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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

En esta corta nota, el Dr.

El  autor es profesor de Relaciones Internacionales en la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas de la Universidad Complutense. Es, además,  profesor de política exterior de EE.UU. en la Escuela Diplomática y de Seguridad Internacional en el  UCM-CESEDEN. García Cantalapiedra es investigador colaborador en el Instituto Franklin-UAH e investigador principal sobre EE.UU. del Real Instituto Elcano.

 


The cost of the Afghanistan war: Lives, money and equipment lost

Por qué Estados Unidos se ha retirado de Afganistán

 

Introducción

7279 días transcurrieron entre “Jawbreaker”, la inserción de oficiales de la CIA en Afganistán a bordo de un helicóptero de fabricación soviética Mi-17 con el número simbólico de cola 91101 el 26 de septiembre de 2001, y el momento en que el general de división Christopher Donahue, comandante de la 82 División Aerotransportada, subió a bordo de un C-17 en Kabul el 30 de agosto de 2021 para convertirse en el último estadounidense en abandonar Afganistán. 7279 días.

Antecedentes – “Es Pakistán, estúpido”

Durante estos 20 años el acrónimo para describir la zona de operaciones era siempre AF-PAK, narrativa que, paradójicamente, ha desaparecido, a pesar de que es imposible hablar de este tema separando uno de otro. Se suele olvidar que tras el derrocamiento de los talibanes y la destrucción de Al Qaeda en Afganistán, la Administración Bush tenía claro el problema de fondo que podía hacer intratable Afganistán: las relaciones entre India Y Pakistán sobre Cachemira. Así impulsó y protegió el diálogo comprehensivo entre Pakistán y la India, razón última de fondo de la política de Pakistán hacia Afganistán, la guerra contra los soviéticos y la creación del Talibán. Pakistán y, en última instancia su ejército y su servicio de inteligencia, el ISI, buscaron desesperadamente, tras la derrota de la guerra de 1971 con India “profundidad estratégica” con un régimen “amigo” en Kabul y un programa nuclear, que se desarrollaría en secreto. El fracaso de los sucesivos planes salidos de todas las negociaciones y el mantenimiento de las redes talibanes desde Pakistán hacía imposible cualquier “victoria militar”. Esto llevó a las operaciones a partir de 2014 y el progresivo abandono del país con la creación de un estado viable y capaz de mantener su estabilidad y seguridad. El problema es que como en el conflicto de Vietnam (uso de la ruta Ho Chi Minh a través de Camboya), esto no podía ser posible mientras hubiera un país que saboteara continuamente estos esfuerzos y fuera el santuario de los talibanes.

Por qué, entonces, Estados Unidos se retira de Afganistán

NATO vows to keep funding Afghan military through 2020 – POLITICO

  • Los aliados, y sobre todo los europeos de la OTAN empezaron a mostrar “fatiga de combate” (junto con problemas políticos internos ante las operaciones y las bajas) y mantenían la mayor parte de ellos una serie de limitaciones nacionales (caveats) y en las reglas de enfrentamiento diferentes a las fuerzas norteamericanas, de Gran Bretaña, Canadá o Australia. Ya desde el principio apoyaron el plan de desescalada propuesto por la Administración Obama. La OTAN asumiría el liderazgo de la Fuerza Internacional de Asistencia para la Seguridad (ISAF) en Afganistán el 11 de agosto de 2003. Por mandato de las Naciones Unidas, el objetivo principal de la ISAF era permitir al gobierno afgano proporcionar seguridad efectiva en todo el país y desarrollar nuevas fuerzas de seguridad afganas. A partir de 2011, la responsabilidad de la seguridad se transfirió gradualmente a las fuerzas afganas y asumieron la responsabilidad total de la seguridad a fines de 2014. El 1 de enero de 2015 se lanzó una nueva misión más pequeña que no es de combate (“Resolute Support”) para proporcionar más capacitación, asesoramiento y asistencia a las fuerzas e instituciones de seguridad afganas.
  • En la Cumbre de la OTAN de julio de 2018 en Bruselas, los Aliados y sus socios operativos se comprometieron a extender el sostenimiento financiero de las fuerzas de seguridad afganas hasta 2024. Esta financiación está actualmente congelada.
Afghan Talks With Taliban Reflect a Changed Nation - The New York Times

Representantes de los Talibanes en las negociaciones con los estadounidenses en Doha, Qatar.

  • En febrero de 2020, EE. UU. y los talibanes firmaron un acuerdo sobre la retirada de todas las fuerzas internacionales de Afganistán para mayo de 2021. En abril de 2021, tras varias rondas de consultas, los ministros de Defensa y Exteriores aliados decidieron iniciar la retirada de tropas de Afganistán el 1 de mayo de 2021 y completarla en unos meses. También decidieron seguir apoyando a Afganistán de otras formas. Así lo confirmaron los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la OTAN en la Cumbre de la OTAN en Bruselas el 14 de junio de 2021. La OTAN mantenía 7000 fuerzas a parte de las norteamericanas.

Como vemos, EE. UU. y los aliados occidentales ya se habían “retirado” de Afganistán hace tiempo. El problema ha sido la narrativa de retirada y derrota producida por los talibanes, pero sobre todo por nuestros propios medios de comunicación y gobiernos. Ahora veremos publicaciones hablando de un nuevo capítulo del Gran Juego en Asia, sin embargo, este lleva en marcha más de una década.

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If Obama Faces Impeachment over Immigration, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy Should Have as Well

HNN   November 16, 2014

 

When President Obama announced last week following the mid-term elections that he would use his executive powers to make immigration changes, the incoming Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell warned that “would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”  Representative Joe Barton from Texas already saw red, claiming such executive action would be grounds for impeachment.

If so, then Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy should all have been impeached.   All four skirted Congress, at times overtly flouting their administrative prerogative, to implement a guest worker program.

This was the “Bracero” agreement with the Government of Mexico to recruit workers during World War II, starting in 1942 but lasting beyond the war, all the way until 1964.  At its height in the mid 1950s, this program accounted for 450,000 Mexicans per year coming to the U.S. to work, primarily as agricultural workers.

Several aspects of the Bracero program stand out as relevant to the impasse on immigration reform over the last 15 years.  First, the program began with executive branch action, without Congressional approval.  Second, negotiations with the Mexican government occurred throughout the program’s duration, with the State Department taking the lead in those talks.  Finally, this guest worker initiative, originally conceived as a wartime emergency, evolved into a program in the 1950s that served specifically to dampen illegal migration.

Even before Pearl Harbor, growers in the southwest faced labor shortages in their fields and had lobbied Washington to allow for migrant workers, but unsuccessfully.  It took less than five months following the declaration of war to reverse U.S. government intransigence on the need for temporary workers.  Informal negotiations had been taking place between the State Department and the Mexican government, so that an agreement could be signed on April 4, 1942 between the two countries.  By the time legislation had passed authorizing the program seven months later, thousands of workers had already arrived in the U.S.

The absence of Congress was not just due to a wartime emergency.  On April 28, 1947, Congress passed Public Law 40 declaring an official end to the program by the end of January the following year.   Hearings were held in the House Agriculture Committee to deal with the closure, but its members proceeded to propose ways to keep guest workers in the country and extend the program, despite the law closing it down.  Further, without the approval of Congress, the State Department was negotiating a new agreement with Mexico, signed on February 21, 1948, weeks after Congress mandated its termination.  Another seven months later, though, Congress gave its stamp of approval on the new program and authorized the program for another year.  When the year lapsed, the program continued without Congressional approval or oversight.

The Bracero Program started out as a wartime emergency, but by the mid-1950s, its streamlined procedures made it easier for growers to hire foreign labor without having to resort to undocumented workers.  Illegal border crossings fell.

Still, there were many problems making the Bracero Program an unlikely model for the current immigration reforms.  Disregard for the treatment of the contract workers tops the list of problems and became a primary reason for shutting the program down.  However, the use of executive authority in conceiving and implementing an immigration program is undeniable.

The extent of the executive branch involvement on immigration was best captured in 1951, when a commission established by President Truman to review the status of migratory labor concluded that “The negotiation of the Mexican International Agreement is a collective bargaining situation in which the Mexican Government is the representative of the workers and the Department of State is the representative of our farm employers.”  Not only was the executive branch acting on immigration, but they were negotiating its terms and conditions, not with Congress, but with a foreign country.  Remarkable language, especially looking forward to 2014 when we are told that such action would be an impeachable offense.

Senator McConnell used the bullfighting analogy because the red flag makes the bull angry; following the analogy to its inevitable outcome is probably not what he had in mind.  The poor, but angry bull never stands a chance.  In this case, though, it won’t be those in Congress who don’t stand a chance; it will be those caught in our messy and broken immigration system.

John Dickson was Deputy Chief of Mission in Mexico and Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs at the Department of State and is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts public history program.

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by D. Andrew Austin and Mindy R. Levit

October 9, 2013

 

Photo credit: Wiki Commons.

The following is excerpted from the paper “The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases,” published by the Congressional Research Service on September 25, 2013.

Origins of the Federal Debt Limit

Congress has always placed restrictions on federal debt. Limitations on federal debt have helped Congress assert its constitutional powers of the purse, of taxation, and the initiation of war. Between World War I and World War II the form of statutory restrictions on federal debt evolved into an aggregate limit that applied to nearly all the federal debt outstanding.

Before World War I, Congress often authorized borrowing for specific purposes, such as the construction of the Panama Canal. (76) Congress also often specified which types of financial instruments Treasury could employ, and specified or limited interest rates, maturities, and details of when bonds could be redeemed. In other cases, especially in time of war, Congress provided the Treasury with discretion, subject to broad limits, to choose debt instruments. (77) Some opponents raised concerns that granting the Treasury Secretary authority to issue debt could affect monetary policies, which might tighten credit conditions. Proponents contend that federal borrowing would not disrupt settlements on such monetary issues reached in 1878 and 1890. Such concerns became moot after the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

For example, the War Revenue Act of 1898 allowed Treasury to use certificates of indebtedness, which had maturities of a year or less, and were used for short-term borrowing and cash management, as well as long-term bonds. (78) For example, the 1898 War Revenue Act (30 Stat. 448-470) that funded Spanish-American War costs granted the Treasury Secretary the authority to have $100 million outstanding in certificates of indebtedness with maturities under a year, which were mainly sold to large investors, banks, and other financial institutions. The act also allowed the Treasury to issue $400 million in longer-term notes and bonds, which were made available to public subscription, allowing smaller investors to participate. Proponents of the act, however, made clear their intention to allow the Treasury Secretary substantial administrative leeway within those limits. (79)

World War I and the Liberty Bond Acts

Over time, the leeway granted the Treasury Secretary tended to expand. For example, the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, which helped finance the United States’ entry into World War I, dropped certain limits on the maturity and redemption of bonds. (80) The act also incorporated unused borrowing capacity authorized by the First Liberty Bond Act (40 Stat 35; P.L. 65-3) and other previous borrowing acts. (81) Separate limits for previous debt issues, however, were retained in the text of that act — an overall aggregated debt limit evolved later. Features of debt authorized by previous acts, such as the broad tax exemption for First Liberty Bond Act securities, remained intact.

Subsequent borrowing measures were drafted as amendments to Second Liberty Bond Act until 1982. (82) Setting debt policy by amendments to the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 rather than through original statutes reflected changes in legislative drafting practices at that time. (83)

In the 1920s, Congress provided Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon with additional leeway in order to replace expensive older federal debt with cheaper new issues. Congress allowed Treasury to issue notes, a financial instrument issued extensively in the Civil War and rarely thereafter, and limited the amount of notes outstanding, rather than the sum of issuances, which gave greater Treasury flexibility to roll over debt. Savings certificates designed for small investors were also reintroduced. (84)

Aggregate Debt Limit Created in 1930s

In the 1930s, Congress moved towards aggregate constraints on federal borrowing that allowed the Treasury greater ability to respond to changing conditions and more flexibility in financial management. In 1930, Treasury Secretary Mellon, noting that Liberty bonds would become ready for refinancing in the next few years, argued that “orderly and economical management of the public debt requires that the Treasury Department should have complete freedom in determining the character of securities to be issued and should not be confronted with any arbitrary limitation” (85) Congress granted the U.S. Treasury greater flexibility in issuing bonds in 1931. (86)

In 1935, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau called for replacing a limit on bond issuance with a more flexible limit on the amount of outstanding bonds. This change underlined Treasury bonds’ role as a means of managing federal finances rather than securities tied to specific projects of wars. (87) Following that request, Congress then established a $20 billion limit on shorter-term debt and a $25 billion limit on outstanding bonds.

In March 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary Morgenthau asked Congress to eliminate separate limits on bonds and on other types of debt. (88) The House approved the measure (H.R. 5748) on March 23, 1939, and the Senate passed it on June 1 (P.L. 76-201). When enacted on June 20, the measure created the first aggregate limit ($45 billion) covering nearly all public debt. (89) Combining a $30 billion limit on bonds with a $15 billion limit on shorter-term debt, while retaining the $45 billion total limit in effect, enabled Treasury to roll over maturing notes into longer-term bonds. This measure gave the Treasury freer rein to manage that would reduce interest costs and minimize financial risks stemming from future interest rate changes. (90) While a separate $4 billion limit for “National Defense” series securities was introduced in 1940, legislation in 1941 folded that borrowing authority back under an increased aggregate limit of $65 billion. (91)

Although the Treasury was delegated greater independence of action on the eve of the United States’ entry into World War II, the debt limit at the time was much closer to total federal debt than it had been at the end of World War I. For example, the 1919 Victory Liberty Bond Act (P.L. 65-328) raised the maximum allowable federal debt to $43 billion, far about the $25.5 billion in total federal debt at the end of FY1919. (92) By contrast, the debt limit in 1939 was $45 billion, only about 10 percent above the $40.4 billion total federabl debt of that time (93).

World War II and After

The debt ceiling was raised to accommodate accumulating costs for World War II in each year from 1941 through 1945, when it was set at $300 billion. (94) After World War II ended, the debt limit was reduced to $275 billion. Because the Korean War was mostly financed by higher taxes rather than by increased debt, the limit remained at $275 billion until 1954. After 1954, the debt limit was reduced twice and increased seven times, until March 1962 when it again reached $300 billion, its level at the end of World War II. Since March 1962, Congress has enacted 77 separate measures that have altered the limit on federal debt. (95) Most of these changes in the debt limit were, measured in percentage terms, small in comparison to changes adopted in wartime or during the Great Depression. Some recent increases in the debt limit, however, were large in dollar terms. For instance, in May 2003, the debt limit increased by $984 billion and in February 2010 the debt limit was increased by $1.9 trillion. (P.L. 111-139)

* * * * *

(76) Spooner Act of June 28, 1902 (32 Stat 481; P.L. 57-183)

(77) Marshall A. Robinson, The National Debt Ceiling: An Experiment in Fiscal Policy, (Washngton, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1959), pp. 1-6.

(78) The War Revenue Act was enacted June 13, 1898. Much of the legislative text of the act’s public borrowing sections (§32, 33) were drawn from the acts of June 30, 1864, ch. 172 §1 (13 Stats. 218) and of March 3, 1865, ch. 77 (13 Stats. 469).

(79) See House debate, Congressional Record, vol. 31, part 6 (June 9, 1898), pp. 5713-5728; and Senate debate on June 10, 1898, pp. 5732-5749.

(80) P.L. 65-43, 40 Stat. 288, enacted September 24, 1917. See H. J. Cooke and M. Katzen, “The Public Debt Limit,” Journal of Finance, vol. 9, no. 3 (September 1954), pp. 298-303. The Second Liberty Bond Act allowed purchases of government debt of allied (i.e., Entente) countries, which would have complicated limits on the final redemption of federal bonds issued to fund their purchase. Some federal bonds issued in the wake of the Panic of 1893 did not have maturity limits.

(81) The other acts were the Panama Canal measure (Spooner Act; P.L. 57-183), the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of August 5, 1909 (36 Stat 11; P.L. 61-5); and two emergency bond measures passed in March 1917 (39 Stat 1002 and 39 Stat 1021).

(82) In 1982, the debt limit was codified into 31 U.S.C. §3101 by P.L. 97-258. Subsequent changes in the debt limit have been drafted as amendments to 31 U.S.C. §3101.

(83) Middleton Beaman, a former Law Librarian of the Library of Congress, Columbia Law School professor, and advocate for the professionalization of drafting legislation, retured to Washington in 1916 to assist the House Ways and Means Committee, which originated the Liberty Bond acts and other borrowing and revenue measures. This arrangement was formalized in 1918, when the Legislative Drafting Service, the predecessor office of the modern Office of Legislative Counsel, was established. Donald R. Kennon and Rebecca M. Rodgers, The Committee on Ways and Means a Bicentennial History 1789-1989, H. Doc. 100-244, p. 258. See also, Middleton Beaman, “Bill Drafting,” Law Library Journal, vol. 7 (1914), pp. 64-71. For a critical view of legislative drafting in prior decades, see James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, 3rd revised ed., vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan, 1920), chapter XV on “Congressional Legislation.”

(84) Revenue Act of November 23, 1921 (42 Stat 227; P.L. 67-98). See also Paul Studenski and Herman E. Kroos, Financial History of the United States, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963), p. 316.

(85) Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury for 1930, p. 39. Available at http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/publications/treasar/AR_TREASURY_1930.pdf.

(86) For details, see Kenneth D. Garbade, Birth of a Market, (MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2012), pp. 314-317.

(87) Ibid.

(88) New York Times, “President Urges Ending of Limit on Bonded Debt; Asks Congress to Facilitate Borrowing by Eliminating $30,000,000,000, ‘Ceiling’ Stands by Total Debt Top $45 Billion All Right for Now, Message Says — Yielding to Economizers is Seen,” March 21, 1939.

(89) P.L. 76-201. See also Senate debate, Congressional Record, vol. 84, part 6 (June 1, 1939), pp. 6480, 6497, 6501.

(90) This limit did not apply to certain previous public debt issues that compromised a very minor portion of the federal debt.

(91) Revenue Act of June 25, 1940 (54 Stat 516; P.L. 76-656) and Revenue Act of February 19, 1941 (55 Stat 7).

(92) U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, H. Doc. 93-78 (Washington, GPO, 1975), Series Y 493-504.

(93) For a list of changes in the debt limit between September 1917 and 1941, see U.S. Treasury, Statistical Appendix 1980, Table 32 entitled “Debt limitation under the Second Liberty Bond Act, as amended, beginning 1917.”

(94) Public Debt Acts of 1941 (P.L. 77-7), 1942 (P.L. 77-510), 1943 (P.L. 78-333), and 1945 (P.L. 79-48).

(95) U.S. Office of Management and Budget, FY2010 Budget of the U.S. Government: Historical Tables, Table 7-3. Increases in the debt limited potentially enabled by the Budget Control Act of 2011 are counted as one alteration.

D. Andrew Austin is an analyst in economic policy and Mindy R. Levit is an analyst in public finance for the Congressional Research Service.

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