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Omid Memarian Headshot

Bombing Pakistan?

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Obama's comment
on Pakistan reminds me of some populist leaders in the Middle East, including Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: these leaders love attention, want to appear revolutionary, and more importantly, pretend that they have the answer to all their country's shortcomings and crises.

They do not talk about the means and consequences, but prey on people's frustrations to magnify their promises; the more desperate and frustrated the people are, the easier it is to convince them of reckless ideas and comments ... And this bring us to Obama's comment about attacking Pakistan: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."

Although what is happening in Pakistan in terms of the growth of fundamentalist groups is significant, and the US must seriously revisit its relationship with Dictator Mosharraf, bombing Pakistan is hardly the answer. Obama's ideology, tone and logic appear to be quite similar to Bush's, intended to justify unilateralism and military assault.

In fact, the man who constantly criticizes Congress for authorizing the invasion of Iraq, is now following the same path. On one hand, he claims to be wise enough not to have voted for the invasion of Iraq, while on the other hand, he calls for military intervention in Pakistan -- much like Rudy Giuliani who suggested the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in his CNN debate.

The emphasis on 'actionable intelligence' to legitimize war, does not reflect a determination to fight against terror but rather utter naiveté and lack on understanding and confusion about one of the most important issues in US foreign policy. Neither party seems to have any respect for gaining international consensus or multi-lateralism. It is no wonder that the image of Americans abroad has greatly diminished.

Apparently, in order to bring about change and appear tough, Obama's dangerous solution is to enter yet another war, rather than get out of the one we are in. Ironically, Obama's comments only emphasize the need for a completely NEW discourse and paradigm in regards to US foreign policy.