Mexico fails to grant access to cruise ship carrying Texas health worker

This is a no-brainer.. and how it should be done. Mexico protects its country and citizens. Finally people are taking this stuff seriously..
Hearing the President “hugging and kissing” health care workers with exposure to Ebola patients seems reckless and irresponsible….

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/17/cruise-ship-carrying-texas-ebola-nurse-refused-entry-in-belize/

The cruise ship carrying a Texas health-care worker who “may have” handled lab specimens from Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan is headed back to the United States after Mexican authorities failed to grant permission for the ship to dock off the coast of Cozumel, according to a Carnival spokeswoman.

The Carnival Magic had been waiting off the Mexican coast since Friday morning for its scheduled port visit. Mexican authorities still hadn’t given clearance by noon, so the ship continued to its home port of Galveston, Tex., where it was due back on Sunday, according to Carnival.

Turkish President Declares Lawrence of Arabia a Bigger Enemy than ISIS

The collapse of the British Empire is coming back.. things were not done right back then.. but Turkey/The Ottoman Empire as the losing part in WW1 might have some extra emotional components in this issue..
And, the current developments in the region are not a fruitful approach to solving these problems..

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/13/turkish-president-declares-lawrence-of-arabia-a-bigger-enemy-than-isis.html

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took on the iconic Lawrence of Arabia Monday in a furious anti-Western diatribe. The Turkish president compared the outside meddling in the region now to the role the renowned British army officer played during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I. And Western diplomats here say the tirade bears a rather striking resemblance to some of the propaganda that has come out of the so-called Islamic State, widely known by the acronym ISIS or ISIL. (..)

But on one very important point of history and geography it now appears there’s a serious convergence of views between ISIS and Erdoğan. In his speech Monday at a university in Istanbul, the Turkish president blasted the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret understanding (signed behind Lawrence’s back) that divided up the Middle East after World War I between British and French spheres of influence. That deal opened the way for a British vow to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine and led to borders drawn by the European powers that created modern Syrian and Iraq. Historian David Fromkin summed up the mess that resulted in the title of his book The Peace to End All Peace.

“Each conflict in this region has been designed a century ago,” said Erdoğan. “It is our duty to stop this.”

A Symbolic Vote in Britain Recognizes a Palestinian State

There seems to be a steady shift on this issue.. also in the western countries…
The settlement policies are not helpful for Bibi….

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/europe/british-parliament-palestinian-state.html

LONDON — Against a backdrop of growing impatience across Europe with Israeli policy, Britain’s Parliament overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution Monday night to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state. The vote was a symbolic but potent indication of how public opinion has shifted since the breakdown of American-sponsored peace negotiations and the conflict in Gaza this summer.

Though the outcome of the 274-to-12 parliamentary vote was not binding on the British government, the debate was the latest evidence of how support for Israeli policies, even among staunch allies of Israel, is giving way to more calibrated positions and in some cases frustrated expressions of opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance toward the Palestinians. (..)

Richard Ottaway, a Conservative lawmaker and chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said that he had “stood by Israel through thick and thin, through the good years and the bad,” but now realized “in truth, looking back over the past 20 years, that Israel has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion.”

“Under normal circumstances,” he said, “I would oppose the motion tonight; but such is my anger over Israel’s behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”

BBC Ukraine crisis: Putin ‘orders Russian troop pullback’

Maybe this is good news, or maybe it’s just talk and games..
But at some level.. or in some moments of clarity.. Putin has to realize that his dream of an economic “Eurasian” union can only be achieved by being economically attractive to the neighboring states – not through force or occupation..
And this year’s events are just hurting Russia.. both short and medium term…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29586627

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered thousands of troops stationed near the Ukrainian border to return to their bases, Russian media report.

Mr Putin’s spokesman said about 17,600 soldiers on training exercises in the Rostov region would be pulled back.

Russia has previously announced troop withdrawals that Nato and the US say were not actually carried out.

Russia has been accused of supplying troops and weapons to separatist rebels in east Ukraine – claims it denies.

NATO chief says ‘spearhead’ plan doesn’t breach treaty with Russia

What an excellent start for the new NATO head.. speaking clearly.. and factually and very strongly, pointing out the obvious transgressions in the east and not being afraid of the reactions..At this point Cameron and Stoltenberg have become two leading voices globally in confronting the problems with Russia and ISIS in the Middle East.

Europe takes a bigger lead internationally.. while Obama is a huge embarrassment..

(Read the whole story.. it’s recommended..)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/06/us-ukraine-crisis-nato-poland-idUSKCN0HV0K220141006

(Reuters) – NATO’s plan to beef up its military presence in eastern Europe does not violate a post-Cold War deal struck with Russia on military force levels in the region, new alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said on a visit to Poland on Monday.

At an air force base in central Poland, Stoltenberg said he was committed to implementing a plan for a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force, conceived to reassure NATO member states in eastern Europe alarmed by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

Moscow has said this increased military presence on its western flank could violate a 1997 agreement on the type and size of forces NATO can station in former Soviet states.

Asked about the pact in an interview at the Lask air force base, Stoltenberg told Reuters that NATO’s increased military presence was in accordance with the U.S.-led bloc’s international obligations.

“There is no contradiction between more military presence in this area and also respecting the rule-based international order,”
said Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister.

(…) “We need to keep NATO strong, we need to help keep our neighborhood stable in cooperation with our partners and we need a rock-solid bond between the United States and Europe.

“That creates the best foundation for a more constructive, more cooperative relationship with Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

Russian Finance Minister Says Country Can’t Afford Current Military Spending

The economics of warfare and international sanctions on Russia might weigh more heavily on Putin as time passes by..

http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-siluanov-finance-minister-military-spending/26625888.html

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the country’s military spending plans need to be "more realistic" and take into consideration forecasts for economic growth and budget revenue.

Siluanov addressed Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, on October 7 and said his ministry wanted to reconsider the amount to be spent from the state budget on Russia’s multibillion dollar program to rearm and modernize the military.

Siluanov said currently Russian simply could not afford such spending and added the finance and defense ministries have already started talks on which programs could be financed from state coffers.

The current plan calls for spending some $576 billion on defense in the next six years.

Western sanctions against Russia over the Kremlin’s interference in Ukraine have hit Russian energy companies especially hard and those companies are responsible for bringing in a large amount of revenue to the Russian state.

Stoltenberg Says NATO Can Deploy Its Troops Wherever It Wants

Finally some stronger push-back on Putin from Europe.. the new NATO head speaks forcefully in military terms and goes to Poland.. strengthening the rapid response forces..
Stationing troops permanently along the Russian border seems to be off the table for now.. but it has to be suggested.. to create a balance and stop Russian expansions into neighboring countries….

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/508439.html

WARSAW — New NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has said the Western alliance can deploy its forces wherever it wants, apparently calling into question post-Cold War agreements that have been shaken by Russia’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine.

Stoltenberg was visiting NATO member Poland to reassure it that NATO would provide the protection it sought against its former communist master, Russia, which in recent months has annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and been accused by the West of sending troops and equipment to back pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

At a summit a month ago, NATO leaders agreed to set up a "spearhead" rapid reaction force that could be sent to a hotspot within days, and to pre-position equipment and supplies in eastern European countries to receive the force if needed.

But they rejected appeals from NATO members in Eastern Europe, including Poland, to station thousands of troops there permanently — partly because of the expense, and partly because they did not want to break a 1997 pact under which NATO promised Russia it would not permanently station significant combat forces in the east.

Obama’s Ex-CIA Chief Slams White House for ‘Hesitation and Half Steps’

After serious and unnecessary mistakes like the health care roll-out and the recent admission that he underestimated ISIS.. there’s little reason to have any trust left in Obama’s judgement and operational abilities…
Panetta seems to air some grievances in a forthcoming book..

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/02/panetta-slams-obama-for-hesitation-and-half-steps-on-syria.html

In a forthcoming book, obtained by The Daily Beast, former spy director and Pentagon leader Leon Panetta blames the White House for screwups from Syria to Afghanistan.

The president’s White House staff was controlling, insular, and often ignored the advice of its senior national security officials,
former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta charges in his yet-to-be-released memoir. The result, Panetta says: botched U.S. policies from Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan.

Panetta—whose new book, Worthy Fights, is set to be released Oct. 7—is particularly tough on his former boss on the issue of Syria.
(A copy of the book was obtained by The Daily Beast.) President Obama had called the use of chemical weapons there a “red line.” So when the Syrian military used chemical weapons in August 2013 to kill an estimated 1,400 people, Obama decided to strike. But then the president abruptly reversed himself—without consulting his national security Cabinet members.