President-Elect Obama Likely to Chart More Afghan-Centric Foreign Policy

Today’s presidential election has been decided, and Democratic Senator Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America. And though President-elect Obama is unlikely to make any wholesale changes to America’s foreign policy when he takes office next year, he is likely to change the overall focus of America’s assorted overseas military operations.

For while President Bush spoke often of a diffuse “global war on terror” which tied all of America’s wars together, President-elect Obama has repeatedly called Afghanistan the “central front” in the conflict and has called for a shift of US forces from Iraq to fight in what he views as the more pressing war.

Not that this shift will begin or end at the Afghan border. For over a year Obama has spoken in favor of launching strikes into Pakistan‘s tribal areas, something the current administration has only done in earnest over the past few months. Pakistan’s hopes that the next President will be more receptive than President Bush to ending the unilateral strikes now seems to have flown out the window.

Perhaps even more tellingly, President-elect Obama has said recently that he believes the United States should try to resolve the crisis in Kashmir. Officials in the Indian government have dismissed this as “pre-election rhetoric,” Kashmiri separatists seem to be pinning a lot of hopes on the Obama victory, which certainly points toward what the Obama campaign has been saying all along: that starting next year the United States will be more eager than ever to intervene in crises in and around Afghanistan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.