Obama's Foreign Policy Headache After Mid-Term Losses

President Obama's trip to India has been wrought with controversies. Beginning with his reservation to visit a Sikh temple that would have required him to cover his head to tip toeing the political sensitivities that the US-Pakistan-India relationship has.

(From Carbonated TVs Editor's desk)

President Obama's trip to India has been wrought with controversies. Beginning with his reservation to visit a Sikh temple that would have required him to cover his head to tip toeing the political sensitivities that the US-Pakistan-India relationship has.

The tightrope balancing act that Obama has been pulling for the past three days in the sub-continent is all the more significant after his Democratic party lost the house majority and barely hung on to a majority in Senate during the mid-term elections last week. He was heavily penalized for peddling a weak AfPak policy in resolving the US war in Afghanistan and not doing enough to create more jobs in a fragile economy.

In India, thousands of miles away from domestic pressure, Obama sought to make amends. In a single day he criticized Pakistan for not working as hard and as fast as was expected for the $2bn a year that was being given to them and he managed to secure a $5bn trade deal which would see at least 50,000 new jobs being created in the US.

Terming the US mid-term elections as "shellacking", this sort of tough man appearance abroad is not going help Obama's or the Democratic party's image at home. The sort of landslide sweep scored by the Republicans will need an answer of equal measure to win back public confidence.

Many Democrats watching Barack and Michele Obama dance in India would be angry at how their maverick failed at home. If the trip had been undertaken sometime in July, it would have put the Democratic party on a much stronger footing than it found itself on November second. From here on now, the hill has grown steeper for Obama to climb before the Presidential elections in 2012.

Obama's Foreign Policy Headache After Mid-Term Losses

(BBC)

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".

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