Advancing a Free Society

Kicking the Pakistan habit

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm deeply skeptical our government can pull off the pivot away from Pakistan that my friend and colleague Dan Twining outlines below.  While I wish we could orchestrate an alignment to isolate and punish Pakistan for its invidiousness, I don't think we can realistically bring the necessary alternatives into play on anywhere near the timeline we need for the war in Afghanistan.  Sadly, we need the Pakistanis more than they need us, so until we can find ways to manage by other means the threats emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan, we're stuck with grudging partial assistance by a Pakistani government that's hedging against our abandonment.

I agree with Dan's assessment of the extent to which the Pakistani military and intelligence community is working against us, and that the civilian government in Pakistan is a generation away from having the power to control their national security apparatus.  I likewise agree with Dan's evaluation of the factors the U.S. would need to bring on line to successfully sever our partnership with Islamabad: keeping troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, denying Pakistan a sphere of influence, replacing Pakistani supply routes for ISAF, cutting off intelligence cooperation, redoubling our support for India, persuading China not to fill the void with Pakistan, and acknowledging our own complicity in the current mess.  But there are severe impediments to our attaining every one of the items on that daunting list.

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