Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lame-Duck Congress

I posted earlier this month a comment about the need for the United States to begin consolidating its position among other key actors in the wake of the debacle of the Georgian war. Of course, Congress, true to (at least the movie version of) George Patton's comment about them having their timetable, is going to leave a number of items of unfinished business on the table.

I think it is pretty clear why the Russia-U.S. nuclear deal is off the table, but I still think that, on its own merits, and not as any sort of punishment or reward for Russia, it should go through. Whether Congress next year will be more willing to consider the deal in light of U.S. interests remains to be seen.

Whether the U.S.-India deal can move forward is still very much up in the air. I worry about the impact of delay, especially as some in India (as yesterday's post noted) are beginning to fret about whether their policy is too U.S.-centric.

Neither the Colombia or South Korea free trade agreements are likely to be considered before the new president takes office. Again, perhaps the consequences of delay will turn out to be minimal, but there is something to be said for getting things wrapped up and for Washington to be able to count on goodwill now.

US had failed to deliver on her promises to USSR and Russia (the successor state of USSR), to Libya, to Georgia, to North Korea, and now to Inida.

I see a pattern here.
Congress still seems to have the attitude that other countries "got nowhere else to go." This is a dangerous illusion to maintain.
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