Pakistan should start praying for a Republican win in the next US Presidential Elections. In his last year or so in charge, President Obama’s priorities are legacy building, and the 2016 Democratic defense of the White House. His snubbing Pakistan on this latest Southeast Asia trip is ominous.
From now till election day, whatever Obama says or does is less about him, and more about how his party wants to run the race. Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic nominee, and Obama owes her husband Bill his second term in office. Former President Clinton’s humdinger of a speech, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, tore the Romney-Ryan ticket to shreds. Afterwards, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said on CNN, “This convention is done. This will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama.” In an interview with India Today before his visit, Obama gushed about how “the stars are aligned” for both India and the US to become “true global partners.” His tone became solemn however when adding “safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice.” Clearly the US now views India as a mature global player, while Pakistan remains the problem child. Obama even compared 9/11 New York to 26/11 Mumbai, citing the commitment of both countries to preserve their way of life. No hats were tipped to acknowledge the thousands of civilian and military casualties in Pakistan, for a war essentially concocted in the Pentagon.
Responding to a White House press conference question about Obama ignoring Pakistan, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes stated “frankly, that’s in the interest of all the three countries.” How is slighting the foot-soldiers in their global war on terror in their best interest, one wonders? That said, how do you ‘do more’ with the morale tank on empty? Obama’s been on a roll since 2014. After five indifferent years as top dog, he finally got his act together. Oil prices dropped to $2 a gallon for the first time since the 2008 financial crises. Similarly unemployment figures fell below 6%, a full year faster than the GOP’s economic pontiff, Ronald Reagan. The stock markets also rebounded to post all-time highs, boosting the working American’s nest-egg. With key economic indicators peaking at the right time, the Democrats look good for reelection. On the foreign policy front, Obama worked two magic acts to help Hillary out. First, he ‘magically’ made Pakistan & Afghanistan start working together to route the Taliban. Two neighbors locked in an endless game of ‘chicken’ somehow saw the bigger picture. Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘big stick’ no doubt proved persuasive.
A Hillary Clinton seriously scarred by the Ben Ghazi blowback, can ill-afford another national security gaffe on her watch. To become President, she needs focus on the Clinton brand, not her failings as Secretary Of State. Furthermore, Obama ‘magically’ undercut the 2016 Republican dream-ticket, by normalizing relations with Cuba. This firmly puts the Cuban-American voting bloc in the blue column. Coincidentally, 70% of these voters live in Florida, home to both Gov.
Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Both are the GOP’s pride and joy, and neither will have it easy carrying their home state, a litmus test for winning nationwide. Goodwill from this act is also likely to solidify the national Latino vote. Traditionally Democrat, its the fastest growing demographic in the US due to high birth and migration rates. Hillary needs them to win or compete in three major races; California, Texas and Florida. Obama won Florida by a razor thin margin in 2012, he’s set Hillary up to do better. If elected, Hillary Clinton, forced to resign as Secretary of State after Ben Ghazi, will be out for blood. Pakistan, accused of serial two-facedness, is the convenient whipping boy. Obama has set her narrative in motion, and a lot more admonishment is in store should she become President.
Author: S.Mubashir Noor