Monday, July 26, 2010

Planning to Fail in Afghanistan, pt 11: The "Fail" meme goes viral

Glad to see the NYT is now accurately reporting about our real enemy in Afghanistan - Pakistan:

Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants, according to a trove of secret military field reports to be made public Sunday.
The documents, to be made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.
Taken together, the reports indicate that American soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border, through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to the capital, Kabul.
Much of the information — raw intelligence and threat assessments gathered from the field in Afghanistan— cannot be verified and likely comes from sources aligned with Afghan intelligence, which considers Pakistan an enemy, and paid informants. Some describe plots for attacks that do not appear to have taken place.
But many of the reports rely on sources that the military rated as reliable.
While current and former American officials interviewed could not corroborate individual reports, they said that the portrait of the spy agency’s collaboration with the Afghan insurgency was broadly consistent with other classified intelligence.
Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with Al Qaeda is difficult.
The records also contain firsthand accounts of American anger at Pakistan’s unwillingness to confront insurgents who launched attacks near Pakistani border posts, moved openly by the truckload across the frontier, and retreated to Pakistani territory for safety.
The behind-the-scenes frustrations of soldiers on the ground and glimpses of what appear to be Pakistani skullduggery contrast sharply with the frequently rosy public pronouncements of Pakistan as an ally by American officials, looking to sustain a drone campaign over parts of Pakistani territory to strike at Qaeda havens. Administration officials also want to keep nuclear-armed Pakistan on their side to safeguard NATO supplies flowing on routes that cross Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Read the whole thing. 

Pakistan is not our friend. Pakistan is a rouge nation - the enemy of the both the United States and of Globalization's Rising Core-  and they will have to be dealt with, sooner or later. When something goes thump in the night - see the recent almost attack in Time Square - we will have to face the fact that Pakistan is not merely home to a loose nit collection of non-state actors but is actually actively supporting terrorists that kill American troops and undermine our foreign policy goals in South Asia and around the world.

The U.S. has not dealt with a situation like Pakistan since the end of the Cold War. Because not since the Soviet Union collapsed have we been forced to deal with a nuclear armed, heavily militarized nation that was actively supporting notoriously anti-America elements around the world. Since 1989 the U.S. has faced small powers - Iraq, Panama, Serbia - who did not posses nuclear arms. Meanwhile,  we dreamed of hypothetical wars with potential super powers, China, Japan, a resurgent Russia, while we engaged a series of non-state actors during peace building and counter insurgency operations. But Pakistan is a different story. Handling Pakistan might wind up looking a lot like handling the Soviet Union - we'll have to go back to containment (not of "Islamism", etc, but of Pakistan) by building a security alliance with like minded - or at least like interested - nations such as India and Iran. Over time, we'll have to hope that Pakistan's internal contradictions will rip it apart without allowing their nukes to fall into the wrong hands.

The good news is that Pakistan is a poor nation with little industry. Unlike the Soviet Union, Pakistan is not capable of global or even regional "Pakistani block" nor are they capable of building up a military with global reach. What they are capable of is ruining our plans for Afghanistan and triggering a regional war with India. And that is why we must plan to fail in Afghanistan while building a strong strategic relationship with India.

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