Saturday, November 16, 2013

'Congressional approval will be required, especially if Iran sanctions are to be eased'

'Before turning to foreign affairs, it is worth noting that as a result of the bungled rollout of health reform – now acknowledged by the White House – the Administration is facing what some of its friends call a crisis of confidence. This will inevitably impact the conduct of foreign affairs, particularly in any area where cooperation with the Congress is required.  A key case in point is Iran where if the November 20thnext round of P5+1 talks produces an agreement, some form of Congressional approval will be required, especially if sanctions are to be eased. Given that the Administration’s key foreign policy focus remains on the immediate problems of the Middle East, we have concentrated our comments in this area. However, with the major US relief operation in full flow in the Philippines and the ‘rebalancing to the Asia Pacific region’ driving much of the Pentagon planning staff, we feel we should turn away for at least this week to review some of the less publicized themes that are pulsing through Washington’s strategy in Asia...'

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