At a conference this evening in Panama, President Obama announced after meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro that "the Cold War is over."
"Part of my message here is, the Cold War is over," said Obama. "There's still a whole lot of challenges that we face and a lot of issues around the world, and we're still going to have serious issues with Cuba on not just the Cuban government's approach to its own people, but also regional issues and concerns.
"There are going to be areas where we cooperate as well. You know, Cuban doctors deployed during the ebola crisis made a difference, Cuban activity in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake made a difference. So there may be areas of collaboration as well.
Obama added, Cuba doesn't "implicate our national security in a direct way. We have to be very clear, Cuba is not a threat to the United States. That doesn't mean we don't have differences with it. but on the list of threats that I am concerned about, I think it is fair to say between ISIL and Iran getting a nuclear weapon, and activities in Yemen and Libya and Boko Haram, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the impact on our allies there. I could go down a pretty long list--climate change--so I think our approach has to be one of trying to work with the region and other countries, and be very clear about what we believe and stand for and what we think works and what doesn't."
The Scrapbook is sorry to hear that Andrew Marshall is retiring from the Pentagon, where he has led the Department of Defense’s internal think tank, the Office of Net Assessment, since 1973. Frankly, The Scrapbook is also a bit surprised. Marshall’s popular nickname, Yoda—taken from the sage of the Star Wars epic—while honoring his sagacity, wisdom, and mystery, is also testimony to his longevity. Marshall has served every defense secretary since James Schlesinger and every president since Richard Nixon, and it’s difficult to imagine the Pentagon without him.
The conflict in Ukraine took some dramatic turns this month that led many observers to conclude that the Kremlin was succeeding in its effort to keep Ukraine under Russia’s thumb, with the collusion of a spineless West. Actually, while Russia has wrested some concessions, the handwringing is largely unwarranted—so far. But much depends on the West’s willingness to continue applying pressure to Russia and offer meaningful aid to Ukraine. And, even in the best-case scenario, a “frozen conflict” zone in eastern Ukraine is a likely and troubling outcome.
Less than a week before President Obama and other NATO leaders gather in Wales for a two day summit, NATO is accusing Russia having "well over 1,000 troops" in Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists continue to skirmish with Ukrainian forces.
In 1983, Barack Obama was a senior at Columbia University. He was not well known. He lived off-campus, had a few close friends, and spent a lot of time reading. He went to some meetings of the Black Students Association, but no one remembers seeing him there. He majored in political science, with a concentration in international relations, and classmates and professors say he was an attentive and intelligent student.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says that "we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war." He also said that U.S. President Barack Obama could be "more tactful politically" and that he's disappointed in some of the decisions Obama has made.
Vladimir Putin evidently feels a kind of boundless nostalgia for what he remembers as days of glory and pride, with parades and big red flags on the streets of Moscow with the rest of the world looking on in fear.
Jerusalem The Israeli debate over Iran’s nuclear program is, perhaps oddly, not yet heated. For now, the action is with the Americans: Israelis watch the negotiations nervously and without confidence, but there is little sense of impending doom—or impending war.
And now the last of them is gone. Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II—three who won the Cold War and, it isn't too much to say, saved the West (at least for a while!)—are no longer with us. Their examples remain.