Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama Commits Quid Pro Quo Faux Pas

President Obama made a rookie mistake. He sent a letter to Russia’s President Medvedev suggesting that if Russia puts pressure on Iran to end its missile systems and nuclear program, the U.S. will consider abandoning its plans to put a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Wrong. That is a veiled threat, no matter how Obama tries to deny that it is not a friendly quid pro quo. Medvedev’s terse response: “The two should never have been combined.” He is right.

President Obama’s “friendly” message is skin to saying, “If you do not do what we say, we will do what you will not like.” Literally, and figuratively, that is “Bush,” (as in “Bush league”).

In a strange and unnecessary way, Obama is trying to use Bush in a “Good cop-Bad cop” scenario. Again, not good. And why is it that he hesitates to disentangle himself from Bush’s disastrous foreign policy initiatives?

For instance, he continues to send unmanned drones into Pakistan, chasing Taliban and killing innocent Pakistanis. Every time we send a “killer drone” into Pakistan, we further destabilize Pakistan; we compromise that country’s sovereignty and drive it and its population closer to the extremists.

During the Vietnam War, we ventured into Laos and Cambodia in the same way—on bombing runs to kill Viet Cong who had slipped across that border. Pakistan ain't Cambodia. Cambodia was an agrarian society. Pakistan is an agrarian society with nukes.

If we think we cannot win the Afghanistan war without going into Pakistan, then we cannot win that war, period. To continue to destabilize a nuclear-armed nation is a (war) game where everyone loses, (except the extremists).

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