Sunday, October 21, 2007

Doing Nothing About Pakistan

The MSNBC link to the Newsweek story on Pakistan is titled "The World's Most Dangerous Nation." But it's been that way since 2001. Bin Laden is in Pakistan. Al-Qaeda has significant support in the Pakistani intelligence apparatus and tribal regions. Likewise, the Pakistani government of Musharraf/Benazir Bhutto is hanging on by a couple of threads, and Pakistan has real and verifiable nuclear weapons.

All of that makes Pakistan extremely dangerous.

At this point, most liberal bloggers would say that the Bush administration needs to "do something" about Pakistan.

But I think it's better that the Bush people aren't doing much beyond learning Musharraf's name. Given the Bush administration's competence issues, "doing nothing" is probably the best way to "do no harm."

1 comment:

Todd Mayo said...

Pakistan is potentially the most dangerous country in the world. A fairly significant minority of jihadists posess nuclear weapons in Pakistan and their political situation is destabilizing.

US policy should be based upon a long-term relationship with a stable Pakistan. The way to help Pakistan achieve such stability is to encourage free elections.

This requires a new kind of diplomacy. And it requires us to make a fundamental change in this administration's policy. We have to dump the idea of preemptive military strikes. Pakistan has nuclear weaponry. We can't shoot first and ask questions later with Pakistan. Preemption needs to be replaced with prevention in the form of diplomacy. We need extensive talks with the powers that be before things escalate into a crises. The goal should not be complete regime change, but rather limited change in leadership and general conduct change, rather than regime change.

It is my understanding that most Pakistani citizens are very moderate in their outlook. They would very likely be overwhelmingly receptive to a stable democratic homeland. For their sakes and for the stability of the region and the security of the world at large, it just makes sense to assist the moderate forces in Pakistan to achieve unity and harmony within Pakistan as well as an acceptable accomodation with India in the dispute over Kashmir.

Pakistan is on a knife's edge right now. It is an easy target for the aforementioned jihadists. So, from a diplomatic standpoint, our short-term goal should be to help back Pakistan off from the edge of the precipice upon which they currently teeter. Long-term, we need to assist the moderates within the country to make their voices heard and try to restore sanity to Pakistan and the region around about.