In the past few days, militants in Pakistan have destroyed several large fuel convoys headed for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. These attacks come less than a week after the Pakistani government blocked one of the most important U.S. supply routes into Afghanistan, bringing the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to a perilous new low. Meanwhile, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, which have become more frequent than ever, killed five suspected militants of German nationality. The rapidly deteriorating situation in Pakistan has many reevaluating basic U.S. assumptions, including our relationship with that country. Here's what people are saying.
- Afghan War Not Making Pakistan Safer Time's Robert Baer pushes against the Obama administration position that part of the casus belli in Afghanistan is making sure that Pakistan does not collapse. "We're reduced to common sense in figuring out where Pakistan's breaking point is. The war in Afghanistan has done nothing for that country's stability, and in fact it's gotten progressively shakier over the past 10 years. Pakistanis scoff at the argument often heard in Washington that the U.S. needs to remain at war in Afghanistan partly in order to stabilize Pakistan — instead, they see the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the load that it has placed on Islamabad as being the major cause of the instability in their country. In other words, they have a very different idea of what another 10 years of war in Afghanistan or a full-fledged bombing campaign against the tribal areas will do for Pakistan's security."
- Is Pakistan a Rogue State? Foreign Policy's Simon Henderson notes that a footnote in Bob Woodward's new book reports that the Pakistani military intelligence service has been tied to the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, reinforcing India's long-held accusation that Pakistan is a rogue state. "The Indians have a point -- and when they read Woodward's footnote, they will be even more convinced. ... So far, the 'R word' has yet to enter the American public's lexicon." The U.S. has begun subtly treating Pakistan more like a rogue state, threatening "retribution" for a Pakistan-based attack against the U.S. "After the entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is not in the business of invading any more countries -- and certainly not a country like Pakistan, which possesses dozens of nuclear weapons." But Henderson warns we should consider the possibility that Pakistan is a rogue state.
- U.S. Military Moving Off Fossil Fuel Dependence The New York Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal writes, "With insurgents increasingly attacking the American fuel supply convoys that lumber across the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, the military is pushing aggressively to develop, test and deploy renewable energy to decrease its need to transport fossil fuels. ... Even as Congress has struggled unsuccessfully to pass an energy bill and many states have put renewable energy on hold because of the recession, the military this year has pushed rapidly forward. After a decade of waging wars in remote corners of the globe where fuel is not readily available, senior commanders have come to see overdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies — which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past few years — as providing a potential answer. These new types of renewable energy now account for only a small percentage of the power used by the armed forces, but military leaders plan to rapidly expand their use over the next decade."
- Our Counterterrorism Strategy Making Things Worse Salon's Glenn Greenwald fumes at the escalating U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. "What a surprise: bombing Muslims more and more causes more and more Muslims to want to bomb the countries responsible. That, of course, has long been the perverse 'logic' driving the War on Terror. The very idea that we're going to reduce Terrorism by more intensively bombing more Muslim countries is one of the most patently absurd, self-contradicting premises that exists."
- Why Pakistanis Increasingly Hate America Foreign Policy's Mosharraf Zaidi explains, "The [Pakistani] public knows full well that the monster of [internal] extremism is an intergenerational challenge, one that will require careful and assiduous attention. Anti-American hatred, on the other hand, is fueled by a simpler narrative. There is no ideological commitment or religious fervor that fuels the Pakistani public's anti-Americanism. Nor is there a particularly civilizational flavor to it. Pakistani anti-Americanism comes from a sustained narrative in which Pakistan is the undignified and humiliated recipient of U.S. financial support -- provided at the expense of Pakistani blood. This may not be reflective of the intentions of Obama's war, but it is reflective of the outcome of this war on main street in Pakistan. And perception is reality." Zaidi also cites fears that the U.S. will try to remove Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the "crown jewels" of the nation.