02 October 2010

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

America's "valuable ally", Pakistan, has closed the Torkham border crossing into Afghanistan, presumably in retaliation for a series of US helicopter raids which crossed the border into Pakistan.  These raids, conducted in hot pursuit of insurgents from the dangerous Haqqani Network, have been met with condemnation from the Pakistani government, though according to some sources, they fell within agreed-upon parameters for cross-border "hot pursuit" strikes.  (Pakistan, of course, denies such an agreement exists)

As Foreign Policy's Robert Haddick notes, this is Pakistan's way of asserting its control over American efforts in the region.  After all, this is the same Pakistan which overtly allies itself and receives billions in dollars in aid from the United States, while not-so-subtly supporting its proxy in the region, the Afghan Taliban.  

If Pakistan is serious about not allowing helicopter incursions into its territory, we could cease all helicopter flights into Pakistan--including any and all helicopters bringing relief to Pakistan's flood-ravaged regions.  That's no small threat, either.  If there's one thing that both the United States and Osama bin Laden can agree on, it's that the response from Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world has been abysmal.   

A note to Mr. Bin Laden:  I think we can reach a mutually-beneficial arrangement.  If you can get the rest of the Muslim world to intervene in flood relief in Pakistan, we'll gladly move all of our military helicopters and transport planes back into Afghanistan.   We'd rather be using those aircraft to shoot and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters throughout Afghanistan, anyway.  

Do we have a deal?     

(Update:  This is more of a Jonathan Swift-style argument.  I'm not seriously suggesting that we cut off aid for flood-ravaged Pakistan.  Nor am I suggesting that we work out a deal with Osama bin Laden.  I'm merely expressing my frustration with Pakistan's perennial double-dealing.) 


Peter said...

A heads-up -- on his website Schmedlap says he's ending his online presence and will soon take the site down. He also said something about a problem with a spammer. He's a former Infantry officer who's going to law school. Since you'e a social media guy I thought you'd want to know.

philip traum said...

it probably has something to do with us killing three members of the Frontier Corps and wounding three others:


my bad dawg....

Alex said...

I don't think threatening to stop aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan is very constructive, Starbuck. And making a big deal out of the "the Muslims aren't helping!" argument makes about as much sense as complaining about a lack of cathedrals in Saudi Arabia as a reason to not build Cordoba House.

The US helps because Pakistani flood victims need help, not because the Pakistani government needs help. And it doesn't have anything to do with the Muslim response. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long screed against what Alex wrote, and then deleted it.

He's correct about flood aid, but you are correct that we have other ways to leverage the Pakistanis. One is to withhold other types of aid. That is entirely reasonable.

A good chunk of our aid doesn't reach the people anyway, and is simply squirreled away by malign actors. I bet, on balance, American aid does more harm than good. But, alas, aid is to progressives what military might is to some others. Hammer, find a nail.

- Madhu

Anonymous said...

Um, I promised myself I would behave properly online and the above comment sort of breaks my self-comment. If you want to delete it because it doesn't add to the conversation, Starbuck, please do.

Sorry Alex, I have a bad habit of being too sour and negative on the subject of different types of foreign aid. Apologies.

- Madhu

Anonymous said...

Self-pledge, not self-comment.

Back away from the computer, Madhu....