The White House has also announced that it is going to rush 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 38,000 already there. Altogether an addition of 30,000 new troops is planned.
This would bring total US troops in Afghanistan to 55,000 immediately and 68,000 later in the year. That is, on either side of the 60,000-troop number advocated by leading Democratic elected officials five years ago.
Om March 9 the second-in-command of American forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, stated that only 12,000 American troops would be withdrawn from Iraq this year.
If his estimate proves to be correct and if as many as 30,000 more US troops are deployed to Afghanistan, the net change in war zone deployments for 2009 would be 18,000 more than in the preceding year.
Indications that the current administration would be anything other than a seamless continuation of its predecessor in the foreign and military policy spheres should have been dispelled when Joseph Biden was selected (or appointed) Obama's vice-presidential running mate last August.
In his 35 years in the US Senate Biden has never opposed and has instead avidly supported every American war of aggression including the attacks on Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Iraq in 1991, Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001.
He voted for the Iraq War Resolution (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution) in the Senate in October of 2002.
Immediately before his selection as Obama's running mate Biden visited the Georgian capital of Tbilisi only days after the nation's American-trained, -armed and -advised invading army was driven out of South Ossetia by Russian forces.
How close the world was to a direct confrontation between its two major nuclear powers will be revealed by historians, but Biden further inflamed still fresh Russian fears and resentment (several hundred Russian soldiers had been killed and wounded in five days by a US proxy army) by giving fulsome assurances to the US client regime in Georgia of its unstinting support and pledging $1 billion in post-war aid.
As a reward for this provocative mission, less than a week later he was chosen as Obama's vice-presidential pick and the future second-in-command and potential power behind the throne in the White House.
Two days after his election victory Barrack Obama named Rahm Emanuel as his presidential chief of staff.
Emanuel is a hawk who supported the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and during the first Gulf War while half a million of his fellow citizens were sent to Saudi Arabia for the impending war with Iraq served with the Israeli Defense Forces.
After this display of patriotic zeal he was awarded the posts of Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy in the Clinton administration from 1993 onward and, after making $16 million in three years as an investment banker, essentially had a congressional seat (that of now discredited former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich) conferred on him in the 2002 election.
Next Obama announced that he was retaining Bush's appointee as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA director with a doctorate degree in Sovietology and Russian studies from Georgetown University, and was naming former United States Marine Corps four-star general and Bush administration appointed NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of United States European Command James Jones as his National Security Adviser.
It was under Jones' double tenure at the US European Command and NATO that the Pentagon's first new regional command in over half a century, African Command (AFRICOM), was devised and nurtured.
The Obama foreign policy triad was rounded out with the nomination and subsequent appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Clinton has never been timid in touting her foreign policy credentials or appropriating credit for achievements, real and imagined, both during her six-year stint in the US Senate from 2003-2008 and as the nation's first lady from 1993-2001.
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