The Core’s War for Pakistan

Surprisingly to many (including myself), the War against Terrorism is being revelaed to be a War for Pakistan.  We’re fighting in Afghanistan.  India is fighting in Kashmir:

SRINAGAR, India — Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded fire across the heavily armed Kashmir frontier for more than 12 hours overnight and into Tuesday in what the Indian army called the worst violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement between the neighbors.

The night-long gunbattle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed Monday along the frontier that divides Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the Indian army said. No further casualties were reported Tuesday.

Indian, Pakistani Soldiers Trade Fire Along Kashmir Border – WSJ.com.

Either destroying Pakistan’s pro-Taliban “ISI” or breaking Pakistan’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy are worthwhile golas.  Let’s hope the Core steps up its efforts to pursue them.

10 thoughts on “The Core’s War for Pakistan”

  1. I caught an old interview on C-SPAN or Book TV a few weeks ago; it was Steve Coll promoting his then recent “Ghost Wars” (2005). Someone in the audience asked him about Pakistan and Bin Laden, and he suggested that Pakistan may intentionally drag their feet on finding Bin Laden because they worry that once they do find him the U.S. will quickly drop our support for Pakistan and switch completely to our new economic partner India.

    Of course, with the deteriorating situation in Wazaristan, and with a (likely) President Obama saying he’ll act unilaterally if need be, it looks like Pakistan’s strategic foot dragging may come back to haunt them. Should a big enough bomb go off in the U.S., China, the E.U. or India, I can see the U.S. using air power + SOF to neutralize Pakistan’s nukes while writing India a blank check to take Kashmir.

  2. Two non-rhetorical questions in my mind:
    What CAN Pakistan do to speed the process of cleaning its house?
    Will it occur to India to employ 5GW tactics?

  3. Brent’s observations are excellent. At heart here is the relationship between Pakistan and India. The ISI’s coddling of the Taliban is an historic measure to stave off Indian influence in Afghanistan and galvanize “the rear” as it were.

    The recent Indian endeavor to build highways in Afghanistan (some of which run right along the border) and America’s nuke agreement with India have exacerbated the uncertainty of US/Pakistan relations. As Brett states, Pakistan worries that India’s rising economic star relegates them to “solid ally” as opposed to Pakistan’s “coincidental and temporary ally.”

    No doubt victory in Afghanistan lies in the FATA, though a light footprint is paramount from my perspective.

    Dan, how do you propose to either destroy the ISI (which we likely rely on, however duplicitous, for intelligence) and/or Pakistan’s foreign policy?

  4. Jay you just preempted what I just posted. Congrats on your telepathy, I’m jealous.

    Comparatively, militaries become weaker under popular pressure and lose their support (sometimes they also give up on their rebellions). They can also bargain and negotiate their way out of military power with a guarantee not to be prosecuted for criminality. Foreign influence against the military also helps but in Pakistan that’s been very rare (except for the Taliban) up until, today[1].

    [1] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/world/asia/30pstan.html?hp

  5. What great comments!

    Brent,

    Someone in the audience asked him about Pakistan and Bin Laden, and he suggested that Pakistan may intentionally drag their feet on finding Bin Laden because they worry that once they do find him the U.S. will quickly drop our support for Pakistan and switch completely to our new economic partner India.

    Interesting! And I think, very reasonable. Pakistan is a broken state ruled by rent-collectors unable to develop itself and increasingly devoted to violent jihad against neighbors. It makes sense that they realize they are not too popular, and cannot be until they escape the civilizational illness which seems to strong in so much of the Muslmi world.

    Jay,

    Great discussion of Pakistan’s quest for ‘strategic depth.’

    Dan, how do you propose to either destroy the ISI (which we likely rely on, however duplicitous, for intelligence) and/or Pakistan’s foreign policy?

    If we go the ISI route, we can attempt to destroy their middle management, analogous to the way that Black September was destroyed after Munich. Complex terror organizations that operate with something like the support of states are weakest in how they network the desires fo the top with the abilities of the bottom. Either the ideologues or the footsoldiers are easy to reply. Bureaucratic technocrats are harder to find.

    We can harm Pakistan’s ability to conduct an internal foreign policy by making what is now domestic foreign… by treating the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and others as part of Afghanistan, forcing Pakistan to spend its foreign policy efforts to regain sovereignty over lost land. This is not a perfect solution (it is a mini-me version of their loss of Kashmir, or even Bangladesh), but it allows India to further break away from the bad neighborhood.

    Stephen,

    Comparatively, militaries become weaker under popular pressure and lose their support (sometimes they also give up on their rebellions). They can also bargain and negotiate their way out of military power with a guarantee not to be prosecuted for criminality. Foreign influence against the military also helps but in Pakistan that’s been very rare (except for the Taliban) up until, today[1].

    This is true, but not really relevent in the case of Pakistan. The ISI is closer to a conspiracy theorists’ view of the CIA than a military. Musharaf and the coup-prown Pakistani military is a serious problem, but one that fades in relationship to the ISI. With the military, we have an unusual constitutional structure in Pakistan. With the ISI, we have a statelet that trains al Qaeda terrorists in al Qaeda training camps attacked by US troops, airlifts al Qaeda fighters out of Afghanistan, supports terrorism in Kashmir, etc.

  6. It has definitely turned into a war for Pakistan. I have been listening to a lot of first hand reporting via Covert Radio. It is pretty clear that the PakiGov really hasn’t been working with the US. The PakiGov is cutting deals with the enemy while telling the US it will fight.

    Perhaps the events of today 9/20/2008 will turn some in the PakiGov. Maybe not. The new President is a corrupt as his late wife, but probably not as bright. I don’t know how much power he really has. He certainly doesn’t control the ISI.

    The insight above that the US will naturally favor India once the Taliban threat is gone is most likely true, but I don’t think it figures into the PakiGOV thinking. They are thinking “we are Islamic and will side with our own tribes and fellow muslims”.

    Making Pakistan democratic capitalistic like India is a long shot goal that is not likely to succeed ever and certainly not soon.

    I think the way here is for Pakistan to Turkey-ize (a mildly-Islamic/mildly-secular state). There are those in PakiGov that might be okay with it.

    I have no idea what the relationship is between Turkey and Pakistan. Surely though, NATO member (and hint-hint EU wannabee) Turkey would help on a project like this.

    While I am not sure how to get there yet, the end I see is as a Taliban-fee Islamic Pakistan people with a mildly-Islamic/mildly-secular PakiGov (with the Military being guarantee-er of the mildly part).

  7. It would be great to Turkify Pakistan, in the sense that it would be fantastic to Swissize Iraq.

    However, attempting to copy an approach that works in a country that fought a revolution to overthrow the Caliph — into one that has progressively Islamized over the last century — is probably dangerous.

    We need to keep Pakistan in the global system, so that it submits to market discipline and gradually increases its dependency on both India and China.

    The more corrupt the military and government, the better. What Pakistanis believe is less important than how much the connectivity spreads.

    [1] http://purpleslog.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/capturing-my-thought-on-pakistan-turkey-ization/

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