In roughly 37 odd days from today, The United States of America will be electing its 44th President. Though the elections are limited to only the citizens of United States of America but the outcome of electing the new President has a far greater global impact then being limited to the confines of the borders of US of A. In recent times Pakistan has come under an greater scrutiny and is considered a hotspot to become a core discussion issue during the first Presidential debate and both candidates shared their opinions about the various US-influenced problems in Pakistan.
McCain kicked off the Pakistan series by offering a more soft and understandable approach, he suggested in taking the people of Pakistan into confidence on the war on terror and moving forward hand-in-hand to irradiate the menace of terrorism, he said “We’ve got to get the support of the people of Pakistan. He [Obama] said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan“, to which Obama quickly reacted “Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. — if the United States has Al Qaida, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.”
I would carefully put my eggs into Obama’s basket, he talks with commitment to the challenges ahead & a tough guy approach on Pakistan McCain is definitely on the right track to talk about confidence building measures with the people of Pakistan, which at the moment is at its lowest in ages, but contrary to what he suggests, Bush administration has repeatedly failed to do exactly that in the eight years to which he must also accept responsibility. Might we suspect these to be glamorous words just to win an election, I hope not, but eight years of uselessness will not salvage a sinking boat. Senator Obama on the other hand seems more committed to change, he suggests a strong hand to remove the terror mongers once in for all. It took the Americans barely a few months to hunt down Saddam Hussein, but its been seven years and the mountains in Afghanistan have yet to cough out Osama Bin Ladin and his deputies only to now have them hiding in Pakistan, if this was not gross mismanagement then I wonder what is
It was good to see Obama lash out at McCain (and the Bush administration) for supporting a dictator in Pakistan to say “We had a 20th-century mindset that basically said, “Well, you know, he may be a dictator, but he’s our dictator.” and as a consequence, we lost legitimacy in Pakistan. We spent $10 billion… ” to which Senator McCain responded “I don’t think that Senator Obama understands that there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf came to power. Everybody who was around then, and had been there, and knew about it knew that it was a failed state.” This was a very lame response by McCain, as it definitely displayed the failures in the Bush administrations, failure to gauge the problem and the wrong decision to support the wrong individuals. The continued to fork over billions of dollars without proper accountability and supported ‘their friend’ till he coughed up his last breath and succumbed to democracy.
When McCain accepts the fact that Pakistan was a struggling state in 2000, he might be correct, but then one could immediately question weather the $10 billion were a relief package or was it supporting American tax-payer funds to combat the American war-on-terror. It was under the watchful eye of Vice President John McCain that these funds were freely handed over to the Pakistan Army without any checks and balances. This handsome contribution never saw daylight into the actual economy and went right into the welcoming hands of a corrupt army
Probably the most interesting surprise was when McCain could not properly pronounce the name of our President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to utter a mumbling Kirdari (sic), its not a crime by any standard to fumble with a difficult pronunciation, but when dealing with foreign dignitaries you try your damnedest to ensure that you pronounce their name correctly, lest they be offended. If this was just the start then the Iranian would have a field day ripping him apart since a few minutes later McCain made minced meat out of pronouncing Ahmedinejad’s name to utter something like Ahmadinenene (sic) – Definitely a diplomatic PR disaster awaiting to happen.
I must admit that apart from picking apart a few statements from within the debate, I do not come forth with a clear victor in regards to the issues of Pakistan. Only in an attempt to bring this presidential debate into a wider perspective for the people in Pakistan, one just feels there is a desperate need for change. McCain may actually be attempting to catapult himself as a new face into the White House, proposing a few new ideas, roughly the same approach, and bustling with a hot-looking VP at his side, but at 74 he seems a bit too weary and tired, definitely lacking the vision and dynamism to confront the challenges of the 21st century and its surmounting problems not only limited to the US of A but the greater impact of the US muscle on the entire world. If Bush’s eight years were something to look at as an extension for McCain then I strongly suspect Pakistan will not outlive his four year term.
Pakistan stands at a fork, if the same old policies are followed, the same blind sighted relationship maintained with crooks and dictators running our country the menacing war on terror will only get worse surely something both America and Pakistan wish not to happen. Obama on the other hand represents a fresh change, as per my neutral review of the debate, it is my understanding that if they both support the approximately the same line of action for Pakistan, I would carefully put my eggs into Obama’s basket, he talks with more commitment to the challenges ahead while simultaneously suggesting and a tough guy approach on Pakistan. He wants to solve the issue of War on Terror and not let it linger on longer then necessary. With Senator Biden as his side who has been the only American bureaucrat to fully understand the problem in Pakistan, I feel that an Obama-Biden presidency will be a brighter future for Pakistan.
Full Transcript of the first Presidential debate can be read here
Pakistani Bloggers discussing the debate
- Procastination: Liveblogging Presidential Debate I – calls it a draw between Obama and McCain though he is an Obama supporter
- Haq’s Musings: McCain and Obama Debate Pakistan Policy – calls the debate in favor of McCain
- Changing Up Pakistan: Debating on Pakistan – calls it a narrow victory for Obama
- Teeth Maestro: President Kirdari: McCain & Obama debate on Pakistan While I call the debate in favor of Obama