THE PAKISTAN CONUNDRUM: A COMMENT
"KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States stepped up pressure on Pakistan Thursday as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said "we are reaching the limits of our patience" with a nominal ally that continues to provide a safe haven to al-Qaida-linked militants. It was the latest sign that the U.S. is now getting tougher with Pakistan after years of muting criticism and looking the other way on the premise that an uneasy friendship was better than making the nuclear-armed country an outright enemy. As U.S. forces draw down in neighboring Afghanistan, the Americans appear to be pushing Pakistan harder than ever before to squeeze insurgents who find sanctuary within its borders. Panetta, in the Afghan capital, told reporters he was visiting Kabul to take stock of progress in the war and discuss plans for the troop drawdown. But he used a press conference to strike across the border instead, saying the Pakistani government needs to do more — and soon — to root out the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani terrorist network. Panetta repeatedly emphasized U.S. frustration with attackers crossing the border from Pakistan. It is essential that Pakistan stop "allowing terrorists to use their country as a safety net in order to conduct their attacks on our forces," he said alongside Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak. "We have made that very clear time and time again and we will continue to do that, but as I said, we are reaching the limits of our patience," Panetta said. The U.S. clearly wants Pakistan to take on the Haqqanis before the bulk of U.S. troops have left the region by the end of 2014. After that, the Afghans would have more trouble contending with the militants, who carry out large-scale attacks in Kabul and elsewhere. In Washington, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference that the U.S. needs to continue working with Pakistan, despite frustrations. "It's our view that those Haqqani, notably, the Haqqani network, is as big a threat to Pakistan as it is to Afghanistan and to us, but we haven't been able to find common ground on that point. So that's been very frustrating," he said".Deb Riechmann, "Panetta: Patience with Pakistan 'reaching limits." The Associated Press. 7 June 2012, in www.google.com.
"86. The Melian representatives answered: "The quiet interchange of explanations is a reasonable thing, and we do not object to that. But your warlike movements, which are present not only to our fears but to our eyes, seem to belie your words. We see that, although you may reason with us, you mean to be our judges; and that at the end of the discussion, if the Justice of our cause prevail and we therefore refuse to yield, we may expect war; if we are convinced by you, slavery." 87. Athenians: Nay, but if you are only going to argue from fancies about the future, or if you meet us with any other purpose than that of looking your circumstances in the face and saving your city, we have done; but if this is your intention we will proceed. 88. Melians: It is an excusable and natural thing that men in our position should have much to say and should indulge in many fancies. But we admit that this conference has met to consider the question of our preservation; and therefore let the argument proceed in the manner which you propose. 89. Athenians: Well, then, we Athenians will use no flue words; we will not go out of our way to prove at length that we have a right to rule, because we overthrew the Persians; or that we attack you now because we are suffering any injury at your hands. We should not convince you if we did; nor must you expect to convince us by arguing that, although a colony of the Lacedaemonians, you have taken no part in their expeditions, or that you have never done us any wrong. But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where the pressure of necessity is equal, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must".Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Edited by A.P. Peabody. (1883), Book Five. The statements from the American Secretary of Defence and from others in official and indeed unofficial Washington point up to the fact that the current regime in Pakistan is simply incapable of taking a proper hand at destroying the terrorist and guerrilla groupings which operate inside its borders. Partly for reasons of realpolitik (the need to cultivate possible future rulers of Afghanistan), partly for reasons of ideology (the need to keep on the shelf for possible future use, anti-Indian groupings for use in Kashmir), and partly for reasons of weakness (no regime truly has felt strong enough in recent years to dismount the Islamic fundamentalist elephant that Islamabad has conjured into being), the sheltering if not worse of various networks, which operate in both Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir continues unabated. Notwithstanding over ten years of American finger waving about this activity. Given the fact that said finger waiving has singularly failed. As has also bribing Pakistan with military and economic assistance over the self-same time period, one may only conclude that the time has indeed come for the employment of brass tacks. Meaning? Specifically, more drone attacks, more cross-border raids by American-NATO forces, both by ground and air forces. Cutting off any future economic & trade assistance by both Europe and the USA. Let the regime in Pakistan know, that if they do wish to defy both the Americans and NATO, that they like the Melians will pay the price for their defiance and thereafter count the costs accordingly. Given the fact that there will for the next two and half years be based in Afghanistan, sizeable numbers of American-NATO troops in Afghanistan, it is most definitely time (in the mots of Furst von Bismarck) to 'wield the sledge hammer'. After all, if not now when?