Obama's Foreign Policy Headache After Mid-Term Losses


Whenever America goes to the polls, the world watches closely for clues about what the results will mean for the rest of us. BBC state department correspondent Kim Ghattas looks at how last week's mid-term election losses may impact on President Barack Obama's foreign policy priorities.

Mr Obama's election two years ago was greeted with jubilation in many countries. The neo-cons were out, multilateralism was back and - depending on where you lived - hopes for "change" were unrealistically high.

Expectations, whether positive or negative, often don't match reality, so some of the dire predictions about the impact these elections will have on President Obama's agenda of engagement, his ability to press allies or deter foes, are probably exaggerated by dejected Democrats or Republicans hoping to stymie the White House's plans.

Writing in the Washington Post, David Broder suggested that Mr Obama could recover from the "shellacking" he got at home by being tough abroad and challenging Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"As tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve," wrote Broder.

The proposition was dismissed by many other analysts as a bad idea, but it underscored a problem Mr Obama may face during this second half of his first term - the perception that he is a weakened president at the helm of a country weakened by economic woes.

In Israel, some reports indicated the poll results were welcomed by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a difficult relationship with Mr Obama.

A member of the Mr Netanyahu's party in the Knesset, Danny Danon, said the election had brought an influx of "dozens of strong friends of Israel who will put the brakes on the consistently dubious, sometimes dangerous policies of President Obama regarding Israel these past two years".