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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Should we start running around with our hair on fire over the recent dire pronouncements about Pakistan?
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Should we start running around with our hair on fire over the recent dire pronouncements about Pakistan?


every time we find our government making pronouncements about the dangers to world peace due to what's happening in another country, we would be well advised to stay calm, NOT start running around with our hair on fire, and start looking for more rational and informed perspectives... the u.s. public has been duped so often and so thoroughly over the years, you'd think we would be much more discriminating consumers of our leaders' propaganda and a great deal more suspicious of their motives... sadly, even though i consider myself to be one of the more discriminating, because i wasn't stopping to think about what i was reading over the past few days, i was falling prey myself to the dire picture of pakistan that the media is spooning down our collective throats...

juan cole, one of the more astute observers of this part of the world (i am typing this at my desk early sunday morning in kabul, a mere 100km from the pakistan border), begs to differ from the official line...

Readers have written me asking what I think of the rash of almost apocalyptic pronouncements on the security situation in Pakistan issuing from the New York Times, The Telegraph, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in recent days.


What I see is a Washington that is uncomfortable with anything like democracy and civilian rule in Pakistan; which seems not to realize that the Pakistani Taliban are a small, poorly armed fringe of Pushtuns, who are a minority; and I suspect US policy-makers of secretly desiring to find some pretext for removing Pakistan's nuclear capacity.

All the talk about the Pakistani government falling within 6 months, or of a Taliban takeover, flies in the face of everything we know about the character of Pakistani politics and institutions during the past two years.

My guess the alarmism is being promoted by Pervez Musharraf, who wants to make another military coup; and by civilian politicians in Islamabad, who want to extract more money from the US to fight the Taliban that they are secretly also bribing to attack Afghanistan.

Advice to Obama: Pakistan is being configured for you in ways that benefit some narrow sectional interests. Caveat emptor.

the one thing professor cole barely touches on is pakistan's relationship with and impact on afghanistan... afghanistan is, in many ways, caught in a tug of war with its powerful neighbors, india, iran, and pakistan, and i'm sure china and russia are active behind the scenes as well... pakistan sees afghanistan as not only a territory to be influenced if not outright dominated, but also as a valuable captive market... given the heavy u.s. involvement in afghanistan and pakistan's heavy involvement with afghanistan as well as the u.s., it's hard to imagine that recent u.s. pronouncements about pakistan don't have a plan for afghanistan lurking somewhere in the background...

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