Changing the Guard in Kabul
After saving the day in Iraq, heading Central Command, and swooping in to relieve an embattled and now retired General Stanley McChrystal, General David Petraeus’s time in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Today, Marine General John Allen will take over command of U.S. and NATO troops there. As U.S. forces prepare to begin a pullout from the country, Petraeus stressed that insurgents had lost much of their momentum. Allen said he plans to see that that trend continues: “It is my intention to maintain the momentum of the campaign.” Petraeus will head back to the states to take over as CIA director.
Hillary Clinton is making her second trip to India as secretary of state, today attending a strategic dialogue in Delhi. Her visit will also take her to Chennai, key to U.S. investment. The trip is aimed at bolstering political and economic ties between the U.S. and India, and India’s relationship with Pakistan is expected to be high on the agenda.
Before heading to South Asia, Clinton was in Athens offering Greek officials some positive reinforcement. An economically struggling Greece is negotiating a second bailout from other eurozone states and imposing economic reforms at home, measures which prompted rioting. Clinton said, “We know these were not easy decisions, they were acts of leadership,” reassuring Athens that the “payoff for these sacrifices will not come quickly, but it will come.”
As the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling looms and Congress has yet to come to an agreement on trimming the budget, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner still thinks prospects look pretty good. “People are moving closer together,” he promised, though he did reiterate that there are no “feasible options” left to avoid a default—the president and congressional leaders have to come to some sort of agreement.