Swoop: Washington’s World: April 26th – May 2nd, 2010

Swoop: Washington’s World: April 26th – May 2nd, 2010
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“The continuing push by the Obama Administration to secure financial reform is helping to revive Democratic political prospects and to put pressure on Republican unity.

To date, the Republican leadership in Congress has maintained a stable united front against Obama’s agenda. This may be starting to fray. This is not to suggest that the Democrats do not still face a highly unfavorable climate for the November mid-term elections. The faltering employment picture, concern over the mounting public debt and the manner in which health care reform was enacted still impair their popularity on a nation-wide basis.

However, we believe that they will maintain their majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives, albeit on a much narrower basis. Indeed, in private conversations, senior Republican strategists have suggested to us that it may help the Republican core objective of regaining the presidency in 2012 if they are able to campaign against Democratic control of both the White House and Congress.

While domestically the Democratic agenda is gaining greater traction, on foreign policy, the Administration is still struggling with the multiple problems of the Middle East and Afghanistan. In a recently leaked memorandum to the National Security Adviser, Secretary of Defense Gates has drawn attention to the absence of a fall back option should new UN sanctions fail to bring Iran’s nuclear program to a halt. Our contacts tell us that the military option “does not enjoy any serious support” inside the top US political or military leadership.

Nonetheless, the question remains hotly debated in the US foreign policy community and there is a gaping discrepancy between the US and Israeli assessments of how close Iran is to gaining a nuclear weapon. On Iraq and Afghanistan, despite rising violence in both countries there is no sign of any change in policy. Expectations of success are modest and neither conflict is attracting significant public attention.”

Source – Swoop: