в восточном направлении за пределами Юго-Восточной Азии. Примечательно, что эти морские геостратегические точки представляют собой серьезную стратегическую проблему для самих ВМС. Геостратегические границы стран также зависят от их «способностей» и «возможностей» и дружественной военной силы, чтобы повлиять на события в зонах внутри отмеченных границ. Этот аспект будет затрагиваться и в дальнейшем. Способности и возможности В 2012 году IDSA провели исследование по миссиям вооруженных сил Индии «при непредвиденных обстоятельствах» (OOAC). Исследователи пришли к выводу, что: «Охват существующих возможностей воздушных и морских перевозок показывает, что Индия может проводить операции OOAC только в пределах Индийского океана (IOR)». Даже в то время как количество индийских стратегических морских и воздушных перевозок увеличивается, вышеупомянутого исследования, вероятно, будет актуальным в обозримом будущем. То же самое относится и к способностям Индии в других видах проекции морской державы. Новая индийская морская стратегия безопасности (IMSS-15) справедливо выделяет термин «сетевая безопасность», а не «сетевой гарант [безопасности]». Кроме того, она закрепляет за Индией роль гаранта «сетевой безопасности» в вопросе по «способностям». Таким образом, она определяет термин «сетевую безопасность» как: «Состояние фактической безопасности в определенном районе, балансировка преобладающих угроз, рисков и растущих вызовов в морской среде и способности контролировать, сдерживать и противостоять вызовам». Анализ IMMS-15 четко указывает, что ВМС Индии стремятся внести свой вклад в область морской безопасности и стабильности в ее первоочередных и вторичных областях, представляющих интерес, формирующих всю полосу Индо-Тихоокеанского региона. Для этого Индия не только развивает свои собственные возможности удаленных операций, но и обеспечивает «создание потенциала» и «увиливание возможностей» для помощи дружественным странам в регионе. Однако, поскольку в ноябре 2008 года произошли террористические атаки в Мумбаи, обычные угрозы прибрежной и береговой безопасности Индии будут по-прежнему создавать серьезные проблемы для военно-морского флота. Эти задачи требуют ловкого баланса между экспансией силы и модернизаций двух конкурирующих императивов «голубой воды» и операций «коричневой воды». Культурный этос Как было указано выше, IMSS-15 акцентирует внимание на региональной роли Индии в качестве «гаранта сетевой безопасности», а не «сетевого гаранта безопасности». Дополнительная цель состоит в том, чтобы рассеять любую мысль, что Индия стремится выступать в качестве гегемона или «полицейского» государства. Такое намерение вытекает из культурного этоса Индии и тесно связано с эволюцией Индии как современного национального государства. Еще одним аспектом культурного этоса является гордость, с которой индийцы идентифицируют себя на основе своего цивилизационного генезиса, нечто более глубокое и глубинное, чем понятие «национализма». Вместе с вышеупомянутым нежеланием становиться гегемоном, этот аспект проявляется в древней индийской политике, не связанной с коалиционными военными операциями, за исключением тех, которые проходят под эгидой Организации Объединенных Наций. Эта политика также проявляется в оперативной области. Если под флагом ООН, индийские военные силы не прочь проводить «сочленение» (или «объединение») и совместное патрулирование, поскольку такие операции будут проходить под иностранным командованием и контролем (C2). Отказ министра обороны Индии от возможности «совместных (морских) патрулей» можно рассматривать именно в этом контексте. Другие условия, несмотря на это заявление адмирала Харриса в «Raisina Dialogue» заслуживают большего внимания. Он предложил перевести «(совместные военно-морские учения) Индия-США» в «координированные (морские) операции». Его предпочтение термина «координированные», а не «составные», заслуживает отдельного внимания. В то время как в английском языке эти два термина могут быть синонимами, в качестве «операционных» терминов разница между ними существенна. В то время как «совместная» работа включает в себя объединение вооруженных сил, «скоординированная» операция позволяет силам поддерживать свои соответствующие национальные структуры. В прошлом индийские ВМС действительно участвовали в «скоординированных» операциях вместе с ВМС США. К примерам можно отнести эскортных миссии США в Малаккском проливе 2002 года и гуманитарная помощь и ликвидация последствий стихийных бедствий (HADR) после цунами в Индийском океане в 2004-2005 годах. Даже во время недавних антипиратских миссий сопровождения торговых судов в Аденском заливе, ВМС Индии координировали свои действия под руководством коалиционных военно-морских сил США, а также других военно-морских сил, развернутых для той же миссии. Заметное сходство между этими операциями, однако, заключалось в том, что все они были проведены в Индийском океане или смежных акваториях. Заключение Подтекст совместного заявления США-Индия от января 2015 года по «нашему диверсифицированному двустороннему стратегическому партнерству» указывает на широкую стратегическую конвергенцию, а также на тот факт, что Индия нуждается в стратегическом партнерстве Америки также сильно, как и США в нем. Тем не менее, время от времени невозможно игнорировать диссонанс двусторонних отношений. Несмотря на дипломатический «рефрен» как естественное явление между двумя основными демократиями, диссонанс не должен не приниматься во внимание особенно в свете складывающейся региональной обстановки в области безопасности. Кроме того, разногласие не может лежать в основе предыдущей внешней политики и индийского принципа «Стратегической автономии» (или «Неприсоединение 2.0»), как это обычно преподносится. Как и с другими аспектами двусторонних отношений, иногда диссонанс в основном проявляется на функциональном уровне. В контексте индийско-американского военно-стратегического сотрудничества в Индо-Тихоокеанском регионе аберраций на этом уровне могут быть решены путем изменений национальной политики и разработкой стратегии вооруженных сил. Принимая во внимание американские «перегруженные» военно-морские ресурсы и возрастающий вклад в способности и мощность в ВМС Индии на протяжении многих лет, США не уместно ожидать от Индии обеспечения региональной безопасности и стабильности в индо-тихоокеанском регионе. На оперативном уровне США предполагают, что Индия переведет «совместные военно-морские учения» в «скоординированные» операции, что в целом может быть оправдано. Тем не менее, кажется, что более широкие стратегические императивы Индии с точки зрения трех ключевых аспектов географического района, потенциала и возможностей, культурного этоса не соответствуют этим ожиданиям, по крайней мере на данный момент. Раздел: Безопасность и конфликтыРегион: АзияТеги: ИндиясшаВМСКатегория рассылки: Новые публикации
Automation has been responsible for improvements in manufacturing productivity for decades. Advanced robotics will accelerate this trend. Machines, after all, can perform many manufacturing tasks more efficiently, effectively and consistently than humans, leading to increased output, better quality and less waste. And machines don't require health insurance, coffee breaks, maternity leave or sleep. The industrial world realizes this and robot sales have been surging, increasing 29 percent in 2014 alone, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Robots at the Hyundai factory in Asan, South Korea, on Jan. 20, 2015. (SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Of the more than 229,000 industrial robots sold in 2014 (the most recent statistics available), more than 57,000 were sold to Chinese manufacturers, 29,300 to Japanese companies, 26,200 to companies in the U.S., 24,700 to South Koreans and more than 20,000 to German companies. By comparison, robot sales in India totaled just 2,100, IFR reported. None of this should surprise us. Automation makes little or no economic sense in countries where there is comparatively little manufacturing or where abundant cheap labor is readily available. The basic economic trade-off between the cost of labor and the cost of automation is the primary consideration. Labor laws, cultural considerations, the availability of capital and the age and skill levels of local workers also are important factors. Consider an economy such as India's. When you have 1.3 billion people who can make things cheaply, it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to automate. In fact, Indians appear more likely to design and produce labor-saving robots and other such machinery than to use it in their factories. When you have 1.3 billion people who can make things cheaply, it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to automate. Also important in the "buy" or "don't buy" calculation involving robotics is the technical ability of machines vis-a-vis manual labor. Some jobs -- think textile cutting and stitching, for example -- simply need human hands, at least for now. This is good news, all else being equal, not only for China and India, but for other emerging market economies like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey, which are significant textile exporters. But with wages increasing in emerging economies, we soon may see more robotics even in textiles, especially in cotton products where the raw material is shipped to countries like Pakistan, converted to textiles and sent back to the U.S. What this all means is that the next stage of the robotic revolution -- dubbed Industry 4.0 -- will affect some countries more than others and some industries and job categories more than others. Every industry has certain unique jobs, each with its own required tasks. Some jobs can be automated, others not. Moreover, different tasks require different robotic functions -- some of which will require very expensive robotic systems. All of this has to be considered. A worker in Guangzhou, China on March 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Last fall we took a close look at the world's 25 largest manufacturing export economies to see which countries are most aggressively automating production and which are lagging. Nearly half of the countries -- Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand -- are generally considered emerging markets. Surprisingly, the countries moving ahead most aggressively -- installing more robots than would be expected given their productivity-adjusted labor costs -- were all emerging markets: Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Manufacturers in South Korea and Thailand, in particular, have been automating at a comparatively breakneck pace; the Indonesians and Taiwanese slightly slower. The fast pace of automation in South Korea and Taiwan can be explained in part by higher-than-average wage increases, aging workforces and low unemployment rates. In a developing economy like Indonesia, the motive might be different -- to improve quality so local factories can compete with those in Japan and the West. Chinese manufacturers see the writing on the wall. Other countries that have been rapidly integrating robotics into manufacturing, but not quite as quickly, are Canada, China, Japan, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. China is an interesting case because it's automating rapidly despite the fact that Chinese wages are still comparatively low. The reason for this, we believe, is that Chinese manufacturers see the writing on the wall. Labor costs have been increasing rapidly in China, a trend that is likely to continue. Moreover, with an aging workforce -- complicated by the country's decades-old though recently abandoned one-child policy -- skill shortages appear on the horizon. And quality remains a big concern. The strategic use of robots can help compensate for these shortcomings. Countries moving more slowly in the adoption of industrial robotics include Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico and Poland. While there are other factors at play as well, labor regulations that require employers to justify layoffs and pay idled workers for long periods of time appear to be largely responsible for the slower pace. German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with a robot at an industrial fair in 2006 alongside Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach) The slowest adopters of robotic technology among the 25 largest manufacturing exporters have been Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Switzerland. With the exception of India, all of these nations have aging work forces, some of the highest productivity-adjusted labor costs in the world and are likely to face serious skill shortages in coming years. Under the circumstances, automation would appear to be a no-brainer -- except that their governments, in effect, discourage it with various restrictions on replacing workers with machines, including years of mandatory severance pay in some cases. For now, workers in most developing economies would appear to have little to fear. India has been moving slowly because the economic balance still favors India's abundant cheap labor. But there are bureaucratic hurdles as well. Indian companies with more than 100 employees must obtain permission from the government before they fire anyone. Imagine what that involves. This lack of flexibility not only discourages the automation of existing factories, it also sends a powerful signal that any company or investor considering automation needs to think twice -- maybe three times -- before sinking money into a new modern factory. As the world's emerging economies industrialize and labor costs rise -- as is now happening in China and happened even earlier in South Korea and Taiwan -- the picture is likely to change. For now, however, workers in most developing economies would appear to have little to fear. Robots may be coming to their factories, but not any time soon. Also on WorldPost: -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and opposition party leader Sonia Gandhi were detained during a protest rally against the federal government.
Lisa Curtis Security, Asia Why Beijing should be a little worried these days... A preliminary agreement between Washington and New Delhi to share military logistics marks another step forward in their defense relationship, assuming the agreement is soon formalized. The two sides have been discussing the Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) as well as two other so-called “foundational defense agreements,” the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), for the last decade. The announcement of the agreement was made this week during U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s three-day visit to India, part of a two-week trip that also includes stops in the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. The logistics agreement, which will formally be called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), will allow both countries to access each other’s supplies, spare parts, and services from military bases and ports, making it easier to coordinate their military activities. In the past, India has provided logistics assistance to the U.S. on a case-by-case basis. The previous Manmohan Singh government balked at signing the foundational defense agreements. This was largely due to the influence of former Defense Minister A.K. Antony—a left-leaning politician with little interest in enhancing ties with the U.S. and who was loath to pursue policies that might irk the Chinese. There has always been underlying concern in India that signing the agreements would somehow sacrifice India’s military independence and provide the U.S. with too much information on India’s operational abilities and practices. Read full article
В суматохе событий на Большом Ближнем Востоке, сотрясаемом кровавыми военными конфликтами, и волатильности на мировых экономических площадках, оказывающей сильное негативное влияние на развитые и развивающиеся страны мира, не особо замеченным прошло событие, которое способно в средне- и долгосрочной перспективе оказать решающее влияние на изменение баланса сил в регионе Индийского океана, а то и в более широком плане.
A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might -- given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors -- lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case the result would be catastrophic. Besides causing the deaths of millions of Indians and Pakistanis, such a war might bring on “nuclear winter” on a planetary scale, leading to levels of suffering and death that would be beyond our comprehension. Alarmingly, the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has now entered a spine-chilling phase. That danger stems from Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward operating military bases along its entire frontier with India to deter possible aggression by tank-led invading forces. Most ominously, the decision to fire such a nuclear-armed missile with a range of 35 to 60 miles is to rest with local commanders. This is a perilous departure from the universal practice of investing such authority in the highest official of the nation. Such a situation has no parallel in the Washington-Moscow nuclear arms race of the Cold War era. When it comes to Pakistan’s strategic nuclear weapons, their parts are stored in different locations to be assembled only upon an order from the country’s leader. By contrast, tactical nukes are pre-assembled at a nuclear facility and shipped to a forward base for instant use. In addition to the perils inherent in this policy, such weapons would be vulnerable to misuse by a rogue base commander or theft by one of the many militant groups in the country. In the nuclear standoff between the two neighbors, the stakes are constantly rising as Aizaz Chaudhry, the highest bureaucrat in Pakistan’s foreign ministry, recently made clear. The deployment of tactical nukes, he explained, was meant to act as a form of “deterrence,” given India’s “Cold Start” military doctrine -- a reputed contingency plan aimed at punishing Pakistan in a major way for any unacceptable provocations like a mass-casualty terrorist strike against India. New Delhi refuses to acknowledge the existence of Cold Start. Its denials are hollow. As early as 2004, it was discussing this doctrine, which involved the formation of eight division-size Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs). These were to consist of infantry, artillery, armor, and air support, and each would be able to operate independently on the battlefield. In the case of major terrorist attacks by any Pakistan-based group, these IBGs would evidently respond by rapidly penetrating Pakistani territory at unexpected points along the border and advancing no more than 30 miles inland, disrupting military command and control networks while endeavoring to stay away from locations likely to trigger nuclear retaliation. In other words, India has long been planning to respond to major terror attacks with a swift and devastating conventional military action that would inflict only limited damage and so -- in a best-case scenario -- deny Pakistan justification for a nuclear response. Islamabad, in turn, has been planning ways to deter the Indians from implementing a Cold-Start-style blitzkrieg on their territory. After much internal debate, its top officials opted for tactical nukes. In 2011, the Pakistanis tested one successfully. Since then, according to Rajesh Rajagopalan, the New Delhi-based co-author of Nuclear South Asia: Keywords and Concepts, Pakistan seems to have been assembling four to five of these annually. All of this has been happening in the context of populations that view each other unfavorably. A typical survey in this period by the Pew Research Center found that 72% of Pakistanis had an unfavorable view of India, with 57% considering it as a serious threat, while on the other side 59% of Indians saw Pakistan in an unfavorable light. This is the background against which Indian leaders have said that a tactical nuclear attack on their forces, even on Pakistani territory, would be treated as a full-scale nuclear attack on India, and that they reserved the right to respond accordingly. Since India does not have tactical nukes, it could only retaliate with far more devastating strategic nuclear arms, possibly targeting Pakistani cities. According to a 2002 estimate by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a worst-case scenario in an Indo-Pakistani nuclear war could result in eight to 12 million fatalities initially, followed by many millions later from radiation poisoning. More recent studies have shown that up to a billion people worldwide might be put in danger of famine and starvation by the smoke and soot thrown into the troposphere in a major nuclear exchange in South Asia. The resulting “nuclear winter” and ensuing crop loss would functionally add up to a slowly developing global nuclear holocaust. Last November, to reduce the chances of such a catastrophic exchange happening, senior Obama administration officials met in Washington with Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, the final arbiter of that country’s national security policies, and urged him to stop the production of tactical nuclear arms. In return, they offered a pledge to end Islamabad’s pariah status in the nuclear field by supporting its entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to which India already belongs. Although no formal communiqué was issued after Sharif’s trip, it became widely known that he had rejected the offer. This failure was implicit in the testimony that DIA Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart gave to the Armed Services Committee this February. “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons continue to grow,” he said. “We are concerned that this growth, as well as the evolving doctrine associated with tactical [nuclear] weapons, increases the risk of an incident or accident.” Strategic Nuclear Warheads Since that DIA estimate of human fatalities in a South Asian nuclear war, the strategic nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan have continued to grow. In January 2016, according to a U.S. congressional report, Pakistan’s arsenal probably consisted of 110 to 130 nuclear warheads. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India has 90 to 110 of these. (China, the other regional actor, has approximately 260 warheads.) As the 1990s ended, with both India and Pakistan testing their new weaponry, their governments made public their nuclear doctrines. The National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine, for example, stated in August 1999 that “India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.” India’s foreign minister explained at the time that the “minimum credible deterrence” mentioned in the doctrine was a question of “adequacy,” not numbers of warheads. In subsequent years, however, that yardstick of “minimum credible deterrence” has been regularly recalibrated as India’s policymakers went on to commit themselves to upgrade the country’s nuclear arms program with a new generation of more powerful hydrogen bombs designed to be city-busters. In Pakistan in February 2000, President General Pervez Musharraf, who was also the army chief, established the Strategic Plan Division in the National Command Authority, appointing Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai as its director general. In October 2001, Kidwai offered an outline of the country’s updated nuclear doctrine in relation to its far more militarily and economically powerful neighbor, saying, “It is well known that Pakistan does not have a ‘no-first-use policy.’” He then laid out the “thresholds” for the use of nukes. The country’s nuclear weapons, he pointed out, were aimed solely at India and would be available for use not just in response to a nuclear attack from that country, but should it conquer a large part of Pakistan’s territory (the space threshold), or destroy a significant part of its land or air forces (the military threshold), or start to strangle Pakistan economically (the economic threshold), or politically destabilize the country through large-scale internal subversion (the domestic destabilization threshold). Of these, the space threshold was the most likely trigger. New Delhi as well as Washington speculated as to where the red line for this threshold might lie, though there was no unanimity among defense experts. Many surmised that it would be the impending loss of Lahore, the capital of Punjab, only 15 miles from the Indian border. Others put the red line at Pakistan’s sprawling Indus River basin. Within seven months of this debate, Indian-Pakistani tensions escalated steeply in the wake of an attack on an Indian military base in Kashmir by Pakistani terrorists in May 2002. At that time, Musharraf reiterated that he would not renounce his country’s right to use nuclear weapons first. The prospect of New Delhi being hit by an atom bomb became so plausible that U.S. Ambassador Robert Blackwill investigated building a hardened bunker in the Embassy compound to survive a nuclear strike. Only when he and his staff realized that those in the bunker would be killed by the aftereffects of the nuclear blast did they abandon the idea. Unsurprisingly, the leaders of the two countries found themselves staring into the nuclear abyss because of a violent act in Kashmir, a disputed territory which had led to three conventional wars between the South Asian neighbors since 1947, the founding year of an independent India and Pakistan. As a result of the first of these in 1947 and 1948, India acquired about half of Kashmir, with Pakistan getting a third, and the rest occupied later by China. Kashmir, the Root Cause of Enduring Enmity The Kashmir dispute dates back to the time when the British-ruled Indian subcontinent was divided into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, and indirectly ruled princely states were given the option of joining either one. In October 1947, the Hindu maharaja of Muslim-majority Kashmir signed an “instrument of accession” with India after Muslim tribal raiders from Pakistan invaded his realm. The speedy arrival of Indian troops deprived the invaders of the capital city, Srinagar. Later, they battled regular Pakistani troops until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire on January 1, 1949. The accession document required that Kashmiris be given an opportunity to choose between India and Pakistan once peace was restored. This has not happened yet, and there is no credible prospect of it taking place. Fearing a defeat in such a plebiscite, given the pro-Pakistani sentiments prevalent among the territory’s majority Muslims, India found several ways of blocking U.N. attempts to hold one. New Delhi then conferred a special status on the part of Kashmir it controlled and held elections for its legislature, while Pakistan watched with trepidation. In September 1965, when its verbal protests proved futile, Pakistan attempted to change the status quo through military force. It launched a war that once again ended in stalemate and another U.N.-sponsored truce, which required the warring parties to return to the 1949 ceasefire line. A third armed conflict between the two neighbors followed in December 1971, resulting in Pakistan’s loss of its eastern wing, which became an independent Bangladesh. Soon after, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to convince Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to agree to transform the 460-mile-long ceasefire line in Kashmir (renamed the “Line of Control”) into an international border. Unwilling to give up his country’s demand for a plebiscite in all of pre-1947 Kashmir, Bhutto refused. So the stalemate continued. During the military rule of General Zia al Haq (1977-1988), Pakistan initiated a policy of bleeding India with a thousand cuts by sponsoring terrorist actions both inside Indian Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. Delhi responded by bolstering its military presence in Kashmir and brutally repressing those of its inhabitants demanding a plebiscite or advocating separation from India, committing in the process large-scale human rights violations. In order to stop infiltration by militants from Pakistani Kashmir, India built a double barrier of fencing 12-feet high with the space between planted with hundreds of land mines. Later, that barrier would be equipped as well with thermal imaging devices and motion sensors to help detect infiltrators. By the late 1990s, on one side of the Line of Control were 400,000 Indian soldiers and on the other 300,000 Pakistani troops. No wonder President Bill Clinton called that border “the most dangerous place in the world.” Today, with the addition of tactical nuclear weapons to the mix, it is far more so. Kashmir, the Toxic Bone of Contention Even before Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nukes, tensions between the two neighbors were perilously high. Then suddenly, at the end of 2015, a flicker of a chance for the normalization of relations appeared. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a cordial meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on the latter’s birthday, December 25th, in Lahore. But that hope was dashed when, in the early hours of January 2nd, four heavily armed Pakistani terrorists managed to cross the international border in Punjab, wearing Indian Army fatigues, and attacked an air force base in Pathankot. A daylong gun battle followed. By the time order was restored on January 5th, all the terrorists were dead, but so were seven Indian security personnel and one civilian. The United Jihad Council, an umbrella organization of separatist militant groups in Kashmir, claimed credit for the attack. The Indian government, however, insisted that the operation had been masterminded by Masood Azhar, leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e Muhammad (Army of Muhammad). As before, Kashmir was the motivating drive for the anti-India militants. Mercifully, the attack in Pathankot turned out to be a minor event, insufficient to heighten the prospect of war, though it dissipated any goodwill generated by the Modi-Sharif meeting. There is little doubt, however, that a repeat of the atrocity committed by Pakistani infiltrators in Mumbai in November 2008, leading to the death of 166 people and the burning of that city’s landmark Taj Mahal Hotel, could have consequences that would be dire indeed. The Indian doctrine calling for massive retaliation in response to a successful terrorist strike on that scale could mean the almost instantaneous implementation of its Cold Start strategy. That, in turn, would likely lead to Pakistan’s use of tactical nuclear weapons, thus opening up the real possibility of a full-blown nuclear holocaust with global consequences. Beyond the long-running Kashmiri conundrum lies Pakistan’s primal fear of the much larger and more powerful India, and its loathing of India’s ambition to become the hegemonic power in South Asia. Irrespective of party labels, governments in New Delhi have pursued a muscular path on national security aimed at bolstering the country’s defense profile. Overall, Indian leaders are resolved to prove that their country is entering what they fondly call “the age of aspiration.” When, in July 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh officially launched a domestically built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the INS Arihant, it was hailed as a dramatic step in that direction. According to defense experts, that vessel was the first of its kind not to be built by one of the five recognized nuclear powers: the United States, Britain, China, France, and Russia. India’s Two Secret Nuclear Sites On the nuclear front in India, there was more to come. Last December, an investigation by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity revealed that the Indian government was investing $100 million to build a top secret nuclear city spread over 13 square miles near the village of Challakere, 160 miles north of the southern city of Mysore. When completed, possibly as early as 2017, it will be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities.” Among the project’s aims is to expand the government’s nuclear research, to produce fuel for the country’s nuclear reactors, and to help power its expanding fleet of nuclear submarines. It will be protected by a ring of garrisons, making the site a virtual military facility. Another secret project, the Indian Rare Materials Plant, near Mysore is already in operation. It is a new nuclear enrichment complex that is feeding the country’s nuclear weapons programs, while laying the foundation for an ambitious project to create an arsenal of hydrogen (thermonuclear) bombs. The overarching aim of these projects is to give India an extra stockpile of enriched uranium fuel that could be used in such future bombs. As a military site, the project at Challakere will not be open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency or by Washington, since India’s 2008 nuclear agreement with the U.S. excludes access to military-related facilities. These enterprises are directed by the office of the prime minister, who is charged with overseeing all atomic energy projects. India’s Atomic Energy Act and its Official Secrets Act place everything connected to the country’s nuclear program under wraps. In the past, those who tried to obtain a fuller picture of the Indian arsenal and the facilities that feed it have been bludgeoned to silence. Little wonder then that a senior White House official was recently quoted as saying, “Even for us, details of the Indian program are always sketchy and hard facts thin on the ground.” He added, “Mysore is being constantly monitored, and we are constantly monitoring progress in Challakere.” However, according to Gary Samore, a former Obama administration coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, “India intends to build thermonuclear weapons as part of its strategic deterrent against China. It is unclear, when India will realize this goal of a larger and more powerful arsenal, but they will.” Once manufactured, there is nothing to stop India from deploying such weapons against Pakistan. “India is now developing very big bombs, hydrogen bombs that are city-busters,” said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a leading Pakistani nuclear and national security analyst. “It is not interested in… nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield; it is developing nuclear weapons for eliminating population centers.” In other words, as the Kashmir dispute continues to fester, inducing periodic terrorist attacks on India and fueling the competition between New Delhi and Islamabad to outpace each other in the variety and size of their nuclear arsenals, the peril to South Asia in particular and the world at large only grows. Dilip Hiro, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, among many other works, of The Longest August: The Unflinching Rivalry between India and Pakistan (Nation Books). His 36th and latest book is The Age of Aspiration: Money, Power, and Conflict in Globalizing India (The New Press). Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's former prime minister Manmohan Singh criticized his successor Narendra Modi's government in a rare interview, saying it has failed to capitalize on lower commodity prices to propel growth and is inconsistent in its policy towards neighboring Pakistan.
Индия и Япония становятся всё ближе друг к другу. Высокопоставленные представители правительств обеих стран высоко оценили друг друга во время визитов на высоком уровне и подписали ряд соглашений о безопасности, торговле и инвестициях. Обе страны понимают, что их сближение будет иметь серьёзные экономические преимущества. Американские аналитики считают, что это «дружба против Китая».
Несмотря на нешуточное давление со стороны США, президент Афганистана Хамид Карзай отказывается подписывать с американцами так называемое «Соглашение о сотрудничестве в сфере безопасности». Это значит, что военный контингент западных стран не будет иметь юридических оснований для того, чтобы остаться в Афганистане после 2014 года. И американцам всё же придётся уйти. Карта в полном размере: Афганистан - силы ISAF Напомним: срок пребывания коалиционных сил в Афганистане истекает в наступившем году. Барак Обама обещал своим избирателям, что войска будут выведены. Но, несмотря на это, США прилагают в настоящее время огромные усилия, чтобы всё же остаться в Афганистане. Сейчас там строятся 9 новых военных баз. Общий военный контингент должен составить около 15 000 военнослужащих. Союзники по НАТО поддержали США. Всё решено и всё согласовано. О чем идет речь - Сейчас там строятся 9 новых военных баз Глава МИД России озвучил информацию, согласно которой США и НАТО занимаются строительством 9 новых военных баз на территории Афганистана. И это в то время, когда группировка оккупационных войск (иначе именуемых международными силами безопасности) вроде бы должна Афганистан покинуть в 2014 году. «Мы задаём вопросы, что является целью этого остаточного присутствия, и нам говорят, что это в учебных целях и только для точечных операций в случае необходимости. Это всё ещё не очень прозрачно», http://www.afghanistan.ru/doc/64964.html — сказал Сергей Лавров. Между тем, вопросы эти носят скорее дипломатический характер. Они служат для того, чтобы лицемерная американская политика в регионе не осталась незамеченной. И нашему МИДу, и всем думающим людям давно понятно, что цели США в Афганистане с самого начала были далеки от «борьбы с международным терроризмом». Географическое положение и исторические особенности Афганистана таковы, что позволяют влиять на обстановку как в Средней Азии и Прикаспийском регионе, так и в Пакистане, который является ключевой страной для будущего Южной и Юго-Восточной Азии. И поэтому американцы пришли в Афганистан ещё во времена Советско-Афганской войны, а затем под благовидным предлогом закрепили там своё военное присутствие. Официально США вошли в Афганистан для борьбы с Аль-Каидой. Но реально им противостояло движение Талибан. Оно не имело глобальных геополитических амбиций и было сугубо региональным явлением, охватывавшим пуштунскую часть афганского населения (и частично пакистанского). Оно даже не имело централизованных органов управления, которые могли бы направить усилия организации на внешние цели. Результатом американской деятельности в Афганистане стало превращение этой страны в оплот фундаментализма и международную базу подготовки боевиков. В тренировочных лагерях, находящихся в стране «побеждённого терроризма», проходят подготовку бандиты со всего мира. Они несут смерть и хаос повсюду, от Африки до Индии и Средней Азии. Наркотические потоки, распространившиеся из Афганистана по всем странам Евразии, составляют материальную базу для террористических организаций. Движение Талибан, в боях с иностранными интервентами получившее глобальные амбиции, без сомнения снова захватит власть в этой стране. Только теперь это уже не сугубо региональная сила, а часть международного радикального движения. Теперь, когда дело сделано, американцы оказались вполне способны договориться с талибами. Они строят 9 новых военных баз, чтобы продолжать оказывать влияние на обстановку в регионе. Они и не собирались никуда уходить. Ответ на вопрос Лаврова прост. Американцы остаются в Афганистане ровно для того, для чего они туда вошли. Чтобы дестабилизировать с его территории и с помощью окрепших местных радикальных сил — весь Евразийский континент. И пока весь регион не будет дестабилизирован — их цели не будут достигнуты. И, следовательно, они оттуда не уйдут. Для нас в этой ситуации важно, во-первых, открыто указывать на лицемерие американской деятельности, объяснять всем, каковы истинные намерения «глобальных миротворцев». Во-вторых — закупорить снаружи этот очаг нестабильности вместе с находящимися там американцами. И мы способны это сделать. В конце концов, не американцам, а окружающим странам придётся расхлёбывать заваренную американцами кашу. И поэтому коллективным силам ОДКБ, Китаю, Индии и Ирану пора начать координировать свои усилия, направленные на стабильность у себя дома. Иначе этим по-прежнему будут заниматься заокеанские незваные гости. http://www.odnako.org/blogs/show_30007/ Чтобы прочитать, нажмите на треугольник справа Дело за малым — нужно формальное соглашение с правительством Афганистана, разрешающее американцам и их союзникам остаться. Правительство Хамида Карзая до последнего времени считалось марионеточным, и от него никак не ожидали сопротивления подобному развитию событий. Но Хамид Карзай преподнёс американцам большой сюрприз. Не подписывая соглашение, он в одиночку оказался способен добиться полного вывода западных войск. Все западные наблюдатели уверены, что соглашение всё же будет подписано, как только Хамид Карзай выторгует за него побольше выгод. Однако мы позволим себе сомневаться в этом. И вот почему. В полном размере: Афганистан - карта перехода власти от НАТО к правительству Подписав соглашение и оставив американцев на территории своей страны, Хамид Карзай вовсе не сохранит своё текущее положение. Пятнадцатитысячный контингент западных войск — это смехотворно мало для сдерживания движения Талибан, Исламской партии Афганистана и других вооружённых группировок, объединивших усилия в борьбе с оккупантами. Война длится 13 лет. Однако альянс западных стран не смог добиться победы над своим противником. Конечно, это если считать, что разгром радикальных группировок вообще предполагался. Об истинных целях США в Афганистане можно поговорить отдельно. Но думать, что пятнадцатитысячный контингент сможет справиться с задачей, которая оказалась невыполнимой для стотысячного — могут только дети. А Хамид Карзай к этой категории, безусловно, не относится. Он, не без оснований обвинявший американцев в сговоре с талибами за своей спиной, прекрасно понимает, что небольшой контингент американских войск никак не способен будет помочь в сдерживании вооружённой оппозиции. К тому же одно из условий Хамида Карзая — подписание соглашения после апрельских выборов — не устраивает американцев. Они настаивали на немедленном подписании. Госсекретарь США Джон Керри даже заявлял, что соглашение можно подписать без участия строптивого афганского президента. А это значит, что сами американцы не верят в возможность сохранения нынешней афганской власти и стремятся подписать соглашение, пока это ещё возможно. То есть они уже списали Карзая со счетов и наверняка действительно договорились о пребывании своего контингента с талибами. Просто подписывать подобное соглашение с движением Талибан открыто для них неприемлемо по имиджевым соображениям. Госсекретарь США Джон Керри даже заявлял, что соглашение можно подписать без участия строптивого афганского президента Афгано-американское соглашение о сотрудничестве в сфере безопасности может быть подписано без участия президента ИРА Хамида Карзая, заявил накануне госсекретарь США Джон Керри. Напомним, что выдвижение нынешним главой Афганистана дополнительных условий подписания документа вызвало недоумение и беспокойство со стороны США и других стран, задействованных в миссии МССБ. Как передаёт информационное агентство “Reuters”, в ходе недавней пресс-конференции в Брюсселе Джон Керри предложил несколько альтернативных способов заключения соглашения, при которых не требуется участие президента Хамида Карзая. «Соглашение не обязательно должно быть подписано президентом, – подчеркнул госсекретарь. – Его может подписать министр обороны или правительство, главное, чтобы кто-либо смог принять на себя ответственность». Керри подчеркнул, что скорое подписание соглашения необходимо в целях своевременной подготовки к новой миссии на территории ИРА. Кроме того, госсекретарь отметил, что отказ главы государства не отражает позицию афганского руководства. https://afghanistan.ru/doc/66494.html Чтобы прочитать, нажмите на треугольник справа И ещё. У нас среди многих уважаемых экспертов и наблюдателей распространено мнение, что мы больше заинтересованы в присутствии военной силы НАТО в Афганистане, чем в её выводе. Такая точка зрения основана на предположении, что американцы сдерживают радикальные силы от контроля всей территории Афганистана. И стоит войскам НАТО уйти — как российским пограничникам и военным снова придётся сдерживать движение Талибан уже на границах Средней Азии. Однако такое предположение не соответствует реальности. За годы пребывания войск западных стран в Афганистане эта страна не стала меньшей проблемой для региональной безопасности. Скорее наоборот. Карта в полном размере: Национальности Афганистана Афганистан используют как тренировочный лагерь боевики самых разнообразных радикальных группировок. Мягко выражаясь, под носом у американцев проходили подготовку боевики из ливийского Бенгази, которые затем помогли НАТО уничтожить Каддафи и Ливию. Там же обучается немалая часть террористического интернационала, воюющего в Сирии. В Афганистане под боком у коалиционных сил спокойно проходят обучение члены террористических организаций из России и стран Средней Азии. Правительство Пакистана ведёт на своей территории перманентную войну с радикальными группировками, которые действуют также и в Афганистане. А «помощь» американцев в борьбе с этими группировками заключалась в ударах с беспилотных аппаратов по территории Пакистана. При ничтожном военном значении таких ударов они имеют одно важнейшее последствие — население северо-западных провинций поддерживает радикалов в борьбе как с американцами, так и с собственным правительством. И теперь сугубо афганская проблема радикальных вооружённых группировок стала реальной головной болью для правительства Пакистана. Не стоит сомневаться, что после неминуемой победы в Афганистане они направят свою активность на борьбу с пакистанскими властями. А ведь Пакистан — не только ядерная держава, но и важнейший транспортный коридор Китая. Карта в полном размере: Религии Афганистана Иными словами, до сих пор американцы были в Афганистане фактором, не снижающим, а увеличивающим нестабильность. Объективно говоря, в Афганистане американцы вели борьбу не с транснациональными террористическими организациями, а с группировками, движениями и отдельными полевыми командирами, не имевшими глобальных амбиций вне Афганистана. И логичным результатом этой борьбы стало превращение сугубо афганских группировок в элементы всемирного джихада, а самого Афганистана — в головную боль для всего мира. И вряд ли это положение изменится, если на смену стотысячному контингенту придёт пятнадцатитысячный, имеющий неясные задачи и цели. Реальной военной силой, способной остановить продвижение вооружённой оппозиции, такой контингент обладать не будет. А чтобы обучать и помогать афганской полиции и армии, американцы давно не требуются. Ещё в конце 2012 года член Политбюро ЦК КПК Чжоу Юнкан подписал с афганским правительством соглашение, аналогичное тому, которое сейчас хотят подписать США. Китай уже готов обучать и снабжать афганские силовые структуры, активно помогая им в борьбе с террористическими группировками. Аналогичные соглашения подписаны и с Россией. В конце декабря Афганистан с рабочим визитом посетил Сергей Нарышкин. Там он объявил, что Россия готова увеличить объём подготовки специалистов афганских силовых структур и объёмы поставки оружия и боеприпасов. Ранее Сергей Шойгу объявил о создании в Афганистане центра обучения для подготовки сапёров. Ранее Сергей Шойгу объявил о создании в Афганистане центра обучения для подготовки сапёров Россия собирается оказать поддержку Афганской национальной армии в деле обучения военных инженеров для работы по обезвреживанию взрывных устройств, заявил накануне министр обороны РФ Сергей Шойгу. «Мы работаем над созданием центра обучения для подготовки сапёров, которым предстоит обезвреживать мины в Афганистане», – сообщил глава Минобороны в ходе недавней встречи со студентами ведущих российских вузов в Москве. Шойгу уточнил, что в целях преодоления языкового барьера в рамках проекта в занятиях будут принимать участие переводчики, владеющие широко распространёнными диалектами Афганистана. Стоит отметить, что перспектива вывода основной части военного контингента МССБ из ИРА длительное время является источником обеспокоенности не только стран-соседей, но и российского руководства. Москва уже прилагала усилия для стабилизации обстановки в ИРА, в том числе в деле поставок вертолётов Ми-17, участия в антинаркотических операциях, а также оказывая содействие охране афгано-таджикской границы. В настоящее время российские власти намерены продолжить помощь Афганистану в борьбе с угрозами безопасности. Напомним, что около недели назад РФ и Индия договорились о строительстве завода по ремонту оружия. http://afghanistan.ru/doc/70447.html Чтобы прочитать, нажмите на треугольник справа Совместно с Индией Россия восстановит в Афганистане завод по ремонту оружия. Некоторые соглашения в сфере безопасности Хамид Карзай подписал и во время визита в Иран. Россия восстановит в Афганистане завод по ремонту оружия Индия и Россия договорились о совместном восстановлении завода по ремонту оружия в Афганистане. Как заявил посол Афганистана в Индии Шаида Абдали, «эксперты уже провели предварительные встречи по этому вопросу и сейчас обсуждается детальный план восстановления завода», передаёт индийское информационное агентство «Indian Express». Абдали, который ранее занимал пост заместителя советника президента ИРА по вопросам национальной безопасности, также отметил, что Индия также могла бы направить в Афганистан инструкторов для обучения афганских ВС в новом военном институте. По его словам, речь идёт приблизительно о 120 инструкторах. Напомним, что с 12 по 15 декабря Хамид Карзай совершит визит в Индию. На 13 декабря запланирована его встреча с индийским премьер-министром Манмоханом Сингхом. http://afghanistan.ru/doc/70225.html Чтобы прочитать, нажмите на треугольник справа В общем, борьбу с террористическими организациями в Афганистане, с которой не справились США и НАТО, уже готовы взять на себя страны, которые прямо заинтересованы в успешности этой борьбы. И думается, что если американцы не будут мешать — Афганистан станет более безопасным местом. А уж о том, чтобы американцы не смогли остаться, оказался вполне способен позаботиться Хамид Карзай, ещё недавно считавшийся их марионеткой. Вероятно, для США это стало большим разочарованием. Собираясь сдать Афганистан террористическим группировкам и списав со счетов своих недавних союзников, американцы явно не могли предположить, что их самих уже списали из решения судьбы этой страны. Довольно забавно, что до последнего момента американцы искренне этого не понимали. Так, пытаясь оказать давление на Хамида Карзая, спецпредставитель США по Афганистану Джеймс Доббинс умудрился выдать желаемое за действительное. Он сообщил, что будто бы Владимир Путин лично просил Хамида Карзая подписать соглашение. Нашему МИДу даже пришлось опровергать мечты американцев: «Президент РФ в ходе беседы с Хамидом Карзаем «на полях» саммита ШОС в Бишкеке 13 сентября заявил, что суверенное афганское правительство вправе самостоятельно решать вопрос о подписании вышеупомянутого документа. При этом было подчёркнуто, что Кабул должен ясно представлять последствия такого шага и не допустить, чтобы он вступил в противоречие с интересами третьих стран». http://www.rg.ru/2013/12/16/mid-anons.html Стоит заметить, что «третьи страны» уже давно видят в деятельности США на Евразийском пространстве дестабилизирующую роль. Нельзя не порадоваться, что евразийские страны начинают сообща избавляться от американцев в своём доме. Причём мягко и совершенно без лишних разговоров. В наступившем году США и их союзников ждёт ещё много сюрпризов. http://www.odnako.org/blogs/show_35892/
Власти Индии и России ведут переговоры о строительстве нефтепровода, по которому в Индию будет поставляться неочищенная нефть, пишет The Financial Express со ссылкой на высокопоставленного чиновника индийского внешнеполитического ведомства. По словам совместного секретаря Аджай Бисария, данный вопрос обсуждался в ходе визита в Россию премьер-министра Индии Манмохан Сингх в конце октября. Общий объем вложений в строительство трубопровода может достигнуть $30 млрд.