Foreign Policy Blogs

Lame Duck Continues to Violate Pakistani Sovereignty

Perhaps the benefit of a lame-duck Presidency is the knowledge that, in a few months time, your actions will no longer have an impact on the future administration.  Mr. Bush's new tactic of border-free war, where all targets are legitimate regardless of location, would have never been possible a few years past.  He would have had to contend with petty notions of "sovereignty' and "international law', whatever that mean.  Regardless of how you feel about his government's recent infringements in Pakistan and around the region, there is no doubt that it is yielding significant results.

Today, Pakistani news agencies are reporting that an unmanned United States predator drone attacked a safe-house in North Waziristan, killing at least one significant al Qaeda target.  The dead, Rashid Ruaf, was a British national who escaped from an Islamabad court last winter.  “The strike destroyed a militant hideout in the village of Alikhel in North Waziristan,” a senior security confirmed. 


The attack is simply an extension of a renewed United States policy against al Qaeda.  Days prior, the US Military carried out other attacks, one of which killed senior terrorist leader Abdullah Azzam al-Saudi.  The US claims al-Saudi acted as the major link between al Qaeda operatives and the Taliban. 


It is nearly impossible to ignore all of the controversy surrounding the Presidency of George W. Bush.  But in his own terms, Mr. Bush views himself as a "War President'.  His inability to understand or act on the financial crisis is only matched by his eagerness to portray military strength and confidence.  History will judge his presidency as "troubled' at best, which must weigh heavy on the mind.  There is no doubt that he would cherish a few more opportunities to brandish his national security credentials, and of course, obtain the holy-grail that is bin Laden.  He is all too aware that in terms of his legacy and reputation, he is running out of chances.


Can this mind-frame play a role in altering US foreign policy?  I believe political history to be a dance between personal characteristics and the hard-fact world these leaders inhabit.  Some men are shaped by the times (Hoover), while others change it (Roosevelt).  Love him or hate him, George W. Bush is a man of strong personality.  This persona is now manifesting itself in a new, no-holds barred, military option.  Whatever his reasons, there is a unique sense of freedom in knowing that, right now, you are the most powerful man in the world, and that in a few months time, none of what you do will be significantly examined.  Imagine the possibilities.



Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is an International Relations theorist, with expertise in terrorist ideology, American foreign policy, and war / conflict resolution. He currently holds a Master's of Science degree in International Politics from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the George Washington University. Josh's most recent work, his M.Sc. thesis, is a comparative analysis between Marxist / Leninist ideology and Osama bin Laden's global jihadi movement. He currently resides in New York.

Areas of Focus:
Terrorist Idealogy; American Foreign Policy; Conflict Resolution;


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