Obama Continues Pakistan Policy He Recommended

My New Atlanticist essay “Obama Orders Pakistan Drone Attacks” notes that,

While President Obama has sent some major signals in his first days in office that his foreign policy will differ from President Bush’s, he sent one yesterday demonstrating continuity on a very key issue: targeting al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

This should surprise no one, however, since this is what he said he would do in the summer of 2007 and for which he was widely criticized at the time.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. markm says:

    He’s got a pretty worn path to follow on that one. Glad he’s continuing the policy but as of yet he’s not had to forge his own path.

  2. markm says:

    Oh…i’ve yet to see any reaction from the code pink wing of the party. Should be interesting.

  3. Leisureguy says:

    As Joyner writes, Obama specifically said he would take this step, for which code pink McCain strongly criticized him.

  4. James Joyner says:

    As Joyner writes, Obama specifically said he would take this step, for which code pink McCain strongly criticized him.

    Code Pink Hillary, too.

  5. Leisureguy says:

    Yep. I just wanted remind markm that the code pink battalions included some on the right. What was particularly ironic was all of McCain’s huffing about how terrible it would be to “violate Pakistan’s national sovereignty” after we invaded Iraq, a fairly serious violation of national sovereignty.

  6. Moonbat Boy says:

    Is Obama a war criminal yet?

  7. markm says:

    I just wanted remind markm that the code pink battalions included some on the right.

    Keep in mind what Obama was chided for was not droning a few of Pakistan’s best…he was talking about unilaterally putting boots on the ground if Pakistan failed to act against Islamic extremists. Not the same thing.

    Side note: I was behind a minivan today that was plastered with Obama bumper stickers…and a few “END THE WAR” stickers.

  8. markm says:

    What was particularly ironic was all of McCain’s huffing about how terrible it would be to “violate Pakistan’s national sovereignty”

    And lets be honest, most politicos, including McCain spoke out against was Obama said. They included Hillary (obviously), Edwards, Dodd (he took time out from his mortgage goings on to comment), Wild Bill Richardson and the Gaffomatic Joe Biden. Throw in some military analysts and other members of congress and you’ve got a broad base of criticism.

  9. tom p says:

    Keep in mind what Obama was chided for was not droning a few of Pakistan’s best…he was talking about unilaterally putting boots on the ground if Pakistan failed to act against Islamic extremists. Not the same thing.

    markm: I didn’t quite get that reading out of it… As I recall, it was a pretty broad statement that could be read in a # of ways.

    Side note: I was behind a minivan today that was plastered with Obama bumper stickers…and a few “END THE WAR” stickers.

    I would have thought that was a sentiment we could all get behind. Leaving only the question of “how”, to argue about.

  10. markm says:

    markm: I didn’t quite get that reading out of it… As I recall, it was a pretty broad statement that could be read in a # of ways.

    From multiple media sources including Obama’s website, it was specific.

    This is a snigglet from his website post speach.

    The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

    The bold was added by Obama’s people.

    I don’t know if he toned down the hawkish rhetoric afterwards or not…but the point is that he was chided for his remarks about invading Pakistan…not what he’s doing now which is just a continuation of Bush policy.

  11. markm says:

    Side note: I was behind a minivan today that was plastered with Obama bumper stickers…and a few “END THE WAR” stickers.

    I would have thought that was a sentiment we could all get behind. Leaving only the question of “how”, to argue about.

    Sure, but what is apparent is fighting Islamic extremists will probably never end. Further, we are getting ready to move 20,000-30,000 marines to Afghanistan sometime between spring and fall. Just sayin’ the anti-war Obama supporters are probably going to be disappointed which is why I made my initial comments.

  12. tom p says:

    This is a snigglet from his website post speach.

    Thanx mark, I think I was remembering the reaction following Bush’s first cross-border “action” with the drone.

    Just sayin’ the anti-war Obama supporters are probably going to be disappointed which is why I made my initial comments.

    I know, I was just getting a little snarky on you.

  13. tom p says:

    Sure, but what is apparent is fighting Islamic extremists will probably never end. Further, we are getting ready to move 20,000-30,000 marines to Afghanistan

    And I wonder how much good they will do… The fight against Islamic extremists will, I hope, someday end but I know it won’t be in my lifetime. My only questions are, is invading other countries the best way to go about it? What other strategies/tactics could be employed?

    I am hardly qualified to answer either question, but I would like to hear an answer to both.

    (ps: as far as I am concerned, the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with fighting terrorism)

  14. markm says:

    And I wonder how much good they will do…

    Well, i’m sure they’ll kill a bunch of Taliban and hopefully get a crack at some Qaeda guys but I doubt they will be the solution.

    The fight against Islamic extremists will, I hope, someday end but I know it won’t be in my lifetime.

    Yeah, kind of makes it hard to come up with an exit strategy.

    My only questions are, is invading other countries the best way to go about it?

    Gotta get at em’ somehow. Let’s just hope the battlefield stays “over there”.

  15. tom p says:

    My only questions are, is invading other countries the best way to go about it?

    Gotta get at em’ somehow. Let’s just hope the battlefield stays “over there”.

    My question tho is, “Is invasion the best investment of men(and women) and money? (the best bang for our buck)
    I was against the Afghan invasion from the git-go, not because I am “anti-war”, but because I fore-saw (no, I was not omniscient, I just read a lot of history) the present circumstances.

    There are, after all, many ways of defining a “battlefield”, aren’t there? We did defeat the Soviet Union with out ever actually engaging them, didn’t we?

  16. markm says:

    Gotta get at em’ somehow. Let’s just hope the battlefield stays “over there”.

    My question tho is, “Is invasion the best investment of men(and women) and money? (the best bang for our buck)
    I was against the Afghan invasion from the git-go, not because I am “anti-war”, but because I fore-saw (no, I was not omniscient, I just read a lot of history) the present circumstances.

    I certainly don’t know of a better option. We have no leverage against them as we do with other non ally nations. I do believe wiretapping and cutting funding would and does go a long way but they seem to adapt quickly…so killing them may well be the best option.

    There are, after all, many ways of defining a “battlefield”, aren’t there? We did defeat the Soviet Union with out ever actually engaging them, didn’t we?

    True, but that was a different beast. We outspent them. We Star War’d them dry. I see no equivalent leverage with the extremists. If, by any means, we were to topple the governments of the states where they reside we’d have a bigger mess.

    Flip side, I don’t know how we can totally isolate them and I don’t think we can kill them all.

    Maybe the best we can hope for is to minimize them enough to greatly reduce their threat??. I just hope we don’t ease off anytime soon.