Saturday, September 27, 2008

The debate itself

I haven't read the coverage at anyone's blog or seen a news report yet. But here are some quick impressions from last night:

1) I think Senator Obama did what he had to do, which was not seem like a total neophyte on foreign policy.

2) I think most of Senator McCain's anecdotes are about twenty years past their freshness date, and the jokes probably were funny to three people in Georgetown. Sorry, but it's the truth.

3) Senator McCain did control most of the evening, despite Senator Obama's decision to go on the attack early and often. However, I wonder if McCain's slowness in the beginning was the lasting impression.

4) I think any extended discussion of the economy at this time hurts Senator McCain more than Obama, but I thought McCain scored on the pork barrel spending and taxes.

That being said, one thing really stuck out that students of foreign policy and historians might want to note. When Senator Obama referred to Venezuela as a "rogue nation", was that the new Axis of Evil? How many of the 60 nations where Al Qaeda operates will Obama invade? And then there's Pakistan:

Number three, we've got to deal with Pakistan, because Al Qaida and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan, across the border in the northwest regions, and although, you know, under George Bush, with the support of Senator McCain, we've been giving them $10 billion over the last seven years, they have not done what needs to be done to get rid of those safe havens.

And until we do, Americans here at home are not going to be safe.

So basically Obama wants to take the same tack with nuclear-armed and instable Pakistan that President Bush did after September 11. Either Pakistan is for us or against us. War with Pakistan? Or just a Nixon-like cross-border incursion into Pakistan like the "Secret War" in Cambodia?

Update! Correction: Obama referred to Iran and Venezuela as "rogue nations." The Axis of Rogue Nations?