Thursday, October 7, 2010

Defining real allies

By Don Klein

With allies like Pakistan who needs enemies? For a decade we have bolstered that country with billions of dollars in aid and what has it gotten us? Nothing worthwhile.

They were supposed to use some of the $10 billion we gave them to snuff out the
Taliban and al Qaeda irregulars running freely in their northern provinces where they openly run terrorist training camps for disgruntled Muslims from around the world. But the Pakistanis are too craven to take on an enemy within their borders.

Further they wouldn’t let US forces go into their territory to root them out because this would be too damaging to their self-esteem. In the end they would not do what needs to be done and they wouldn’t let us do it either.

Today we have a similar situation. Our alleged ally closed the border crossing used by American forces as a supply line to units in Afghanistan because of an accidental killing by Americans of two border guards. The blockade forced supply trucks to backup on the Pakistani side of the border becoming sitting ducks for insurgents.

In the past seven days they have been juicy targets for rebels. The halted convoys have been chewed up daily with severe losses of goods and materiel needed at the front. The Pakistan authorities sat on their hands all this time claiming it was not their job to protect the trucks.

And since they would not let US forces inside Pakistan to do their work for them, the vehicles have been as vulnerable as cattle in a pen, blasted time and again while the ingrate Pakistani government stood by. They wouldn’t protect them, and they wouldn’t let others protect them. That’s what we call a friendly nation?

I think not. It is time to break ties with these spineless, contradictory people. Discrepant Pakistan was, and still is, a thorn in the side of every western country by exporting terrorism. It claims to be our friend but never lifts a finger to help. It might be they don’t know how to help.

They failed miserably to assist their own people thrown into turmoil by earthquakes and floods. Many locals are still waiting for the government to come to their aid. All they know is to take handouts and hide in the corner when real action is required.

It is clear to many people the Pakistanis cannot govern themselves. They are incapable. They would have been better off to listen to the late Mahatma Gandhi and remain within the Republic of India, which in the 63 years since the two peoples split up has developed into a modern, forward-looking democracy.

By the way, American troops were allowed to cross the Pakistan border to bring helicopter supplies to the earthquake and flood victims. That was all right with the thankless government but fighting northern province insurgents with US forces when their military refused was taboo.

They are worthless collaborators in times of necessity. Apparently similar unworthiness is true of the Afghan government, if you can call it a government. President Karzai is reported to be holding secret negotiations with the Taliban while accepting aid from the US in cash, and more so, in the presence of 110,000 American troops which keep him in office.

Scheming is the common bond between these two sorrowful nations. They continuously fail to live up to their end of a bargain. Isn’t it about time we changed our policy towards these dubious "allies?" Here is my suggestion:

1. We withdraw our military forces from Afghanistan rapidly and let Karzai fend for himself. We also end foreign aid in this hopeless cause.
2. We should also halt funds to Pakistan. Another hopeless cause.
3. While we are withdrawing our forces in the Middle East, we should also bring all troops back from Europe. In case you hadn’t noticed the war there ended 65 years ago.
4. Ditto the US troops in East Asia for the same reasons.
5. With these troops inside the US again, use them to shore up border crossings to assist is stifling illegal immigration.

There are lots of benefits to this approach. To begin with we can reduce the size of the Army and thereby save billions in the budget. It will also make other well-heeled countries around the world more responsible for their own security and save our forces and our global initiatives for international hot spots like North Korea, Iran and Israel.

It is time for us to realize we are stretched too thinly across the world and our effectiveness is waning as we toss too many balls in the air at one time. This policy will be more economically beneficial and help restore domestic confidence in the government by cutting back worldwide obligations.

Since World War II ended we have been trying to be the country that is all things to all peoples and it just cannot be done. We are not interested in empire building like the British in the 19th Century so our international obligations are voluntary. Let us employ our best traits as technological innovators and economic dreamers towards peaceful goals and stop worrying about the welfare of every dismal corner of the globe.

The simple fact is that we are now a debtor nation and cannot continue to be the world’s sugar daddy for poor nations. It cannot continue. So when we have false friends like Pakistan and Afghanistan who are often worse than enemies, we must cut them loose and use our international clout to work with real


Anonymous said...

This from the NYT: "The fragility of Pakistan and the tentativeness of the alliance were underscored in a White House report to Congress this week, which sharply criticized the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and other insurgents and noted the ineffectiveness of its civilian government.

American officials lined up to placate Pakistan on intrusions of its sovereignty. General Petraeus offered Pakistan the most explicit American mea culpa yet for the cross-border helicopter strikes, saying that the American-led coalition forces deeply regret the tragic loss of life.

Anne W. Patterson, the American ambassador to Pakistan, quickly followed suit, calling Pakistan’s brave security forces an important ally in the war. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a private, but official, apology to Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a telephone call on Wednesday afternoon.

Both American and Pakistani officials said that they expected that Wednesday’s apologies would be effective, at least in the short term, and that Pakistan would soon reopen the border crossing at Torkham, a supply route for the NATO coalition..."

Anonymous said...

The down side of leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan is that the Al Qaeda will once again have a state supported safe haven from which to operate. Couple that with the rising nuclear weapons capability in the Middle East, and the result could be far worse than a continued strategic military and diplomatic presence. These country's do not have real representative governments. Their people are not free to express themselves and, by most accounts, the people do not want to be left to deal with the fallout of American withdraw.

Anonymous said...

The situation is heating up. That's just what the Taliban is looking for. Note this from the WSJ: "Members of Pakistan's spy agency are pressing Taliban field commanders to fight the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, some U.S. officials and Afghan militants say, a development that undercuts a key element of the Pentagon's strategy for ending the war.

The explosive accusation is the strongest yet in a series of U.S. criticisms of Pakistan, and shows a deteriorating relationship with an essential ally in the Afghan campaign. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in military and development aid to Pakistan for its support. More

The U.S. and Afghanistan have sought to persuade midlevel Taliban commanders to lay down their weapons in exchange for jobs or cash. The most recent Afghan effort at starting a peace process took place this week in Kabul.

But few Taliban have given up the fight, officials say. Some Taliban commanders and U.S. officials say militant leaders are being pressured by officers from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency not to surrender."