Obama waves a sabre in Pakistan’s direction, which is hardly the first time that he has sought to portray himself as more belligerent than the warmongers, further proving that he isn’t fit to sit in on National Security Council meetings, much less be the President. I think Obama is pushing exactly the wrong line here, threatening to effectively destabilise the existing regime without having any idea of what would come next. This is a combination of soundbite foreign policy and a “pour oil on fire to see what happens” approach to international relations. Obama’s foreign policy position is beginning to give me an eerie feeling of deja vu. Who was the last presidential candidate with no real foreign policy experience who set his policies according to whatever was perceived to be the opposite of the sitting President? Who was it who framed his foreign policy pitch as that of someone who would provide leadership and measured action where his predecessor had dithered and wasted opportunities? Oh, yes, it was Mr. Bush. At the time, it sounded reasonably attractive to those of us fed up with Clintonian interventions. If Bush’s “humble” foreign policy yielded Iraq, just imagine the nightmare that might come from a candidacy founded on audacity!
My next column is on Pakistan, so I will say no more now about the specifics of the situation there, but suffice it to say that I think Obama’s statement is part of the problem with the Pakistan policy debate in this country.
Update: Obama’s full speech does not offer many reassurances. For instance, there is this wowzer:
And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism.
Counterinsurgency in tribal regions and law enforcement against jihadis will be aided by F-16s? He must be joking. Clearly, I read this one too quickly.