Libya's Opposition and the Merry-Go-Round

Beginning another world tour, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Turkey today and tomorrow where the focus will be on Libya and Syria. The big news so far is that the United States formally recognized the National Transitional Council, Libya’s rebel opposition. As Clinton put it, “Until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis.” She met with the Libya Contact Group today to talk about funding the TNC and how to prepare it to step in and fill a post-Qaddafi void. Qaddafi, for his part, is clinging to power, though the UK says the leader’s government is increasingly more interested in solving the conflict politically. After Turkey, Clinton will head to Greece, currently in economic turmoil, then to India, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

In an interview with the BBC, Clinton reiterated that she’s going to set the secretary of state mantle aside after President Obama’s first term. "I am very interested in spending time with my friends and my family and not being on the merry-go-round all the time,” Clinton said. Though she loves what she’s doing, she’s “a pretty normal, average person” underneath it all.

As the United States kicks off its joint naval drills with Vietnam despite, as China put it, the “inappropriate” timing, Admiral Mike Mullen said there is still a long way to go in the U.S.-China relationship. Though the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's recent talks with his Chinese counterpart were “productive and generally positive,” Mullen commented while in Tokyo, “differences between us are still stark.” One big difference comes on the topic of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

General David Petraeus, currently the commander of forces in Afghanistan and soon-to-be CIA director, and Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, Petraeus’s successor, sat down with some of Pakistan’s military leaders yesterday. Back at home, acting CIA Director Michael Morell had a face-to-face with the head of Pakistan’s ISI, Lt.. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Other than that the talks were productive, little was said about the meeting.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner argued yesterday that he isn’t crying wolf when it comes to the debt ceiling: there is “no way to give Congress more time.” And Attorney General Eric Holder offered some insight into the News Corp situation. He said that the Justice Department was indeed looking into allegations that Murdoch papers also hacked into the phones of 9/11 victims.