"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama will say, according to speech excerpts provided to ABC News by his campaign, "but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."As I've been pointing out over the past few weeks, Pakistan has a population that has relatively high sympathy for radical Islam. Knock down the Musharraf government and you don't know what will take its place--it's quite possible that Talibanesque figures would end up in control of the nation. And its modern weapons (including nuclear).
All stick no carrots, Senator Obama?
If Pakistan tips, then terrorists hiding along the border between the two countries will be the least of our worries.
I expect Obama to clarify his statement, saying that he meant to fall in line with the current policy of the administration: working with Pakistan diplomatically while not ruling out an incursion into Pakistan's territory in pursuit of a valuable target depending on the circumstance.
That position was reported in the Pakistani press as a "threat." Obama's language is stronger still. Can he get away with antagonizing Pakistan on the campaign trail and then buddying up with them later?
I doubt he'll get the chance. Senator Clinton is waiting to pounce on his every misstep, real or imagined.