Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Barack Obama's first foreign policy gaffe? 

FP Passport's Blake Hounshell wonders whether Barack Obama has committed his first foreign policy gaffe. The Indian press is interpreting one of his answers at his last press conference as implying that India might legitimately strike terrorists inside Pakistan just as Obama has said the United States might do. This would be a gaffe, presumably, if either (i) the Pakistanis had the same reaction as the Indian press, or (ii) the government of India got cocky and actually attacked. Both responses would be very destabilizing.

Hounshell's argument notwithstanding and at the risk of being proved wrong, I think that Obama answered well. He expressly refused to comment on the situation between India and Pakistan, implicitly reiterated the correct view that if an attack is launched from a country that country is responsible for its consequences, and stood by India, the largest democracy in the world and one of our most important allies in the long war.

[DOH! Typo in the title fixed.]


By Blogger Ray, at Tue Dec 02, 01:19:00 AM:

I think he did okay. The Indians and the Pakistanis are both very good at hearing what they want to hear.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 02, 09:50:00 AM:

And BO is good at saying what people want to hear.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Dec 02, 10:49:00 AM:

Of course, it's entirely possible that he did intend it as a tacit endorsement of Indian retaliation. The Indians have just as good a case for striking targets in Pakistan as we do. If it's ok for us, why not for them?

We *destroyed* the 'nation' that supported and protected the 9/11 attackers. (Taliban Afghanistan) Is it fair to restrain the Indians as they suffer attack after bloody attack, year after year, from a neighbor? How would we respond if Mexico or Cuba protected and even trained and equipped terrorists who repeatedly struck at civilian targets in the continental Unites States?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 02, 12:52:00 PM:

Dawnfire, I find your lack of nuance disturbing. :)
I think we need to get in touch with our inner Muslim and ask why do they hate us so much, and try and get to the "root causes" of the violence.
We can't keep on with this continuing cycle of violence, can we? Can we? Anyone? Bueller?

So go find your "inner Muslim" and find out what the root cause of all this turmoil is, and report back to the new National Security Team in the incoming Obama Administration, and then go to the UN, and ask real nice, please, how do we stop this nation of outlaws, cutthroats and gangsters (Pakistan?) from fostering all this violence?

I think a good start would be a couple of 2,000 lb JDAMs into the ISI HQ in Islamabad, but then I'm kinda reactionary.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 02, 05:25:00 PM:

Once the governments of Pakistan, India, and the United States can admit we all face the same enemy, then we may get somewhere.

The logical thing would be to form a common alliance against the scourge of Islamic extremism.

Perhaps we are already on the way to that end and just don't know it quite yet. We are still some way from obtaining the necessary transparency of identifying the enemy. But once that hurdle is cleared we should be able to act with overt cooperation and severely diminish if not entirely eliminate the threat.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 02, 08:35:00 PM:

"...the borders of Islam have always been bloody."
-W.S.Churchill( 1899?)-
...once we start teaching real history again, the eyes will work , again. They will see.Again.
Construction of churches and Synagogues in the lands of Arab Islam is a fine start. Oh! and drilling in North America for oil.
bien sur, bien pensants.  

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