Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama Makes Serious Foreign Policy Blunder In Pakistan

A decision by the Pakistani government to win peace with the radical Talibans in the Swat Valley region of this nuclear-armed country in the most troubled region of the world received the blessing of the administration of President Barack Obama. That capitulation to Islamic radicals will undoubtedly cost the lives of more American troops fighting to protect the democratically-elected government in Afghanistan and could lead to the entire government falling into the hands of a Tehran-like regime with dozens of nuclear weapons at its disposal. Our own government has heretofore been resisting the idea of ceding any part of Pakistan to the Taliban. The former Afghan Talibans harbored Osama bin Laden and his Al Quaeda terrorist network when they ran the government there prior to 9/11. After a number of military offensives by American forces in Afghanistan against Taliban fighters, it is believed that the radicals are settling down in the Swat region not more than a hundred miles from the nation's capital city. The New York Times explains the Obama administration's take on the decision:

Speaking in India on the last leg of his trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, did not address the truce directly but said the turmoil in Swat served as a reminder that the United States, Pakistan and India faced an “enemy which poses direct threats to our leadership, our capitals, and our people." . .

“The Taliban was trying to take advantage of the local movement and desire for a judicial system,” the official said. The official insisted that the Obama administration, informed of the accord, “showed understanding of our strategy.”

On Monday, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said only, “We have seen the press reports and are in touch with the government of Pakistan about the ongoing situation in Swat.”

The Pakistani government will allow this region to be ruled by harsh Sharia law rather than the civil law. For the peaceful people who call this area home, the consequences could not be worse. A recent New York Times article depicts what is happening in the region based on accounts of recent Pakistani immigrants to our country:

Pakistani immigrants from the Swat Valley, where the Taliban have been battling Pakistani security forces since 2007, say some of their families are being singled out for threats, kidnapping and even murder by Taliban forces, who view them as potential American collaborators and lucrative sources of ransom. Some immigrants also say they, too, have been threatened in the United States by the Taliban or its sympathizers, and some immigrants say they have been attacked or kidnapped when they have returned home.

The threats have brought an added dimension of suffering for the immigrants, who say fresh reports of hardship arrive here every day, sometimes several times a day, and spread quickly among the several thousand Swati immigrants in the New York region: families driven from their villages, houses being destroyed, relatives disappearing. The fate of the valley dominates conversation among the exiles.

“It’s 24/7,” said Zakrya Khan, 30, the owner of two gyro restaurants in New York whose staff of 15 is almost entirely Swati. “This is their only concern now.”

By not standing up for the rights of the people in the Swat Valley region, the Obama administration is causing danger to every person living in the region with American ties. "Though every community of exiles from a conflict-ridden country suffers when relatives who remain behind are caught in the fight, the immigrants from Swat also bear the burden of believing that their presence in America is endangering their relatives back home, where the Taliban have imposed their authority over vast swaths of the region, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad," the NY Times says. It's hard to believe that this region was Pakistan's most popular tourist region until the Taliban started moving into the region a couple of years ago. "But the tourism industry has evaporated amid the Taliban’s uprising, and by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of residents have abandoned their homes, fleeing for Mingora or other regions of Pakistan," the NY Times observes.

This development happens just as Obama prepares to deploy an additional 17,000 American troops to neighboring Afghanistan. Allowing the Taliban to gain a foothold in Pakistan makes absolutely no sense. The possibility of Pakistan becoming an Islamic republic is a far greater threat to world stability right now than the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon. The country is said to have 60 nuclear warheads. The country's top nuclear scientist has been identified as a part of an international nuclear proliferation network and other scientists are believed to have Al Quaeda ties. Have we learned nothing from the history of dealing with these terrorists?


IndyPaul said...

The fact that a Pakistani official claimed that the administration 'showed understanding' of the strategy to take the local issue with ineffective Courts from the Taliban cannot be termed as a 'blessing' from the administration. To the contrary, the Times article states, "But the truce offered by the Taliban, and accepted by the authorities, rebuffed American demands for the Pakistani civilian and military authorities to stick with the fight against the militants, not make deals with them."

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, The American demands to continue the fight against the militants was the policy of the Bush administration. By tacitly going only with the Pakistani government's decision to allow Sharia law as defined by these militants to apply in the Swat Valley, the Obama administration has abandoned the previous U.S. position. Who knows, if Obama hadn't gone along with it, someone might have found a record of his travel to the country back in the early 1980s on an Indonesian passport as a citizen of that country.

Anonymous said...


This comes as no surpise at all. Obama and Biden both stated that they would increase focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that they would be successful where the Bush Administration was not.

Once people realize that Obama's most senior foreign policy advisor is the guy who implemented US funding of radical Islam and madrasa's in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, they will also realize that in order to achieve regional Administration policy objectives (geostrastegic domination of Eurasia, as published by Zbigniew Brzezinski and as stated often by Richard Holbrooke and his policy associates), the Administration needs a catalyst to justify further regional intervention.

In that regard, Obama's Pakistan policy makes perfect sense. The biggest mistake that most people make when analyzing policy is by trying to understand it in terms of benefitting the US. The goal of US foreign policy is NOT to benefit the US. The goal is to advance the chess board in preparation for a more unified, global system, with those who control US policy in control of the emerging global system. Watch the economic headlines to see how this is unfolding.

I recommend reading "The Grand Chessboard" by Brzezinski, 1997. He lays out the palns for Eurasia, including maops and drawings. Bush implemented about half of the strategy. Brzezinski is now Obama's senior foreign policy advisor and Obama is already moving forward with the next steps of the strategy. It's very simple to follow once you've read the book. Frightening too, but the strategy is 100% apparent after you read it.

IndyPaul said...

How does one rebuff demands that are no longer being made? No, it is a misreading of the article to say that Obama blessed or even aquiesced in the 'truce', that is, the institution of Sharia Courts in the Swat Valley.