Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pakistan Is No Ally

Go read this first:

Now, let me just say that I am greatly simplifying things for the purposes of this post. This is no treatise on American-Pakistani relations; I don't have time to write that right now, but I wanted to express my frustration and dismay over the situation. Furthermore, let me add that I am a social & fiscal moderate and a conservative on most foreign-policy issues (save the Iraq mess). We have room for diplomacy when bullets aren't flying, but when someone is abetting your enemy, will not act on their own to expel the enemy, and threatens to attack you for prosecuting your campaign, eventually diplomacy is no longer viable, and action must be taken.

I understand that Pakistan is yet another of these lame Old World countries so riven by ethnic differences that it doesn't want to be Pakistan. And if you plan to counter that it's a symptom of colonialism, I maintain that the phenomenon is not limited just to former colonies (e.g. Belgium). The difficulty in maintaining central power over people who care nothing for Pakistan is that you are powerless to respond to your "allies'" security concerns without starting a civil war.

Pakistan's recent assertion that it will fire on American troops in its country surely seems justified in their eyes, but Osama bin Laden or at least the Taliban leadership IS in Waziristan. There's little doubt about that, and they are our true enemies. Pakistan is simply the current hiding place of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, much like Afghanistan was until we swatted them. The differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan, aside from the superficial, are important. One, Pakistan has fought several wars with India over the disputed Kashmir region and various other post-colonial pissing contest nonsense. This wouldn't be that big a deal, but India's strategic (as a front against Chinese expansion/aggresion in South Asia) and economic importance to the world means that we have to act thinking about how our actions impact India (which impacts us). Two, if we piss off Pakistan, they have nuclear weapons. If a crisis with India were to come to a head, who could know which of the two might use the nukes on the other? It's not worth the risk. A third somewhat unrelated issue with Pakistan is the potential wave of negativity that could erupt from a flawed sense of Nationalism (even though the radicals don't want to be part of Pakistan, unless it's a religious state), breeding even more people who hate the United States enough to attack it and its interests.

So, given that the Taliban and Al Qaeda can still cause havok from Pakistan without fear of counter-attack, what can we do? Pakistan says that they will shoot back. They don't really want a war with us. I say that if Pakistan is harboring Taliban (harboring, even by omission/inaction), and they want to risk it, let them shoot at us and see what happens. We cannot continue fighting a war in Afghanistan with one hand tied behind our backs. If Pakistan fires at us, strip them of all the federal aid that they receive and essentially spend to arm themselves against their own populace.

An ally doesn't give aid, abettal, succor, arms, and tacit approval to your enemy. Pakistan needs to choose sides, and suffer the consequences of whichever one they choose. They've been playing both for far too long. If they don't want to help us, fine, but if they shoot at us, I say stand back. We will never end this war unless we are decisive now. The enemy is the Taliban. The Taliban is in Pakistan, openly. If Pakistan's government doesn't help, they too are the enemy.


Thewmes said...

I think it dangerous to live by the if, you’re not with us your against us, standard. I think there are way too many circumstances that can make every potential ally with us on some agendas and against us on others. We don't want to force them to totally become against us.

I consider it reckless to encourage others to take their chances with engaging our forces that may be violating their national sovereignty. I hold this country to too high a standard to indorse the thinking that we can play by a different set of rules than we require others to observe. It may the Pakistani desire to get rid of the Taliban in their country. But to do it in a manner that causes them to lose power may be a price too high for them to pay. If this government in power now may be considered against us what might the next one bring?

There are no real easy answers dealing with this problem. My only wish is we can sort it all out to a level of stability that my sons won’t have to fight in that region like the current generation has to.

chattypatra said...


You know, I wouldn't want to be President even if I were qualified.

So many factors are out of our control as a nation, and so many corporations and individuals - here and abroad - have vested interests (money and power) in their own personal agendas, that no one single person can possibly fix all the problems that need our attention.

Turning this nation (and the world) around requires the joint efforts of a good number of leaders who are either not capable or doing their job well, not interested in positive change, or too scared/intimidated to do anything worthwhile.

It's one thing for any candidate of either party to speak eloquently about all the things they plan to do once they are sworn into office, and quite another to sit on that chair at the Oval Office and start to find out what is really going on.

If anybody thinks that our government tells us everything that happens behind close doors; that we get to find out the truth of the matter on our most pressing situations as a nation...it would not only be impossible and even dangerous at times, but it will never, ever happen.

I only pray that whoever wins doesn't screw things up any more than they already are right now.

(Mi padre siempre dice que nadie sabe lo que hay en la olla excepto el que menea la cuchara,)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the article.