No Easy Way Out

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was busy yesterday talking about oil supplies, China and EU debt. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gethner said that the world has “substantial” oil reserves, which “could be mobilized to help mitigate the effect of a severe, sustained supply disruption.” Like a disruption that might come from extended turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. But Geithner did not give any indication that Washington intends to tap into its reserves in the near future.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen asked the treasury secretary how Europe is doing with its sovereign-debt crisis. Geithner said the road ahead looks bumpy. “There’s no easy way out” when things are this bad, he told the Senate, describing the financial issues Europe is facing as “enormously difficult, incredibly tough things to fix.” He also poked China about its “substantially undervalued” currency.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Marc Grossman, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday for a meeting hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The spotlight was on Afghanistan’s future. Representatives from nearly fifty countries talked about working together to bolster military actions against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, build up capacity in Afghanistan and further reconciliation efforts there.

Yesterday, President Obama joined General David Petraeus in expressing his “deep regret” for a NATO airstrike that killed nine children. The president also had his monthly Afghanistan/Pakistan meeting with his national-security team. DNI James Clapper, CIA Director Leon Panetta, Petraeus, CENTCOM head James Mattis and other top officials were in attendance to talk about international support and the transition to Afghan control of security.