Swoop: Washington’s World: July 11th – 17th, 2011 – Debt Ceiling & Foreign Policy Cool Down

Swoop: Washington’s World: July 11th – 17th, 2011 – Debt Ceiling & Foreign Policy Cool Down
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“The latest disappointing employment figures and the continuing series of White House meetings on the debt ceiling have for the for the moment set the tone for policy making in Washington. This is inward looking and marked by rising doubts about the strength of the economic recovery.

The main focus of US international exchanges has been via the Treasury and Federal Reserve with their European counterparts in connection with the Greek crisis.

At similar moments of domestic frustration, earlier presidents have turned to foreign policy for the greater scope it allows the president for autonomous action. We understand that White House officials have been looking for opportunities of this sort for President Obama. The search is not an easy one. Even the most optimistic State Department officials concede that the problems confronting US foreign policy are much greater than the openings for an American-led breakthrough.

A case in point is Pakistan where relations continue to deteriorate in the face of accusations from top US officials of Pakistani government complicity in the killing of a leading journalist. With moves in Congress to strip US aid from Pakistan, the downward trajectory is set to continue.

Another slow-moving area is Libya. Next week Secretary of State Clinton will travel to Turkey for a meeting of the contact group, but at home the war remains politically divisive. While Obama will have no trouble surviving Congressional attempts to constrain his freedom of maneuver, the war is not attracting any of the traditional ‘rally to the flag’ boost to his sagging popularity.

Similarly, much of the initial enthusiasm deriving from the ‘Arab Spring’ that this would open new options for US policy in the Middle East is dissolving. US officials are especially concerned about backsliding in Egypt.

Finally, the independence of South Sudan – a goal to which US diplomats have worked assiduously for years – is clouded in doubts about the country’s viability. Overall, these are challenging times for the White House. If, as most commentators expect, Obama secures a debt ceiling deal with the Republicans, his difficulties may ease. But some tense moments are in prospect before that happens.”

Source: http://theswoop.net

Photo Credit: Bus 3 By Public Notice Media / FlickR