US Presidency : Terrorism plank as a primary election tool(DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal
US Presidency : Terrorism plank as a primary election tool
As an over-confident Democratic party is busy choosing a potential Presidential candidate for the upcoming election in 2008, the most probables, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are locked themselves not only in the usual notorious fund-raising activities making the poll a prelude to corruption and fraud in the society encouraged by the new President, but in fierce fighting over future foreign policy of the USA. Consequently, the election campaign from the camp of Democrats has focused the attention on the foreign policy of USA. In what could be seen as determined poll campaign to claim due credit for the aggressive nature of Democratic foreign policy, the chief contenders form the Democratic Party take pain to demonstrate the arrogance in their policy formulations. Both Obama and Hillary fight over the substance of aggressive policy of USA under Clinton. And promise the voters, mainly the democrats, to invade Pakistan while Tom Tancredo, the Republican hopeful and a Congressman representing Colorado threatens with terror attack on Makkah and Madina. True, the scene in the campaign is repulsing and suffocating in not terrorizing. Democrats try to find common ground with the Republicans in pursing an aggressive foreign policy.
Democrat Barack Obama accused Hillary Clinton on 02 August of backing a foreign policy toward hostile nations no different than U.S. President George W. Bush's in an escalation of their war of words this week. Obama says Clinton has foreign policy like Bush's and voters should take the democrats as weak persons with regard to US external behavior. In a flap that has shifted the Democratic 2008 presidential race to a more negative tone, Obama said last week that Hillary Clinton was showing bad judgment for refusing to consider a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy. Visiting the early voting state of Iowa, Obama kept up the attack on Clinton in a dispute that has lasted all week over whether the next president to be elected in November 2008 should be prepared to meet leaders of hostile nations like Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela.
Clinton, a two-term senator from New York and former first lady leading in the Democratic contest, did not back down from her belief that any meetings with the leaders should be preceded by lower-level diplomacy to make sure there is a reason for the leaders to meet. Clinton considers the first-term senator from Illinois naive for saying he would be willing to meet the troublesome leaders, while Obama thinks Clinton is sticking to the foreign policy status quo of the much-criticized Bush administration.
But at a campaign event in West Virginia, Hillary stressed that her diplomacy would be more expansive than that of the Bush White House, saying "we will get back to working with other countries. ….I want to make it absolutely clear that I will be sending high-level presidential envoys, including my husband, all over the world, to send a message to not only leaders but countries, 'We are back and we want to be working to find common interests and common ground with all of you,"' she said.
The fight has encompassed many issues concerning US policies. "So often in Washington, experience means doing what we've been doing over and over and over again. Well, to me that's not experience if what you're doing isn't working," Obama told a crowd on a farm in Adel, a field of corn behind him. “It’s bad judgment and if you want to show good judgment, then you've got to be open to changing the way we do things in order to get different outcomes," he said.
The Obama camp, looking for an opening to use the feud to cut into Clinton's lead in the polls, put up an advertisement on news sites on Friday in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ad criticizes Clinton for her initial vote in support of the Iraq war and asks the question, "Ready for a New Direction?" The Clinton camp placed comments from her and Obama on her web site, Hillary Hub.com and provided a link to an opinion article written by conservative Charles Krauthammer that described "how the grizzled veteran showed up the clueless rookie. “The Clinton camp also cited the episode in a letter seeking campaign contributions. It was e-mailed to supporters.
Obama, an Illinois senator, fired back at New York Sen. Clinton for calling him "irresponsible and naive" for saying during a CNN/You Tube debate on Monday that he would be willing to meet without preconditions the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela during his first year in office. The dust-up between the two top contenders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the November 2008 election has been the most dramatic spat thus far in the campaign.
Clinton has tried to portray herself as the most experienced option among Democrats, far more prepared to be commander-in-chief than Obama, who has been in the U.S. Senate less than three years compared to her eight years as first lady to President Bill Clinton and senator since 2001. Clinton took a more cautious approach to a debate question about meeting troublesome world leaders, arguing the president should only meet with such leaders after lower-level diplomatic spadework is completed.
Obama, in a conference call with reporters, said that is Bush's position as well.
"The Bush administration's policy is to say that we will not talk to these countries unless they meet various preconditions. That's their explicit policy," Obama said. At the same time, Obama seemed to walk back a little bit from his debate position, saying diplomatic preparation would be necessary before presidential meetings. “Nobody expects that you would suddenly just sit down with them for coffee without having done the appropriate groundwork. But the question was, would you meet them without preconditions, and part of the Bush doctrine has been to say no," he said. "You'll have to ask Senator Clinton what differentiates her position from theirs," Obama added.
As if not be left behind in the race, the Colorado R-Congressman Tancredo has said he sees no other way to deter a potential nuclear attack by Islamic terrorists except to threaten to destroy the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina. During a Republican presidential debate from Drake University in Des Moines, Tancredo stood behind his two-year-old deterrent strategy, which created another international uproar this week when he raised it during an Iowa campaign stop. Fellow Republicans repudiated Rep. Tom Tancredo on Sunday over his controversial comments threatening to target Muslim holy sites as a deterrent to Islamic terrorism. Again Tancredo told about 30 people at a town hall meeting in Osceola, Iowa, on Tuesday that he believes that a nuclear terrorist attack on the U.S. could be imminent and that the U.S. needs to hurry up and think of a way to stop it. “If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. Because that's the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they otherwise might do," he said.
Former Senator John Edwards, in third place in the polls behind Clinton and Obama to become the Democratic presidential nominee, tried to take the high road, saying the Clinton-Obama feud was an example of "what's wrong in Washington." "We've had two good people, Democratic candidates for president, who've spent their time attacking each other instead of attacking the problems facing our country," Edwards, the party's 2004 vice presidential candidate, told the Urban League annual conference in St. Louis. Another Democratic candidate, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, called the conflict "just another personal argument among politicians, and that's lamentable given the stakes in this election." Still another Democratic candidate, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has done his share of international diplomacy as a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said he did not see what all the fuss was about.
Bush considers Iran a brewing nuclear menace and has refused to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he has allowed U.S. diplomats to meet Iranians about U.S. charges that Iran is stirring up trouble in Iraq. He has allowed diplomatic contacts with North Korea, Syria and Venezuela while having no dealings with communist Cuba. Acting Cuban President Raul Castro said on Thursday he would welcome talks with the United States after Bush leaves office.
Some Democrats believe Bush may have missed opportunities for diplomatic progress by refusing to meet some of these leaders. Critics say the president has alienated much of the world with a foreign policy they call arrogant, particularly with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Obama made a case for talking to leaders shunned by the United States.
"The fact of the matter is when we talk to world leaders, it gives us the opportunity to speak about our ideals, our values and our interests, and I am not afraid to have that conversation with anybody," he said. He said if he were to sit down with the Iranian president, "I will send a strong message that Israel is our friend, that we will assist in their security and that we don't find nuclear weapons acceptable as Iran is currently envisioning it." That's not a propaganda coup for the president of Iran," he said. He added that the debate over the issue was whether to pursue conventional thinking or consider new ideas.
Meanwhile Pakistan, an ardent supporter of USA and its ally in the terror wars in Afghanistan, is unhappy with the latest development in the US campaign. Pakistan criticized the presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday for saying that, if elected, he might order unilateral military strikes against terrorists hiding in this Islamic country. Top Pakistan officials said Osama’s comment was irresponsible and likely made for political gain in the race for the Democratic nomination. "It's a very irresponsible statement, that's all I can say," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khusheed Kasuri told AP Television News. "As the election campaign in America is heating up we would not like American candidates to fight their elections and contest elections at our expense."
A senior Pakistani official condemned another presidential hopeful, Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, for saying the best way he could think of to deter a nuclear terrorist attack on the U.S. would be to threaten to retaliate by bombing the holiest Islamic sites of Mecca and Medina.
Obama said in a speech Wednesday that as president he would order military action against terrorists in Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan if intelligence warranted it. The comment provoked anger in Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror.
Many analysts believe that top Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are hiding in the region after escaping the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has come under growing pressure from Washington to do more to tackle the alleged al-Qaeda havens in Pakistan. The Bush administration has not ruled out military strikes, but still stresses the importance of cooperating with Pakistan. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again," Obama said. "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."
The Associated Press of Pakistan reported Friday that Musharraf was asked at a dinner at Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's house on Thursday about the potential of U.S. military operations in Pakistan. Musharraf told guests that Pakistan was "fully capable" of tackling terrorists in the country and did not need foreign assistance. Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said no foreign forces would be allowed to enter Pakistan, and called Obama irresponsible.
"I think those who make such statements are not aware of our contribution" in the fight on terrorism, he said.
Pakistan used to be a main backer of the Taliban, but it threw its support behind Washington following the Sept.11, 2001 attacks. Since then, Pakistan has deployed about 90,000 troops in its tribal regions, mostly in lawless North and South Waziristan, and has lost hundreds of troops in fighting with militants there. But a controversial strategy to make peace with militants and use tribesmen to police Waziristan has fueled U.S. fears that al-Qaeda has been given space to regroup.
In Pakistan's national assembly on Friday, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sher Afgan said he would bring on a debate next week on recent criticism of Pakistan from several quarters in the U.S., including Tancredo's remarks. It was a matter of "grave concern that U.S. presidential candidates are using unethical and immoral tactics against Islam and Pakistan to win their election," Afghan said.
Of course, the USA is annoyed with China too, but to the extent to decalre a war with Beijing.on 07 July, at a debate in Chicago, Democratic presidential candidates bashed China as a currency-manipulating, food-tainting, human-rights violator.US politicians seemingly worried as how to ensure that China's rise as an economic power is accompanied by its rise as a responsible member of the international community.
USA not only incresingly uses the terrorism plank as the most important foreign policy tool, but also as election tool , largely conforming to its agreesive nature of policy formulations in the White House.But what is puzzling is the fact that the USA cutting across the political spectrum continues to use terrorism” plank as the most effective foreign policy tool even in presidential campaign.The terror wars unleashed by the USA have badly affected the US relations across the globe, strained its age-old ties with its close allies near and far for decades. But when the Presidential hopefuls behave small by hurling arrogant tone at its allies, things won’t do good for the USA either.
DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal