Veto Power

Washington made it clear yesterday that it will veto a Palestinian bid for statehood via the UN Security Council. And State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland is a bit confused about why that would come as a surprise to anyone. Statehood, Nuland said, “can only be achieved through negotiations,” as the United States has said many times, so it shouldn’t “come as a shock to anyone” that Washington would stand in opposition to a Palestinian move at the UN. She didn't mince words: if it “comes to a vote in the UN Security Council, the U.S. will veto.”

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Afghanistan’s national security adviser. The focus of the talks was a U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement, dubbed the “New Silk Road vision,” that would govern relations after U.S. troops leave the country, scheduled for 2014. And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ryan Crocker, the ambassador to Afghanistan, said that “The Taliban needs to feel more pain before you get to a real readiness to reconcile.” That is, more military pressure is needed. Talks between Kabul and representatives of the insurgents are still in the very early stages.

Back at home, Vice President Joe Biden addressed recent news that a terrorist plot is may be planned around the 9/11 anniversary. Though “we don’t have a smoking gun,” Biden said, there is chatter “from a credible source” about a potential car-bomb attack. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security released the warning to law-enforcement agencies late last night.

And Gary Locke, the “backpacking” new U.S. ambassador to China, gave his first public address at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He said “strong U.S.-China cooperation” would be needed in the future, which is why he wanted to say “unequivocally that the United States welcomes the rise of a prosperous and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs.” He also commented that a strong U.S. economy is in “the economic self-interest of the Chinese people.”