Thursday, October 9, 2008
What Obama Should Have Said
Obama is winning this election. It will be President Obama in January if he keeps his cool in the face of McCain's increasingly personal attacks. However there is one foreign policy point which I feel he has missed many opportunities to make, including at yesterdays debate. The three most important foreign policy issues the next president will have to deal with are Iran, Pakistan and Russia. The primary reason the Bush Administration has misfired in these areas, particularly within the Middle East is because Washington's diplomatic power has dried up rendering it incapable of persuading friend and foe alike of the need to pursue a certain course of action. Bush's unilateralism combined with his administrations arrogance and the general contempt in which its held around the world means that America despite it enormous military, economic and diplomatic strength has been unable to convince the Pakistanis to crack down on Taliban militants along the border region with Afghanistan. This despite the fact that Bush handed the Pakistani government 10 billion dollars a year for the last seven years. Likewise the Iranians despite massive regional and global opposition just will not bow to US pressure. And why should they ? America under Bush has not been respected even by its allies. Those on the American right that love to mock and belittle those who talk about the Europeans (to the extent where they ridiculed Obamas speech in Berlin) as if its a dirty word should consider this. An Obama administration will build consensus among the Europeans and the Arabs that will make it impossible for the Iranians to stand alone on the anti American card. An Obama administration will make it clear to whoever is running Pakistan in January that it is going to be in their national interest to wipe Al Qaeda out, not just contain them. I believe that if Obama would make this point more aggressively, McCain is toast.