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November 19, 2007


People who think that 'crisis management' means 'wait until it becomes a crisis, then try to manage it'. That's what they are.

"It highlights the problem of neoconservatism--an acute myopia that therefore cannot see a problem until we're already in the thick of it and until they can make an argument--however specious--that the only solution is military."

Agreed, but I also think they are incapable of admitting that anything of their genesis is a problem or wrong. And make no mistake about it, most of the nuclear unease/proliferation in second and third world countries, including Pakistan, is a direct result of decisions and omissions by Republican administrations, and Bush has compounded the mistakes of his predecessors by a geometric factor..

Amazing isn't it? When our "friends" fail us, we have no choice but to bomb them.

F'ing idiots can only see military options. As if we didn't supply the Big Guns in the first place, support the military dictator to use the Big Guns, and look upon the "humanitarian worry" option as contemptible.

But what I scratch my head about is "Nor would it be strategically prudent to withdraw our forces from an improving situation in Iraq to cope with a deteriorating one in Pakistan."

Um. First of all, there's that if-I-say-it-enough-it-makes-it-true "things are really, really improving in Iraq for us; the surge is working!" bit. Anyone else blown away how this fictional theme has quietly pervaded almost all media as fact?

But if it's not strategically prudent to move over to become an occupying force in Pakistan, what are our "feasible military options"? Bomb? Smart cruise missiles? Drones? The LAPD? I mean, one (don't leave Iraq) precludes the other (take military action in Pakistan), doesn't it?

Do these people actually believe the bullshit they put out, or are they just too stoned all the time to think it through?

Bush hasn't been letting Iraq grow towards effective, independent Sovereignty, because Iraq has been more useful to his UE Power Base as the 'Central Front in the War on Terror.'

In order for Bush to keep his UE Powers, he needs a 'Central Front in the War on Terror.'

So, before Iraq can establish itself as Independent of Bush, the 'Central Front in the War on Terror' has to be moved...to Pakistan.

It's all Kabuki. It's about saving Bush's face for the next 14 months while we back out of Iraq.

O'Hanlon and Kagan are just jacking-off Bubble Boy with the Terror Narrative - same as always - only this time they are moving the show to a new venue by sexing-up Curvy Pervy with the fishnets and loose nukes.

Next month - "Who cares about Iraq? Pakistan is the New Central Front in the War on Terror" by O'Hanlon and Kagan.

Speaking of failing the Pakistan test, there was this article over the weekend in the NYT on the internal US debate on providing PALs to Pakistan. (Sorry if you posted about it, but I didn't see it.)

IMHO that would have been one of our best forward-looking policy options. Naturally they decided not to do it.

Sure, it lacks the elan of parachuting the 88th onto Pakistani military bases, but it's a lot more likely to actually prevent a disaster.

EW, apologize for the wayyyy-too-long comment on earlier thread 8(

I had the good fortune to hear 'To the Point' today, and this topic was covered. Anyone interested can audiostream: http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp

My worry: the neocons tend to unfailingly use 'nukes' as their fulcrum to win every argument, invade every nation... the problem is, nukes scare the hell out of me. I suspect that 'bad guys' either want them, or have them. So the neocon argument has fair amount of emotional weight.

But Kaplan and O'Hanlon are associated with the very same neocons who 'outed' a CIA agent -- whose job was tracking nukes. Granted, Kaplan and O'Hanlon weren't involved in 'outing' Plame, but Kaplan's at the AEI.
The issue of nukes is serious.
But why do these people earn the right to say anything on the subject? Who are these guys fronting for?!

The 'Pakistan has nukes' meme is probably a sign that the info at Harpers.org/No Comment is correct: Cheney, et al, have run into a speedbump on Iran. Are they detouring via Pakistan?

pakistan has been a problem since prior to 9-11.. actually their are a lot of lines leading from pakistan directly into 9-11... members of the bush admin were entertaining the head of security during 9-11 and i believe musharaf was in the us the week before.. musharafs military dictatorship has been supported by bush all along.. i guess the thinking behind that is, it is better to have someone in your corner( she the shah and numerous other historical examples) then it is to have someone not in your corner.. it comes at a price though and it looks like all the money the bush admin has thrown his way has been for not. nice try seeing about getting a handle of the isi, or finding bin laden.. pakistan was helped along to give some type of balance to india as a nuclear power as well.. usa leadership is fucked up more often then not. they can't tell who their enemy is and who their friend is and they seem to have an uncanny ability to make enemies. i say this as a canuck.

Well, we don't have to bomb them. We could arm the militias in the Tribal Areas, and add a bunch of trainers, and see if they can fight the Taliban more effectively than the Pakistani military. Today's NYT.

yes, arm some militieas in the tribal areas, lol.. just like you did in afganastan to fight against the soviets... that was the beginning of the taliban, lol.

indded, throw more weapons at anything that moves... that is the neo con answer for everything.

Speaking of failing the Pakistan test, there was this article over the weekend in the NYT on the internal US debate on providing PALs to Pakistan. (Sorry if you posted about it, but I didn't see it.)

IMHO that would have been one of our best forward-looking policy options. Naturally they decided not to do it.

Sure, it lacks the elan of parachuting the 88th onto Pakistani military bases, but it's a lot more likely to actually prevent a disaster.

Condi lost her pawn Benazir to Cheney's knight Mush..... BTW why do we refer it as a coup by Mush? Didn't he actually have the coup in 1999 when he sent Sharif packing?

So much to say, so little space. Look, without going back and doing a re-read of Pakistani History since 1947 and the diplomatic and development assistance history since that time, it is impossible to sort this all out. But it is fairly clear if you know the history, and have the patience to sort out the different meanings of "independence" between India and Pakistan, vis a vis such matters as economic policy, social structure and all that. The problems are rooted in that, and subsequently rooted in how these dynamics have been manipulated over the last 60 years, both by inside forces, and by the outsiders with interests.

The US early relationship with Pakistan was based on the willingness of the founding generation to Identify with the West, and the US as part of the Cold War alignments, whereas India was one of the founders of the non-aligned nations group. While it has been slow going, India did manage some degree of land reform -- it established economic policy that favored its working class, it invested in education -- and while it still only has education for about 38% of its youth -- that is nearly five times as many primary school students as at Independence. (and as with Pakistan, it started at near zero.) Pakistan depended on foreign aid in this sector -- India did it home-made.

The result -- in India you have literally hundreds of political parties, most only organized at the local or state level, but still able to join in coalitions for governing. Some are backward looking, caste based, based on interests in preserving past powers, while others are driven by modern interests -- in a US context we would call them movements -- but if you look around the Indian landscape you will find as much campaigning for Womens' issues or environmental causes and all, as you would find in the EU or the US. In contrast, in Pakistan political parties are all about old centers of power. Bhutto's party, the PPP is neo-feudal. It is about not reforming the ancient land ownership and tenent structures. It is about a kind of neo-paternalistic welfare structure that keeps the sources of power protected, while attracting the poor to the promised hand-outs. And it is centered in Sind and to some extent the Punjab -- the well watered agricultural heart of Pakistan. Musharaff's coalition really centers on those from the old British Indian Civil Service and the British Indian Army who migrated from India to Pakistan in 47 and thereafter (now days their sons and grand sons). When Pakistan was founded it was only this group that had the ;iteracy and administrative skills needed for managing a state. Shariff's part of the Muslim League represents the merchant and mercantile classes, not migrants, but in many ways partnered with the land-owners. All of these groups are hostile to the emergence of a middle class based on modern vocational and professional functions. In fact, Pakistan exports many who achieve middle class status and credentials, to the US, to GB, to the Gulf States and elsewhere. Migration is a means of avoiding pressure on the traditional social and economic structures.

We also need to understand that for Pakistan, China is probably more important than the US and the West. The relationship with China goes back to the early days of the Sino-Soviet split, and in recent decades, much of Pakistan's growth is dependent on Chinese investment. The China relationship is rooted in anti-Indianness, it is part of the foundation of the Nuclear Industry and all, and for China, it is a land route into the heart of the middle east and the Arabian Sea. Part of the US's encouragement of the Sino-Soviet split involved this China-Pakistan relationship. People forget that as much as the Saudi's were partnered up with the US and Pakistan during the Afghani wars of the 1980's, another almost equal partner was China. And last summer, Musharaff's decision to attack the Red Mosque in Islamabad had much more to do with the Taliban killing Chinese business persons than it did with any US pleas or interests. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not exactly beloved by the Chinese.

The use of the Pashtoon Tribals as the "point of the spear" by Pakistan dates back to the wars of partition between India and Pakistan in 47-48. If Pakistan is to become a true "nation" and control its own policy and lands, it has to find a way to responsibly control them. It has always found it convenient not to. During the Cold War, it was always convenient to have India on edge given Kashmir. (Kashmir is the source of both the Ganges and Indus watersheds, and those are the life-bloods of both countries.) For Pakistan and India to make a deal on Kashmir, and end 60 years of war over it, Pakistan must be in control of its tribals -- the Pashtoons. But the Pashtoons are half in Afghanistan and half in Pakistan as the British drew the Durrand Line, and back before the 19th Century British Wars of Conquest in NW India, the Pashtoon tribal nation did include much of NW Pakistan, including Peshwar and the Swat Valley as well as the Pashtoon lands in E. Afghanistan. Pashtoon claims for a state of Pashtoonistan date back to the 1930's...well, actually back to the 19th century pre Durrand Line. The Royal line in Afghanistan, of which Karsi is part, has always been devoted to the recovery of Pashtoon lands alienated by the British Conquests. What is it that Bush never understood about all this? Aah, Condi did not tell him his bedtime story, read him up some Kipling, and then take the tales and read the actual history. In Contrast, FDR collected Kipling first editions, and while President on several occassions, invited him to weekends at Hyde Park, and then he invited in others with diverse opinions. That's how he got his factual base to confront Churchill on the matter of Indian Independence as a consequence of US participation in World War II, and while he never really formulated a precise policy --he had huge doubts about partition as a solution.

Personally, I dismiss all the proposals that the US should help develop a Pakistani primary education system...not because it isn't a good idea, but because we have already done that and failed. Much of our AID money in the 50's and 60's was devoted toward building teachers' colleges, and then village schools that were part of centers that also included medical clinics, adult education, and community development efforts. We built hundreds of schools and centers -- but when the Bhutto regime ended, and the General Haq regime began, they were all defunded, we removed the Peace Corps and AID -- and a year or so later, they became either refugee centers for Afghani's, and madrassas, or small factories for making arms for Afghanistan. It ended conflict between the secularly educated teachers and the village Mullahs, and it ended the slow progress toward something more modern. Pakistan does need modern schools and all -- but the will to build them and then defend them against the anti-modernizing social forces has not been demonstrated. Money won't fix this. It has to be accomplished by a social revolution that does something other than sustain ancient social structures and power systems.

And all that is before we get to Nukes. On that -- well I suppose we can try deterence yet one more time.

Sara--thanks for reminding us that Pakistani policies are not necessarily Amero-centric. There's been some excellent writing at China Matter on the Pakistan-China relationship.

I thought this arse kissing of Mush was a big joke from the start. I thought how are they going to make this guy a 'reliable' patsy. I could not understand during this while we did not set up shop over there with a strong Ambassador to kinda help guide and watch over things. Not...they did not really want that I don't think, I think there is a big cover-up going on over there..and this un-rest is just the ticket to make that shake loose. Worried about nukes now are they...what a bunch of idiots. Where are the political and military strategist in WA? Kids playing Stratego and Monopoly can do better.

I would prefer to see a whole lot more money spent in Pakistan on books and a whole lot less spent on bombs.

What the tribal territories that are so insecure need is an alternative system of education to the religious schools (madrassahs) that indoctrinate a new generation of children with tribal prejudices. I think I've read reports that the people of the region would actually like educational alternatives, but the madrassahs is all they have. Of course, you have to start building that infrastructure in the towns before you try to do it in the villages.

Bob in HI

Bob, what to many may appear to be Tribal Prejudices, are in fact the mores and customs of tribes and clans which have allowed them to really never be conquered by outsiders, at least since Alexander passed through. I don't in any way admire their illiteracy, and their very limited world view -- but they are Cultural and political survivors in a place fought over for centuries by outsiders -- the Persians, the Russians, the Brits, and any number of Islamic invaders over the Hindu Kush.

There is an interesting question of where the Pushtoon speakers and tribes came from initially. There has long been a hypothesis that they are in part, a lost tribe of Israel, rather than going west after the Babylon Captivity, the went East, eventually ending up in the high mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush. They clearly absorbed and intermarried with other peoples, but they set themselves off by not incorporating the Dir or Farsi speaking peoples. They converted to Islam in about the 8th and 9th Century.

In eastern India, in the present state of Mizoram, the 19th Century Brits found an odd tribe that rejected both Hindu culture and Islam, but had a language with many Hebraic terms, and a religion that had many survivals from ancient Judism. They also had an oral history of flight from invaders that have characteristics of the 8-9th century Muslim invasion of the Hindu Kush region. It has long been a matter of speculation that the Mizoram were very much a Jewish Survival, and using DNA, the Israeli Supreme Court has recently recognized them as such -- with rights to return to Israel. During the Raj period, they mostly interacted with the Welch Chapel people, and many acquired education and reasonably good jobs in the Raj set-up, but of course lost that status on Independence. Many women became Aias, nurses and tutors to British Children in India, and many also became teachers. After Independence, many went to England, to Australia, and Canada. But many remained, and in the Mizoram area managed tea plantations, engaged in import-export and all the rest. In fact a quite synthetic Jewish and Welch Chapel form emerged in the area. But because they had a very strict system of marriage within the clans and tribes, they retained many of their distinctive Jewish Roots -- roots that were at least 2400 hundred years removed from any Jewish center.

The hypothesis is that they are a split off of Pashtoon culture, (refusal to convert to Islam in the 8-9th Century), meaning that at least part of what is Pashtoon in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is also Jewish. (DNA testing, as I understand it, is underway.) But to really comprehend this, you have to read some of those early 19th century tea planter letters from what is now Mizoram, where the transplanted Welsh Chapel planters are trying to figure out why they see either early Christian or first century BC Jewish forms in the odd culture of their tea plantation workers. As I said, the Israeli's recently did DNA testing, and the result was they have a total right of return to Israel. If the Mizoram oral traditions are correct, then they are a split off from the Pashtoon peoples who converted to Islam, and the Pashtoons are in part, a survival of a Jewish Tribe.

This clearly is not Pakistan Politics, but I offer the hypothesis and all as just information around which to imagine.

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