Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Obama Oh Gone-a!

Today is the day the Obama campaign starts to head downhill. What a way to torpedo oneself! And I had such high hopes for him too.

From the Boston Herald,
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission if warranted - an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.
The BBC has a slightly nuanced report:
US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he would order military action against al-Qaeda in Pakistan without the consent of Pakistan's government.
Clearly whatever he meant, this policy is supposed to show that Obama is firm on terror, a tough guy and has balls.

It also shows how incredibly naive he is, a charge Clinton had levelled against him the other day when he said he would meet the leaders of Cuba, North Korea and Iran without conditions.

I won't even get into the contradiction of how Obama has accused Clinton and Bush of invading a sovereign country (Iraq) illegally and is now prepared to do the same. I won't even get into the fact that Pakistan is officially an ally of the U.S. and is doing what they can to fight radicals holed up in the north of the country. What I will get into is how this shows what I had feared true all along - despite his charisma, Obama is a very weak candidate and unsuitable for the position of the President of the United States.

First, even if this is just blustering and a bluff to rally around foolish voters who think military might is the answer to all problems - it's wrong to do so. Clinton so far has a lead over Obama because people believe the senator has the experience and maturity to fulfill the duties of a President.

Second, if Obama really believes this is how to solve the Pakistan conundrum, then he is even more foolish than I give him credit for. When your country is bogged down in an unpopular and energy sapping war in one country, while trying to do the impossible task of nation building in another, with your army stretched to breaking point, it's not the time to open yet another front and another war with yet another country.

Third, they can rest assured Pakistan is a different kettle of fish. It has nuclear weapons and from all previous statements of their leaders, will not be shy of using them if left no choice.

Fourth, if they attack Pakistan, the conflict will spread, very easily, far beyond the shores of Pakistan. A whole other set of countries will then turn against the US, if not so already.

Fifth, am I wrong or does Obama's position keep changing with the polls? One day he is a man of peace, the next day he is a man of war, one day he wants to meet everyone for a group hug, the next day he is shunting a key ally, one day he is calling Clinton "Bush-Cheney lite" the next day he is proposing an act even Bush didn't do.

Providing covert help for Pakistani forces (who are friendly to the US aim of eradicating radicals) is one thing, invoking war on a nuclear powered country is another. Obama has rightfully shown himself to be naive, irresponsible and immature.

5 comments:

shim said...

I do agree that it's a ridiculous statement, but I think it was a smart move by him. It's the way American politics works.

This way, he gets to show the anti-war Republicans who want out of Iraq that he's still a serious hawk when it comes to dealing with terrorists.

I'll wager that his campaign gets stronger from here on out, not weaker.

Seema said...

I believe Obama is desperate for votes. It was clear in the beginning that he was a man of 'peace' and was an ideal candidate from the foreign policy perspective. However, it slowly became evident to him that it is not enough to be a friend of the minority. There is a notable percentage of people in United States who believe that War on Terrorism as deemed by Bush is just. Obama, in his attempt to accumulate popular vote, has officially lost his stand on the most important thing that his policy revolved around.

mezba said...

Shim: I initially thought that might be why he did it but it is backfiring spectacularly. Even the conservatives are taking him down for it (Malkin, Podhoretz, amongst others. Malkin's post has links to other conservatives as well.

Seema: Not only is he desperate, he is now seen as a flip flopper. I think that's one thing Democrats would have learnt NOT to be. American voters quickly lose respect for a politician who is seen to change his stance on issues based on polls and has no backbone.

Joseph said...

This was a mistake. In lacking all nuance in what he said, he is emphasizing exactly what Clinton pointed out last week.

And doing it so quickly after that dust-up makes it sound like desperation, even if this speech was planned weeks ago, it won't matter in the optics now.

Within the day, he'll be clarifying his statement, which will again drive home both of these negative points again.

You cannot convince me is is intentional, unless the intention is to sink his own campaign.

I actually think this lessens the possibility Clinton would ask him to be her VP, something I had figured was a foregone conclusion if she gets the nomination.

mezba said...

This was a mistake. In lacking all nuance in what he said, he is emphasizing exactly what Clinton pointed out last week.

And doing it so quickly after that dust-up makes it sound like desperation, even if this speech was planned weeks ago, it won't matter in the optics now.


Exactly. The optics of this smack of desperation and a rash presidency - something voters would not want after 8 years of Bush-Cheney.