Clinton on Pakistan

A quick post — I was really surprised to hear Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being very forthright about America’s errors in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Let’s remember here,” she told a congressional hearing, “the people we are fighting today, we funded 20 years ago.” She links the problems in the region now, in part, to America’s policies in fighting the Soviet Union. “Let’s be careful what we sow, because we will harvest,” she said. Here’s the clip from CNN:

 

Front page, DawnThe major English-language daily in Pakistan, Dawn, highlighted her comments: US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton. Reporter Anwar Iqbal writes the lead, “Two days of continuous congressional hearings on the Obama administration’s foreign policy brought a rare concession from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who acknowledged that the United States too had a share in creating the problem that plagues Pakistan today.”

While it is significant for Clinton to have made such a blatant statement, the U.S. policy on Pakistan is still problematic, according to a Saturday editorial. Dawn writes: “Secretary Clinton may well be right in saying that the Pakistani people ‘need to speak out forcefully’ against the government’s policy of appeasement in Swat. But this amounts to going over the head of the government it claims is an ally and undermining its authority among the people. And all the tough talk against Pakistan cannot conceal that the Americans are themselves puzzled about how exactly to approach Pakistan.”

Update: Turns out, the State Department is looking for suggestions.

beautiful things

I went to China. It was a fantastic and eye opening trip. I took some photos and wrote a bit — will share that soon.

For now — I can’t help but echo the crowd about the Democratic National Convention. I had missed the Hillary Clinton who spoke on Tuesday, the woman who was a leader not because she’s a woman and certainly not in spite of being a woman. And Al Gore gave my second favorite speech I’ve heard him give — the first is on Ted.com. But I’m no political junkie, so I’ll comment more on what I know — online journalism.

I love good reporting, I love investigative journalism and I love moving images and well-placed quotes. But the meaning of news is changing and readers and consumers now demand many more options, including first-hand sources and searchability. Good journalism more and more often is a question of good design. My pick for best news coverage of the DNC (if there ever was such an award) goes to the designers of nytimes.com. If you haven’t yet, watch Obama’s speech on their website. It loads fast, the picture quality is fantastic, the transcript scrolls with the speech and you can jump to different sections easily. And they did the same for Al Gore.

It’s powerful. It cuts away the talking heads who recap and editorialize and speculate. It makes me more confident that 24-hour online news, with multimedia embedded, is infinitely superior to cable news alone.

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