Cameron In Washington For Talks With Obama - What's On The Table?
The potential crisis brewing in Afghanistan after a US soldier went on a shooting rampage killing at least 16 civilians is likely to top the agenda when David Cameron holds talks with Barack Obama in Washington this week.
Cameron flies to the United States on Tuesday amid fears of reprisals against both British and American soldiers in the country. Despite the grim headlines and the cries of rage from Afghans, experts doubt whether the atrocity will significantly affect the agenda in Washington between the two leaders.
Xenia Dormandy, senior fellow in US Foreign Policy at Chatham House, told HuffPost UK that Afghanistan would have already been high up the list of topics for discussion. "In conjunction with that, there'll be a conversation about NATO and the future of NATO," she said.
"There will be a number of questions relating to recent events - whether its the Koran burning or the most recent attack by the american sergeant - how they're going to affect America's pull-out or engagement with Afghanistan.
But Dormandy is confident that the atrocity bucks a long-term trend of improvement. "The recent events, while terrible, will be managed. They won't have a significant impact on how quickly America pulls out of Afghanistan. I believe that Cameron and Obama will be talking much more about the longer-term plans for Afghanistan rather than the short term here-and-now."
Michael Williams, international relations lecturer at Royal Holloway University sees thinks if anything the Kandahar attack "will most likely convince those policy-makers who believe a quick withdrawal is best of the correctness of that opinion".
Cameron's visit comes as American voters gear up for the 2012 presidential election. And on Tuesday evening the prime minister will accompany Obama to the crucial swing state of Ohio to watch a basket ball game.
Dormandy expects Obama to be more focused on domestic politics for the rest of 2012 given it's an election year. "You've seen strong resistance to getting involved in syria for all sorts of reasons. You've seen a willingness to say of course all options are on the table vis-a-vis Iran. You're going to continue to see America try to resist and try and make sure the situation with iran today is at worst slow-boil."
But she thinks other countries could capitalise on the elections in the US to take action they might not contemplate at other times. "It may be a reason why Iran would take some actions that they wouldn't otherwise take because they know there would be resistance at other times. It explains why you have a lot of people talking about Israel attacking Iran, because they have a window of opportunity where they may get a relatively lower U.S response."
And Williams thinks Cameron ought to raise the controversy surrounding the UK's extradition treaty, signed by Bush and Blair in 2003.
"Given the US tendency to zealously prosecute individuals globally under US law and increasing concerns regarding the strength of the rule of law and constitutional rights in the US, the UK should be concerned about the ability of their citizens to get justice in the United States and a review of the treaty is must appropriate," he told HuffPost.
"The international community can no longer take on face value American guarantees of due process given the evisceration of due process by successive US Congresses and Presidencies following 9/11. This lack of due process is not only a concern for foreigners, but also now for US citizens."
The two leaders are also due to take part in a joint interview for US broadcaster CBS at half-time of the game between Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky .
According reports Cameron will fly to Dayton, Ohio, with Obama onboard Air Force One - the first foreign leader to be given the honour by the current president.
Samantha Cameron will also make the trip across the Atlantic and is due to take part in events with the US first lady Michelle Obama.