The Pakistan state (meaning primarily its Army, its Inter-Services Intelligence and secondly the PM and the president) is increasingly pushed against the wall. Its handling of the investigation on the Mumbai attack may become decisive for its future.

Obama often “talked tough on Pakistan” during the election campaign. In August 2008 USA unusually decided to publicly implicate Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008. Musharraf did publicly banned various terrorist groups based in Pakistan in January 2002. However, apparently Washington knows that Pakistan has continued to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy and it is no longer silent about such matters in deference to Pakistan’s strategic role in the “war on terror”. [url=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?hp”%5DNYT%5B/url%5D

Following the Mumbai attacks India implicated Pakistan as usual. Moreover a US counter-terrorist official said that “signatures of the attack” were consistent with the work of Pakistani militant groups such as [url=”http://www.cfr.org/publication/17882/”%5DLeT%5B/url%5D or JeT with links to both ISI and alQaida (and operating in Kashmir and elsewhere). [url=”http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/29/world/main4637744.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_4637744″%5DCBS%5B/url%5D

A US congressional investigation into weapons of mass destruction presented today predicts terrorist attack with biological or nuclear weapons within the next five years. The report believe that Pakistan will be the most likely source. [url=”http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/03/terrorism-nuclear-biological-obama-white-house”%5DGuardian%5B/url%5D

What can Pakistan do in order to calm down an increasingly hairy situation?

Shaun Gregory head of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford hopes that the Pakistan army and ISI are now willing to seriously subordinate themselves to the democratically elected civilian leadership of Pakistan. A leadership that want to cooperate in the Mumbai attack investigation and want to normalize the relation to India.

Then let’s see what USA, China, Russia and others may do.

‘Bamas’ appointment of Clinton as secretary of state may become problematic. Some commentators fear that it opens up for palace wars and moreover that she is more hawkish and generally less tolerant than Obama. But Obama will make sure that everyone knows who’s the president and expectations of what he actually can and want to do foreign policy wise — for instance in regard Palestine and Israel — should perhaps not be too high anyway, with or without Clinton. The appointment however may be seen as a sign that Obama will do what he has promised and take diplomacy and the revival of US soft power seriously. Clinton may not have substantial foreign policy experience but she is known figure, she allegedly has charisma (something which I haven’t noticed) and has a lot of contacts around the world. So if the two can work together and also cooperate with Pentagon this might help the return of soft power, and a decrease of hard power abuse.

DN1 DN2 DN3 DN4 DN

SVD1 SVD2

Aftonbladet

War president-elect

Det ser ut och bli en stormig transitionsperiod. En rad problem hopar upp sig på den globala scenen förutom finanskrisen och det första amerikanska presidentbytet under krigstid på 4 decennier.

Ryssland-USA

Medvedev talade dagen efter Obamas seger om att mobilesera stridspetsar för att kontra de planerade och omstridda amerikanska missiljöldarna i Polen och Tjeckien. Detta har tolkats som en medveten provokation för att testa Obama.

medvedev

Medvedev varvar tal om kostruktiva bilaterala samtal med kalla krigsretorik. Kommer Obama välja diplomati och kompromiss, eller containment som föredragits av Bush II och delar av Östeuropa? Obama tog ingen tydlig ställning till missilskjöldarna under valrörelsen.

Pakistan

Samarbetet mellan USA och Pakistan visar att bilateralt samarbete i “terroristfrågan” utan att behandla andra problem såsom rättigheter och utveckling är dömt att misslyckat. Obamas hanterande av relationerna med Pakistan kommer att bli en mätare på hans förmåga. Hans hökagtiga uttalanden om eventuella osanktionerade militärinsatser innanför Pakistans gräns under 1a debatten med McCain fick mycket kritik.


Afghanistan

Fortsatt oroligt i Afghanistan. Afghanistan kommer att bli en av Obamas högsta priotiteter. Bushs strategi (med bl.a. Sverige som tross) att föra krig utan tillräcklig fokus på “hearts and minds operations” (dvs bistånd, statsbyggnad etc.) har misslyckats fundamentalt.

Kirkuk

Våldet mellan kurder och sunnimuslimer ökar i oljerika Kirkuk, något som förhalar en lösning på hur oljan ska fördelas. och som hotar att förvärra den relativa stabiliteten i lrak. Obama står inför många kniviga frågor här. Hur ska folket bäst dra nytta av oljan? Demokratisk kontroll (genom FN och staten) eller fortsatt huggsexa mellan Bush-trogna företag?

Iran

Ahmadinejad skickade ett gratulationsbrev till Obama efter valet men höll dagen efter ett svavelosande tal om USA:s nedrighet.

Vi undvek förhoppningsvis en amerikansk invasion i och med Obamas seger. De flesta nyktra bedömarna inser att diplomati och “confidence measures” i allmänhet och med Iran i synnerhet är att föredra framför isolering eller krig. Både USA och Iran måste tänka på reaktionära krafter på hemmaplan men de bör, tillsamans med bl.a. EU och Ryssland, föra dialog. Fortsatt cowboy-politik kan bara leda till att Iran blir en mer konservativt och eventuellt till tätare energi-, och militärsamarbete mellan Ryssland-Kina-Pakistan-Iran etc. och ökad polarisering mellan “väst” och “öst”.

Nordkorea

Nordkorea begränsar kärnvapeninspektiörernas rörelsefrihet medans Kina sägs mobilisera längs gränsen.

Gaza

Vapenvilan i Gaza i fara. Men har USA någon trovärdighet som förhandlare? Andra kanske kommer att kunna spela en mer positiv roll i Palestina-Israelfrågan.

Storasjöområdet i Afrika

Det upptrappade våldet i Östra Kongo ses som ett problem för EU, FN eller Afrikanska Unionen att lösa. En av de största humanitära katastroferna i vår samtid. Säkerhetsrådet måste ta ställning. Hur länge kan världen se på?

Relaterat
DN Vilket blir Obamas krig?

“Det finns utrymme för både glansfulla framgångar och farliga misslyckanden… Krig har under lång tid präglat USA:s ledare. Sedan andra världskriget har det varit regel och inte undantag att USA:s president lett nationen i krig… Men toleransnivån är låg för krig som har oklara mål, drar ut på tiden och kräver ett större antal dödsoffer.”

DN/NYT The hawk and the dove. Who is who?

“…Obama has emphasized the idea of soft power Americas ability to lead by moral example and nonmilitary actions and his challenge if elected, his advisers acknowledge, is to convince the world that an untested young senator also has a steely edge.”

The Washington Realist

Obama to inherit international mess

The weight of the world awaits

Intressant?

Many on the left are concerned that Obama’s choice of conservative foreign policy advisers and neoliberal economic advisers invalidates his commitment to change.

However, a glance at earlier presidents show that there are both those who chose competent advisers but don’t let them steer the agenda, for example Clinton who had many progressive advisers but stuck to his pro-corporate track, and those who give a lot of leverage to advisers, for example Reagan and Bush II. It’s reasonable to suppose that Obama belongs to the former category and that he will call the shots. Therefore, as Randy Shaw argues, people should be most concerned that he choses advisers that can get things done.

“I admire Rahm Emanuel greatly, he is a wonderful politician, his skills and instincts are extraordinary […] he studied Ballet for a few years. In fact, he was the first to adopt Machiavelli’s the prince for dance. It was an intriguing piece, as you can imagine” Barrack Obama 2005

A wise president ought to choose the wise people in his state, and give them the liberty of speaking their mind to him; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusion.

However one can, as many have done, of course discuss if Obama is really that progressive himself. And from a Scandinavian point of view he’s indeed more or less right of the center. Hans Blix said the day after the election that said that he thougth of Obama’s victory as more of a relief that McCain didn’t win than anything else. Personally I’m slightly more optimistic. Judging from the state of global affairs, humanity seem to have arrived at a bifurcation point. It’s up to the “grass roots” to force Obama in the direction of change. And he, not his advisers, shall be held accountable if he breaks his commitments.

DN

changegov

Web-based methods were important for the most efficient and innovative election campaign ever. Now the President-Elect has started a brand new blog in which he will communicate his intentions with the public during the transition period. Det progressiva USA says that this makes it possible for Obama to get his messages through independent of traditional American media.

The rest of the world will obviously evaluate this election campaign and we can foresee that the internet will be increasingly important for election campaigners in the industrialized democracies.

In an ideal world the web may also facilitate transparent, honest and inclusive politician-public communication. That, of course, presupposes a shrinkage of the digital divide. In any case, the future will tell if this blog will be used to strengthen vertical interaction and if it will become a new and important governmental portal alongside whitehouse.gov.

There is a monumental difference between the goal of being balanced and and the goal of being objective.

A study of the campaign coverage conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that FOX treated both President and VP candidates to approximately the same level of good and bad press.

In comparison, an interpretation of the report suggest that MSNBC (and ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN) took a Pro-Obama stance.

Supposedly this proves that channels like MSNBC were “pro-Obama/Biden & anti-McCain/Palin” and that FOX was “pro-McCain/Palin and anti-Obama/Biden”. Many people now argue that study shows that FOX News gave their viewers the most balanced coverage of the 2008 campaign. “The only thing still shocking at this point,” Rob writes, “is how many times this rampant, unapologetic bias is uncovered without the media being even so much as embarrassed or ashamed about it”. NewsBusters, of Media Research Center, “the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias”, argue that the study confirms a strong tilt by journalists in favor of the Democrats.

But is that really how PEJ’s study should be interpreted? Unbiased doesn’t necessarily mean saying the exact same number of positive and negative things about both sides. There is a monumental difference between balanced and objective. McCain and Palin made a hilarious number of blunders during the campaign compared to Obama/Biden. Thus, doesn’t the study suggest that Fox was relatively negligent to the negatives of the McCain campaign? Moreover the study isn’t measuring qualitative aspects of the “positive” or “negative” things being said. There’s clearly a difference between opining that Obama is a socialist or Muslim and thus likely to support terrorists than to state the fact that Palin was repeatedly unable to answer what the Vice President does.

Lastly this study points to another interesting question: While the right wing nutters keep complaining about “Liberal bias,” lots of media outlets probably where in favor of Obama. Should the Media strive and/or claim to be objective or should they openly argue (in accordance with implicit normative standpoints and/or material interests) in favour or against this and that? 

Intressant?

Credible sources say Barack Obama and John McCain and all the other candidates met in secret in late 2006 and decided to base the entire election campaign on the 7th season of the West Wing.

Which season will Obama use to base his first year on?