Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Barely an Ally

My view of Pakistan is that they are worth having as an ally because their role in Afghanistan is a net positive for us despite their support for jihadis. Add in their nukes and it is worth it to work at the relationship to save it.

I look forward to having the maneuvering room to push Pakistan harder without worrying that our campaign in Afghanistan will be threatened. And at that point I'd be willing to risk alliance to get more out of Pakistan (and to change their jihadi-friendly policies).

But as difficult as it is to see Pakistan as an ally given their flaws, I think we have confirmation from our jihadi enemies that Pakistan is a net positive for us:

Pakistan's security service provides weapons and training to Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan, despite official denials, Taliban commanders say, in allegations that could worsen tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

A number of middle-ranking Taliban commanders revealed the extent of Pakistani support in interviews for a BBC Two documentary series, "Secret Pakistan," the first part of which was being broadcast on Wednesday.

You'd think that if the Taliban were supported more than being hurt by Pakistan's policies, the Taliban would keep their mouths shut. But alienating America from Pakistan before we can address the relationship on our terms is something that will help the Taliban. If Pakistan has nowhere else to go, maybe Pakistan will help the Taliban more enthusiastically and completely.

Clearly, we have some common objectives with the Pakistanis that push us together. As satisfying as it would be at some level to break with Pakistan over their double dealing, we have to be grown up and deal with the situation we have.