Pakistani Bloggers on the McCain-Obama Debate

Pakistani bloggers found much to analyze in last night's televised debate between United States presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

What the US approach to Pakistan should be was a core part of discussion, since Pakistan has come under greater scrutiny in recent times and is considered a hot-spot.

In roughly 37 days, the United States of America will be electing its 44th President. Though the elections are limited only to the US, the outcome of the election will have a far greater global impact.

Riaz Haq writes on Haq's Musings blog:

There is a significant concentration of Muslim vote in Florida and Michigan. If, as the anecdotal evidence suggests, Obama gets the lion's share of the Muslim American vote, then he could win the presidency by a thin margin of Muslim votes. Is an Obama win good for Muslim-Americans or Pakistani-Americans?

He summarizes the result of the debate in favor of McCain:

it is clear that Sen McCain is far more knowledgeable about Pakistan than Senator Obama. Mr. McCain has also repeatedly stressed diplomacy and close working relationship with Pakistan and demonstrated his commitment by his actions such as several visits and phone conversations with Pakistani leadership recently and in the past. On the other hand, Mr. Obama has made aggressive statements about Pakistan without making serious effort to understand the issues faced by Pakistanis in FATA.

Pakistan Policy Blog argues extensively for and against both sides:

OBAMA GOOD FOR CIVILIANS, BAD FOR MILITARY Obama’s support for Pakistan’s fledgling democracy and appropriation of the Biden plan, which calls for vastly increasing development aid, is excellent. It is an integral part of a transition toward a full-fledged Pakistan policy. But Obama seems unaware of the clear and present economic danger in Pakistan

MCCAIN GOOD FOR MILITARY, BAD FOR CIVILIANS McCain has yet to really come to terms with the existence of a civil, democratic government in Pakistan. He fails to include Pakistan in his proposed League of Democracies. He seems in denial — or his talking points have yet to be updated — so much that he is confused as to what the president’s name is. “Kardari.” …. it also demonstrates the greatest flaw in McCain’s Pakistan policy: he has failed to adapt it to a post-Musharraf Pakistan

Interestingly Pakistan Policy Blog coins a keyword “McBama” which could potentially be a mash-up of both policies:

MCBAMA GOOD FOR COMPREHENSIVE U.S-PAKISTAN RELATIONS neither the candidates, nor most in the U.S. policy community, truly understands the comprehensive failure that is Afghanistan. In respect to a Pakistan policy, Obama’s is more promising. McCain offers strengths vis-a-vis relations with Pakistan’s military and respect for its sovereignty that Obama fares miserably on.

Temporal at Baithak shares his frustration at McCain mispronouncing names:

John McCain, the “expert” in foreign policy mispronounced Ahmadinejad's name four times in a row and screwed up Zardari's name to boot.

On my own blog Teeth Maestro I also commented on the mispronunciation puzzle:

Probably the most interesting surprise was when McCain could not properly pronounce the name of our President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to utter a mumbling Kirdari (sic), its not a crime by any standard to fumble with a difficult pronunciation, but when dealing with foreign dignitaries you try your damnedest to ensure that you pronounce their name correctly, lest they be offended. If this was just the start then the Iranian would have a field day ripping him apart since a few minutes later McCain made minced meat out of pronouncing Ahmedinejad’s name to utter something like Ahmadinenene (sic) – Definitely a diplomatic PR disaster awaiting to happen.

Desi in DC writes:

Who would have thought that I would say this but after yesterday’s US presidential debate it seems maybe McCain may be better for Pakistan. I disagree with most of his policies except his foreign policy, In Obama’s case his domestic policies make sense but his foreign policy shows his lack of experience.

Changing up Pakistan discusses the debate extensively to say:

It was a victory, albeit a narrow one, for Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama. Regardless of political posturing, the U.S. will always act according to its national security interests. If Coalition forces are being killed by militants in cross-border attacks, it inherently threatens U.S. security; that would be true for any country. The difference in this presidential election is that Obama openly acknowleges this reality, while McCain merely chooses to equate it to an attack on Pakistani sovereignty. Ultimately, however, there isn’t an easy answer to this issue, and the next president will be forced to respond to the realities on the ground. Therefore, it may come down to how they tend to respond to major issues rather than their current political stances.

summarized his LiveBlogging coverage to say that, “I would rate it a draw. Obama didn’t land any knockout punches” and later pipes in with a CBS poll swinging in favor of Obama to say, “That sounds good for Obama & CNN Polling is even better.”

On Teeth Maestro, my analysis is in favor of an Obama-Biden victory:

Pakistan stands at a fork, if the same old policies are followed, the same blind sighted relationship maintained with crooks and dictators running our country the menacing war on terror will only get worse surely something both America and Pakistan wish not to happen. Obama on the other hand represents a fresh change, as per my neutral review of the debate, it is my understanding that if they both support the approximately the same line of action for Pakistan, I would carefully put my eggs into Obama’s basket, he talks with more commitment to the challenges ahead while simultaneously suggesting and a tough guy approach on Pakistan. He wants to solve the issue of War on Terror and not let it linger on longer then necessary. With Senator Biden as his side who has been the only American bureaucrat to fully understand the problem in Pakistan, I feel that an Obama-Biden presidency will be a brighter future for Pakistan.

Photo above, of a television screen showing the presidential debate is by Captain Alcoholica.


  • Am also heavily in favor of an Obama-Biden victory – I alluded to it in my post (thank you for linking to it), but ultimately, doesn’t it always come down to a candidate’s natural instincts. We couldn’t have predicted how President Bush would have reacted to 9/11, and we saw the mess that occurred. By the time the new president comes to power, the environment in Pakistan could very well have changed for the better or worse – I truly believe that McCain’s natural inclination is to act “without blinking,” as has been the case for his party in the last eight years, while Obama will only act after assessing the situation thoroughly, speaking to various foreign policy advisors, and making an educated decision. If you doubt that, then just take a look at how Obama has conducted himself throughout this campaign – the time he has taken before taking a stance has been criticized by some, but may be a positive when it comes down to acting on Pakistan when and if he becomes commander-in-chief.

  • It’s sad that these are our only choices this election. Many people in the US aren’t voting this time around. Which is more patriotic to vote simply for the sake of voting or to refuse when faced with a candidate that isn’t qualified and another which had a hand in the mess we see in Washington today?

  • Chief_Cabioch

    Look at the choiices for president in Pakistan, you have some room to talk, you have the Blind leading the blind, your government cant decide what side it’s even on, it takes handouts from the US, but it drags it feet makes excuses why things cant be done, truth is, they want this drug out, and keep the US bank bags coming

  • Braden

    I saw the entire debate and I was shocked by the statement because considering their political party, the statements should be switched.
    don’t support McCain so quick, although he apologized for abandoning Pakistan in the 80’s. he still did, he also has represented the same political party that has abandoned Pakistan time and again.earlier in the debate he said his hero was Ronald Reagan, what a great example of a wise foreign diplomacy.
    in the united states military service is highly respected as in most countries.Obama being a public servant or providing community service to the poor. although highly respected as well, certain Americans don’t believe Obama has the strength to be president. so at some point in the debate, he had to display some form of might, unfortunitly he had to use Pakistan as that example. but if you remember earlier in the debate McCain also talked about having a strong U.S. military, and when he described Pakistan he described it from a military perspective.

    “I’ve been to Waziristan. I can see how tough that terrain is. It’s ruled by a handful of tribes.”

    I know what the U.S. does with a large military.that is not good for Pakistan.If Pakistan needs someone at all, take my advice,root for the one who takes care of the poor.

  • John

    When McCain said that Pakistan was really a failed state when Musharraf took over I thought it was a gaffe, but I was afraid no Americans would pick up on it. Since even the Pakistani bloggers let it slide, I assume that I was in error, not McCain, and that the Sharif government was really a failed state. Now, does Nawaz Sharif know about this? Do the voters of Pakistan know about this? And does this mean that Pakistanis will finally, democratically abolish their federation?

    This is not a defense of Sharif but opposition to coups.

  • Chief_Cabioch

    quote “I know what the U.S. does with a large military.that is not good for Pakistan.If Pakistan needs someone at all, take my advice,root for the one who takes care of the poor.”

    show us where Obama’s looked out for the poor, especially the poor babies that cant speak because they havent been born yet ?

  • Chief_Cabioch

    how many here understand the Democrats here control the congress, the congress they control hold the power to “Spend” Money, NOT the President, yet they blame the president, the democrats have oversite of the “Senate Banking, Finance, Housing, and Urban Developement committiee….they refused to act, now are pointing fingers at everyone else.

    the DEMOCRATS have spent the US into a mess, with ear marks, and Porlbarrel spending, and no one gets it

  • […] September 27, 2008 at 9:27 am · Filed under Politics Global Voices Online » Pakistani Bloggers on the McCain-Obama Debate. […]

  • DNC + RNC = ROT

    Spoil what? Waste what? Steal what?

    Barack Obama we do not doubt your intelligence. To be an effective leader one must also display honesty, compassion, & guts. Stand with Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, & Cynthia McKinney. NOT John McCain. Your choice – your move.

  • Braden

    first off if you read the statement or have seen his background you would know that he got his start in Chicago. helping crippled neighborhoods. Also just because you control a small majority of congress does not mean you have that much power. America lives in a system based on checks and balances meaning nobody has that much power. Also they have only had that slim majority for only two years, in a system that has usually gone republican for the last 40 years. now apart from this congress and senate, there has only been one democratic president since the 70’s. so one could create a nice debate that not only has the republicans enjoyed a slim majority in multiple branches of government, therefore possessing more power, but does shoulder the blame on many issues such as foreign policy(Iran-contra, Iraq, South America) or economical like promoting a system filled with little oversight and massive corruption. if we can send our adult babies to far away lands not only killing babies but everything else that moves then i say, abortions are a better option.

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