David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, on MSNBC:

“We need a smart, new, tough policy to go after the terrorists [in Pakistan] that [sic] attacked us.” Presumably, such policy would involve disrespecting the sovereignty of yet another nation-state.

Change, huh? I hope not.

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8 Responses

  1. First, a nation-state is any country claiming one distinct culture or ethnicity. Pakistan does not apply. Pakistan has over 9 major languages, many more minor ones, and their official language, Urdu, is the primary language of only 8% of the population.

    Second, to the extent that Pakistan yields sovereignty over all of its territory is questionable at best. Any country which has to negotiate agreements with tribal leaders for control (and renegotiate constantly) is not exercising complete sovereignty.

    Third, must Obama be a change on even positive policies? If you honestly expected him not go into other countries who are unable or unwilling to control members of their populace who plan attacks against America, then I’d say you’re naive.

    That is exactly what we did, quite justifiably, in Afghanistan. The sin we made was in forgetting Afghanistan in favor of an unjustified war against an enemy that had no capabilities to attack America. Had Saddam actually been harboring terrorists, or been capable to do damage to America or its allies, the Iraq war would have been justified. However, with embargoes in place, Saddam was happy to be merely keeping control of his country, and his extreme wealth stolen from his people.

  2. Marc, thanks for stopping by.

    Now, first, you need to develop a clearer understanding of nation-state. As things now stand, you incorrectly conflate nation-state with country, the political with the pre-political and cultural. Had you contended that Pakistan is not a country, a patria, I should find myself in agreement with you. However, you did not; you falsely claim that Pakistan is not a nation-state, whereas it clearly is an internationally recognized state, complete with its own government, political institutions, and sovereignty.

    Second, whether or not Pakistan successfully yields sovereignty over the entirety of its territory, it seems to me, has no bearing here. Sovereign territory is sovereign territory, easily held or not, and a violation of sovereignty is a violation of sovereignty.

    I don’t want to see Obama to change policies, period, positive or negative. (The policy in question, though, is hardly a good one.) I don’t want to see him (or McCain) in the White House at all. If anyone, though, presently, is naïve, I suggest that it may be you. What evidence have you to offer that we should fear any reprisals of 9/11 anytime soon, aside, perhaps, from Joe Lieberman’s latest spouting of garbage?

    The truth is that I’ve never expected Obama to present change: I pointed this out to-day as part of a broader attempt, carried on far more fitly by others, to point out that he doesn’t offer the change of which he so frequently, generally eloquently, speaks. He’s just as much of an interventionist, likely to equally disastrous outcomes.

    You make a fair point (I shall concede; others may not) with respect to Afghanistan. However, I believe the crucial point of distinction between Afghanistan and this hypothetical violation of Pakistani sovereignty is that we intended to remove a problematic regime in Afghanistan; in Pakistan, Obama (and, doubtless, McCain, too) would circumvent the authority of the sovereign without (I hope) deposing it. Working with the Pakistani government to eradicate potential dangerous forces is one thing; entering that nation’s territory without consent is another, a violation of national sovereignty far worse than any crossing of the Rio Grande, and with much more violent intent.

  3. First, i still disagree with you as to the definition of a nation-state, which is a state comprised of one “nation” or people sharing some collective unity based on ethnicity or shared history. Pakistan is a confederated state of many nations, which still fits the definition of a “state” according to the U.N. charter, but does not fit the procedural definition of a nation state such as say, portugal. But thats small potatoes.

    I also do not believe that there is any eminent threat, i was merely stating if there is one it would be the president duty to eliminate it. I have also been dubious about Obama’s Pakistan policy, but I don’t believe he would carry through with it without discussing it with the Pakistani government first.

    Let’s face it though, if a group of rebellious Americans decided to line up at Niagara Falls and started sniping at tourists on the Canadian side, the Canadian government would be remiss in not doing something about it if American authorities would not or could not control their citizens. Same standards apply but on a much larger scale.

    The problem comes when a reactionary administration uses the words of a bunch of angry anti-american islamicists and twists them to fool the american people into believing they are an actual threat. They aren’t, they’re just angry and use scary rhetoric and carry AK-47’s. What matters is our leaders ability to judge threats from rhetoric, which this administration has been unable to do. I have faith in Obama to be able to do so; however, i stand by my statement that if a real threat did exist in Pakistan, our next president should be willing to take it out with or without the Pakistani government’s aide.

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