Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Pakistan cropped up with uncomfortable regularity during the U.S. presidential campaign, but listening to Barack Obama and John McCain it was difficult to discern how different their approach would be in dealing with one of America’s most complicated and conflicted allies.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari met leaders of both the Democrat and Republican camps just weeks after his own election in September, but unfortunately the controversy stirred by his unguarded compliment for Sarah Palin earned more comment than the substance of those meetings.
During his campaign, Obama stated his readiness to order U.S. forces to undertake operations on Pakistani territory to eliminate al Qaeda or terrorist threats if Pakistan was unprepared or unable to act.
McCain admonished Obama for saying such things out loud as it created diplomatic problems for an allied government, yet there was little to suggest that McCain would behave differently in terms of military strategy.
Most Pakistanis are left to conclude that whoever wins today’s election, there will be more American troops in Afghanistan, more unrest in the ethnic Pashtun belt either side of the Afghan-Pakistani border, more U.S. missile strikes, and the constant threat that U.S. ground troops will be let off the leash in Pakistani tribal lands. (more…)