Swoop: Washington’s World: October 29th – November 4th, 2012 – Bracing for The Two Storms

Swoop: Washington’s World: October 29th – November 4th, 2012 – Bracing for The Two Storms
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Swoop: “After its brief moment in the limelight during the October 23rd presidential debate, foreign policy has now retreated to its familiar role in the shadows. Despite continued speculation in Washington that Romney’s foreign affairs team will lead him in more hawkish directions than President Obama, our own assessment remains that, if he is elected, the continuities will be greater than the breaks with current policies.

Republican insiders continue to assure us that as president Romney’s first priority will be the economy, not to provoke a foreign crisis. In the meantime, the scope for new initiatives remains virtually zero. Despite media reports of contacts between US and Iranian officials about the Iranian nuclear program, our understanding is that no substantive talks have taken place other than inside the P5+1 format led by the European Union. We expect a tougher line to emerge after the election.

With the US military currently conducting large-scale joint exercises with the Israeli Defense Forces, US officials believe that the prospect of unilateral Israeli action is small at this juncture.

The Fog of the Campaign: Polls and the State of the Race By Nate Silver / NYT
Nate Silver is an American statistician and writer.
The accuracy of his November 2008 presidential election predictions—he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states—won Silver further attention and commendation.
The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama by 1%. He also correctly predicted the winner of all 35 Senate races that year.

On Syria, senior US officials remain deeply skeptical about both the virtues and modalities of intervention. US efforts are concentrated on supporting the mediation proposals under the auspices of the UN Security Council, while at the same time trying to track the flow of arms to the combatant parties. There is little expectation that either of these efforts will succeed. Once the election is out if the way, the problem awaits reengagement.

In East Asia, recent talks between the Pentagon and South Koreans have brought North Korea back into focus. The preliminary assessment among analysts that the new regime in Pyongyang might embrace reform is not firming up. The US state of knowledge remains sparse, but the more likely prospect is that Kim Jung-un will undertake provocative action from time to time. As one intelligence analyst commented to us: “This is really the only card he has to play.” One spin-off from greater tensions on the Korean Peninsular might be seen in greater cooperation with China. A State Department official put it this way: “There are so many aspects of our relations with Beijing that are not going well, that it will be helpful to have an issue on which we have a close identity of interest.”

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher – October 19, 2012: The Debt Paradox by Matt Taibbi


David Stockman on TARP, the Fed, Ron Paul and Reagan
He was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration (1981–1985).

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Photo Credits: President Barack Obama receives an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy during a conference call with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Dr. Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, in the Oval Office, Oct. 26, 2012. Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Richard Reed, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, are seated at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)