‘Obama, Romney have no plans if Afghan transition fails`
Boca Raton (Florida): US presidential candidates - incumbent Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney - have no plans ready in case the scheduled 2014 Afghan transition falters, said a top expert on the region.
"Neither answered what they would do if Afghan transition falters," former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, who was one among the three persons to frame the Obama Administration`s Af-Pak policy in 2009, said after the final debate.
C Christine Fair, the Assistant Professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies, observed that Romney failed to articulate how his policies towards Afghanistan and Pakistan would differ from - much less improve upon - Obama`s policies.
"Romney seemed to retrench from previous positions on the Afghanistan war. He had no grasp of the Pakistan problems- nor of Iran or Syria for the matter," she said.
Both Fair and Riedel pointed out that India was not mentioned even once during the 90 minute debate.
"Neither Obama nor Romney mentioned India, which was not surprising. After all, China didn`t come up until the tail end," Fair observed.
However, Lisa Curtis, of the Heritage Foundation, praised Romney`s view on Pakistan. "He came across as statesman-like when he talked about Pakistan, focusing on how the US needed to bring Pakistan along, rather than castigating Islamabad for its continued support to those fighting US and coalition forces in Afghanistan," she said.
"Bin Laden is dead, for which President Obama takes full credit. But al Qaeda is on the rise in Pakistan and throughout the Muslim world. In these troubling times, Governor Romney demonstrated that he offers what we need - competent leadership and a positive vision of the future," said Sue Ghosh Stricklett, a member of the Romney Finance Committee.
"Now Romney has the momentum in swing states and closer to be victorious than ever before," said Dr Sampat Shivangi, a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
"President Obama continued his attack on out sourcing US jobs overseas without naming India this time unlike in the last debate," he alleged.
"President Obama once again fails to deliver a knockout blow," said Dinesh Patel from Utah.
Indian-American Neera Tanden, President of think-tank Center for American Progress, who served in the Obama Administration, said: "President Obama dominated the debate, as Mitt Romney stated his agreement with him on issue after issue. Nevertheless, President Obama held Mitt Romney responsible for his shifting positions, on issue after issue."
"On Afghanistan and Pakistan, Romney essentially agreed with all of the President`s policies, even stating the US could not divorce itself from Pakistan, despite its troubled relations with the US. As the race heads to Election Day, the President is in a strong position with this strong performance," Tanden said.
"The President accurately and confidently articulated his vision for the safety and sanctity of our great nation," said Shefali Razdan Duggal, an eminent Indian-American fund raiser for Obama.
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