The Hill reports President Obama kicked off his summit on health reform today with a simple message: This time healthcare reform will be different.
“We are here today to discuss one of the greatest threats not just to the well-being of our families and the prosperity of our businesses, but to the very foundation of our economy – and that is the exploding cost of healthcare in America today,” Obama said…
“I want to be very clear at the outset that while everyone has a right to take part in this discussion, no one has the right to take it over. The status quo is the one option that is not on the table. And those who seek to block any reform at any cost will not prevail this time around,” Obama said.
BBC News reports NATO woos Russia on Afghanistan. NATO will resume formal ties with Russia. “Russia welcomed the move, six months after Nato froze contacts over the conflict between Russia and Georgia.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “It’s time to explore a fresh start.”
Clinton described Afghanistan as “NATO’s biggest military challenge.” The CS Monitor adds Clinton pushes NATO allies for united strategy on Afghanistan.
Sources close to the State Department say the new strategy is likely to reenergize a broad Afghan-Pakistan regional approach, with a set of more tightly focused but downsized goals. The previous goal to “democratize” Afghanistan will probably shift toward “efficient” and “achievable” stabilization – avoiding an open-ended mission, but requiring more immediate “heavy lifting” by allies. The strategy will require more troops to achieve a balance of military and civilian help, but also to bring in India, Iran, Russia, and even China.
The Washington Post reports the U.S. is also Pushing for a high-level Afghanistan meeting that would include Iran. “Clinton this week has mixed tough talk about Iranian behavior with a hope that areas of cooperation can be found.”
“Iran borders Afghanistan,” Clinton [said]… “In the early days of the military efforts by the United States and our allies to go after the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Iran was consulting with our ambassador on a daily basis. Where it is appropriate and useful for the United States and others to see whether Iran can be constructive, that will be considered.”
Four at Four continues with another market bombing in Iraq, China fears a food crisis triggered by climate change, the German beekeeper versus Monsanto, and a big surprise for the Obama girls.