Monday, May 04, 2009

The Mid-Range Consequences of Bush's Foreign Policy Taking Shape in South Asia

Even before his departure, there was plenty of talk from both Bush's supporters and his opponents about what his "legacy" would be. Since Obama's inaugural, we've already seen some of the immediate short-term consequences of Bush's administration - most notably, the economic collapse and the emergence of the issue of torture, but also other matters like Obama having to try to repair the U.S.'s reputation in Latin America after 8 years of arrogance and ignorance.

It seems we can add to that Bush's foreign policy's effects on the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the possibility of the Taliban gaining access to nuclear materials in the case of the latter. By rushing the U.S. to war in Iraq in late 2002 and 2003 under the banner of 9/11 without actually focusing on the country that actually was home to bin Laden is undoubtedly one of Bush's most egregious foreign policy blunders. The issue of whether the war in Afghanistan was "just" or not is not necessarily relative here; the fact is, by prosecuting a half-hearted effort from the White House while putting all the efforts on Iraq and then having to spend the past 6 years trying to clean up the mess, the Bush administration undoubtedly left the door open for the events that we're seeing now in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What is more, the bullying and indefnsible aggression of Bush not just in Iraq, but in talks about Iran, Hamas, and other groups has most likely made us even more enemies in Southern Asia, perhaps aiding the Taliban's efforts and giving it even more support than it would have gained had we actually had an intelligent leader employing actual diplomatic intelligence and reason.

Things are certainly too unclear to attempt to accurately predict what will happen in Afghanistan, and especially Pakistan. But while people's freak out because over 1000 people out of over six billion are sick worldwide, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is becoming more precarious. With over 6 years passed now since the war in Iraq began, it's undeniable that the Iraq War deterred the employment of resources to Afghanistan, while our constant support of Pervez Musharraf even in the face of eroding support endeared us to very few in Pakistan. Thus, while things are still in movement right now, we're already beginning to see the potential long-term damage of the Bush administration's foreign policy.