Barack Obama will announce during his first state visit to Britain this week that the White House is to open up its highly secretive national security council to Downing Street in a move that appears to show the US still values the transatlantic "special relationship".All right then.
A joint National Security Strategy Board will be established to ensure that senior officials on both sides of the Atlantic confront long-term challenges rather than just hold emergency talks from the "situation room" in the White House and the Cobra room in the Cabinet Office.
...The new board is a rare step by the White House, which guards the secrecy of the national security council. Founded in 1947 by Harry Truman, the NSC was in 1949 placed in the executive office of the president, who chairs its meetings.
...The main discussions between Obama and Cameron will focus on Afghanistan, on which they have a similar outlook. They both aim to draw down combat troops and recognise that elements of the Taliban will have to be involved in a political settlement.
Obama told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1: "I agree with – and what I think prime minister Cameron would be the first to say – is that we're not going to militarily solve this problem. We can't expect Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, suddenly to have the same institutions that an advanced and well-developed democracy has. What we can do, I think, is use the efforts that we've made militarily to broker a political settlement that ensures the Afghanistan constitution is abided by, that elections remain free and fair, that human rights including women's rights are respected."
Asked whether this would mean talking to the Taliban, Obama said: "Ultimately, it means talking to the Taliban, although we've been very clear about the requirements for any kind of serious reconciliation. The Taliban would have to cut all ties to al-Qaida. Renounce violence. And they would have to respect the Afghan constitution. Now those are some fairly bare-bones requirements."
Posted by Melissa McEwan at Monday, May 23, 2011
Barack Obama agrees to form joint national security body with UK: