Why Isn’t Anyone Paying Attention to Pakistan Right Now?

With all the unrest in the Middle East, the foreign policy awareness of the general public has shifted from the Af/Pak conflict to the uprisings around the region.  There is good reason for this, as the change we are now witnessing is historical and portends an uncertain future.  However, in the shadows of this controversy Pakistan has been making some political moves that are far more likely to destabilize the Middle East than any one of the current revolutions…

It started about a month ago when we reported on shocking intelligence estimates the put Pakistan’s arsenal of deployed nuclear weapons at 110.  That number is up from the mid-to-high 70s prior to Obama taking office.  Even more concerning is the massive amount of potential for further nuclear production.  Reports suggest that Pakistan has enough nuclear material to produce as much as 100 more nuclear warheads.  All of these numbers indicate that Pakistan could surpass the United Kingdom for the 5th largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.  Oh, and they’ve easily surpassed India as well…

It’s hard to imagine that Pakistan isn’t taking advantage of our dependent relationship with them regarding the war in Afghanistan.  They probably reason that if they’re going to move troops from the border with India, they’re going to need to produce another deterrent.  Further, we’re probably paying for these weapons with the billions of dollars we give to them in foreign aid.  And lastly, we’re not going to take a tough stand on this because it’s not a salient issue with the public, and we need Pakistan’s help to win an unwinnable war…

But that’s not even the whole picture…because a few weeks ago a fellow by the name of Raymond Davis was assaulted by a couple of ISI agents. He was arrested and thrown into a prison that is notoriously hostile to foreign born inmates.  We reported on that, too.  And apparently this guy is pretty important because the U.S. is making all sorts of threats and canceling all sorts of strategic Afghan/Pakistan meetings.

So, what’s going on in Pakistan right now?  Your guess is as good as mine.  It’s probably as good as the U.S. government’s as well.  But there’s really no doubt about it that this situation deserves more attention than it’s getting.  And there’s really no doubt that we’ve allowed all of this to happen because we still have a deluded perception that Pakistan might one day wise up and cooperate with us in Afghanistan.  All the while, we spout out double talk to keep up relations with India– who is a far more strategic country for us in that region– that’s actually detrimental to what we’re trying to get Pakistan to do for us…

We can get away with contradictory policies dealing with authoritarian regimes that play nice with us (Egypt, Yemen, etc.).  But those days are coming to an end as well, and what we’ve never been able to get quite right is this balancing act with Pakistan and India.  The only reason we’re letting Pakistan get away with all their shenanigans is because we need their help to fight a war with no clear objective.  That’s not to say Pakistan isn’t a strategic state, but it does mean that–minus our dependence on Pakistan regarding the War in Afghanistan–we wouldn’t be letting them get away this stuff.

And, did I mention that the War in Afghanistan has no clear objective?  Which makes our policy in Pakistan one with no clear objective as well….and I’d call that kind of a policy a bad policy…



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