Monday, August 06, 2007

Obama gets tough

If Barack Obama could see my face he would be looking into the eyes of an unimpressed person. Very unimpressed. Ms Clinton taunted him at their YouTube debate saying he wasn't tough enough (because he said he was willing to talk to people like Chavez and Castro) but he mis-heard and thought she said he wasn't deranged enough and so he's threaten to send troops into Pakistan whilst simultaneously poking them with a sticky stick. Gee, thanks so much "anti-war candidate".

Here's a snap shot of what he said "Let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again...If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President (Pervez) Musharraf won't act, we will... Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."

As Philip Giraldi says at the Huffington Post "Democrats are invariably obsessed with demonstrating how tough they can be... Obama's new, tougher stance to teach the treacherous Pakis a lesson is already being used by the Pakistani media to flail Musharraf for his ties to the United States. Obama might be surprised to learn that no one particularly wants to be invaded by the world's sole remaining superpower, particularly as Iraq has proven to be such a success. Obama also seems unaware that his posturing for political gain could have real foreign policy consequences."

And as Peter Preston says "Can the Pakistan army occupy and subdue the vast tribal territories along the Afghan border? It has never managed to in 60 years. The army is basically Punjabi: the frontier land is alien. The best Islamabad has contrived in peaceful times is a kind of ad hoc devolution which lets the tribes govern themselves. But these aren't peaceful times. Guerrilla cum civil war is one more potential swirl in the growing chaos."

Obama is asking of the Pakistan government something the US government has not been able to achieve in any of the areas it has dominance over, and threatens military action if they do not comply. Charming. He obviously likes seeing marines come home in body bags.

Whilst the Hindustan Times and the Daily India seem curious rather than angry, the reaction in Pakistan is a little more, well, pensive at the prospect of US marines yomping over their northern border.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khusheed Kasuri demonstrated a mastery of understatement by saying “As the election campaign in America is heating up we would not like American candidates to fight their elections and contest elections at our expense.”

“Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance,” Pakistan's Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem said a little more robustly. “This seems to be a reaction to their own failure in Afghanistan to control the US casualties and instead of addressing the situation there, they are finding scapegoats and damaging their own cause.”

It's been left to George W. Bush to ring up Musharraf to reassure them that the US "respects Pakistani sovereignty". God, he's such a soft touch that bloke. He hasn't launched a war for ages and now he's trying to stop other people getting stuck in! Damn hippy.

Of course, this has been a week for US Presidential candidates to threaten unilateral military action in other people's countries. Republican hopeful Tom Tancredo made the interesting suggestion of using nuclear weapons against Mecca and Medina if "the terrorists" were to attack America. Nope, can't see any flaws in that plan. Foolproof.

US foreign policy, even when it's trying to be progressive, just can't get away from the logic of... well... imperialism. We can use that word these days can't we? It's not de rigeur is it? The fact these plans are being mooted should be no surprise from a governing class that seems to think to way to end all conflicts in the Middle East is by flooding the region with weapons. Remind me, how do you spell "yeee haaa"?


nullo said...

obama's made a mess.

the thing he said about ahmadinejad, chavez etc. was a mistake... but he should have stuck to it

he must have hoped that with this pakistan point people would have forgetten about the youtube debate... but he just ended up sounding like what he is: an unexperienced guy who is so far behind hillary in the polls that his campaign he pretty much being run by the clintons

Kaihsu Tai said...

So disappointed with the new, macho-macho Obama.

Harold Hughes: ‘When I tell you that if, as president, I was informed that the Soviets had launched a surprise nuclear attack and its missiles were speeding towards our shores, I would order No Response, you will understand that I am not a candidate for the nomination.’ (quoted in Alexander Cockburn (2004) The Year of surrendering quietly, New Left Review 29)