Monday, September 28, 2009

Nightmare Presidency

Editorial - September 28th, 2009 - New Delhi Daily Pioneer

There has been a remarkable absence of clarity on Mr Obama’s strategic goals. In the early months, it was easy to pretend he was making up his mind. Now, it would seem he has no mind. His confusion on AfPak (the term which implies the unity of goals between Afgahnistan and Pakistan towards India) and constant shifting of tactical milestones would suggest he has little understanding of the nature of the challenge there and, behind those engaging phrases, is thoroughly confused.

If the Obama Administration’s most recent thoughts on AfPak are taken as final, the American President is looking to cut and run. He would want to begin bringing troops home by early 2012, in time for his re-election. This would mean delegating Afghanistan to the Pakistani Army, and asking it to control the Taliban. It would also activate a lethal Saudi-Pakistani-Taliban alliance. This formidable combination of wealth, geography, religious appeal, unending foot-soldiers and nuclear weapons would create a monster power straddling south and west Asia. To some degree, it could be offset by a strong India and a stable Iran, which would flank AfPak.

However, Mr Obama is determined that Teheran must not pursue its Bomb and India should be pressured to sign the NPT. Strangely, he has not considered asking Pakistan to give up its nukes in return for billions of dollars of “sustained and expanded commitment”.

One of the more intriguing aspects of this editorial is the clear explanation of why India has not supported the American goal of trying to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions. India sees Iran in light of its shiite majority as a counter balance to the sunni dominated Saudi and Pakistan extremists who threaten it. India does not see as credible the possibility that Iran will join with the Saudis and the Pakistanis in a common Muslim front. I wonder if they are reading this more accurately than is America?

Whatever their outlook on the sunni-shiite scism, it is clear that all sides in India have come to despise Barack Obama and see him as a clear threat to their national security.


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