Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Does President Obama Know About the Goings On In Pakistan (Or Any Foreign Policy Crisis)?

No Mention During His Daily Television Show

Question: Does President Obama understand that foreign policy is part of his job description? This means more than bowing to the Saudi King, shaking hands with Hugo Chavez and basically giving up the responsibility for the protection of our citizens here and around the world to a decision by committee of world leaders and the United Nations?

While holding a press conference on Monday to discuss the nickels and dimes that he is tasking his departments with shaving off of their budgets, no mention was made of the extremely disturbing news coming out of Pakistan.

To give President Obama some perspective, because according to his minions he has been in office such a short time he shouldn't be expected to be held responsible for anything that goes on there (everything is apparently a result of the failures of the last 8 years), Pakistan is a partner in the war on terror, possesses nukes and is apparently slowly being taken over by the Taliban. Now if we look at the map below, we find that Pakistan, situated between it's arch enemy India and Afghanistan (and again possessing nuclear weapons) is in a strategically very important and dangerous location.

Map of Pakistan

To all of the Obama apologists out there who seem to think that it is way to early in his administration to expect much out of him (I think they believe that would be somewhere in his 4th year if ever), this situation with the Taliban has the potential to morf out of control and affect all of us in some very disturbing ways.

Now while cutting $100 MM over a 5 year period from a few different agencies is all well and good, what Mr. President, is the plan for this spreading problem? Perhaps President Obama doesn't view the spread of Islamic fundamentalist power as a problem. I suppose that could be true as well.

In the event that the Congress and the President have not been briefed by Secretary of State Clinton (who also may possibly not be aware of the situation with more important items on her plate like keeping an eye on her husband), here is a summary:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 19 -- A potentially troubling era dawned Sunday in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where a top Islamist militant leader, emboldened by a peace agreement with the federal government, laid out an ambitious plan to bring a "complete Islamic system" to the surrounding northwest region and the entire country.

Speaking to thousands of followers in an address aired live from Swat on national news channels, cleric Sufi Mohammed bluntly defied the constitution and federal judiciary, saying he would not allow any appeals to state courts under the system of sharia, or Islamic law, that will prevail there as a result of the peace accord signed by the president Tuesday.

"The Koran says that supporting an infidel system is a great sin," Mohammed said, referring to Pakistan's modern democratic institutions. He declared that in Swat, home to 1.5 million people, all "un-Islamic laws and customs will be abolished," and he suggested that the official imprimatur on the agreement would pave the way for sharia to be installed in other areas...(Washington Post)

I say it often, but apparently it has to be said over and over and over. President Obama, there is a foreign policy component to you job. Perhaps as important as the economy and health care, because if a rogue nation or terrorist group somehow releases a nuclear device, the economy becomes a little less important.

If you haven't given your answer to the question in the sidebar concerning who you voted for in this past presidential election, and if you would vote the same way if the election were to be held today, please do so!


  1. A New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan"Good morning," began the President today. "Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. And this marks the conclusion of a careful policy review, led by Bruce [Reidel], that I ordered as soon as I took office."

    * Read the White Paper on the new policy (pdf)----------------

    Pak needs to ramp up its fight against terror: Obama's AdvisorPakistan needs to not only match the US efforts, but also ramp up its fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the country, Obama's Advisor David Axelrod said on Monday. [..]

    "[T]hey have to meet us along the way and intensify their efforts in terms of dealing with this threat [..]," Mr. Axelrod told the CBS news in an interview.

    Mr. Axelrod said the US has been "in close communication" with the authorities in Pakistan about the concerns it has on the Swat agreement with the Taliban.

    "The Government there knows what our feeling is, and they need to really focus in on what is a threat to their own stability and what is a threat to the security of the world, and that is this growing hegemony of the Taliban and allies of al Qaeda," he said in response to a question.


    Swat peace deal can affect Islamabad too: HolbrookeThe Swat deal between the Taliban and the government of Pakistan could affect Islamabad too, which is only 100km from the troubled valley, US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said.

    According to a private TV channel, Holbrooke was referring to a Taliban spokesman’s statement regarding non-acceptance of part of the deal during an interview with CNN. He said this was a “wake-up call for Pakistan”. He said Pakistan was facing a dangerous situation and the people responsible for the 9/11 attacks were in the western areas of the country. He said the US was working with Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and his colleagues [..]

  2. Here is my question to you Nimh. This is the same rhetoric that we have heard on pretty much every foreign policy event.

    We will study...
    We are developing a new strategy...
    Pakistan needs to ramp up it's own fight against terrorism: Is that going to happen?
    The government there knows what our feeling is...

    My point, similar to the delayed response to the Somali hostage crisis and attack of a U.S. flagged vessel, is that the Taliban is currently in the process of taking over our "ally" and in the process taking over the nukes that they possess.

    Action is needed and not just headlines and rhetoric. This administration is good at headlines and rhetoric but the stakes here are very high.

  3. nimh....your informed unbiased response to mike haltman's religious right sentiment is a breath of fresh air...as with the navy seals mike prefers to shoot first and deal with the consequences later...anyone thinking that our current administration just doesn't care at all about the middle-east is a moron (mike that's you)slow, steady and smart wins the race mike not being a shoot first hot head ( see mr. bush in iraq weapons of mass destruction)huge mistake...your one sided rhetoric is tiring mike....move to the country and stock up on food ..you have 7 more years of this....keep taking those meds..g-d forbid mike no heart attacks please

  4. Wel Nimh, you point of view just took another serious hit now that Anonymous is on your side. Although your argument made the obvious points that the Obama administration has presented through the media, it is all still just rhetoric.

    The Navy Seals should have been in a position to take action on DAY 1. The United States cannot allow terrorists to feel comfortable attacking our vessels.

    As far as Pakistan goes, will we react definitively after the Taliban has taken full control of the country? By then it will be to late!

    "The Koran says that supporting an infidel system is a great sin," Mohammed said, referring to Pakistan's modern democratic institutions. He declared that in Swat, home to 1.5 million people, all "un-Islamic laws and customs will be abolished," and he suggested that the official imprimatur on the agreement would pave the way for sharia to be installed in other areas..."

    By other areas he means the entire country.

    Just remember that there is an arsenal of nuclear weapons involved.

  5. nimh...remember ..mike is one of those people who thinks he's never wrong and only his beliefs matter....your opinion means nothing to mike who only thinks he craves debate when he only cares about spewing religious right rhetoric....tell your blog buddies not to bother with mike...like his hero and mentor, rush limbaugh , mike could be on drugs when he spits out this trash...anyone who only see's one side of the coin is dangerous..later buddy....see you at our next george bush rally

  6. As you can see Nimh, A is about 2 slices short of a sandwich, but I appreciate your comments.