Obama stiffs Zinni?

Weird:

Washington Times – EXCLUSIVE: Obama backs out on Iraq appointment
The Obama administration asked retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq but abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation, Gen. Zinni said Tuesday.

Gen. Zinni, a former commander of Central Command, told The Washington Times that he had been offered the job by the White House national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, two weeks ago and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed the offer on Jan. 26.

“I started making arrangements,” Gen. Zinni said, but became concerned because he heard nothing further from the State Department or White House. He called Gen. Jones Monday night and was told that Christopher Hill, the outgoing assistant secretary of State for East Asia, was getting the job.

Chris Hill is an interesting choice (in the context of North Korea, at least), but I can’t think of a reason why Obama would offer, and then withdraw, the Iraqi Ambassadorship to Tony Zinni.

Putin’s priorities are clear

But then, he’s too busy turning the Nazis into the only legitimate opposition in Russia to fight the Taliban:

The Weekly Standard
While Obama deals with the assorted tax problems of his nominees, the world continues to turn. The AP reports that “Kyrgyzstan will no longer allow US to use airbase that supports military operations in Afghanistan.” This as the Kyrgyz president arrives in Moscow for a state visit the agenda for which is to include Russia forgiving Kyrgyzstan’s debt and providing nearly $2 billion in loans and new investments.

This presents an opportunity. Historically, politics in Afghanistan was split between Iran, India, and Russia supporting the multiethnic north, and Pakistan supporting the Pashtun south. If Russia is actively preventing support of the Afghan government (which is a very “northern” institution), we may seeing de facto between Russia and Pakistan in supporting the Pashtun south.

Which means an Indian-Iranian-American alliance in support of Afghanistan’s national government is possible.

iran_and_the_central_seam

I hope Barack Obama is paying attention!

Pelosi sabotaging Obama?

Me, in google chat yesterday:

Pelosi is trying to sabotage the process, to show that she is important to Obama

Obama wants to be an independent center of graviity — his talk of ‘bipartisanship’ really means ‘I should be free to do what I want, without being hostage to any one group”

Speaker the House naturally doesn’t like that

Before FDR, the Speaker was indespitably more powerful than the President

and every now and again the Speaker and the President tussle, whether hwen they are in opposite parties (Clinton-Gingrich) or the same party (Say, during Carter)

it’s a power play

showing him that she has power to cause a lot of problems for him

And in the news, today:

The Weekly Standard
Rep. Jim Cooper, a conservative Democrat from Tennessee, told a liberal radio network that the Obama White House encouraged him to pick a fight with Nancy Pelosi on the stimulus bill. According to Glenn Thrush at Politico, Cooper said: “Well, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I actually got some quiet encouragement from the Obama folks for what I’m doing.” Thrush notes that Cooper has signed a letter criticizing Pelosi for her handling of the rules on the stimulus.
Cooper then teed off on Pelosi and his party’s leadership in Congress: “They know its a messy bill and they wanted a clean bill. Now, I got in terrible trouble with our leadership because they don’t care what’s in the bill, they just want it pass and they want it to be unanimous. They don’t mind the partisan fighting cause that’s what they are used to. In fact, they’re really good at it. And they’re a little bit worried about what a post-partisan future might look like. If members actually had to read the bills and figure out whether they are any good or not. We’re just told how to vote. We’re treated like mushrooms most of the time.”

The idea of Speaker of the House Pelosi trying to sabotage President Obama’s administration makes the ugly stimulus bill make more sense: the bill that passed the House of Representatives seems to have been crafted to be as ugly as possible and still receive Obama’s support: a one-party, pork-filled, non-green collection of pork.