Swoop: Washington’s World: August 22nd – 28th, 2011 – After the Storm, Reflecting on the Next Steps

Swoop: Washington’s World: August 22nd – 28th, 2011 – After the Storm, Reflecting on the Next Steps
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“As President Obama departs Washington on holiday, he leaves behind an unsettled place. He is being criticized both for going on holiday at all and for his choice of Martha’s Vineyard as his destination. He will take with him much on which to reflect. Very little will concern foreign policy. Other than issuing a strong statement on Syria, Obama’s preoccupations have been wholly domestic. Even the upsurge of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan attracts little interest. This is likely to remain so.

Although the forthcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11 will allow him and the wider country to reflect on America’s position in the world, the recent new evidence of weak economic recovery have raised substantial new doubts about Obama’s prospects in 2012. Even some of Obama’s closest advisers are now openly saying that he is not obsessed with being reelected – although his pace of fund-raising remains active. Obama’s next major initiative will be the announcement in early September of a jobs initiative. Given that this will involve new federal spending, a fierce fight with Congress will occur.

On the foreign policy front, Vice-President Biden’s visit to China represents another in the series of efforts to stabilize US-China relations – a subject on which attitudes in Washington remain deeply divided. An important aspect of Biden’s discussions was the situation on the Korean Peninsular. Before the summer, Washington was deeply concerned about North Korean intentions. However, Pyongyang’s relatively moderate reaction to the ongoing US-South Korean joint military exercises and the prospect of a small amount of US famine relief aid have given some encouragement that a flare-up may be avoided. US officials are keeping a close eye on the food situation in the North, sensing that this holds the key to any possible outbreak of hostilities.

In the Middle East, the strongly-worded statement criticizing the August 18th rocket attacks in Southern Israel and the mild reaction to renewed Israeli construction in East Jerusalem indicate that the US will give full support to any Israeli reaction. A State Department official commented to us, “we are stressing to the Egyptians not to take Hamas’ side.”  With regard to Libya, White House officials believe they are in sight of forcing Gaddafi’s departure. There is much less clarity about how the steps to a new government will play out.”

Source: http://theswoop.net

Photo Credit: Proud of our new leader, proud of our people By elycefeliz / FlickR