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NATO and Afghanistan

Recently, NATO has started discussing the plans for the future of the United States and its allies in the near future. They have proposed to keep Afghanistan’s security forces at 352,000 troops until 2018. This plan is to ensure the stability of Afghanistan and to prove the United States and its allies continued support for next year. Last year, NATO made an agreement in the fiscal package that would reduce the forces in Afghanistan to less than 240,000 troops by December of 2014. The NATO leaders made that decision because they felt the United States’ involvement is too expensive for the Afghan government and its allies to keep up with. Thursday, NATO officials said they are examining a plan that will last at least five years and will keep Afghanistan’s troops at a higher level. The alliance has not yet made it clear what the plan is, because they still have to worry about how the cost will be split up. Defense secretary Leon E. Panetta joined his counterparts at the alliances headquarters to start a two-day conference. This is the first conference since President Obama’s State of the Union address where he announced that he would be pulling 34,000 troops out of Afghanistan within one year. After this statement was made, the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan started to point this out to the Afghan government, making it seem like the United States and its allies are abandoning Afghanistan. Fearing that Afghan leaders and citizens will begin to believe what the insurgent groups are saying, NATO has started discussing expanded financial aid and keeping a small group of American and allied troops in Afghanistan as proof that they have not been abandoned. One NATO official said, “The will and the endurance and the commitment of the coalition equals the confidence and hope on the part of the Afghans.”

nato In this course, Modern Presidential Roles were discussed according to the ones discussed by Clinton Rossiter in his book The American Presidency. Two of the roles of a President is their role as Chief Diplomat and the Commander-in-Chief of the army. As chief diplomat, a president decides what American diplomats and ambassadors should say when dealing with foreign government. Rossiter says, “his position is paramount, if not indeed dominant.” (pg. 203) President Obama takes this role when he is deciding what to say to the Afghan government. As Commander-in-Chief of the army, President Obama is in charge of all of the United States’ armed forces. According to Rossiter, “In peace and war he is the supreme commander of the armed forces, living guarantee of the American belief in ‘the supremacy of the civil over military authority” (pg. 201).

Events like these help me better understand the jobs a President has. Although Rossiter did a good job explaining the jobs a president has, this event has made it clearer. As Chief Diplomat,  the president not only has to worry about the United States, but he must also worry about our involvement in other places. This even has also helped me better understand President Obama’s role as Commander-in-Chief of the United States’ armed forces. Every military general and admiral has to take their orders from the president. Having this power, President Obama also gets to appoint generals and admirals. In this case, NATO representatives believe President Obama is going to appoint General Philip M. Breedlove, who is the commander of the United States Air Force units that are currently in Europe and Africa, as the alliance’s supreme military commander.

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  1. February 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Kenzie this is a good solid post. I really liked how you brought class material into your post and made it relevant to the posts subject. My main critique would be that it seems that you only use the book source and that the actual State of the Union speech to support your argument and I would encourage you for the future to use maybe an article as a supplement. Great post though and I really liked the perspective you gave.

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