Obama Tactic on Pakistan, Afghanistan: Fingers Crossed

Pakistan will become key to US approach there
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Mar 5, 2009 2:52 PM CST
An Afghan police officer runs past a crater caused by an explosion outside the main US military base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama is bringing hope to conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan—but along the lines of hoping something good happens, Joe Klein writes in Time. A policy review is underway, but it seems the administration’s approach will be to “hope that the disintegration of Afghanistan can be prevented while waiting—and hoping—for the Pakistanis to take effective action,” says Klein, though that sounds “impossible but unavoidable.”

Though troops in Afghanistan are a key policy issue for Obama, that country has been pushed to the sidelines by Pakistan. The Obama team agrees that the US has to get Pakistan to shut down its extremist safe havens. The plan is to use diplomacy and a hefty $7.5 billion proposed aid package, but "Obama could easily find himself in a hawk-vs.-dove debate," Klein warns.