'Despite Washington’s preoccupation with the drawn-out fiscal cliff negotiations on which progress is slight, the foreign policy agenda is a crowded one. From Egypt and Syria through to the Korean Peninsular, the Administration faces an array of problems to which there are no easy answers. The Middle East is in the headlines, but US officials are also tracking deepening territorial tensions between India, Japan and China which have significant long-term implications for the US posture in the Asia-Pacific. In parallel, military planners are focusing on what they see as a shift in “terror central” from the Middle East to Africa. On Syria, there are competing voices in Washington. In the White House, there is a determination not to be sucked into another on-the-ground conflict in the Middle East. As an NSC official commented to us: “The President sees his role as ending Middle East wars, not starting them.” In State Department circles, by contrast, there is a growing perception that the fall of the Assad regime – which intelligence sources now advise is increasingly imminent – will leave behind a lawless vacuum where bloodletting on a massive scale may take place. In the words of a State Department official: “In the event of a humanitarian disaster, at the very least a UN stabilization force will be needed. Where is this to come from except from the usual NATO suspects?” The dilemma for the US is that, as another Administration contact put it, “we have willed the end of the Assad era without willing the means.” Over the coming week, Secretary of State Clinton will hold a series of meetings designed to build a regional consensus for a post-Assad Syria. Regarding Egypt, top US officials are working furiously their Egyptian counterparts to persuade President Morsi to moderate his new powers. They hope that he will visit Washington soon, but they also fear that they will soon be faced with an ironical turn of events, namely tacitly welcoming intervention by the army to restore order. .....'
Saturday, December 8, 2012
US Official: "We have willed the end of the Assad era without willing the means!"
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 12:22 PM