News / Asia

Three Questions: Election’s Effect on US Policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Three Questions:  Election’s Effect on US Policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Three Questions: Election’s Effect on US Policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Ira Mellman

Although US foreign policy seemingly did not play a major role in Tuesday's midterm elections, the results may lead to some changes.

Lisa Curtis is a Senior Research fellow on South Asia at Washington's Heritage foundation.

How will a Republican controlled House of Representatives affect US foreign policy?

We are likely to see some changes in foreign policy particularly in regard to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the coming months.

I think we’ll see some pressure on President Obama to drop the July 2011 withdrawal date in Afghanistan. Several Republican leaders including the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, have been very clear in their desire to see this timeline withdrawn and for the President instead to focus on a strategy of success in Afghanistan. So I think what we’ll see is the Republicans trying to get a more clear, strong policy toward the region. They’ll call hearings; they’ll probably give voice to US military leaders, particularly General David Petraeus, who have been very clear about their desire to keep a healthy troop level in Afghanistan and give the counter insurgency strategy time to succeed.

How much opposition do you see coming from Democrats and from the White House?

The Democratic Congress had a lot of questions about Afghanistan. They were the ones putting the pressure on President Obama to establish this timeline and even threatening to withhold funding. Frankly, the Republican-led Congress will not put this same kind of pressure on the White House. So in a way, President Obama is going to probably find support for his strategy so long as he drops that timeline for withdrawal. That’s the sticking point.

It seems that when you move across the border to Pakistan nothing is ever so simple.  Is that the situation when it applies to what happens next there?

Yes.  With regard to Pakistan, I don’t see any major changes to the strategy.  I think that the Obama administration faces the same frustrations the Bush administration faced in dealing with Pakistan and the complexities there.   That’s more because of the instability within the country.  You know, there’ve been just hundreds of terrorist attacks in Pakistan this year alone, thousands of people killed in these attacks, you have an unstable civil-military balance of power there.  So, I think the obstacles, the difficulties with the Pakistan policy, would be there regardless of who is in power in the White House.

So, I doubt we’ll see many changes to the strategy towards Pakistan.  I think Republicans generally understand the idea of partnering with Pakistan.  But, they, of course, will be asking the same questions about whether Pakistan is supporting the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, are they doing everything they can to counter the extremists that reside on their territory.  And, so I think we will see questions in that regard but I think largely the Obama administration has handled the Pakistan policy the best they can, given the complex circumstances that are in Pakistan.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid