A few days ago, President Obama made a public statement urging Congress to pass the 800 billion dollar economic stimulus plan as soon as possible. Rescuing the market is the new president’s top priority. Even if these steps should not get instant results, it is important to face Americans and the entire world and make clear the determination and the confidence of his economic rescue plan. This is sometimes exactly what the market needs. Yet some matters are not merely dependent on raising confidence. For instance, resolving the many geopolitical problems that the world faces is a difficult problem, including countries from Afghanistan to Pakistan, and even the entire South Asia subcontinent security situation.
Because of America’s War on Terror, Afghanistan has had incessant fighting over the last seven years and has now postponed a presidential election. The Taliban has already arrived in the southern end of Kabul, during which time the mayor of the city was elected.
Benazir Bhutto, who was urged to return home by America, gave up her life. Pakistan is no longer stable as its once firm counterterrorism measures were only due to the country's military leadership. Although the flames of war were continuously coming up in this province and not the three other ones, the number of people from this province who are combative and extremist is a lot higher than in Afghanistan.
As for recent Indian and Pakistani military affairs turning upside down, one cannot blame America but actually Giza and the others who attacked Bombay and buildings such as the Taj-Mahal Hotel, etc. Rice’s visits have not been able to let Indian-Pakistani armies to recede from their advanced positions. This indicates that the U.S.'s “elder brother” speech does not work, and that even non-NATO Pakistan and democratic India are the same.
During the presidential campaign, Obama promoted repeatedly a future for South Asia in America’s global strategy. Now should be the time when the new president ought to make good on this promise, since Afghanistan has become the center of the War on Terror. Obama plans to solve Bush’s creation, but is there still time to solve it?
Specifically speaking, does Obama want to exterminate the Taliban or integrate it into Afghanistan's mainstream politics? The plan to Increase military strength was on behalf of the former. Karzai, the Taliban, Pakistan and America coming into contact with Saudi Arabia suggest the latter. Of these two options that sum up Obama's plan, which will he choose? Perhaps he will use something similar to Bush's dual tactics? The problem is that the Taliban seems only to pursue tactics copied by Nurhachu with the Ming Dinasty army in the past: "I do not care how many roads are coming, I will only go ahead." This does not have any meaning for negotiations.
As for the still unresolved problem of Pakistan, does he want to keep it conforming externally as an American-style democracy while still coordinating counterterrorism efforts in Islamabad? Perhaps Bush's experiences clearly indicates to a great extent that the two cannot occur concurrently. The evidence was Benazir Bhutto’s murder and the destruction of America's motorcade outside Peshawar City. How does Obama want to draft a response to this Palestinian policy? Dispatching a plane to bomb on tribal district at the Pakistani border should not be the position.
Half a year ago, Democratic Senator John Kerry led the Atlantic Council to form a Pakistani Issues Working Team panel, with plans to have on-site inspections of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and China. Obama’s Pakistan policy had a plan, but for some reason it was cancelled before the presentation. The Brookings Institute released only a U.S.- Palestinian relations report. Hope that this does not imply that Obama has not overlooked Pakistan’s success or failure in the War on Terror, but the 160 million Muslim Americans who can bond towards to a common cause to achieve stability and jobs. Overlooking Pakistan is no different than giving the whole mountainous northern part of the country to the Taliban.
In responding to Indian-Pakistan relations since the Clinton era, the U.S. chooses India first when choosing between the two countries. What is beyond comprehension is that Washington plans to make Islamabad accept this. Does Obama’s administration still want to continue with this plan? Obama’s Islamic media interview indicated that America is trying to be more modest. This approach deserves encouragement but in no way implies America’s transformation of getting along with the world that it pursued for more then a half a century. One of America’s indirect polices according to the recent National Security strategy briefing illustrated this outlook: "The world is a mess, but America is capable of handling it." In fact, even if the country is changing to become more modest, it is impossible for America to stay on the outside of the issues. After all, the country has a hand in much of the mess or is the cause of it, specifically the undertakings in South Asia. How does Obama plan to handle the three messy relations of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India?
The United States of America’s historic event of having the first African-American president has saved part of the country's soft power from imminent danger. Introducing a positive event during the winter to give people hope is good business, but delivering a speech and accepting an oath ought to put the mood of business in order. Rescuing the market is essential, rescuing the world is also essential – especially when the War against Terrorism is becoming more and more frightening.
Ye Hai Lin, China Social Science Institute Asian and Pacific scholar