-By Warner Todd Huston
Naturally, the U.S. media is following the terrorist crimes in Mumbai, India, as well they should. But, the attacks seem to be the Old Media’s only interest where it concerns India and Pakistan, of late, for they’ve completely ignored the several mistakes that Barack Obama has already made with his attempts at foreign policy with the two embattled nations.
Back on November 11, I noted that Obama had made his first mistakes with both India and Pakistan by mishandling early talks with their leaders (or not having them at all, as the case may be). During his first major effort to contact foreign leaders as president elect, Obama called Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari but neglected to call India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. This short shrifting did not sit well with the Indian government.
Then, Obama appointed to his transition team a woman named Sonal Shah whom the Pakistanis say has ties with a violent Hindu Nationalist Party in India that they claim is responsible for a rampage in Gujarat, India that killed many Muslims and Christians.
Worse, during his outreach to Pakistan’s Zardari, Obama promised that he’d help settle the trouble between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and he did this without asking India if his help was wanted by India. As a result, India got its nose out of joint and immediately said that Obama’s “help” with Kashmir was not wanted.
Well, more on Obama’s unwanted offer with the Kashmir problem has been reported by various Indian and Pakistani news agencies. An Indian official has reiterated that Obama’s help with Kashmir was neither asked for nor wanted. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee refused Obama’s offer again at a recent press conference held with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The Indian Express news group reports that on Wednesday Mukherjee “shot down US President-elect Barack Obama’s suggestion that former US President Bill Clinton could prod India and Pakistan into making peace over Kashmir.”
The remarks were also reported at KashmirWatch.com.
On Jammu and Kashmir, Mukherjee rejected any third party interference, when asked to comment on the reports that the US president-elect was moving to appoint Bill Clinton as his emissary to settle Kashmir issue. “There was no question of the intervention of third party. Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. It is part of composite dialogue process,” he stressed.
These are some embarrassing stumbles on India and Pakistan and shows that Obama won’t be able to flash his dazzling smile and have the world’s leaders just fall at the feet of The One happy to follow his policy ideas.
Curiously, I can’t find this news reporting Obama’s thus far failed attempts at diplomacy in any American news source. Why do you think that is?