Waking up to Obama’s projected victory after he had crossed the 270 electoral vote mark was a relief. No. Actually it gave me that adrenaline rush I needed to get my day started. 6 billion dollars have been spent in the past 4 years on both the candidates’ campaigns combined. And we land pretty much where we started. While back home many insist American Presidential election remains irrelevant, I beg to differ.
Both candidates might primarily only disagree on domestic policy issues. Recently, given my obsession with online quizzes and politics, the perfect treat was this interactive on Aljazeera (one of my all time favorite news sources by the way) which had a list of hypothetical situations with ‘agree’ to ‘disagree’ bars for each. The surprising thing was that my level of favorability increased or decreased (to different extents though) for each candidate on the foreign policy concerns. But by the end of it Obama suited my preferences more (sure I did not answer the domestic policy concerns). Even that however is not the point.
What do I want as a Pakistani?
I don’t want America to further coerce Iran economically, nor do I want any baseless mushroom cloud talk to influence public opinion, making Americans feel ‘national security’ lies anywhere but back home; especially where oil is. I don’t want AIPAC to control Middle Eastern policy and Israel to make bold threats at Iran.
As a Pakistani (ethical reasons apart) I do not want another war in the region, more specifically a war in Iran, which shares a border with the most unstable province at the moment. Baluchistan cannot under any circumstances afford more refugees and escalation of sectarian violence which would be inevitable if a Shia influx is experienced from the West.
This election and the journey towards the final decision were tiresome. Both the candidates have been faced by tiers of zero-sum games: each choice with a high opportunity cost, be it material or perhaps even moral. With money flooding from all directions, and the globe in a state of turmoil, unfinished wars, incomplete contracts in ‘developing regions’ and insufficient presence where it is perhaps needed, the Obama administration’s performance cannot impress the objective observer.
Then why should Obama’s re-election bring relief? These weren’t the best 4 years Pakistan has had obviously rather Obama’s term can be remembered as new kind of US-Pak roller coaster ride, with more sovereignty issues, incessant blame-game, the OBL assassination that left Pakistan in the corner of shame, the absolute ever low in Pak-US relations and not to forget the Salala attack that was perhaps the biggest blow to our self esteem as a nation. All of this happened in Obama’s four year term. On the other hand Republican Bush gave us enough money and kept our then President, General Pervez Musharraf, in the best friends’ zone. Zardari (or Zordiri) got less attention.
We got caught up in the whole Haqqani mess after which our own Haqqani resigned, and then the foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Both have been replaced by energetic, ambitious women who vouch for a free, fair and liberal Pakistan as they look like they just walked out of Pakistani version of Vogue and are criticized that way too. (I still remember the Birkin controversy and the huge diamond ring poor Khar mistakenly decided to wear under the thirsty eye of the Media owned camera).
A lot more happened. Afghanistan and Pakistan remain on two opposite ends of the same spectrum, while we continue to share the most porous border perhaps mankind has ever seen, and also weapons, drugs and religious intolerance. Then the US marched into the region to save us and herself from all the ‘hatred’, ‘love’, whatever you want to call it that was spreading like wild fire. But all of that happened when we were best buddies and allies with the United States of America. As soon as Obama stepped in for some damage control and pack up the troops to ship them off home, things with us began to get tense. Still I say ‘Obama is the man’.
Have you ever heard the phrase ’actions speak louder than words’?
It was during Bush’s terms that both Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Call it humanitarian intervention if you want. The interventions, good or bad, have done nothing to improve their security or our national security. While the US economy is going through an all time low, and the Wall Street protests made headlines like it was the Communist Revolution, these problems find their roots in excessive international involvement. We have seen an escalation in the number of drone strikes but who approved them (in all honesty who approved them in Pakistani airspace is a mystery nobody has the answer to)? Or lets just ask the easier question: when were they approved: under best friends Bush and Musharraf.
Mitt Romney on the other hand came with promise of change and warnings of nuclear weapons program in Iran (which as a state has been labeled psycho). And then Netanyahu showed up with the retarded bomb diagram at the United Nations General Assembly 2012. And kudos we have victory. Frankly the primaries and all the war talk in the debates for the Republican nominations gave me goosebumps time and again. Especially when retarded media personnel would corner Ron Paul for suggesting blowback isn’t a myth I was certain that majority Americans are rubbing off of the media’s paranoia and will soon be beating the war drums loud, clear and in sync. But then Netanyahu’s diagram encouraged the other side of the debate. Not only was international media making fun of the poorly planned presentation but the Israeli parliament, media and citizens all shared a ‘face-palm’ moment and decided to turn towards their very own corner of shame.
Finally and most importantly, the Obama is not perfect for the American people, with whom his loyalties must lie before they do (in an ideal World that does not exist) with the welfare of the ‘Global Citizen’. Giving rights to the Hispanics, supporting homosexual marriage and the fact that for the first time majority of the Democratic Congress is not male and white but has a larger proportion of blacks, women, Hispanics and others combined is a milestone for the American Society. The Democrats have been able to bring together America as it is now, the melting pot of civilizations. When President Obama speaks to his people, he lets them know that their role does not end where they cast their votes, but merely begins there.
While we cannot say for sure that the war drums will stop beating, or the troops will all come home, or that Pakistan’s internal problems will be solved (or not worsen), as a Pakistani looking at this situation from within my own bubble, I truly believe that the Americans have chosen the better leader. And I hope us Pakistanis do too.