Obama nears Afghanistan troops decision, advisers support 30,000; Chinese economic growth accelerates; Cambodia refuses to extradite Thaksin; new EU president to be announced next week; and more
Top of the Agenda: Afghan Troops Question
US President Barack Obama discusses American policy in Afghanistan with his national security team Wednesday, as reports emerge that his administration is nearing its decision (BBC) on troop levels.
The New York Times reports three of the Obama administration's top advisors - Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton - support a proposal to send thirty thousand additional US troops to Afghanistan. Obama will consider four final options in the meeting today that outline troop levels, how much of Afghanistan the troops would attempt to control and under what time frame.
White House officials said reports that President Obama has already settled on a specific number of additional troops are "absolutely false" (CNN).
The Washington Post reports that the shift in the balance of power between insurgent groups in Afghanistan could influence whether the United States deploys tens of thousands of additional troops there. A weakened al-Qaeda is relying increasingly on strengthening Taliban forces for protection and manpower to carry out attacks, according to US officials. The article notes that although the war in Afghanistan began in response to al-Qaeda terrorism, a US military official estimates that there are likely fewer than one-hundred members of the group left there.
In a Daily Beast op-ed, CFR's Leslie Gelb writes that the US military's request to increase troops in Afghanistan by 44,000 ought to be closely scrutinized. He adds that, on this issue, "the military got a free ride from America's pretend leaders and fake journalists."
In the Far Eastern Economic Review, Frank Shell says the United States needs a new Af-Pak strategy that brings India to the table to help stabilize the situation in Pakistan.
A CFR Backgrounder examines the Taliban's role in Afghanistan.
PACIFIC RIM: China Economy
Chinese economic recovery accelerated in October due to increased industrial output and growing retail sales, putting the country on track (FT) to meet its growth target of 8 percent.
Thailand: Cambodia rejected an extradition request (PhnomPenPost) from Thailand for former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was invited to work as a government adviser in Cambodia.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org