What Do Regular Americans Think?

by Joshua Foust on 10/7/2008 · 1 comment

Myra McDonald, the editor of Reuters’ Pakistan: Now or Never blog, kindly asked me to write an article for them about what Americans in “the heartland” think of the place. Lo and behold, it ain’t much:

The challenge in being informed about Pakistan is most news sources simply do not discuss Pakistan (or the region as a whole) in any detail whatsoever, to say nothing of offering enough information to form opinions.

And the Presidential candidates have not helped matters much, either. No one I spoke to could say what the candidates have actually said about the region, though they all thought John McCain would probably take a military-first approach and Barrack Obama would take a more diplomatic route. But aside from generalities, people don’t seem to know what to think of the region.

Still, I think this process is instructive: for one, I got used to approaching people to ask for interviews for a story, but also that story itself is interesting. We all seem to recognize that Pakistan is important, but none of us seem to really know why, or more importantly what to do about it.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

Nick October 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm

‘No one I spoke to could say what the candidates have actually said about the region, though they all thought John McCain would probably take a military-first approach and Barrack Obama would take a more diplomatic route.’

Yet in the debate last night it was McCain who appeared to be espousing a more diplomatic approach (‘speak softly and carry a big stick’) and Obama who sounded the more forceful.

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