Swoop: Washington’s World: October 1st – 7th, 2012 – After the Elections, Please

Swoop: Washington’s World: October 1st – 7th, 2012 – After the Elections, Please
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Swoop: “After a telephone call and a meeting between respectively President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during the latter’s visit to New York, the confidence of Administration officials that they have deflected the immediate risk of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites has consolidated. While substantial differences remain between Washington and Tel Aviv about timelines, these now appear to be subject to longer-term discussion, not short-term Israeli unilateralism. As an NSC official commented to us: “The issue remains on the agenda for 2013, but we have won time. Netanyahu will now likely concentrate on a new election in Israel.” The Administration does not appear to have paid a political price for this approach. Despite some conservative support for an Israeli military strike, Governor Romney is now himself talking publicly about a strategy that can avoid military action.

Away from Iran, both Clinton and Secretary of Defense Panetta are trying to put the best gloss on developments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Behind the scenes, however, analytic pessimism is the predominant ethos. Obama is coming under increasing political pressure to refute Republican charges of weakness in Egypt, hesitation in Syria and a changing storyline over the events in Benghazi. Obama’s previous advantage on foreign policy is coming under sustained Republican attack.

Beyond the Middle East, there is rising concern among strategic analysts inside the Intelligence Community about the ominous trend in events in East Asia. In meetings with her counterparts from China and Korea and Japan, Clinton stressed the need for calm over competing territorial claims. However, as both top Chinese and Japanese ministers stake out hardline positions on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, NSC officials that a potentially much more serious crisis threatens regional stability in an area of critical interest to the US. As one official explained: “We do not want to be maneuvered by our allies into an adversarial position to China. But that dilemma comes daily closer.”

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) — Don Straszheim, senior managing director of China research at International Strategy & Investment Group, talks with Bloomberg’s Matt Miller and Carol Massar about the Chinese government’s investment in the U.S.

The Administration’s own ambiguous approach to China appeared in sharp relief with its veto on security grounds of the acquisition of a wind farm in Oregon by a private Chinese company.  As an electoral touch point, a tough anti-China policy plays well for both parties. However, as senior White House officials privately acknowledge, this will require remedial work after the election – whoever is in power. ”

Source: The Swoop
Photo Credits: President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, in the Oval Office, Sept. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)