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Mr. Clemons added that in the Middle East policy “swamp,” he does not “see anything in the region that isn’t going to be affected” by Tuesday’s results.

Ms. Pletka said she thinks that, in contrast to his predecessors, Mr. Obama “has not appeared very interested in foreign policy.”

But one school of thought argues that, faced with a Congress unlikely to move on his legislative priorities — cap-and-trade, comprehensive immigration reform — the president might turn his attention abroad to pet issues like the Arab-Israeli peace process.