Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Morning by East River

A beutitful morning in New York. The summer seems to be lingering on her as well.

Just heading for breakfast a couple of blocks from the UN building on East River.

The morning TV news is dominated by different aspects of security and foreign affairs issues as the controversies ahead of the mid-term elections are increasing.

A news report last week about a secret National Intelligence Estimates that evidently states the obvious in claiming that the situation in Iraq has become a focus for recruiting terrorists is at the centre of the debate at the moment.

The Democrats are obviously making the most of it. To counter the Bush claim that he has made America safer is politically important.

But administration spokesmen are saying that this is too limited a view of what the NIE is actually saying, and in all probability it is also saying that the US had had some success in reducing the possibilities of the al-Qaeda core network.

All fairly obvious. You don't need leaks from a secret report to understand that. And it does not seem to be that much to argue about.

But with the elections looming, the debate is getting increasingly partisan. Why did not Clinton get at bin Laden? Why hasn't Bush caught him? What has the war in Iraq really meant for the long-term security of the country?

Today Afghan President Karzai pays a visit to the White House. Meanwhile, reports speak about increased fighting primarily in southern Afghanistan, with an Italian soldier killed yesterday.

It's obvious that there is a need to take a hard look at the combined operation in Afghanistan. A new Petersberg conference bringing all of the actors together might well be needed shortly.

Meanwhile, I notice that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has headed off to Montenegro. Nice place, but doesn't feel that central to what's happening at the moment.

New York itself seems to be winding down somewhat from all the stress during the 61st UN General Assembly. Limousines, police cars and blocked roads as the world's leader got here to have their say.

I'll hover over to the UN during the day to pick up the latest gossip. And then it's time for the Swedish-American celebrations in the evening.