Swoop: Washington’s World: July 18th – 24th, 2011 – Debt, Arab Spring and Cyber Strategy

Swoop: Washington’s World: July 18th – 24th, 2011 – Debt, Arab Spring and Cyber Strategy
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“The as yet unresolved impasse between the Administration and Republican Representatives and Senators over the debt ceiling continues to pre-occupy the attention of top policymakers. Whatever solution is eventually found, the prospects for American governance are not hopeful.

As we noted in our January list of our drivers for 2011, the ideological split between Democrats and Republicans in Congress is deep – and getting deeper. Mutual trust is totally absent as each side accuses the other of bad faith. This predicted theme of dysfunctional governance will intensify as the 2012 election draws closer – with unpredictable implications for US policy formation, especially on economic matters where the fissures are at their widest.

Foreign policy will have to navigate as best it can against this background. No grand initiatives are likely. Nonetheless, policy is not paralyzed. Secretary of State Clinton is well respected, if not for her strategic vision but for her diligent commitment to her office. After a hesitant start, she is looking for a wider US role in the ‘Arab Spring’.  She has substantially escalated US criticism of Syria and has piloted US policy toward recognition of the Transitional National Council as the lawful government of Libya.

Administration officials are growing more confident, especially after recent exchanges with the Russians, that their goal of regime change is within reach. Should this happen, the Administration will enjoy a respite from the criticism it has faced in Congress.

On more far-reaching matters, the Pentagon is seeking more definition in its relations with the Chinese military. Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has conducted another round of negotiations with his Chinese counterparts. A Pentagon official commented to us: “Both sides are trying to understand the other, but there is much mutual suspicion. This is not going to be an easy relationship.”

Finally, the Pentagon has released a new cyber strategy. This is still in its early stages of formulation and senior officials assert that US objectives are defensive. However, our conversations with experts in this field lead us to conclude that the US is increasingly looking at enhancing its already robust offensive capabilities. We believe that the cyber dimension has the potential to transform traditional international relations.”

Source: http://theswoop.net

Photo Credit: Pentagon Memorial By jjgardner3 / FlickR