Swoop: Washington’s World: July 2nd – 8th, 2012 – The Independence Week

Swoop: Washington’s World: July 2nd – 8th, 2012 – The Independence Week
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Swoop: “For the past week, the political debate in Washington has been transfixed by the Supreme Court decisions on Arizona’s immigration law and health care reform. In the latter case, the decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act confounded expectations, both in its substance and in the fact that Chief Justice Roberts provided the affirmative vote. This unexpected outcome has roiled the politics of the November elections in as yet unpredictable ways. Republicans are now energized to elect a sufficient majority in Congress to repeal the act – albeit something that will be very difficult to accomplish – while President Obama is savoring what a week ago seemed an unreachable victory.

In view of these dramatic events, foreign policy has, naturally, taken a back seat.  This is not to say that diplomatic business is being neglected. US officials are deeply engaged over Syria, Egypt, Iran and the Euro crisis. Defense Secretary Panetta, for example, has intervened actively with his Egyptian counterpart with regard to the elections in Egypt. However, the overall framework is one whereby the Administration wants to contain events within manageable parameters, not allow them to assume crisis proportions. This will prompt continued US caution over Syria.

As one senior State Department official put it to us: “Take Iran as a proxy for the White House’s approach. We are under instructions to keep negotiations going, not to provoke a breakdown that would give Israel or anyone else an excuse for risky action.” As next week’s technical level negotiations open in Istanbul on the Iranian nuclear program, US officials will use some very tough language, but will be looking for reasons to continue the talks, not to break off.

At a more strategic level, the Pentagon is engaged on a high-profile public relations campaign to head off the forced reduction in defense spending that will take place in 2013 if no agreement is reached on wider budgetary matters. Were these cuts to take place, defense planners are concerned that the “rebalancing” of US strategy to the Asia-Pacific region might have to be slowed.”

Source: http://www.theswoop.net
Photo Credits
: Independence Day! By *Micky / FlickR