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chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, have been very clear in their desire to see this timeline withdrawn and for the President instead to focus on a strategy of success in Afghanistan.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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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