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Monday, July 23

Catching up

July 16: Afghan President Karzai bestows award on Ambassador Crocker

1. In the rush and tumble of my return to blogging I don't want to neglect to thank U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker for his work to get the post-2014 U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement signed in spite of virtually insurmountable obstacles, and to wish him the very best as he once again retires from the foreign service, or tries to retire again.

Thanks also to General John Allen, not only for his part in getting the agreement signed but also for holding the NATO-ISAF mission together in Afghanistan during the worst February I can remember. Starting February 1, it was as if the darkest forces rose up together in the attempt to destroy the mission and block the signing of the agreement, and March and April gave little respite.  By the time the agreement was signed, on May 1, Pundita was a nervous wreck.

Through it all, General Allen and Ambassador Crocker never lost their cool.

2. Recently John Batchelor put in a few appearances on The Kudlow Report on the financial cable channel CNBC to comment, mostly on foreign/defense affairs. I hope the appearances can become a regular feature on the show because American television is bereft of in-depth informed analysis on foreign affairs from the American defense viewpoint. Until John's radio show is extended to TV, the situation is not going to change.

Thanks to Larry Kudlow for battling the headwinds at CNBC to bring John onto the show.

Here's the video from John's July 19 appearance on the show, during which he discusses the Syria situation.

And here is John's latest written analysis on Syria and other defense issues: (The Enemy of My Enemy, July 19).

My favorite quote:  "US wants stability for region with Islamist strongmen in place."

3. Using recent speeches on Syria by Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as examples, Zenpundit's Mark Safranski analyzes the stark differences between Russia's approach to foreign relations and America's, and concludes that the USA comes up short. (Putin’s Geopolitical Realism on Syria , July 16, posted in full at IVN.)

My favorite quote:  "We play at tactical geopolitics while the Russians do strategy."

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