Call it a premonition, but I think the Republican party just dropped its bomb. Today, the AP announced that another suspected U.S. led missile strike was carried out on Pakistan in an area known to harbor Al Qaeda and other terrorists. Since August, the U.S. has purportedly been involved with nearly a dozen similar attacks, all of which it neither confirms nor denies. Is today’s bomb any different from the others or could this be a ploy to instill confidence in the U.S. military system – and subsequently the republican presidential candidate, John McCain?
It’s too early to tell whether this latest attack will make an impression on American voters, Pakistani officials or the U.S. government, but we could be leaning that much closer to a full-fledged war with Pakistan if we continue on this route. With Afghanistan’s war stretching on with no end in sight – and analysts suspecting it will take 5 to 10 more years to stabilize the country – the U.S. certainly does not need another war on its hands. But hey, Pakistan is right next to Afghanistan so that means it’s practically the same country, right? Wrong. Touching down on Pakistani soil, even if it’s related to the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, could set up America for another unwanted war.
A U.S. led, full-fledged attack on Pakistan would certainly put pressure on Taliban groups hiding out in border regions, as well as push the Pakistani government to take command of the terrorist situation within its own country. It was recently reported that the Pakistani border city of Chamam has played a key role in financing the Taliban, who is suspected to be funneling money through brokers in the United Arab Emirates where Chaman businessmen trade. This is just another example of how the Pakistani government lacks control over the Taliban and risks terrorist operations exploding across other regions in the country.
However. Attacking Pakistan would put the world at significant risk, as the unpredictability of Al Qaeda is what makes them so powerfully dangerous. With our struggling economy, America literally cannot afford to go to war once again. Culturally, a war with Pakistan would put Americans in danger not only in Pakistan but also in bordering countries like India and Nepal, where travelers are, for the most part, able to move freely. Tourist, economic and trade relations would be threatened all across the region, and a general negative attitude towards the U.S. by Pakistanis and people around the world would be our final gift.
But what does any of this have to do with John McCain?
If the U.S. goes to war with yet another country, there is only one man Americans will trust for their country’s military survival – John McCain. As more of our country’s young people get sent to war, we will be comforted that we have such an experienced war veteren to pull us through the hard times – John McCain. And if the going gets tough out there and we start losing the fight, there’s only one man who will be able to pull us out of the mess – Barack Obama? Most Americans won’t have thought that far ahead. And by then, it will be too late.
Perhaps this latest Pakistani air strike won’t even make the nightly news. Maybe it will get dusted over with talks of an approaching recession in America and around the world. Why should we care about Pakistan when we’re busy trying to figure out which corner of the mattress to hide our money under?
But, if it’s not Pakistan, it will be something else. The Bush administration has something up its sleeve as the election gets closer, and it’s not a tax-free cure-all to the world economic crisis. Think Watergate. Think 9/11. Think Monica Lewinksy. As John McCain slips in the polls, his best ally right now is his own party’s status in the White House. While Barack Obama seems to have the support of the majority of the American people, the proportionately small amount of Washington politicians have enough power to drop a literal or virtual political bomb at just the right moment that will sway the vote one way or another.
But after the financial meltdown, unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a general negative attitude towards America spewing forth from all corners of the world, what will it take to make John McCain shine before our eyes as the better candidate? Perhaps what’s done is done and Bush’s republican administration has no ammunition left. But then again, John McCain is a born and bred military man and is no doubt always ready for a fight.