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chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, have been very clear in their desire to see this timeline withdrawn and for the President instead to focus on a strategy of success in Afghanistan.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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs