NEW STRATEGY

Obama: Negotiations With Taliban Possible

Much of the progress in Iraq over the last two years came from deals with insurgent groups who had previously targeted American troops. Now President Obama is suggesting that the military might try to replicate its success there by trying to split the Taliban in Afghanistan. In an interview with The New York Times, Obama says: “There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region," where his generals believe negotiation could yield benefits. As for the economy, Obama declined to predict when it would finally pull out of its current slump but said he would “get all the pillars in place for recovery this year” so that the next economic expansion would run smoothly. Striking a balance between acknowledging the seriousness of the economic crisis and offering hope for the future, Obama called the downturn a "wrenching process" but encouraged Americans not be afraid to spend. “I don’t think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions," Obama said, adding that people shouldn't “stuff money in their mattresses.”