ISSN 2330-717X

Obama’s Neo-Pragmatism Or Just US Politics? – OpEd

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By Klaudio Llusku

With less than 7-months left until the November Presidential elections, it certainly seems that the economy and national security matters are going to be the two hot topics to occupy the November presidential race for the White House. Politics has always been about the acquisition of power and truth be said, politicians do often promise things they cannot meet for the sake of that exact power. What happens though when these promises reach foreign audiences and their subsequent repercussions on U.S national security?

Obviously, I’m referring to President Barack Obama and his January pledge to withdraw as many as 30.000 U.S troops from Afghanistan. Frankly speaking the decision came by no surprise to many international relations experts since Obama, even though the president, still a politician, saw the public opinion polls backing a reduction in US forces following the death of Osama bin Laden. As the events unfolded in the following months, the capture and death of Osama bin Laden – although a major accomplishment for the Obama administration – revealed two rare-spoken realities; The war against terrorism was extremely personified around Osama bin Laden and not necessarily Al Qaeda and, secondly, the death of Osama bin Laden seems to have revealed the “entity” that is truly running the show in the Middle East in terms of terrorism, …behold the Taliban.

The Taliban have proved indeed very difficult to tame and provided their excelled guerilla tactics and their knowledge of basically their own territory, they have masterfully managed to quite successfully undermine the technologic-military might of NATO forces in Afghanistan. When the Taliban strike, one thing is certain and that is that they make headlines. Needless to mention, their last attack – yesterday – killed two Afghan security force members and 17 militants, whereas 17 Afghan police officers and nine civilians were injured, according to Afghan interior ministry.

Arguably the Taliban must have felt thrilled when President Obama announced that he will gradually be decreasing US troop presence in Afghanistan, because to them – logically enough – this is a sign of weakness from the great superpower, that provides hope to those Taliban that were somehow badly damaged by NATO and at the same time discourages those ones truly in need of US boots on the ground such as the government and the Afghani military. Furthermore, if the current number of NATO forces still cannot prevent those attacks, it is not a rocket science to guess the level of stability and effectiveness of NATO when US forces start to withdraw gradually as the years go by.

What should be done? Terrorism sees no distinction among states and it is undeniably a global problem. By that, all nations should have a say regardless of their technologic-military capabilities and political standing in the world. The mission against terrorism therefore should acquire a broader, trustworthy and global status than rather only to be dealt by the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The burden should be shared under a common goal and it is not inconceivable to assume that Obama’s January speech on the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan partly signaled the global attention to the problem.

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