- Strengthen American democracy;
- Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans and
- Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.
Clinton made several very interesting comments which seemed to be largely ignored during the question session. One was that Obama/Clinton is formulating a plan to bring the budgeting of a New National Security department to include the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. This is huge. The plan to stop the competition for funds and have the allocation be more evenly distributed to take all important approaches to our National Security.
I will be arriving in Tokyo tomorrow (on Thursday) and will be in Naha, Okinawa this next Monday.
Hatoyama could not withstand the pressure from Obama -- who gave Hatoyama the kind of icy treatment that the White House has also been trying to give Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is Hatoyama wilted, and Netanyahu seems to be thriving.
I recently wrote a piece on the odd dynamic between President Obama and two different Prime Ministers -- Netanyahu and Hatoyama -- for the Kyodo News Service. It has already run in Japanese, but I post the entire English language version here:
President Barack Obama seems to be smashing the political fortunes of Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. On the other hand, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been rebuffing and constraining Obama. Obama and China's Hu Jintao seem to be stalemated, playing jan ken pon over and over and over again.
"Defining challenges" for leaders and nations are those that represent the highest stakes wins and potential losses. The United States, for example, invested enormous blood and treasure in triggering change in Iraq and the broader Middle East and thus the Middle East today is a self-chosen defining challenge for the country. For Barack Obama, there were other defining challenges that he promised to stand by - including closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, "stopping" climate change, ending the war in Iraq, achieving Israel-Palestine peace and delivering the opportunity of universal health care coverage to American citizens.
Yukio Hatoyama also articulated his own defining challenges - including ending bureaucratic control of government and restoring genuine political leadership, opening up Japan's official records of secret deals done with the U.S., enhancing the quality of life for average Japanese citizens, closing the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa, improving Japan's position and sovereignty within the US-Japan Security Relationship andbuilding stronger relations with China among other challenges.
For Netanyahu, the defining challenge has been to simultaneously protect Israel's security interests and expansion in the Occupied Territories while rallying support to thwart Iran's nuclear pretensions. For Hu Jintao, it has been to incrementally increase China's global economic and geostrategic position while maintaining high economic growth and not destabilizing the country or creating new costly burdens and responsibilities for China.
The interactions between these leaders show how power is deployed and measured, created and destroyed. Netanyahu and Hu Jintao have played their hands best. Obama has been beaten, constrained, but still has global leverage, and Yukio Hatoyama seems to be on the constantly losing end of jan ken pon. ... http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/
Update: Just read this superb short piece by Nathan Gardels on Huffington Post on the tremors in the geostrategic order. Gardels succinctly refutes the notion that there "is no space" between the US and Israel on security issues by referencing the recent nuclear non-proliferation treaty resolution. He also illustrates how China is disavowing an unconditional relationship with North Korea. The world is in flux -- fascinating.