News / USA

    Obama, Rasmussen Meet as Multiple Crises Face NATO

    Obama, Rasmussen Meet As Multiple Crises Face NATOi
    X
    July 09, 2014 10:23 AM
    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has met with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the pressing crises facing the alliance in two different parts of the world. Tuesday's meeting at the White House came as NATO prepares for a critical summit in September. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon.

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has met with President Barack Obama to discuss the pressing crises facing the alliance in two different parts of the world.  Tuesday's meeting at the White House came as NATO prepares for a critical summit in September. 

    There were smiles as t Obama met Rasmussen in the Oval Office. But half a world away, in Afghanistan, their concerns were front and center.  Four NATO soldiers were killed Tuesday in a suicide bombing in eastern Parwan province…while allegations of fraud marred the result of the country’s presidential election with both candidates claiming victory --- clouding NATO's future in the country.

    “If there is no clarification before the NATO summit in September, then of course it’s hard to see how the security agreement can be signed before the summit and in that case we would be faced with severe problems as regards planning for a training mission after 2014,” said Rasmussen.

    The U.S. has 31,000 troops in Afghanistan, with another 17,000 from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

    But without that new security agreement, those levels could drop to almost nothing, opening the door for more instability.
     
    Then, there’s pressure from Russia, which continues to occupy Crimea and back separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    “Given renewed concerns or new concerns - about Russian policy and Russian behavior, you’re going to see a renewed focus in NATO on the alliance’s original purpose, which was to provide for the collective defense,” stated former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer.

    The U.S. and NATO have taken steps to reassure members like Poland and the Baltic states, who are worried that Russia may try something similar against them.
     
    But there are differences over how far NATO and its partners should go.
     
    “I don’t think you can totally isolate a country like Russia, neither do we seek to do that but we are sending very clear signals that their policies are not acceptable and it has an economic price,” noted Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. 
     
    But others, like Jorge Benitez at the Atlantic Council say the U.S. and NATO have not been clear enough.  “We’re very much risk averse here, and even though Putin is in a very much weaker position, he is willing to incur cost and pay the cost to enforce his position and that’s why his position is winning so far," he said.
     
    Another concern for NATO - a lack of support for defense spending.  
     
    The secretary general says if all members met their minimum requirement, the alliance would have had an extra $90 billion …a critical issue at a time when NATO is facing threats on multiple fronts. 


    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Lev Havryliv from: Sydney
    July 09, 2014 9:05 PM
    It appears that Kremlin-inspired trolls have been given instructions to bang on about two themes in relation to Ukraine.

    1.Ukraine's move towards Europe is just a NATO plot to weaken Russia.

    2.Ukrainians who resist Russian aggression are "neo-Nazis".

    Both notions are patently absurd ,but this does not stop the massive, mendacious Russian propaganda machine.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 09, 2014 10:38 AM
    Will Somebody please tell me.... If the US and NATO combined military forces, (the greatest in the history of the world).... that hid behind those (30) foot high blast-proof walls, couldn't defeat a few thousand Taliban guys riding donkeys, wearing nightshirts, gym shoes and sandals, in (13) long years..... (do now with only 10,000 US troops, what they couldn't do, in (13) long years?)..... The US "Unequal Treaty" surely won't defeat the Taliban, but it'll help kill the enemies of America, won't it?..... and not the enemies of Afghanistan?

    With the Afghans signing the "Unequal Treaty" the US gets to kill as many innocent Afghan men, women and children, and babies as they want, when trying to kill (suspected) enemies of America, without being prosecuted by the Afghan government for their crimes.... Yea, the US "Unequal Treaty" is the only thing the US wants, to kill American enemies, not the Afghans....

    PS;.. and 10,000 US troops can't do, what hundreds of thousands of US and NATO troops couldn't do in (13) long years..... REALLY

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora