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Pakistani Bloggers on the McCain-Obama Debate

Categories: North America, South Asia, Pakistan, U.S.A., Elections, International Relations, Politics

[1]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 [2]:

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 [3] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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 [7] 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.

Procastination [8]
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 [9] swinging in favor of Obama to say, “That sounds good for Obama & CNN Polling [10] is even better.”

On Teeth Maestro [5], 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 [1].