Monday, April 20, 2009

National Security: Put Politics Aside claims that Iran and Venezuela (whose leader appears to be President Obama's new best friend), are partnering up, and not in a good way:
Just two days after US President Barack Hussein Obama shared a controversial and landmark handshake with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has released a study analyzing the flowering alliance between the increasingly anti-Western Latin America and the virulently anti-Israel Iran.
The study was conducted at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to Israeli intelligence and terrorism issues.
According to the study, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using anti-Western Hugo Chavez as a springboard into several Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, where he intends to establish a religious, terrorist, political and economic foothold in South America. Iran has already made major inroads in its relationship with Venezuela and Bolivia, largely based on shared anti-American sentiments.
Click here to access the full IICC report.

In general, it is understandable that a new administration would want to make a clean break from its predecessor. However, whether or not the above study has validity, the London Telegraph reminds the Obama administration that when dealing with adversaries on the world stage, U.S. national security requires more than mere political grandstanding:
Whether it is his appeal to Iran's fundamentalist mullahs to unclench their fists, his reluctance to confront North Korea's nuclear activities or his "new beginning" with Cuba, the President wants to be everybody's friend, as he was on last year's campaign trail. But a change of leadership at the White House does not mean the world has suddenly become a safer place...
So Mr Obama must take care when he attempts to score cheap political points on national security issues, as he did last week with his unnecessary decision to release previously classified details of the legal opinions authorising the use of the extreme interrogation techniques – torture, to you and me – that were drawn up by the Bush administration...
So why did Mr Obama reopen old wounds by publishing the Justice Department's legal opinions? The answer lies more with the President's desire to heap humiliation on his predecessor than his stated aim of transparency on this dark episode. Playing party politics with sensitive security issues might work well on the campaign trail, where candidates can do so without consequences. But in office it is another matter, and runs the risk of compromising the effectiveness of intelligence and security agencies

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