Democratic US presidential candidate, Barack Obama has upped the ante in his campaign by toughening his stance on foreign policy. Against the background of debate in Washington over what to do about a resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban in areas of northwest Pakistan, Obama said he would order military action without the consent of Pakistan’s government.
“ There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.” – Obama.
Suspected al Qaeda training camps are a thorn in the side of America’s fight against terrorism and Obama aims to make military aid to Pakistan conditional upon their closure. But in a speech obviously aimed at striking a patriotic chord with Democrat supporters, the presidential hopeful was keen to show he could be the strong leader American voters want:
“ As president I will work with our friends and allies, but I won’t outsource our diplomacy in Tehran to the Europeans, or our diplomacy in Pyongyang to the Chinese.” Obama’s rival for the Democrat ticket is Hillary Clinton. Latest opinion polls show she now has a 21 percent lead over Obama.
Her camp has dismissed his remarks as naive, stressing the US must recognise the sovereignty of the Pakistani government.