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Frank Lynch

Seems to me that this is "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em" syndrome writ large. Something needs to be done on our side - - new partners, etc. - - which would *afford* us to live without 'em.


I like it! Solves all the problems at once.

But there's a MUCH easier way to get there. Just withdraw from Afghanistan.

If you cut off aid to Pakistan, the ground resupply route will no longer be available anyway. And you'd certainly see an uptick in attacks, particularly along the eastern border.

It's a region of no strategic value that is no security threat to the US and is of very little interest diplomatically.

Just walk away, continue to develop economic and military relations with India, who IS an important strategic partner, and work hard to forget we ever thought there was any value in occupying Afghanistan....

Peter Certo

An excellent take on the Pakistani perspective: http://www.fpif.org/articles/pakistan_reversing_the_lens


This is indeed a very sensible solution. This said, I wonder if the author feels the same way about the client state that dicks the US around far more - Israel - and the effect it has for the US: AIPAC's vicelike grip on Congress (including the proportion of US aid that funds them), the ruinous effect supporting Israel has on US image globally, and so on. If we consider the implications of this global image, and its influence of groups like Hezbollah and, to a lesser extent, al-Qaeda, then Israel are far, far bigger dicks than Pakistan, and have been for decades.


I think this analysis is totally incorrect and I'll say why.

Pakistan's government; from Musharraf to Zardari has been totally pro-US. They were a big ally in the Cold War to today. Zardari I a liberal who blames the Taliban an other terrorists for killing his wife. I don't question whose side he is on. I think the problem in this article and many other analyses is that we assume the Pakistani government an military move as one. Pakistan is one of the more corrupt countries on earth; it's obvious that there's corruption within the military and people being paid to work against the government's objectives. Thus, it's really counterproductive to say that "Pakistan" supports the terrorists. Thousands of Pakistani soldiers have died fighting these terrorists, the problem is the corruption and small minority inside the organization messing it all up. (kinda offensive to lump the victims in with the terrorists.)

Pakistan isn't supporting terrorists to get at America. These same terrorists are killing thousands of Pakistanis, and theres an active war going on. More likely someone is bribing lower level commanders to look the other way; clearly not something Islamabad is orchestrating. Also, they're not making any nuke threats. If the leaders are being assassinated they're not going to hand weapons over to those same people.


The Pakistani civilian establishment is probably trying to be progressive and liberal, but they have no real power. The real power lies in the hands of the military, sections of which have been radicalized for decades, ever since Gen. Zia.

Also, the Pakistani security establishment doesn't want to completely give up on terrorism, because it's an important strategic tool against India. They can't indulge in conventional warfare without a huge shitstorm, but everything's fair in proxy wars. And India's still the bogeyman that gets pulled out everytime the going gets tough for the Pakistani military/intelligence establishment.

Doctor Memory

LS: you can answer that question for yourself by going back through the archives of this very blog. The answer might surprise you.


This is the fucking most idiotic thing I've heard in a long time and I honestly can't believe who's byline it's appearing under.

News flash: Pakistanis are the biggest victims of terrorism in the world and also has a government that is rife with massive corruption. The former is a symptom of their support for America's war in Afghanistan. The latter is a result of America's support for a military dictator followed by America's support for a guy commonly known in Pakistan as 'Mister Ten Percent' due to his tendency to embezzle public money. Is it so surprising that it's a dysfunctional state now? If you pee in the corner of a room, you don't get to complain about the smell of urine after.

And invite China in and then take India's side in a 50 year standoff? Really Ackerman? Heavily implicating not one but two superpowers into the opposite sides of what is already a potentially nuclear conflict. That's your idea? That's your plan?

Are you even fucking listening to yourself?

Ackerman, you've earned my respect over the years, but I hope you reevaluate this idiotic line of thought soon. There are already enough stupid journalists out there arguing for harebrained foreign policy solutions. We don't need to add your name to that list.


Yeah man...can you explain why we shouldn't just get the hell out of the whole region? I feel like that's the real alternative most readers of this blog are pondering, not maintaining the status quo. Why is it worth killing hundreds of civilians in drone strikes, or strongarming the Pakistani army into military campaigns that will kill thousands?

A number of states are enemies of the US, but we manage to get by without bombing them.

I don't know what to make of the suggestion that we jump into a pseudo-Cold War proxy conflict with China either.


I'd agree with this, save for one problem: Pakistan has us by the scrotum in terms of logistics.

Of course, if we withdrew from Afghanistan, they'd have zero influence on US foreign policy...

Don Bacon

Naelok pretty much got it. Pakistanis justifiably hate the US for what AfPak has brought them and the Pak military doesn't like the US siding with India, fearful that they will be surrounded.

Basically, US and Pak security interests aren't the same, in spite of the US claiming that they are. Hey, General McChrystal pointed this out in his August 2009 assessment, before he was fired.


Thanks very much, Doctor Memory.

Don Bacon

"When you are up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember the original objective was to drain the swamp."


Since the United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, Pakistan has lost more than 35,000 people, the vast bulk of them civilians. While the U.S. has had slightly over 1800 soldiers killed in the past 10 years, Pakistan has lost over 5,000 soldiers and police. The number of suicide bombings in Pakistan has gone from one before 2001, to more than 335 since. so I believe such article is a baseless and extremely unprofessional

James Webb

I truly do not know how a respected journo like Ackerman could have written this drivel. I think his 10 yr old got into his computer..


I still think you're analysis is partly wrong. You write, "While its formal institutions -- the presidency, the top generals, etc. -- cooperate with Washington when it suits their interests."

I'm sorry, but even this gives a partial acknowledgement to the idea that there are two pakistani elements, when the truth is that they ALL work against America, with the formal institutions merely LIARS to give space to the "deep state."

Stephen Real

Wow Spencer ! I like you on your home page a lot better. You're much more hard hitting and fully man up.
Good on ya man!


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