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Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
Topic - Kurt Volker
The flaring of global hots spots such as Ukraine and Syria dramatically illustrates the dwindling influence of President Obama in foreign affairs and the staying power of his perennial rival, Russian President Vladimir Putin, analysts say.
President Obama's stated willingness to go it alone on Syria surprises those who followed him during the previous administration, when, as a senator, he derided George W. Bush's commitment to multilateralism and questioned his "coalition of the willing" in Iraq.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Clinton has visited more nations and spoken to more foreign populations than any U.S. secretary of state in history. But her critics say she has fallen far short of making much of an impact on several foreign policy challenges facing the United States, not to mention the fate of democracy around the world.
A breakdown in high-stakes budget talks in Congress could threaten plans for a missile defense shield in Europe.
"Forces who have grievances step up and try to do something, and they find that there's no international order that is willing to step up and counter it," Mr. Volker said. "The more they keep going, the more things get out of control. That's what you've seen with Assad in Syria. He's doubled down. You've seen it with the Egyptian military as well. They've doubled down. The Russians have doubled down. You see it with al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. You see it with Iran moving Hezbollah into Syria."
"I think we have an administration that wants to avoid getting involved," said Mr. Volker, who cited a range of conflicts including the protests gripping Bangkok and the violence in Sudan.