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chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, have been very clear in their desire to see this timeline withdrawn and for the President instead to focus on a strategy of success in Afghanistan.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 Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid