President Obama has preemptively rolled over and shown his belly to the newly elected leadership of Pakistan. A Taliban and Al Qaeda supported leadership that has vowed to push back on unrestricted US drone strike violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
After years of directing ever increasing CIA-run drone strikes, Obama has announced his intent to reel in both the frequency of such strikes and the CIA’s operational control of the President’s favorite form of lethal foreign policy. Obama’s speech yesterday described a bizarre dichotomy of praise for the success of such strikes while simultaneously announcing his avowed intent to severely limit future attacks.
Do you wonder why?
POTUS realizes that Pakistan is about to tell him to take his “Kill List” and shove it. The president has neither the spine nor effective emissaries for engaging in Realpolitik with Pakistan. He also doesn’t need more drama in the swamp while he’s up to his ass in recent scandal-driven alligators.
Thus, he has acquiesced to the inevitable and given our enemies exactly what they desire…a respite from one of the few effective means we have of targeting them in a lawless region. Of course “effective” is really a misnomer, as this administration (like Bill Clinton’s) has always favored form over function when it comes to application of military force. Obama prefers the appearance of decisive action (lobbing low risk kill shots from unmanned robots) over the tougher work of capturing live terrorists in order to more effectively destroy insurgent networks.
Obama and his inner circle have repeatedly ignored advice from military and intelligence professionals that you can’t Kill Your Way to Victory in the current War That Shall Not Be Named. The real solution to eviscerating networks of trans-national terrorists and insurgent groups is by application of nose-to-grindstone capture and interrogation of key enemy personalities. Capture is almost always more important than Kill in these cases. But capturing folks presents another political sticky wicket. Where to incarcerate them? Guantanamo and Special Renditions are rotting political albatrosses on the US home front, and anathema to the president’s own base. Then again, Barak Obama has no actual vision for Victory in a conflict he intends to wish away, so the point is probably moot.
Pakistan’s tribal areas have always presented a unique problem of offending Islamabad’s sensibilities vs. wreaking real effect on our enemies hiding in Pakistani sanctuary. President Bush and his NSC took a very cautious approach to that situation, limiting strikes on Pakistani territory to a level that a complicit Pakistani government could live with. On the other hand, President Obama and his team of amateur foreign policy geeks saw escalated drone warfare as a cheap and risk-free means of appearing militarily decisive while avoiding US casualties. They increased the level of violence to a point that both the enemy and Islamabad squawked. Because the Taliban and Al-Qaeda don’t like being vaporized by missiles and Pakistan’s politicians detest their impotence in the face of overt US military aggression on their home soil.
That dynamic is about to change, and the president doesn’t have the spine to effectively negotiate with Pakistan behind the scenes. His bench of foreign policy lightweights is unlikely to sway Pakistan’s new government to ignore the very policy planks that ensured their election (and quid pro quo support from the insurgents).
Thus, Obama has preemptively seized the moral high ground in a feckless effort to convince the world that his conscience drives this military retreat…rather than the Pakistanis who are about to tell him to pound sand.
Related News Articles from Fox and CNN:
“Drone strikes are a necessary evil, but one that must be used with more temperance as the United States’ security situation evolves, President Barack Obama said Thursday…
To stop terrorists from gaining a foothold, drones will be deployed, Obama said, but only when there is an imminent threat; no hope of capturing the targeted terrorist; ‘near certainty’ that civilians won’t be harmed; and ‘there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat’…”
“Nawaz Sharif, the twice-elected former prime minister who will once again lead a new government, has promised to change Pakistan’s foreign and national security policies when he takes office. He has said he will immediately raise the drone issue with the U.S., and wants to end strikes targeting militants in the country’s tribal belt…”
Copyright T2M 2013