Sunday, January 04, 2009

Summary of the Pakistan Problem

I don't think one can be more concise than Vanni Cappelli in stating the truth about Pakistan:

That the Bush administration in the wake of 9-11 turned to the very entity responsible for turning South-Central Asia into a stronghold of Islamic militancy as a “key ally” against these same forces must stand as an instance of conceptual lag unequalled in the history of American foreign policy. Given Rawalpindi’s irreducible geostrategic paradigm of employing Islamic fundamentalism to crush progressive forces at home and extend its power abroad, it is as oxymoronic to look to it as an ally against radical Islamism as it would have been to seek to extend the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union into one against communism.

Pakistan’s army has shown persistence in its endeavours over many decades. Its ties to militants are not the vagaries of “rogue elements” but represent the integrated policies of the military-security services complex itself. Such an entity does not make a sea-change in its ethos merely because it has been threatened with dire consequences unless it switches sides—it only pretends to, especially if receiving billions of dollars in renewed military aid will be the result.

And if some of Rawalpindi’s jihadi assets have slipped beyond its control while the army conducts desultory campaigns against militants to appease America, all the better for portraying Pakistan as a victim of terrorism, rather than the state sponsor of terror it has long been. Allowing a powerless civilian administration in Islamabad to be the public face of the country completes the illusion.

American military assistance to Pakistan over the last half century has enabled Islamic fundamentalism, perpetuated the India-Pakistan conflict, and led over and over again to death and destruction. It has prevented the development of democracy, civil society, and equitable economic relations in Pakistan. With mounting evidence that Rawalpindi continues to support the Taliban in pursuit of its historic goals, it is now being used to kill American and other coalition soldiers.

The incoming Obama administration must confront this fact, and bring American national security policies in line with reality.