MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti), Daniel Zubov - In less than two months, American voters will elect members of Congress who will write the legislation for the last two years of President Obama’s term in office. Republicans currently control the House of Representatives and Democrats control the Senate, but Obama’s unpopularity in recent polling shows Republicans have a chance to retake the Senate, creating problems for President Obama and laying the groundwork for more aggressive foreign policy.
Even Democratic voters are unhappy with the President’s handling of immigration, energy, and the economy. Democratic hopes at retaining the Senate involve winning seats in more conservative States where the President is less popular, like North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alaska, where candidates are campaigning against several of Obama’s policies.
The only area where Obama has support of a majority of Republicans and Democrats - voters and elected officials - is taking action against ISIS and dealing with the situation in Ukraine. While Democrats tend to see the President’s actions as just right, Republicans criticize the President for being too cautious. Less than 10% of all American voters see his actions as ‘too aggressive.’
With the support of about two thirds of voters for air strikes in Iraq and Syria, Obama apparently hopes focusing on this issue, and that will take attention away from areas of political contention.
In President Obama’s address to the American people about ISIL on September 10, he asserted, “I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL.” This has already justified airstrikes in Iraq and training and coordination with Iraqi troops. However he is requesting additional authority and funding in order to set up votes in Congress on an issue where he has the support of public polling.
Rather than a full Congressional debate about the costs, strategies, and implications of ongoing American military intervention in Iraq and Syria, it appears that this issue will be tacked onto a larger bill to provide funding for the federal government.
While Republican voters overwhelmingly support a more aggressive approach towards bombing Iraq and Syria, Republican members of Congress are skeptical of providing more authority to a President that they oppose who has low approval ratings on foreign policy. Indeed, Republicans prefer to run against an unpopular President that they oppose in principal, rather than on a specific policy of his which they support.
Elected Democrats, including many who won their elections due to the failures of the war in Iraq, are split on the issue. Democratic voters are more inclined to trust the President on foreign policy issues, but are skeptical about his ability to achieve his stated goals. Combined with lack of action in other policy areas, it is easier than ever for former supporters to break with Obama.
American support for military intervention is rising and consolidated bipartisan enthusiasm for this new surge of aggressive foreign policy will have dangerous and violent consequences.
Center for International Research and Journalism, Rossiya Segodnya