Free Markets, Free People


The Troubles In Pakistan

The Taliban, as expected, have managed to endear themselves to another benighted people:

Up to 500,000 terrified residents of Pakistan’s Swat valley have fled or else are desperately trying to leave as the military steps up an operation using fighter jets and helicopter gunships to “eliminate” Taliban fighters.

As the military intensified what may be its most determined operation to date against militant extremists, the UN said 200,000 people had already arrived in safe areas in the past few days while another 300,000 were on the move or were poised to leave.

The escalation of the operation came after Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousaf Gilani, made a public appeal for unity. In a televised address on Thursday evening, Mr Gilani said: “I appeal to the people of Pakistan to support the government and army at this crucial time. We pledge to eliminate the elements who have destroyed the peace and calm of the nation and wanted to take Pakistan hostage at gunpoint.”

This is pretty much the style of the Taliban, certainly nothing very different than what they did in Afghanistan.

However, there is a difference between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that difference is nuclear weapons. Now most seem to think that the Pakistani army is strong enough to prevent a deterioration of the situation to the point that the Taliban would gain control over the nukes. But that makes a lot of assumptions which may or may not be warranted. It is important to remember that the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and its eventual triumph there is irrefutably linked to support from Pakistan’s government, namely the ISI. Now it may be a stretch to believe the ISI would help the Taliban gain control of Pakistan, but it may not be to much to believe the organization may have mixed feelings about the present operations against the Taliban.

The Taliban needs to be destroyed as an effective organization. Like a type of cancer, the Taliban attacks the very religious core of countries. But only Islamic countries. Its extremist brand of Islam appeals to a certain element of Islamic countries and it is that portion of the population in which the Taliban embeds itself and attempts to exploit.

The very fact that Pakistan is treating the Swat valley takeover by the Taliban as an emergency in which drastic action must be taken to defeat them is an encouraging sign. Previously Pakistan’s government and army were content to give such opposition lip-service and some rather poor attempts to oust them from other territories. Now that the Taliban has all but declared war on the Pakistani nation, we may finally see a real and concerted effort by Pakistan to rid the region of the Taliban. In the end, the overreaching by the Taliban may end up being the best thing that could have happened. If Pakistan is successful in taking the Taliban out, the war in Afghanistan become much more winnable. The remaining Taliban based along the border may not enjoy the same safe-haven they’ve enjoyed for years.

However, should Pakistan fail in its attempt to destroy the Taliban, we may end up with two nations in jeopardy instead of one, and since one has nuclear weapons, we may have no choice but to intervene should it get to that point.

~McQ

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14 Responses to The Troubles In Pakistan

  • We always have a choice.   And I doubt we have the power or money to successfully intervene in Pakistan, and if we tried we could be sucked into a trap that would have consequences more devastating than those we are currently paying due to the misguided intervention in Iraq.   No, it’s not our world.  We can’t control it, efforts to do so in places far “easier” than Pakistan have been if not failures, certainly not successes.  Given the current economic crisis, which is no where near being over, the reality of our diminished place in the world has to be acknowledged.

    • And I doubt we have the power or money to successfully intervene in Pakistan, and if we tried we could be sucked into a trap that would have consequences more devastating than those we are currently paying due to the misguided intervention in Iraq

      Yeah, Afghanistan, which you were all in favor of intervening in (but only as an excuse to whine incessantly about our involvement in Iraq),  would be easier to pacify than Pakistan.

      Read some history for once.

      • And I doubt

        That’s all you ever do. “We can’t”  “I don’t think”  “I doubt” etc etc

      • So, looker, are you honestly saying that you think Pakistan, with nearly 200 million people would be easier than Afghanistan and Iraq?!  And you make fun of me?  LOL!   Dream on, kiddo, dream on.

        • I”ll stand my ground ‘kiddo’ , the area consisting of modern day Pakistan traditionally has been easier to pacify than Afghanistan, there’s no reason to think that’s changed dramatically, if you stop to even think about it, that’s why Pakistan IS at least considered a  country, and Afghanistan is still  nothing more than a  geographic area occupied by tribes loosely ‘ruled’.

          That which has been demonstrated.

          History is on my side, whereas, as usual, you have your usual squishy feel goodness on yours.

  • Well, we could argue we always have a choice.  We can choose to treat a disease or die from it.  The problem would be if the Taliban got control of the nuc’s.  That would lead to a confrontation with India and maybe  Israel.  Once the nuc’s get loose, who knows when and where they would stop. 

    Rick

    • Don’t think for a second that India isn’t watching this event closely, as it has exestential consequences for that nation

      • Yeah, I wonder what India will do, too.  They have at least as much to lose as we do if loonies in Pakistan get control of any nukes.

  • All of this sounds like a living nightmare, but, at least, the government is finally doing stepping up to get rid of the Taliban. Take a look at this video I found about this story.
    http://www.newsy.com/videos/pakistan_unites_against_taliban/

  • Realistically, the Taliban is very, very unlikely to get anywhere close to control of Paksitani nuclear weapons.  But there is also little the US can do.   We don’t run the world, as much as some arm chair generals who fantasize that rah-rah nationalist rhetoric can somehow mean success.   The economic and military illusions of a decade ago have shattered.  We’ve been humbled, there has been a major political and cultural shift in the country, and it literally is a new, more realistic era.

    Ironically, this could actually create some increased momentum towards improvement in Pakistani – Indian relations.    At least for the first time in my lifetime I feel like we have a President with the intelligence and capacity to actually make good choices and lead a solid team.  That doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, but finally we have competent people in charge.

    • “Ironically, this could actually create some increased momentum towards improvement in Pakistani – Indian relations.    At least for the first time in my lifetime I feel like we have a President with the intelligence and capacity to actually make good choices and lead a solid team.  That doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, but finally we have competent people in charge.”

      Is this not totally in the same vein as people who think socialism will work “once we get the right people in charge?”

      Or the ancient Chinese who believed that a righteous emperor need only face south and all will be well.

      Oh, maybe you could claim this for some domestic issues, but Pakistan-India relations are almost completely determined by….Pakistan and India. And they did not elect Obama.

  • That doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, but finally we have competent people in charge.

    Hmmm…Erb seems to have a slightly different definition for a “competent” administration than I do. In Erb’s world you can be competent but a failure. Go figure. I’m sure everyone is stunned by this revelation.

  • Maybe a small thing, but notice how the populace did not flee the Taliban, but fled after the army came in to fight.

    I also read a quote from a resident that was like “we don’t care if its the army or the taliban in charge, we just don’t want to be bombed.”

    That is not a good sign when the Pakistani citizenry aren’t clamoring for military protection. It means the Taliban have some sort of legitimacy and have not alienated so many people yet.

    The silver lining is that I’d rather have the Taliban fighting Pakistanis than Americans in Afghanistan. It also may be a wake up call to Pakistan, much like Saudi Arabia had when Al Qaeda started bombing there.

  • Pakistan is a third-world country with a third-world army. Third-world armies do not fill me with confidence. They usually do not even fill their own countrymen with confidence.