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Fast Track Trade Legislation Too?
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Fast Track Trade Legislation Too?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It seems that the desperation that is apparent among everyone who has had recent contact with the Obama White House has now even affected fast track trade legislation. While the President eventually may well get a bill to sign similar to what appeared to have gone today, Obama will have paid again deeply to achieve it. The President went out to the Congressional Baseball Game last night with beer for the winning team just to try to round up votes. He then went up to the Capitol this morning to try to rally support but apparently came out knowing he had lost. He again demonstrated his inability to glad hand the Members of Congress and to play the Washington game. The President watched the leadership of his own party in the House rebuff his efforts.

In a far more serious and delicate arena, the President also is desperate to succeed in the Middle East and has been repeatedly wrong in almost every case. The latest announcement about Iraq is only the most recent incomprehensible decision that this Administration has made. Sadly, to some extent it is reminiscent of LBJ who wanted so much to do right in Viet-Nam that he gave up an almost certain re-election victory in 1968, so that he could end the war; but he never understood the pulse of the country on the war. (Johnson was the one of the best “glad-handlers” ever to occupy the White House.)  

The White House this week not only announced that it intended to send approximately 500 hundred additional troops to Iraq but that the U.S. would be supplying the Sunnis, Shiites, and the Kurds with weapons to fight ISIS. This force will be commanded by the Iraqi troops that the additional soldiers we are now sending into Iraq will participate in training. Something here makes no sense, unless the goal is to keep the military industrial complex in business. Who seriously assumes that these three groups are all willing to follow these to newly hatched commanders?

This Administration desperately wants to sign a deal with Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons even as Iran’s ally Hezbollah is fighting in Syria with the Assad Government which is clearly losing ground to ISIS.  Meanwhile the Saudis are fighting with U.S. material and intelligence against Yemini rebels which are being vigorously supported by Iran.

Besides the fact that none of this and many other moves in the Middle East do not make any sense, the question is who is advising the President?  U.S. military leaders are soldiering on but they certainly do not comprehend where all this going. It almost appears as if they are trying to keep everything in place until there is new leadership in the White House in 2017. Running the country while trying to protect your place or make your place in history is much too dangerous today, certainly in foreign policy. 

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