Swoop: Washington’s World: December 5th – 11th, 2011 – The Asian Pass

Swoop: Washington’s World: December 5th – 11th, 2011 – The Asian Pass
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Swoop: “Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Burma has, State Department officials tell us, longer-range goals than the immediate one of rapprochement with that country. “Our ultimate objective,” one senior strategist commented, “is to tidy up our bilateral relations in Asia, so that we are not offering any openings to China.”

With North Korea as the obvious exception, we expect the US to seek to friendly ties throughout the region. This will include arrangements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that are designed to offer an alternative to orientation toward China. In this context, Administration officials welcome Japan’s decision to seek membership.

CH-47 Chinook in PakistanOf more immediate import, however, are relations with Pakistan in the aftermath of the mistaken bombing of Pakistan military units. Opinions in Washington are deeply divided. Those who see Pakistan as an essential component of US strategy in South Asia want to maintain harmonious and respectful relations with Pakistan, despite the frustrations. Another – and growing – body of opinion believes that Pakistan is deliberately undermining US objectives in Afghanistan and argue that the US should disregard Pakistan sovereignty. As tensions deepen, our judgment is that this approach is gaining strength. US unilateral strikes against targets in Pakistan, both through drone attacks and cross-border raids, will not diminish.

 

Inside Story – Myanmar’s future challenges

 On the other topic of the day – policy toward Iran – US reaction to the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran has been to seize the opportunity to ratchet up pressure on the regime. In the recent strategic dialogue with Israel, the question of military action arose but, once again, US officials remain strongly opposed to any action of this sort, yet their private assessment is that the Israelis are increasingly doubtful of the wisdom of this strategy.

Regarding military matters in general, a contentious debate is in prospect over defense spending. Following the failure of the Congressional “super committee” to reach agreement on budget reductions, a program of automatic cuts to defense spending will begin – at least theoretically – in 2013. In fact, there are plenty of indications that ways will be found to prevent any drastic reductions. Nonetheless, the days of ever increasing defense spending have ended.”

Source: http://theswoop.net

Photos Credits:
Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma By racoles / FlickR
CH-47 Chinook in Pakistan By The U.S. Army / FlickR