Via SAJAForum, Senator Barack Obama has written a substantial Op-Ed (PDF) in India Abroad, outlining his appeal to Indian Americans. India Abroad doesn’t publish online, so we’re grateful to the SAFO people for posting the full text of it.
There are several paragraphs relating to Obama’s opposition to racial profiling and support for hate crimes legislation — that much we certainly knew. Also references to Mahatma Gandhi, his admiration for Indian success in technology fields, as well as points where he draws a comparison between his father (who came to the U.S. “without money, but with a student visa and a determination to succeed”) and the experiences of Indian immigrants. The Op-Ed is well thought-out and polished on the whole.
(Incidentally, is this the first time a Presidential Candidate has published such an Op-Ed type piece in an Indian American community paper? It’s certainly the first time I can remember seeing something like this.)
Something struck me on reading the paragraphs on Obama’s Pakistan policy:
The United States and India must work together to combat the common threats of the 21st century. We have both been victims of catastrophic terrorist attacks, and we have a shared interest in succeeding in the fight against al Qaeda and its operational and ideological affiliates. That fight must not be undercut by a misguided war in Iraq.
I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, arguing that we needed to â€œfinish the fight with Bin Laden and al Qaedaâ€ in Afghanistan. I have argued that we need to do more to roll back the al Qaeda sanctuary along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and that we cannot put all of our eggs in the Musharraf basket in Pakistan. That is why I proposed, long before the declaration of martial law in Pakistan, that we need to condition our assistance to the Pakistani government so that we encourage stronger action against al Qaeda and a restoration of democracy. Our goal remains not simply an ally in Pakistan â€“ our goal is a democratic ally, with a vibrant civil society and strong institutions. (link)
The policy laid out here isn’t new — Obama was talking about this approach to Pakistan back in August (notably, before the State of Emergency, and before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto). But what is new might be the use the position is being put to: it may be that Obama’s hawkishness on Pakistan might eventually be an asset for him in appealing to Indian American voters (and perhaps more importantly, Indian American campaign money).
I wonder if Obama will be posting something similar in an English language Pakistani-American paper. If so, will he tweak the language at all, or keep it as is?