World News Brief, Wednesday June 23

General McChrystal apologises for criticism of Obama administration, flies to Washington (+ analysis); Kyrgyz refugees return home in tears; Obama wary of too much austerity as G20 frets about debt; Japan wary of Chinese growth; and more

Top of the Agenda: McChrystal Apologizes, Goes to Washington

Top commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal apologized (WSJ) for poor judgment regarding critical comments he made about the Obama administration in a magazine interview. In a Rolling Stone article coming out later this week, McChrystal is described by an aide as "disappointed" in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Barack Obama. The profile, titled "The Runaway General," included several weeks of interviews with McChrystal's inner circle, which pointedly did not include US Vice President Joseph Biden. In the article, McChrystal said he felt betrayed by US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, who had leaked internal documents criticizing McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy. McChrystal will go to Washington to meet with Obama and Biden on Wednesday.

About Obama's special envoy to the region Richard Holbrooke, an aide to General McChrystal is quoted as saying: "The boss says he's like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to be fired (NYT), so that makes him dangerous."


On, Peter Spiegel says the article has already made the Pentagon nervous, because a blistering 2008 Esquire profile on Admiral William "Fox" Fallon," then commander of all US forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, played a part in Fallon's resignation two years ago.

While senior military officials are urging support for Afghanistan operations, Afghans are fearful about the Kandahar offensive and uncertain about US plans to start withdrawing troops in July 2011, says CFR's Stephen Biddle.


PACIFIC RIM: Yuan Rises to New High on Dollar

The yuan rose to a new high (WSJ) against the US dollar Monday, in a first step toward increased currency flexibility that the Chinese central bank promised over the weekend.

This Backgrounder examines the origins of economic imbalances between the United States and China.

Japan: Ahead of the US-Japan security alliance's fiftieth anniversary, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he sees the countries' relations as crucial (AP), given the economic and military rise of China.



- Refugees Return to Kyrgyzstan
- Obama Urges Against Strict Austerity


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