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WASHINGTON, June 25, 2011 / NARAYAN LAKSHMAN / tHE hINDU.
An American soldier prepares to fire a 120mm mortar round at a nearby Taliban position at Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad, in Zhari district, Afghanistan on Wednesday. Photo: AP.
United States President Barack Obama’s announcement this week that there will be a 33,000-troop drawdown by next summer elicited a wide range of responses that revealed, more than anything, the cross-cutting impact of this major strategic decision.
For one, his would-be Republican challengers in the 2012 presidential election have trained their guns on the alleged weakness in U.S. foreign policy that the decision implied.
Speaking at a Maryland Republican Party dinner in Baltimore, an outspoken if poorly placed challenger, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich had strong words for Mr. Obama’s failure to protect Pakistan-based informants of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from being arrested in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death.
“We should have taken extraordinary actions against Pakistanis within 24 hours,” Mr. Gingrich was quoted as saying, adding, “We should have said If you don’t release those people you can assume we have no relationship and we’ll chat with you from India.”
Others critiqued with a broader brushstroke, considering the strategic implications for the U.S.’ strategic approach to the region.
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