Obama dumps Bush anti-terror plan

President Barack Obama uveiled a new national security strategy on Thursday, replacing George W. Bush’s “war on terror” doctrine with a sweeping blueprint for a world bristling with multiple threats. Mr Obama also put new constraints on the former president’s concept of pre-emptive war and cited national security implications of economic meltdowns, global warming, cyberwarfare, nuclear proliferation and ethnic conflict.

“To succeed, we must face the world as it is,” the document states, turning the page on Bush-era dreams of remaking the global order with American might and recognizing the increasing global engagement of Russia and the emergence of rising powers like China and India. The document also contains warnings for Iran and North Korea, focuses on homegrown extremists who turn to Islamic radicalism in America and says the most serious threats to Americans are posed by nuclear proliferation. The new doctrine illustrates an evolution of Obama’s pro-engagement policies after 16 months in power, a period that brought the idealism of his election campaign into conflict with the harsh realities of geopolitics. It describes a world thick with evolving threats and seeks to reframe US foreign policy after two bloody wars and a crippling global financial crisis.

It projects a tough, hardnosed assessment of American interests and the use of US power, and lays out a dizzying array of threats from cyberwarfare to health epidemics to ethnic wars to inequality. Obama commits to using the sweeping range of foreign policy tools, including diplomacy, economic renewal, development aid, military might and education. It calls for tough engagement “without illusion” with foes like Iran and North Korea, but warns they face deepening isolation if they do not bow to pressure to throw open their nuclear programmes. The document also preserves the US right to launch unilateral military action, but does so in more restrictive terms than those used by the former Bush administration.

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Insurgents hit Afghan Nato base

Insurgents firing rockets, mortars and automatic weapons launched a ground assault on Saturday against Nato’s biggest base in southern Afghanistan, wounding several coalition troops and civilian employees in the third such attack on a major military installation this week, officials said. A Canadian Press news agency report from the Kandahar Air Field said artillery and machine gun fire reverberated through the base, about 500 kilometres southwest of Kabul, several hours after the attack began.

Militants unleashed rockets and mortars about 8 pm and then tried unsuccessfully to storm the northern perimeter, officials said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault, but the Kandahar area is a Taliban stronghold. On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a Nato convoy in the capital, killing 18 people, including six Nato service members, five Americans and a Canadian. The next day, dozens of Taliban militants attacked the main US military base – Bagram Air Field – killing an American contractor in fighting that lasted more than eight hours.

Navy Commander Amanda Peterseim, a spokeswoman for Nato forces at Kandahar, said at least five rockets struck the base in the initial attack, but witnesses said explosions continued through much of the night. There were no reports of deaths and she did not have the precise number of wounded. “The alarm has been sounding for several hours, but no insurgents have penetrated the base perimeter,” Nato said. It said “a number” of military and civilian personnel were wounded “and are receiving medical treatment. There are no confirmed fatalities.”

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