Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Wants Osama - Not Good

I just finished watching the presidential debate.  Here is a scribble with  some initial impressions...

Even though I have been rooting for Barack Obama since the day Hillary was out of the race, I must say John McCain made more sense today than he ever has. Esp. when it came to foreign policy issues.

Indians, by and large have been quite pleased with Obama in the recent past. Infact they have been jumping up and down clapping their hands in glee. After all Obama has been after Pakistan's case with a vengeance and we Indians love it when Pakistan gets a rap from the world community. The same is story on the other side of the border. India and Pakistan at the end of the day are nothing but squabbling siblings who continually get taken for a ride because they cannot resolve their own issues.

However Obama's opinion that the United States should use force if needed to get Bin Laden out of Pakistan made my hair stand on the end. First is personal. I have dear friends in Pakistan and wouldn't want war to come to their country. At a political level this is scary because it displays the same egg-headed thinking that the US has the moral right to invade the sovereignty of any country to serve their agenda without as much as bye-your-leave. This also tells us that the US has no friends. They could shower you with funds one day and invade you the other. This is the attitude that led to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. And that is the case that is being built against Iran and now Pakistan.

What we need to see clearly is that if the US under Obama gets into Pakistan the likelihood of the country degenerating into anarchy is almost certain. In such a scenario it is not only Pakistan, but India that is doomed as well. A stable and democratic Pakistan is vital not only for the good of the people of Pakistan but for India as well. What these leaders fail to see is that activities and statements like those that Obama made today, fuel fundamental forces and work against the well-being of the entire sub-continent. And say if they bomb Pakistan and don't find Obama there and decide he has migrated south to Kashmir. Will they bomb India next? The trail of destruction left behind to avenge 9-11 has long been in the zone of diminishing returns.

Obama's earlier statements of China being a threat to US, further fuels the doubt about the safety of interests of the sub-continent under his government. It can be argued that the sub-continental interests clash more than they agree. While there is a grain of truth in it, the bigger truth is that a powerful Asia is to our collective benefit. The Clintons understood our part of the world far better than either of the present candidates does. It would have helped to have Hillary on the VP ticket if not on the presidential one (think of it, if nothing else a debate between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton would have been a blast. Joe Biden took away half the fun by being a gentleman.)

In that respect, John McCain despite his condescending 'carry a big stick and speak in a low voice' came across as far more accommodating in matters of foreign affairs esp. vis-a-vis the sub-continent. Even though we all know that he is merely presenting the American definition of the carrot-and-stick policy.

At the end of the day, we do understand that a lot of it is posturing weeks before the election. However, I don't see much change in foreign policy whichever administration takes power. Iraq or Iran, Afganistan or Pakistan..Natha Singh/Prem Singh - All in the same thing!

With his pockets empty and his kitchen fires cold, Uncle Sam has only blustering bravado left to sell. It is apparent he not ready to give up his big bully tag just of now.


  1. It is all politics, I think Obama is most interested in bringing back some of the respect the US had prior to GW Bush. Unfortunately, there are far too many cowboys in this country and if Obama is to stand a chance, he must not appear to be soft on terrorism. Sarah Palin would be frightening in office, I can not imagine living with the knowledge that if this woman were to become president, that she would have authority of nuclear weapons, it is simply unthinkable.

  2. I kind of agree with that particular point about Obama. The way he mentioned going into Pakistan was a bit unlike him (and democrats in general). However, McCain is no saint in this regard. In fact he did not really oppose going into Pakistan. What he did was to ridicule Obama for being naive and saying such a thing openly. It was like 'shhh, ye koii bolane kii baat hai kyaa".