YORK - President Asif Ali Zardari has aided the US military effort in a way his predecessor Pervez Musharraf, supposedly a pro-American strongman, never did, The Wall Street Journal said in an article that urges the Obama administration to make good on its aid commitment to Pakistan.
Mr. Zardaris government has deployed the army against the Taliban, or parts of it, and consented to a dramatic increase in Predator strikes, Bret Stephens, the newspapers deputy editorial page editor, wrote.
(The) administration ought to understand that Pakistans reluctance to defeat the Taliban at any price is a mirror image of our own reluctance, he said in an op-ed piece: The Pakistan Paradox.
The July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing (US) troops was bound to affect Islamabads calculations, and not for the better. The sooner we junk it, the better the cooperation well get, Stephens wrote.
Pakistan suffers from an abandonment complex rooted in historical facts, especially the Pressler Amendment that cut off Pakistan-US military ties throughout the 1990s. Those fears are compounded by a national paranoia that is the product of conspiracy theory, misplaced indignation and jingoism. The countrys elites typically divide between secularists, mainly feudal aristocrats or corrupt parvenus like President Asif Ali Zardari, and Islamists of either conservative or radical bent, the article said.
And while the Obama administration has made much of its aid packages for Pakistan - $1.5 billion a year on the civilian side, followed last week by the announcement of another $2 billion for the military-Pakistani officials complain that only a small fraction of the funds have been disbursed, Stephens added.
Instead of publicly lecturing Pakistanis on how they need to get tough with the Taliban, the article asked the administration to make good on its existing commitments.
The missing ingredient in Pakistans counterinsurgency effort isnt the right military tool kit, such as night-vision goggles or Apache helicopters. Its the will of the Pakistani general staff to cooperate more fully in the fight. If that cooperation can be secured by selling conventional weapons such as F-15s and M-1 tanks to Pakistan, so much the better, he said.
As for India, it has less to fear from a reasonably well-armed, confident Pakistani army that has strong ties to the U.S. than it does from a poorly armed Pakistan that mistrusts the US and continues to consort with jihadists as a way of compensating for its weakness...
Its an old American habit to lament the incompetence and duplicity of our wartime allies, and Pakistan abounds in both qualities. But unless we are prepared to deal with Pakistan as an adversary, we must make do with it as a friend.