Saving Pakistan, Naturally

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President Zardari of Pakistan Image via Wikipedia

Time’s Mark Kukis has an interesting post this morning on Pakistan, highlighting what SecState Clinton calls the “existential threat” facing the Pakistani government from the Taliban.

Of particular interest, Mark writes:

[Pakistan’s Prime Minister] Zardari is looking less and less like a player these days as the Taliban extends its control in parts of the country. Taliban fighters are unlikely to storm Islamabad. But their (many) sympathizers and supporters within the Pakistani military and its intelligence wing, the ISI, are likely to get ideas about toppling the civilian government with a coup so long as the Taliban keeps growing stronger.

I’ve been banging on this drum recently, and here’s an opportunity to do so again. The Obama “Af/Pak” plan has been pitched to Americans as a more realistic and sensible alternative to the Bush adminstrations seeming lack of any-kind-of-plan and unrealistic Jeffersonian democracy fantasies–“attainable objectives” is the Richard Holbrooke phrase. But, what we’re about to embark upon is really a third pseudo-nation-building effort in Pakistan. We not only need to save Hamid Karzai in Kabul, we need to save Zardari’s government in Islamabad too. Support our liberal friends, while spending billions on what we hope will be a fundamental makeover of the ISI and the Pakistani military so they start to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban for us.  Now, I’m no expert on Pakistan, but I wonder what the chances for sucess at remaking the Pakistani military and ISI are… It strains the limits of my common sense test. (To put it another way: How much success would the Pakistanis have if they came to Washington and tried to remake our CIA and Army?)


About michaelhastings

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4 Responses to Saving Pakistan, Naturally

  1. Brian In NYC says:

    Isn’t this just half the story in terms of what is shaping up to be America’s new policy towards to Pakistan? It seems to me that Al Qaeda and other fundamental Islamic groups are following the model set by Hamas in Gaza. I question whether these groups are popular with the man on the street in the tribal regions is due to ideology or because they are providing services that govt isn’t providing, education mainly. Aren’t we in the process of funneling a lot more aid to help change that?

  2. jamesohearn says:

    Zardari is looking less and less like a player these days

    When has Zardari ever looked like a player? Musharaff at least had control of the military. Zardari did’t even have control of his late wife’s followers.

    I just can’t fathom how the US could possibly fathom a nation building effort for a nation fully half the size of the US by population, without even the most basic modern infrastructure outside of a few key cities.

    Iraq was, at it’s core, still a modern state. Pakistan is worlds removed from where Iraq was after the fall of Saddam.

  3. LauraMac09 says:

    My concerns are two-fold:
    1. How many countries will we end up supporting us in our effort to oust the Taliban?

    2. What will India’s reaction be to us “meddling” with Pakistan? It could go either way…

  4. LauraMac09 says:

    Here’s an article re this very thing:

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