When President Barack Obama was elected, the Hedgehog Blog promised to be a loyal opposition, supporting the President when he stood in the right and respectfully dissenting when he did not. Therefore it is pleasing to note that in Pakistan the Obama Administration has achieved a notable foreign policy success.
Just three months ago, as an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal notes, the Taliban had captured the Swat Valley and was marching toward Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. Today, the Pakistani armed forces have the Taliban on the run in the Swat Valley, and now it appears that a missile fired last week from a CIA predator drone aircraft, such as the one pictured above right, killed the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud. One unconfirmed news report over the weekend recounted that at a meeting of Taliban leaders to discuss the succession following Mehsud's death, shooting broke out between factions supporting different candidates, resulting in the death of one leading contender.
It is worth noting, of course, that the Obama Administration achieved its success in Pakistan by urging the Pakistani government to steadfastly confront Islamist extremists, and by continuing the directive to the CIA to hunt down and eliminate Taliban leaders, through the use of drone aircraft. In other words, the foreign policy achievements in Pakistan resulted from the continuation of policies initiated by the George W. Bush Administration. Of course, many of the President's supporters on the left deplore CIA assassinations of Islamist terrorist leaders. President Obama himself regularly tries to score poltical points by emphasizing his departures from Bush Administration policies. Perhaps he would be so considerate as to acknowledge the success of a W policy carryover.