All Presidents are ignorant about many matters in international relations. What they must do is admit their ignorance and seek advice from experts. Their role is one of management and leadership. In my observation, Obama is too arrogant to acknowledge his ignorance. He advocates extremely dangerous and reckless courses of action.
Sen Clinton is coming off very well in contrast. All she has to do is sit back and call him irresponsible and naive every 20 minutes until the primaries. He’ll do all the work for her.
Obama’s entire speech is ignorant. He, thankfully, spares us details which he does not understand. Instead, he speaks in platitudes. What is amazing is that the platitudes are absurd. They are not even desirable, much less feasible.
Here is the start of his passage on Pakistan:
It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.
The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Very foolish on many levels. He is completely ignorant about the nature of al-Qaeda and possible military and diplomatic courses of action.
He notes that the Taliban uses hit and run attacks in Sfghanistan and Pakistan, then retreats to Waziristan. So how to you wage war in this situation? The answer is very complex, since striking Waziristan directly will be counterproductive.
I discussed our strategic options in Waziristan.
At the moment, our best strategy is to let Pakistan contain the Taliban. The Taliban is a local movement confined to the Pashtun region of Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. Pakistan must move cautiously to avoid a Pashtun uprising in the tribal areas. They must contain the Taliban to Waziristan and politically isolate them from the Pashtun tribes. This is a feasible strategy, but it will take several years.
A US invasion or strike in the region would be extremely reckless and will not accomplish anything of value. The terrain of Waziristan restricts US forces to a small number. Without ground forces, air strikes and special operations will be ineffective. It will, however, unite the Pashtun tribes against the Americans and Pakistani government and start a major war that will be worse than Iraq.
This comes at a time when President Musharraf is preparing to transfer power back to a democratic government while concurrently waging war against the Taliban. I do not understand why Obama wishes to destabalize the region at this moment in time.
Neither does Pakistan, which is asserting its sovereignty. The Pakistani government is calling Obama ignorant.
“Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance,” Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azeem, told AFP. “They are not fully apprised about the ground realities and not aware of the efforts by Pakistan.”
Moreover, any planned action against “al-Qaeda” will have little effect on the Global Insurgency. Al-Qaeda is more of a movement than an organization, similar to Communism. It coordinates the wars wages by multiple Revolutionary Salafist organizations. Zawahiri proclaimed that the most important of these branches include al-Qaeda in Iraq and the movement’s future rests with the Islamic Emirate of Iraq. AQI both is and is not “al-Qaeda.” To ignore this fact is to remain oblivious of al-Qaeda’s basic nature. It is not like organized hierarchy like a state or business corporation.
Disaggregation is a superior long-term plan and will produce more results than the reckless military strikes and assassinations that the Democrats desire. I will make a few follow up posts to better explain why this is a more feasible strategy to defeat the enemy.
Obama followed up his threat to declare war on allied states with additional ignorance. He claims he will never use nuclear weapons in this current war.
Hillary Clinton declared this to be irresponsible and naive. She is correct, once more. Clinton understands the role of the executive in foreign policy.
The New York senator and former first lady quickly pounced on Obama’s remark about nuclear weapons at a Capitol Hill news conference.
“I think presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use, or non-use, of nuclear weapons,” she said.
“Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrence to keep the peace. And I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons,” she said.
Correct. Ambiguity works to our advantage, especially with nuclear force. Nuclear deterrence is one the most important tools at the President’s disposal. To disregard this tool in the midst of a war that may involve WMDs is appallingly naive.
Non-state actors are developing WMD capability independent of states. Non-state actors will follow a similar path to chemical weapons. Chlorine is an entry-level weapons. Mustard gas is very easy to develop. Sarin (GB) and the other G-series nerve gas can be made as well.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq developed and used chlorine weapons to attack civilians. A Japanese religious cult produced and used Sarin nerve gas in a terrorist attack back in 1995. The growing chemical weapon capabilities will pose a major problem for organized states.
Terrorism with explosives does not scale well. It cannot kill enough individuals per attack to create the intended effect. Terrorists are looking at chemical, biological and radiological attacks to improve their productivity. Biological weapons are potentially more deadly than nuclear weapons.
A terror attack could cross the threshold of requiring nuclear response. No one quite knows what that threshold is. Nor should we define it, as Obama intends. Ambiguity means that our enemies are uncertain of our potential responses. If they know the exact threshold, they will attack up to that threshold and not cross it. If they do not know the threshold, they may not launch particularly deadly WMDs if they fear overwhelming nuclear retaliation. They seek to minimize the maximum damage we can inflict upon them.
One of the few deterrents against WMD attacks are nuclear weapons. Any President cannot rule out retaliation at this point in time unless they are profoundly ignorant. Hillary Clinton is right that we cannot limit our alternatives while managing uncertainty and a hostile enemy. We need flexibility and bargaining power to limit our enemies options.
I have no problem with a novice running for office. In the end, the President has little policy-making powers. For the most-part, a President is scape-goat-in-chief. He will be surrounded by a large number of professionals that lay out the alternatives for him, limiting the President’s ability to carry out wishful fantasies that Obama continually talks about. Obama on the other hand, speaks with a sort of arrogance that is troubling.