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US Foreign Policy / enclosures / cc: Presidential Nominees

August 24, 2007

Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Guiliani, McCain etc .. it’s just a matter of time before one of these is the world’s next superpower president.  The world watches our nominees debate and for a while it seemed hopeful.  For a while..

Democratic nominees while having a consensus about pulling out of Iraq differed on when and how but it was clear they were willing to pull us out.  The bickering focused on lack of experience vs. experience of assisting in the Iraqi mistake.  The result a wash if not the latter holding slightly stronger ground.

It took a tough anti-terrorism speech from Barak Obama to shed light on the fact that while our democrats were willing to pull our heads out of the sand that didn’t necessarily mean that they weren’t willing to bury their heads in a new hole.  Edwards followed suit with agreeing with Obama’s stance.  Hillary, in all her glory, in all of her scolding after Obama’s statement that going nuclear on Pakistan was not option in which she argues that all things should not be said found herself making her own identical statements on Pakistan:

“I’ve long believed that we needed tougher, smarter action against terrorists by deploying more troops to Afghanistan, and if we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured,” she said.”  (source)

So here we sit and watch another competition feeding off of our fears; what’s your stance on terrorism?

Basically, this stance on Pakistan isn’t really anything new.  It’s not even as though the current administration hasn’t heard of this or thought of it.  Heck, they’ve done it.  However, the statements of the democratic party nominees show lack of regard for promising events that have been taking place in Pakistan as well as the efforts that Pakistan has been taking in terms of assisting the war on terror.

Sepoy of Chapati Mystery address at the YearlyKos convention elaborates on Pakistan’s assisting the war on terror:

The facts, however uncharitably we may want to interpret them, remain thus: Pakistan is actually fighting a determined and pitched battle inside its borders for just the purposes outlined by Senator Obama. Pakistan has deployed 100,000 troops across its northwestern borders, and suffered thousands of casualties, both military and civilian. Just since the July 3rd Lal Masjid stand-off, there have been a dozen suicide bombings across Pakistan, killing over 200 civilians. Pakistan has killed or captured the majority of key operators of Al Qaeda. Pakistan has, in addition, permitted US military strikes on its sovereign territory in our global war against Al Qaeda: such as the November 10, 2006 missile strike that aimed to kill Zawahiri at a madrasa – and hit mostly children. And even as they have seen their cities and deserts flooded with the detritus from the forgotten war of Afghanistan, the Pakistani Press and people have publicly demonstrated – many hundreds of time – their hate of extremism and extremists and their enthusiasm for democracy and a just life. The case in point being, what I term, the Penguin Revolution, that swept Pakistan in the last three months – though making little dent in our media coverage here.

and goes on to say:

We are, in fact, reluctant to know, to understand, to investigate, to learn, to differentiate. We insist on our global, flat, binary world no matter how many facts continue to pile up proving us wrong. We distrust those “masses” populating the streets of Pakistan. And hence, we have no choice BUT to ignore the real “birth-pangs of democracy” happening – we can only insist on “democratization” since we remain convinced that the only conclusion to an election in Pakistan will be power for the extremists. We refuse to acknowledge that the majority has proven time and again its commitment to a safe, secure and free existence for all.
The pictures you see here are not the masks of rage you are accustomed to see – these are lawyers, civil servants, public officials, the great backbone – the middle class – of any country.

And they are fighting in the street for justice and democracy. These are the forces we should be supporting. These are the people who we need to be on our side. These are the people whom we should stand by.

You may call it ‘paradoxical’ but the only solution against extremists is democracy – not the support of dictatorships.

(please make sure to read the whole article and notice the pictures of demonstrations.  also, he has a few more posts in regards to the issue that are extremely informative – you can read them here and here – these two allow comments on the articles.)

Furthermore, while they are all democratic nominees right now, these statements are all comming at a crucial time for Pakistan as it readies itself for elections.  With republicans and democrats singing the same song in regards to Pakistan the impact could be far reaching.  Our foreign policy and our attitudes towards solutions just may directly influence Pakistan’s fight for freedom and democracy a road they were on before our US led push for democracy in the near regions.  Our direct actions through supporting Musharraf’s military are hypocritical to the very center of our core values.  It is not liberty and democracy for all that we desire, rather it is liberty and democracy for those in which it suits our purpose – military regimes for others.  Iraqis deserved liberty and democracy …  Pakistanis .. eh.. not so much.  And, so yay, our democrats have figured out that they can capitalize on fears, point the finger in the right direction to fight the right war, all the while picking up a few of those republican votes which have tired of the whole Iraq fiasco.  However, while American public opinion could favor taking action in Pakistan, support is not unconditional according to this gallup poll:

Despite majority support for the general idea of U.S. military action in Pakistan, a much smaller percentage of Americans favor the United States acting unilaterally without regard for the Pakistani government. Only 30% of Americans say they favor military action against terrorist targets in Pakistan regardless of whether or not the Pakistani government supports it, while 19% favor action only if the government of Pakistan agrees with the steps taken. Three percent of Americans are unsure.

Sixty-one percent of Republicans support military action in Pakistan if the United States had intelligence information about terrorism activity in that country, while 33% opposes it. Democrats are more evenly divided, with 45% supporting and 50% opposing such action.

With the lack of wmd in Iraq, the humiliation of our own human rights violations within this war on terror and the massive instability that we have now brought upon this region with the absolute disregard for the high possibility of civil war the days of unconditional support of the American public for taking “action” and waging war are gone.  Instead give us productive solutions.  Get to the root of the problem.  What makes a terrorist a terrorist and how do we fight that?  Look at what Hamas has done in the Palestinian territories to gain political ground.  Hamas offered medical services, social services, gave out pensions to widows and built schools.  All the while, we handed out our money to a corrupt Fatah that was losing ground by offering much less than what Hamas had to offer.  Of course we can’t support terrorist organizations like Hamas and our only way to provide assistance to the Palestian people was through an organization that we deemed legitimate .. there is no gripe with providing assistance .. only the point that maybe we have something to learn from this experience.

We need to ask ourselves how the Taliban became popular within Afghanistan.  We need to ask ourselves why there are terrorist organizations up in the mountains of Pakistan and why locals are offering them protection and we need to learn how to fight wars on a new level.  We need to listen to the experts that are allready giving us this information and utilize their research.  Maybe wars do not need to be fought through sweeping air raids, tanks, artillery and arms, maybe, just maybe, wars need to be fought through sanitary and advanced medicine, educational structures, curriculum, clean water and water resources, agricultural technologies and minimizing casualties for the sake of fighting a war on terror whose homeland is in no country and every country.   Politicians: Give us something new!

Can our Presidential nominees learn from the mistakes we’ve made in Iraq?  Or will they continue down this road (pew global attitudes survey):

Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. Western European publics are at best divided about keeping troops there. In nearly every predominantly Muslim country, overwhelming majorities want U.S. and NATO troops withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible. In addition, global support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism ebbs ever lower. And the United States is the nation blamed most often for hurting the world’s environment, at a time of rising global concern about environmental issues.

Of course what is said and what is done are two different things but considering where our leadership stands at the moment – what is said now is going to determine world opinion and trust for the remainder of the next Presidential term.   I wonder if it’s too late for damage control.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2007 2:30 am

    Unfortunately Bush, with his extremely wasteful financial habits, has ensured that the next president of the USA is the one who will preside over the fall of the USA from sole Superpower to becoming subservient to China. China already holds more US dollars than the USA. By controlling the purse strings, the Chinese Government will control the USA! This will slowly come to be noticed over the next five years.

    I predict that the first noticeable signs will be more frequent visits to Beijing by the President. Not by the Chinese leadership to Washington. The US leadership will be going to their banker asking for extensions on loans.

    With control of the US dollar China is also in a very strong position as far as the Middle East is concerned. It will be interesting to see how China will react to extremists who transfer their hatred from the US to China as China grows ever more powerful.

    Sorry to be pessimistic.

  2. August 27, 2007 3:16 pm

    Nah – you’re not being pessimistic Archie. I ran accross an article about China’s dollar holdings while writting this up and was going to tie it into this post but it would have led to a rather lengthy post and I thought it better to just focus on this aspect for now.

    I thought that news was mostly swept under the rug here in the US. I don’t think anyone realizes the severe impact that China’s holding dollars can have on our economy. It astounds me that we are so busy blaming illegal immigrants for taking US (unwanted) jobs as you can see through comments at my own post:
    and through Chrysipuss’s Carpentersville blog yet we find ourselves so indifferent our economy being held hostage by China. We’re allready going to have to stay quiet on China needing to reevaluate its currency so that their currency will stay stable which is what is going to keep them from dumping our dollars and forcing us into recession not to mention it is going to force us from making any changes in regards to keeping jobs at home.

    For a while I have been saying that Palestinians and their allies could force Israel into a peace agreement by fighting on an economic level and it would be a lot more effective than going after civillians. So for me, it’s been quite interesting the way in which China is actually playing this out. As America takes center stage in the ME and surrounding areas with military might (all the while trying to secure our oil interests) China is actually waging a silent war on our economy and trying to secure it’s own oil interests through diplomacy and positive actions that I have been saying the US should use in Pakistan. Granted that this tactic is not perfect as in the case of Sudan – but even China is now interested in preserving it’s investment within that country. I think there is a lot that we can learn from what China is doing at the moment.

    As for the Middle East though .. I wonder myself. However, I don’t think that China is quite there with winning over the heart of the Middle East. I do realize that both Palestinians and Israelis have stated interest in China joining the Quartet but outside of that I’ve noticed that the ME seems apprehensive about China. It’s quite possible if the next administration takes action soon enough and does some damage control that we could find ourselves at an advantage in this region but we are going to have to do it through diplomacy and through positive actions – nation building. This was one of the reasons that I liked Obama – I thought he might head in that direction. I think he’s pre-emptively shot himself in the foot though with his Pakistan comments and it doesn’t look as if he’s willing to back down on that.

    As for extremists – this is pretty scary:;_ylt=ApjQBO7o6BwlnWZaeotEAAtPzWQA It’s there waiting for them.

  3. Pam permalink
    December 2, 2007 4:47 pm

    I agree with your comments in regards to America basically playing into the hands of China. We are already subservient to China due to our financial obligations to them. Sometimes I want to scream, “IS ANYONE AWAKE? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN WASHINGTON?” We really, really need to start bringing jobs back to America, and stop giving huge tax breaks to corporations who take jobs abroad. My question is, “Where is the logic in all this?” We are essentially giving away our children’s futures, and setting our country up for a HUGE fall in times to come. Even the great Roman Empire had its season of power, then its time to fall. We are currently the Roman Empire of our day. What makes us think that we can continue to manage our country’s resources so frivously and continue to stand as a free and soverign nation?

  4. December 5, 2007 5:44 pm

    Pam – Thanks for your comments. I’m going to have to do some research in regards to where the presidential hopefulls stand on the topic and do a post in the future.

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