Again, as in Afghanistan, what should Obama do? Providing technical support to help secure the Pakistani missiles is a good step that is already taking place and is indisputably in America’s national interest, but a halt to drone strikes and disengagement from Pakistan’s fractious internal politics would send a welcome message that the United States will cease its interference. President Zardari is seen as a U.S. puppet, precisely the same perception that first weakened and then brought down his predecessor, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Removing the heavy U.S. footprint from a highly volatile situation would increase the president’s authority, not weaken it. Pakistan has an interest in curbing both terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and its own domestic Taliban. It should be encouraged to do so on its own terms, not given marching orders and then rebuked when the orders prove impossible to execute. The more Washington interferes, the worse the situation will inevitably become, an axiom that has been true almost everywhere in the world of late, the poisonous fruit of the "Bush Doctrine."
Leaving Central Asia alone might seem like a radical step to some, but it could be the only option that would actually improve the situation, forcing the people of the region to come up with their own answers and solutions. It would also be better than turning on the nightly news and watching wave after wave of U.S. helicopters evacuating staff from the roofs of the embassies in Kabul and Islamabad. We Americans have been there before.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
What to do?
Philip Giraldi makes some sensible recommendations.