Tags: US | Obama's | Foreign | Setbacks

Facing Setbacks, Obama Presses His Foreign Policy

Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 07:03 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

WASHINGTON (AP) — Setbacks are piling up for President Barack Obama's foreign policy efforts as he struggles to salvage his signature nuclear weapons treaty with Russia and to keep Mideast peace talks alive.

The apparent collapse of the arms treaty because of political opposition in Washington follows the disappointments Obama suffered recently abroad. He returned from a tour of Asian democracies without a trophy trade agreement with South Korea, and he was unable to persuade other nations to join the U.S. in branding China as a currency manipulator.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton beseeched the Senate to ratify the treaty this year, saying delay was a threat to the nation's security. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he believes the New START deal will come up and be approved during the lame-duck session now under way.

The pact, a top foreign policy priority for Obama, would shrink the U.S. and Russian arsenals of strategic warheads and revive on-the-ground inspections that ceased when a previous treaty expired nearly a year ago.

"This is not an issue that can afford to be postponed," Clinton said after an unusual breakfast meeting with key members of Congress.

Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have been telling senators the same thing, and Russian officials have warned that failure to ratify the pact imperils the fragile effort to mend relations between Washington and Moscow.

All to little effect.

A key Senate Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, stunned the administration by saying he does not want to vote on the treaty during the current session. Without the support of Kyl, a leading Republican voice on the treaty, Democrats have little hope of securing at least eight Republican votes — the minimum they would need for ratification in the current Senate.

Obama has pointed to the treaty as an example of his practical foreign policy and his attention to a frayed U.S. relationship with Russia. Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the agreement in Prague last April, agreeing to reduce the Cold War superpowers' arsenals to the lowest point since the frightening arms race of the 1960s.

"This ceremony is a testament to the truth that old adversaries can forge new partnerships," Obama declared then. "It is just one step on a longer journey."

Obama has been less bullish about chances for a Mideast peace settlement, but he persuaded Israel and the Palestinians to renew long-dormant peace talks this fall. The talks quickly hit an impasse over the issue of Israeli homebuilding on disputed land, and the United States has now offered Israel a package of military and other incentives in exchange for a temporary slowdown.

Facing rising opposition to the deal within his governing coalition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he is trying to get negotiations back on track. He is seeking written assurances from the U.S. that he will not have to extend the settlement freeze beyond three months.

Clinton declined to comment Wednesday on a demand for a written guarantee, saying only that efforts to revive the peace talks were continuing.

"We are working intensively to create the conditions for the resumption of negotiations that can lead to a two-state solution and a comprehensive peace," she said during a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Washington.

The administration never expected swift progress on resolving one of the world's longest and most bitter conflicts. But the weeks of delay probably mean that status quo — just keeping the talks alive — is the best the White House can hope for this year.

The arms treaty had seemed like a more tangible goal, and failure to ratify it this year looms as a larger disappointment for Obama.

Clinton pledged to work with Senate supporters of the pact to overcome resistance. "We will do whatever it takes literally around the clock," she said.

Unless reversed, Kyl's position would delay the vote until the newly elected Senate arrives. Democrats would then need the support of at least 14 Republicans.

The White House has been trying to avoid that fate, knowing that ratification could slip out of reach in the face of opposition to the treaty from most Republicans — and with an increasingly partisan political environment in Washington.

At a minimum, ratification would be set back for months because Republicans are likely to demand new hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee so that newly elected lawmakers could be briefed.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Goldman, US Agency in Mortgage Settlement Worth $1.2 Billion

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 21:30 PM

Goldman Sachs has agreed to a settlement worth $1.2 billion to resolve claims that it misled U.S. mortgage giants Fannie . . .

Cop Who Pushed CNN Anchor in Ferguson Suspended Over Racist Speech

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 21:41 PM

A St. Louis County police officer who pushed back a CNN anchor during a live broadcast from Ferguson, Missouri, this wee . . .

Kudlow: Obama Using 'Left-wing Populist Tricks and Class Warfare'

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 19:08 PM

Badly behind in the polls, Team Obama is resorting to its old left-wing populist tricks, says renowned economist and CNB . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved