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Will Georgia war and Kashmir tensions influence U.S. voters?

As if the Russian-Georgian conflict wasn't adding enough tension to the world stage, it looks like the long-running conflict over the Kashmir province on the India-Pakistan border is heating up.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz, an influential separatist leader, was shot and killed by police as he led a march by roughly 100,000 Muslims attempting to breach the border, the Times of London reports. The march waskashmiri muslim women mourn a man killed last week as tensions escalate in Kashmir, another hotspot that could influence U.S. presidential election between John McCain and Barack Obama part of an escalation of tensions that began ratcheting up in June, and the killing is likely to add fuel to the fire.

We'll let other blogs dissect the underlying issues and implications of that complicated situation in Kashmir. Its relevance here: With war underway in Georgia, if Kashmir erupts into broader violence, then Americans' political attention could well shift from the economy to increased concerns about foreign policy and U.S. national security.

With the economy as the top issue, Barack Obama has been topping John McCain in polls. But if war and national security move back to the forefront, that could shift the balance among the undecideds and independents and give McCain a chance to reestablish himself among an electorate that already says it is tiring of Obama. And it's the kind of calculation that the McCain insiders apparently have already been contemplating.

No one knows, obviously, what will happen. But the shifting conditions in both places are a reminder that it will likely be future -- and unknowable -- events and actions that will weigh heaviest on how the election turns out. On both sides, the easy votes have been won. The hard votes are, in many cases, those who aren't even paying attention yet. And who knows what fears or ambitions will push them which way?

-- Scott Martelle

Photo credit: Mukhtar Khan / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (4)

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With all do respect the Iraq war didn't affect American voters enough to not choose Bush for a second time.. let ago a simple war that America is not even involved at.

O American people plz make a turn and watch towards us as we are in distress and pain caused by the India and its Military. My neighbour was short dear just now and body of him is roaming on the roads.

Are not we humans and should be treated like humans. We want to live but india maked our land unsafe for us and we are killed with cruel bullets.

U are people living in powerful nation in the world your voice could make presure on india.

march on the roads of America and ask for peace and independance for kashmir. because that is the last and final solution for kashmir.


'sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.'

it is doubtful that the people would trust mccain with their security even if, or especially if, e.g. the cia would incite a few riots and skirmishes here and there, or really perpetrate one of those permanently advertised horrendous terror attacks on the people of america, well-timed before the elections. many people are aware that in this year's elections, the only 'democratic' choice might be a write-in vote, and that both candidates proposed represent the same system and agenda, as that already in place. for the people to regain control of their government, to reclaim their liberty, their country and their future, they will have to assume their constitutional responsibility.

'people willing to trade their freedom for the semblance of security deserve neither and will lose both.'

I will not vote for Barack Hussein Obama in the future and definitely not now with this crisis and world unrest. Obama is a fraud, has no knowledge of leadership and fails to grast the dangers america face with our enemies around the world. If sitting and just talking with our enemy would bring about peace, wars would have stopped a long long time ago.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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