Obama Foreign Policy in a Tailspin

December 29, 2007

First one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisors, Susan Rice, criticizes Hillary Clinton for not being tough enough in regard to the Musharraf dictatorship in Pakistan. Then, another Obama advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said that “the United States should not get involved in Pakistani politics.” And then, to put the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake, after Clinton called for an independent, international investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Obama himself disagreed with her (H/T: TalkLeft):

Clinton also called for an independent, international investigation into Bhutto’s death, “perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations have been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon.” Obama said he doesn’t share that view. “It is important to us to not give the idea that Pakistan is unable to handle its own affairs,” he said.

Could Obama’s foreign policy be any less consistent? It seems that it is based simply on disagreeing with Hillary Clinton. This is the kind of reckless politicizing that one might expect from someone who has virtually no foreign policy experience, and it seems that Obama is proving everyone who has mentioned his lack of experience as a concern exactly right.

More beneath the fold…

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Edwards Chastises Obama

December 29, 2007

John Edwards is chastising Barack Obama for politicizing Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Asked about the Obama campaign’s attack on Hillary Clinton, in which they implied that her vote for the Iraq War made her indirectly responsible for Bhutto’s death (twice!), Edwards said:

“It’s ridiculous,” Edwards said. “It’s a ridiculous stretch. I think in times of international crisis — which this clearly is — what America needs to be doing and serious presidential candidates need to be doing is providing an atmosphere of strength and calm. We need to be a calming influence and not stoking the fire and certainly not be talking about the politics of this.”

Edwards’ criticism of Obama is much more valid than Clinton’s, since her campaign too has been guilty of politicizing Bhutto’s assassination. John Edwards is the only candidate who has risen above the temptation to politicize this assassination, as Obama has done, or worse yet, to use this assassination to terrorize the American people into voting for them – as all of the Republicans and Clinton, in her own way, have done. Edwards is right that we need strength and calm in times of crises, and he’s the only one who hasn’t been running around like Chicken Little since Bhutto’s assassination.

Thanks for the Reminder

December 29, 2007

From CNN:

A senior aide to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee admitted Friday that the former Arkansas governor had “no foreign policy credentials” after his comments reacting to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto raised questions.

During an event Friday in Pella, Iowa, Huckabee said the crisis sparked by Bhutto’s death should lead to a crackdown on illegal immigrants from Pakistan.

The Huckabee official told CNN that when he said that, Huckabee was trying to turn attention away from scrutiny of his foreign policy knowledge.

If Huckabee was really trying to divert attention away from his lack of foreign policy experience, he’s failed miserably. The absurdity of his comments yesterday have only renewed scrutiny of his foreign policy capabilities, and I would say that Huckabee is the candidate most hurt by the Bhutto assassination from either party.

And Again

December 28, 2007

Just in case you weren’t sure, Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice says that Hillary Clinton is indeed indirectly to blame for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination (H/T: TalkLeft):

“Those who made the judgment that we ought to divert our attention from Afghanistan to invade Iraq and allow al-Qaeda to reconstitute and strengthen are now having to assess the wisdom of that judgment as we may be seeing yet another manifestation of al-Qaeda’s potency,” said Susan Rice . . .

Rice also hints that the Obama campaign is in favor of regime change in Pakistan, contradicting Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who has said that “the United States should not get involved in Pakistani politics.” Well, that’s as clear as mud.

Evan Bayh, Loading the Gun for Them

December 28, 2007

Not to be outdone, the Clinton campaign* has decided that they too must use Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to attack other presidential candidates, just as the Obama campaign did. Clinton supporter Sen. Evan Bayh had this to say about the Bhutto assassination (H/T: TPM Election Central, TalkLeft):

“When there are unfortunate calamities like this, the Republicans [will say], ‘See. See what we told you? We have to have someone who’s strong to defend America at a time of concern.’ Well, Senator Clinton is strong,” he said. “And she’s experienced. And she’s tough enough to defend this country and do it in a way that’s true to our values, the civil liberties we cherish, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m supporting her.”

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The Politics of Hope!

December 27, 2007

Most of the presidential candidates have been shamelessly capitalizing on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, but Barack Obama moves beyond the realm of shameless self-promotion and into the category of despicable. This, from Time (H/T: TalkLeft):

Bhutto’s death will “call into issue the judgment: who’s made the right judgments,” [Obama advisor] Axelrod said. “Obviously, one of the reasons that Pakistan is in the distress that it’s in is because al-Qaeda is resurgent, has become more powerful within that country and that’s a consequence of us taking the eye off the ball and making the wrong judgment in going into Iraq. That’s a serious difference between these candidates and I’m sure that people will take that into consideration.”

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Bhutto Assassinated

December 27, 2007

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today in Rawalpindi, after leaving a campaign rally for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Pajamas Media has a roundup of reactions. And don’t miss analysis of the situation by Juan Cole (Informed Comment).