THE NEW SCHOOL

The Tipping Point in Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on December 28, 2007

In light of the tragedy unfolding in Pakistan – and the potentially dangerous vacuum that such an event may create – one can’t help but think about the implications Benazir Bhutto’s death will have on politics here in the United States.  A rather political junkie question arises: How does this impact the Presidential race?  Where do the candidates stand? 

It becomes almost amusing to watch each one stumble over the other for the most aggressive quote of the day.  Who will appear the strongest against the forces of terrorism?  Who will seem to possess a keen sense of the geo-politic?  Who will have the “experience” to deal with something of this magnitude?  So, Bhutto’s assassination doesn’t appear to be significant in terms of the ripple effect it has on the global stage and the likely instability that can arise from it.  Instead – in a somewhat shameful and cynical way – it acts as a foreign policy testing module for American presidential candidates. 

This is also one of those major “geopolitical” moments that we’ve been saying will radically change the dynamic of this race.  As for Barack Obama, he may have frantically prepared for this moment months ago when he was suddenly accosted by criticism for statements he made about U.S. intervention in Pakistan.  He knew the day would arrive sooner or later and he needed to appear ready and engaged.  Unfortunately, for him, this event may prove somewhat of a setback for populist/domestic issues candidates like Barack Obama, John Edwards or Mike Huckabee.  It will, in turn, raise the prospects of candidates like Hillary Clinton or Rudy Guliani or John McCain or, even, low-tier candidates such as Joe Biden and Bill Richardson, all claiming to have prerequisite foreign policy “experience” or the comfort of knowing someone like Bhutto. 

An event such as this makes the world a bit more darker than it already was.  People get a bit more anxious, a lot more nervous, a little more fearful of what the future holds.  Candidates who provide a perceived shield of “readiness” and “security” become the preferred candidates.  The upcoming early primaries, just around the corner, may suddenly turn into unexpected measures of success based on candidate response to a new surge of instability in the Middle East. 

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