Dot.Demarche

Talking to myself about foreign policy, US politics, technology, &c.

The US and What Army?

“US Won’t Rule Out Force in Pakistan” threatens today’s Boston Globe.

Al Qaeda has set up a comfy little arrangement in the uncontrolled tribal areas of Northern Pakistan; training camps, local autonomy, tight connections with local leaders. Like, you know, Afghanistan was before 9/11.

The Pakistani government basically gave up trying to impose control on this remote, mountainous, and rabidly independent region in a cease-fire 10 months ago and since then regrettably the situation has not improved.

The question is what the US could possibly do to improve the situation. Clearly expanding into another theater of war with unresolved struggles in both Iraq and Afghanistan is not a viable option. Equally clearly, Bush is not about to pull the troops out of Iraq.

So where exactly would the forces come to do this? The Pakistanis have been problematic but critical allies in this struggle, but they are not likely to let America invade their territory; it would be another nail in the coffin of Musharraf’s rule.

There’s always the possibility of pinpoint airstrikes and bombing, but that didn’t work pre-9/11, and will still piss off the Pakistanis.

I’m glad I study China. There’s just no good answers for anything in the Middle East.

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