Swoop: Washington’s World: May 24th – May 30th, 2010

Swoop: Washington’s World: May 24th – May 30th, 2010
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“Two events this week vividly highlighted the contrast  between the Obama Administration’s domestic and foreign components. On the domestic side, the passage of the Senate version of financial reform represented a significant success. By contrast, the forced resignation of Admiral Blair as Director of National Intelligence brought into relief the Administration’s continuing struggles to forge a cohesive foreign policy team.

Created in the aftermath of 9/11 to take charge of all US intelligence activities, the ODNI has accumulated a large staff but has failed to find a role. This failure was already manifest under the Bush Administration and has become even clearer under Obama. Bureaucratic tensions with the CIA have been evident and the ODNI is widely regarded as having badly underperformed in its core mission of coordinating US intelligence relating to terrorism. Many intelligence experts are hoping for radical reform or even the abolition of the ODNI.

We do not see that happening, with the result that US intelligence will continue to be marked by deep structural weaknesses. Senior officials have commented to us that the ODNI shortcomings along with mediocre quality of the NSC under General Jones illustrate the fact there is nowhere in the Administration where foreign policy “comes together.”

The outcome, as we have noted, is a foreign policy conducted at a high tempo – as can be seen over Iran, North Korea and China – but which still lacks the sense of integrated purpose that is evident on domestic issues. As Obama continues to focus on economic recovery to stave off what still threaten to be large Democratic losses in the November mid- term elections, it is likely that foreign policy will only episodically attract his full attention – despite his major foreign policy address on May 22.”

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