Monday, December 21, 2015

6 Americans Killed in Afghanistan Suicide Attack - ABC News | Israel's David Sling missile defense passes final test | Reuters | EU Extends Russia Sanctions for Another 6 Months - The NYT | 1 Killed After Car Hits Crowds of Pedestrians on Vegas Strip - ABC News | Oil at 11-year low, election impasse hits Spanish assets | Reuters | "...It is important not just to shoot but to aim..." - Video And Transcript: NPR's Interview With President Obama : NPR - 1:13 PM 12/21/2015

Notable Quotes: 

On "ISIS" strategy: "aiming and shooting":
"But what I would say to my successor is that it is important not just to shoot but to aim, and it is important in this seat to make sure that you are making your best judgments based on data, intelligence, the information that's coming from your commanders and folks on the ground, and you're not being swayed by politics." 

See more on this subject ("Don't do the thing I've done"): 

Obama's struggle to realise anti-war rhetoric - BBC: 

Admittedly, the current US military deployments of a few thousand in total are a far cry from the height of US deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the two wars he had promised to end, while Syria is the one he tried to avoid until he felt it was no longer tenable.
But there is currently no likely scenario under which any of these wars will conclude by the end of Obama's second term.
So how did the American president get here? A combination of unforeseen events, a reluctance to adjust course accordingly and a very narrow definition of what constitutes a national security threat for the US. 
In the Washington Post last month, journalist Fred Hiatt wrote one of the most damning assessments of President Obama's approach to Syria under the deceptive headline "Obama's Syria achievement."
President Obama may actually agree that it is in fact an achievement to have dulled American instincts that have encouraged presidents to go to war in the past.
But as his approval slips because of worries about his handling of the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, he is left with the conundrum of persuading the American people his understated approach to a world in chaos is keeping them safe. 

On National Identity (good question, and, in essence, "why now?"): 
"That's at the center of the American experience... 
...this has been true since the founding and the central question of slavery, and who is a citizen and who is not... 
I do think that the country is inexorably changing, I believe in all kinds of positive ways... 
I think they are more tolerant, more welcoming of people who are different than them...
...when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses... it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear... Dr. King's word, you get a disinfectant by applying sunlight to it, and people see... 
I am absolutely confident that over the long term, it leads to a fair, more just, healthier America..." 

See more on "Obama and U.S. national identity" (What is "we"?, "Who are we?" and the impact of Obama Presidency on thinking about these issues): 

On political activism: 
"I think it's a healthy thing for young people to be engaged and to question authority and to ask why this instead of that, to ask tough questions about social justice... 
I get concerned that the unwillingness to hear other points of view can be as unhealthy on the left as on the right... 
Well, feel free to disagree with somebody, but don't try to just shut them up... 
It is possible for somebody not to be racist and want a just society... 
What I don't want is a situation in which particular points of view that are presented respectfully and reasonably are shut down, and we have seen that sometimes happen.

See more on "Obama and political activism": 

On "unacceptable change": 
INSKEEP: "...why it is that some ordinary people in America believe or fear that you are trying to change the country in some way that they cannot accept?" 
"...I'd say there is that that's probably pretty specific to me and who I am and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them." 

See more on "Obama and transformation of America":