Saturday, December 15, 2012

'... On the foreign policy front, the array of challenges facing the US does not diminish – from major international headaches like Afghanistan and North Korea to little understood regional dilemmas like Mali– there is no region where US control of events is certain. And this is before we make any mention of the situation in Syria, Egypt, and the withdrawal of UN Ambassador Susan Rice from consideration as Secretary of State. With regard to Afghanistan, despite the outward optimism expressed by every senior visitor to Kabul – most recently Secretary of Defense Panetta – there is little realistic expectation in Washington that stability will endure much beyond the drawdown of the majority of coalition forces in 2014. As we approach that date, we expect to see intensified efforts to reach a political accommodation with opposing forces, including the Taliban. For the moment, however, these efforts are episodic. On North Korea, the implications will also unfold in slow time....  Regarding Syria, a consensus is developing that the Assad regime is close to the end. However, US officials know that they are no closer to solving the problem of how a post-Assad Syria will function...'

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