France has a longstanding tradition of realism in foreign policy, as well as an unapologetic resolve to protect her national interests. Both were on display recently as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner visited Israel and succinctly warned that Israel will hit Iranian nuclear sites before Iran can finish its race to build nuclear weapons.
“First, because you will hit them before. And this is the danger. Israel has always said it will not wait for the bomb to be ready. I think that (the Iranians) know. Everyone knows.”
Well, everyone but Barack Obama, whose foolish talk of dialogue with Ahmadinejad without preconditions may well have been a catalyst in Israel’s perception that the Iranian bomb is an existential threat to its existence and that the American alliance would be unreliable in the face of an Obama presidency.
Great job, Senator.
But The One does not limit Himself to negligent pronouncements on just one foreign policy topic. He continues to persist in his astonishing conviction that we can just go in and invade Pakistan in order to take out Bin Laden. No doubt his extensive military experience gives him the credibility to make such an assertion. He also criticizes the Bush Administration’s policy on former Pakistani strongman Musharraf.
Trouble is, Senator, you just don’t seem to have much in the way of situation awareness re the facts on the ground there, so here’s some help:
Pakistan is a nuclear power. You, uh, just don’t nonchalantly invade the territory of nuclear powers. Earlier this decade, there was a real prospect of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. Tony Blair labored mightily to defuse the situation, which is not widely remembered now.
Pakistan is a very divided country with a huge Islamic radical contingent. A peremptory U.S attack would inflame that situation terribly, further destabilizing the government.
Musharraf WAS the indispensable man earlier this decade. With democracy under assault in Pakistan because of mind-boggling corruption, the growing Islamofascist threat and the ever-present conflict with India, the emergence of a strongman was probably inevitable. And we were lucky with this strongman. It took enormous courage for him to side with the US against the Taliban, previously a Pakistani client. A friendly face in Islamabad didn’t hurt the effort to expose the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network, one of the most important strategic successes of the Bush Administration.
Uh, Senator, notwithstanding the usefulness of Musharraf, the Bush Administration did push for a restoration of democracy in Pakistan, opting for long-term stability over short-term expediency. This is the effort that you risk flushing down the toilet – see point #1.
True, these facts might get in the way of your cool, glib posturing. But that’s what an election is all about.
The Pakistan section of this blog was originally posted on The Minority Report.