Senator Biden “hasn’t hear how [McCain’s] policies on Pakistan are going to be different from George Bush’s

I haven’t heard how Senator Obama’s will be different.


Speaking of Pakistan

“Pakistan’s New Leader Denies Firefight as Mullen Confirms It”

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 — Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday denied that American and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the Afghanistan border this week, even as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that the two sides engaged in a brief firefight.

Zardari told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that Pakistani border forces shot warning flares Thursday at two U.S. helicopters that he believes inadvertently crossed into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan. He said there was no gunfire exchanged between the two sides.

Senator Obama, in last night’s debate:

Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here’s what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has Al Qaida, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that’s the right strategy; I think that’s the right policy.

Now, admittedly, at least as he has worded it here, and, presumably, before, this is a slightly more nuanced (maybe) policy than what President Bush has employed, but, ultimately, they share the same view, to wit, that securing America involves the violation of the sovereignty of a nation-state, even a quasi-ally, such as Pakistan. Let us be thankful, at least, that this alleged firefight brought about no casualties. Senator Obama, supporting such policy as this, would, I suspect, not wish to fail to keep the promise that he made to the mother in Green Bay. Just as he wished to keep the promise not to support the USA PATRIOT Act? Just as he wishes to keep his word that he offers a saner foreign policy than McCain will, except for when he holds the same views vis-à-vis Russia and Iran?

It’s only one o’clock and, already, I feel as if I need beer.

More Israeliphilia? Or: I thought Pakistan was our ally, too!

From today’s Washington Post:

HYDERABAD, India, Sept. 6 — International negotiators revoked a 34-year-old ban on nuclear trade with India on Saturday and backed a contentious nuclear energy agreement between the country and the United States.

As I’ve discussed before, “the West” (lovely white-washed replacement for “Christendom”, eh?), fearing that the mad Persian might unleash upon the Holy Land (or, more accurate, the shining example of Middle Eastern democracy whereby we hope to judge our successes at nation-state-building in this volatile part of the world, various political cultures be damned), has adamantly opposed Iranian nuclear activity, even if Ahmadinejad truly possesses the still-distressing, but not terrifying, desire simply to produce nuclear energy in his nation-state. We cannot permit him to gain such an upper-hand over Israel, which owns only a trivial one hundred-plus nuclear weapons and enjoy the support of the entirety of “the West” behind it — hardly sufficient reason to impel Iran not to disburse its would-be arsenal, of course.

With India, it seems, the story is different. Ostensibly, and worrisomely, Red China’s growth and potential threat justifies this substantial change in policy. Corporate America, too, wins. Major General Butler, it seems, was right.

Supporters called the deal a foreign policy triumph that would position India as a strategic counter to China’s rising power. The deal will open the door for American companies to build reactors in and supply fuel to India, generating business worth more than $100 billion.

Scanning the Post‘s article, one finds not a single mention of India’s neighbor and long-time adversary, Pakistan. Granted, presently, Pakistan’s worries extend quite beyond disputed territories, but this ought to give us pause. Iran, which has limited its harassment of Israel to indirect means and, I am convinced, has no legitimate interest in exceeding this (because “the West” would “pwn” Iran in a heartbeat were Israel to face direct militaristic threat), consistently incurs opposition to its wishes to develop nuclear energy, whilst India receives a free pass. One can hardly fault the Red Chinese for opposing this, as the article notes, particularly because the agreement includes no requirement that India continue to refrain from nuclear testing. It need only abide by its self-imposed moratorium, despite concerns expressed by the Irish (those perspicacious Celts who subverted the Lisbon Treaty!), Austrians, and New Zealanders. As much as I fear and loathe totalitarian China, I cannot fathom that such risky Western behavior works toward establishing peace and tranquility. Methinks I hear, coming from immediately south of my suburban Maryland house, the faint sounds of drummers tuning their instruments readying themselves in case the War Party’s Subcontinental imprudence, or desire to seek revenge on General Sherman (ah, American Jacobinism!), would extend so far as to require the percussionists’ service. Heaven help us.

Pakistan: I have no idea what to think.

Rarely feel I ambivalently about any action taken by President Bush: occasionally, I support him vehemently; often, I oppose his decision, sometimes quite vociferously.

From Mort Kondracke, in Politico:

President Bush is cutting loose his old ally, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in hopes that Pakistan will end up a stable democratic ally like South Korea or the Philippines.

But Pakistan also could go the way of Iran after President Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah in 1979.

The stakes could not be higher. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. It is a central front in the war on terror. And it is besieged by Islamic extremists who already have a secure operating base in the country.

Generally, I should like to rejoice at any point when I learn that the president “is cutting loose” another nation, insofar as I hope that this signals some sort of anti-interventionist prudence. However, I doubt that an action such as this, on the part of President Bush, is so cut-and-dry; who knows what this really entails? Moreover, Kondracke makes offers some painfully lucid points about Pakistan and the Iranian past. Time will reveal in which direction the Pakistanis tend; I have my doubts. Nonetheless, my inner-Robert Taft smiles at this “cutting loose”.

Remember when “conservatives” believed in small government?

Yahoo! News reports “Obama courts conservatives with new program”:

Taking a page from President Bush, Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he wants to expand White House efforts to steer social service dollars to religious groups, risking protests in his own party with his latest aggressive reach for voters who usually vote Republican.

I recall coming across a speech by Scalia (incredibly erudite, doubtless; troublesome, nonetheless) in which the justice exhorted conservatives to embrace a Hamiltonian big-government conservatism; for every point about which I agree with the esteemed magistrate, a matter arises regarding which he and I (granted, far less intelligent than he) find ourselves holding differing opinions. (I seem to conceive of civil liberties more broadly than he.) Our perspectives on conservatism, it seems, mark one place of such disagreement.

Now, no thorough, quotable scholar, wish as I may, of the Fathers, I, nevertheless, recognize that the Federalists played an influential role in developing what eventually would emerge as American conservatism; so, too, however, did the Anti-Federalists and Jeffersonians. In fact, assertions of a “Jeffersonians became libertarians, and Federalists, conservatives” nature and Jefferson’s own profoundly radical liberalism (classical) notwithstanding, I believe that the Anti-Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, with their distrust of centralization, espousal of a small-is-beautiful philosophy, and opposition to “entangling alliances” (with concomitant opposition to a standing military actually provide a much more appropriate, legitimate inspiration for conservatism (libertarianism, too, save for the willingness of libertarians, all too often, to embrace a big-is-beautiful perspective, so long as government intervention, as it frequently does, hasn’t aided corporations in their gaining increased power and control) than does Hamiltonian Federalism, so much so that, I believe, Scalia was in the wrong even to suggest that Hamilton offers a model for conservatism, rather than some sort of right-wing statism (which, I’ve come to believe, is the political ideology that Scalia embraces).

If Scalia is wrong, then, George W. Bush, too, surely is wrong — dead wrong — with his “compassionate conservatism”. Time was, conservatives sought to protect our rights, our liberties, and our beliefs from government, to work toward improving our society, toward aiding those in need, through voluntary and non-coercive means, rather than through the Leviathan, the same monster whose policies, as I note about, include, say, subsidizing, often astronomically, national chains who alter permanently our communities, hardly a conservative ideal.

Now, if Dubya is wrong on this one, then, as he so often is, Senator Obama is. Granted, he’s no conservative, not by any stretch. (He’s a poorly educated Wilsonian on foreign policy who offers no change, choruses notwithstanding, with respect to how we shall present ourselves on the world front. Just ask AIPAC or the Pakistanis. On domestic policy, he’s, quite ostensibly, far to the left socially, not very good on civil liberties, and not interested in undoing the damages of NAFTA and similar abominations. Yikes.) He is, however, quite undeniably, political savvy, cognizant of the great duping Bush & co. played on so many Americans, convincing them that trusting the Federal government with more power and more money could possibly be a good idea — and something behind which conservatives can stand, and using this as a means by which to attempt to lure the many of use wholly dissatisfied with the GOP’s nominee. I hope that, after the USA PATRIOT Act, endless war, and a wretchedly bloated budget, American conservatives will realize that their leaders have led them astray and that Obama seeks to do little more than to continue these policies. Furthermore, I hope that American progressives recognize that the Cult of Obama will, eventually, ask them to drink the Kool-Aid of continued involvement abroad and persistent violation of our sacred liberties at home. I remain pessimistic on both counts.

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.