Thursday, November 6, 2014

Regardless, 'the American public mood remains skeptical about further ground wars...'

'... The (US) election outcome will not turn on foreign issues and, while there is a widespread perception among experts and some emerging evidence of top-level tension between the White House and Pentagon over Iraq, the public mood remains skeptical about further ground wars. President Obama will be able to continue to argue, therefore, that his policy of restraint is more attuned to public opinion than that of the those who want to go beyond air strikes in Iraq. The conduct of foreign policy, notably with regard to any moves to lift or ease sanctions on Iran, will undoubtedly become less comfortable for the Administration, but will not, in our judgment, face the same level of dysfunction that is likely on domestic issues. Returning to Iraq, the official narrative in public presentations and briefings remains that the airstrike policy against ISIL is on track to achieve its long-term objective of degrading and destroying ISIL. Behind the scenes, however, we understand that serious concern is rising in the Pentagon that confusion over the White House’s aims in Syria is undermining the operation. There are also signs of bickering among the generals. No one in Washington believes that there is an easy answer to the Syrian dilemma, so there appears to be little prospect that the strategic coherence for which critics are calling will materialize in the immediate future. In the face of rising tensions in Jerusalem Secretary of State Kerry has been forced to mount a strong defense of US relations with Israel in response to media allegations of a crisis between Washington and Tel Aviv. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu hold each other in low regard, with the result that Israeli influence over US policy is near non-existent. ...'

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