Swoop: Washington’s World: March 8th – March 14th, 2010

Swoop: Washington’s World: March 8th – March 14th, 2010
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“Foreign affairs continues to struggle to attract attention in Washington. The elections in Iraq, for example, passed virtually without comment, let alone intervention, from the Administration. Wider public interest was marginal.

The same pattern may be seen in the Administration’s now downplayed engagement in the Middle East peace process and in the slow pace of diplomacy toward Iran. Here, Secretary of State Clinton encountered new opposition to tougher sanctions from Brazil. US officials also expect opposition from Turkey following the vote in the House of Representatives on the Armenian genocide.

Much of the explanation for this state of affairs lies with President Obama himself and his current imperative to achieve health care reform. Great uncertainties still attach to this, notably whether the Democrats can muster a majority in the House of Representatives to keep the legislative process alive.

From our conversations with senior Democrats, we judge that this task will be extremely challenging. However, we still believe that health reform is too important to the Democrats for them to allow it to fail. It remains to be see whether passage of a health reform bill will assist the Democrats politically or further impair their prospects in the November mid-term elections.

Further controversy lies ahead for Obama in his forthcoming announcement of the results of the Nuclear Posture Review. While political consensus exists that the number of US nuclear weapons can be reduced, no such agreement is in place for the rationale behind the US nuclear inventory and, especially, whether the US should foreswear first use of such weapons. The Republicans can be expected to oppose any softening of language in that regard.

Obama does have some good news in Afghanistan. While many of the analysts at the Pentagon and in the Intelligence Community to whom we speak remain skeptical about long-term success, Obama enjoys wide support for his current approach both in the Congress and country at large. His dilemma is that this is not helping his domestic agenda.”

Source: http://theswoop.net/sys/index.php?PHPSESSID=9f5378f1ea2fe34571c7d12c5021cc44