Obama’s Pakistani Retreat

November 29th, 2011 at 7:23 am David Frum | 52 Comments |

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Our friend Kapil Komireddi has a devastating essay in Foreign Policy on the Obama administration’s acquiescence in Pakistan’s continuing slide back to military rule.

Kapil opens with this question:

Pakistan is indignant about the killing of 25 of its troops in a NATO air raid on Saturday. The circumstances that led to the assault are still unknown, but Washington and Europe have expressed contrition and promised an investigation. Pakistan has every reason to feel angry. But after a suitable period of mourning, shouldn’t the United States, in the interests of fairness if nothing else, ask the Pakistani army if it plans ever to apologize for — or, at bare minimum, acknowledge – its role in the deaths of hundreds of coalition forces and many more Afghan civilians?

Kapil then notes the Obama administration’s bizarre reaction to the dismissal of Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani, one of the few genuine democrats and liberals in the Pakistani governing elite:

[Haqqani's]  forced resignation puts an end to the pretence of civilian rule in Pakistan — and heralds the unapologetically solemn re-takeover of the country by the military-intelligence camorra that spawned the forces of destruction in Afghanistan. So it is astounding that, rather than treating Haqqani’s departure as a setback, officials in the Obama administration see it as something of a boon. Haqqani’s private criticisms of the Pakistani army led, according to a report in the New York Times, “to a diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House.”

Why would the White House choose to belittle a man championing civilian rule in Pakistan? Isn’t that also the objective of the Obama administration? The answer increasingly appears to be no.

Kapil traces the yielding US attitude directly to the president’s own inner weakness.

Obama had an almost providential opportunity to squeeze the army in the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s discovery in May in the garrison city of Abbottabad. The khakis were at their weakest in four decades. That was the time to bolster civilian rule, to corral the army with fresh ultimatums. Instead, Obama seemed more anxious about pacifying Pakistan for having breached its sovereignty than holding its army to account for harboring bin Laden — which explains the White House’s rush to finesse Amb. Mike Mullen’s candid testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in September.

Then, in a craven abdication of American responsibility to the citizens of Afghanistan, Obama talked about the need for nation-building at home. For a man who attained the presidency by invoking Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Obama has rarely displayed any compunction in retreating from battle with men who, given the opportunity, would have lynched King and Gandhi — indeed men who have presided over the slaughter and torture of too many potential Kings and Gandhis of our age. Could there be a more forceful testament to the failure of Obama’s foreign policy in South Asia than the sight of terrorist leader Sirajuddin Haqqani operating with impunity in Pakistan six months after bin Laden’s killing?

Bottom line:

Washington grovels before Islamabad even as American soldiers die at the hands of Pakistan’s clients.

Read it all!

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52 Comments so far ↓

  • Fart Carbuncle

    Good point.

    I believe Obama really has no interest in what happens in or to Pakistan. To him that “stuff” is just an annoyance. He’s more concerned about entitlements to his core constituency.

    • sweatyb

      I must have missed the civics lesson where we learned that the number one priority for an American President is the happiness and well being of Pakistani citizens.

    • jakester

      Gee Professor, got any more concise commentary?

    • dugfromthearth

      by core constituency I assume you mean Americans, not Pakistani’s.
      That is a shocking claim to make about an American president.

  • TerryF98

    How many more countries do you wish to go to war with Mr Frum. At present it seems you are intent with provoking Iran into war and now you intend to do the same in Pakistan.

    Riddle me this Mr Frum. Where is the 4 Trillion dollars coming from this time? After two dumb wars where are the troops who are not worn out, maimed or on psychiatric help who will fight your wars for you?

    • jakester

      He is not advocating war, but at least some sort of clarity and direction so maybe we can move the Pakis towards at least the 20th Century

  • Oldskool

    Inner weakness my ass. They have our only land route into A-stan so it would be wise to tread lightly. Doncha think?

    Maybe if we ever get out of A-stan we could afford to have a little more swagger. Ya think?

    • Graychin

      ^+1

      This is what I was going to say, but I couldn’t have said it so succinctly and clearly.

      • the irish rover

        Pretty concise, I agree.

        To my mind, the real question for America in Afghanistan is what its needs REALLY are: Does America need to build a coherent state that will be at least semi-democratic? Or does it simply crush its enemies within Afghanistan and stopping them from ever regrouping?

        If the former, it needs more of the last 10 years for the next 30 years – with the accompanying need to make nice with a permanently lying Pakistani army so the supply lines are kept open.

        If the latter, it’s special forces with drones plus suitcases of Benjamins to build tribal militias whose only quality control criteria is their ability to kill al Qaeda and Taliban, and if ISI officers get killed that’s a feature, not a bug.

        This will be the cheaper option by far, as well as offering America the maximum tactical and strategic flexibility, both military and diplomatic.

        Then we’ll see how much leverage Pakistan will have over America.

    • jakester

      That is a circular argument since being in Afghanistan give us more leverage with the Pakis

  • ottovbvs

    “Washington grovels before Islamabad even as American soldiers die at the hands of Pakistan’s clients.”

    What a totally inane comment given that we’re completely dependant on Pakistani cooperation to prosecute the war in Afghanistan. Roughly 50% of US supplies are landed in Karachi and then shipped overland for 800 miles most of it across Pakistani territory. Without this land route one former four star general with experience of the theater has been quoted as saying we’d probably have to more or less shut down operations in Afghanistan within 30-60 days. The reality is there is no alternative to sucking this up. The Bush admin did and now the Obama admin are having to do it. Now we have a situation where some American idiot somewhere loosed missiles at Pakistani military installations and killed 24 soldiers. Imagine the ranting that would be going on here if the Pakistanis had killed 24 of our guys on the border. As of right now it’s touch and go whether we get kicked out of Pakistan altogether. I’ve no doubt a lot of crow is going to have to be eaten to avoid that outcome.

    Btw the author of this piece is an Indian journalist, not exactly the most reliable source for comment on Pakistan.

    • kuri3460

      You have to remember, the Republicans are for strong national defense and against actual strategic policy planning. In their mind, we have more guns = we can get whatever we want, and anybody who suggests otherwise is just apologizing for America.

      In reality, the US’s relationship with Pakistan is just one in a long line of uneasy, “lesser of two evils” foreign relationships we’ve held since the end of World War II. It’s not unprecedented or unusual. It’s amazing what you find out when you read history books.

      • Probabilistic

        Yes, the Pakistani ruling class (military primarily) have perfected the art of blackmailing. Use terrorism, and the threat of a failed nuclear state to enrich themselves. US will continue to pay this ransom as along as it is in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, I suspect even beyond 2014 as the threat of a failed state is not going to disappear.

        As to this article, I didn’t notice any meaningful suggestion to extricate ourselves from this situation.

      • ottovbvs

        “foreign relationships we’ve held since the end of World War II.”

        Actually since during WW 2. If ever there was a deal with the devil it was the alliance with the Soviet Union. Inescapable however, like our relationship with Pakistan.

  • balconesfault

    From the NY Times article excerpted regarding Haqqani:

    “There were questions about his influence at home and whether he could be trusted to accurately convey what his principals were thinking,”

    An Ambassador from Pakistan who actually provides no information on the thoughts and intentions of the dominant force in the Paki government is very useless to the US as we attempt to find a pathway forward with a nuclear “ally” with whom there is significant geopolitcal strain.

    • Reflection Ephemeral

      I was going to post that same excerpt. Here’s a bit more context:

      Mr. Haqqani’s eagerness to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military and its longstanding ties to militant groups, had over the past year led to a diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House, said a pair of American officials. “There were questions about his influence at home and whether he could be trusted to accurately convey what his principals were thinking,” said one of the American officials.

      So the point here is that the US agreed with Haqqani’s perspective, but weren’t sure of how accurately he was conveying the thinking of Pakistan’s leadership (which is rather an important role for an ambassador to fill).

      Komireddi presumably read that paragraph in the Times; how does he relate its meaning to his readers?

      Why would the White House choose to belittle a man championing civilian rule in Pakistan? Isn’t that also the objective of the Obama administration? The answer increasingly appears to be no.

      The whole goddamned point of that paragraph in the Times was that the Obama administration agreed with Haqqani on the substance. There is nothing remotely resembling “belittling” of the ambassador. Komireddi just thinks his readers are idiots. He thinks he can say something mean about the president, so anti-American readers will feel anger and resentment toward the US, regardless of the plain meaning of the article he (unwisely) quotes.

      In passing along Komireddi’s lie, David Frum is probably more of a propagandist than an idiot here, but who knows.

      Neoconservatism is the delusion of omnipotence. Yes, if we had absolute power over Pakistan, we should just snap our fingers and make them into a prosperous democracy. Alas, Pakistan has its own policies, perceptions, and interests. It just might be that events in Pakistan have to do with Pakistan, not Komireddi’s fantasies about Pres. Obama. Komireddi offers no policy alternatives, just a deep emotional need for harsher US criticism of Pakistan. Would it accomplish anything? Why does he think so? Of course, he doesn’t address that, because nothing could be less relevant, in the neoconservative mind, than real-life results. All that matters is emotional projection.

      • balconesfault

        Neoconservatism is the delusion of omnipotence.

        + 100,000,000

        • sweatyb

          Plus inflation is getting out of hand! We should never have broken from the gold standard.

      • Traveler

        RE,

        Good parsing of the difference between facts and the messenger. As soon as I see an Indian writing this, I know there is a slant. Not that it would not be a slant from a Paki. But i hate to see the slant being taken for a fact. Gotta do the homework. thanks.

  • sparse

    apparently critiques become “devastating” through the mere insertion of a few phrases like “craven abdication” and “seemed more anxious about pacifying Pakistan” without actually supporting these assertions. in the end it becomes a mere recapitulation of the author’s negative attitude toward obama, and leaves me wondering why i should care about what he thinks.

    but the thing that really sealed the deal for me about the author’s unimportance was this bit of foolishness:

    “For a man who attained the presidency by invoking Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Obama has rarely displayed any compunction in retreating from battle with men who, given the opportunity, would have lynched King and Gandhi — indeed men who have presided over the slaughter and torture of too many potential Kings and Gandhis of our age.”

    please note the obvious fact that king and gandhi would also have retreated from battle with men who would have, given the opportunity, lynched them. king and gandhi are regarded as very wise people by many; their keen insights literally changed the world. the author’s inability to evaluate the actions of others by any standard other than his own perspective shows how far he has to go before anyone will confuse him with a wise person. he is merely caustic, and it is important to note another obvious fact– that being caustic will never change the world.

  • camus32

    Bottom line is that we should leave Pakistan alone. “Grovel” , really now, who was it that gave Pakistan the ultimatum 10 years ago to the effect that they must be “either with us or against us”? We (W, that is) spoke those words as if we were Jesus Christ himself.

    Once again we are sowing what we have reaped.

  • Volosopher

    Rather than ordering a covert mission to kill the world’s most notorious terrorist in his pajamas we should’ve taught the Pakistani army a lesson with a little shock and awe. That’s what a real patriot would do. Why use two bullets when twenty bombs will suffice?

    *my attempt to understand the neocon mind*

  • Baron Siegfried

    Unfortunately, the Pakis and the US are fighting two entirely different wars for entirely different ends. Our mission in Afghanistan is completed with the death of bin Laden and the virtual eradication of al Quaeda as a power rather than a romantic notion in the region. al Quaeda has moved on to more fruitful, safer, less dangerous ground. Given varying values of ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’, mind you. But we no longer have any justification for being there.

    Pakistan isn’t our friend. Pakistan isn’t anyone’s friend other than Pakistans. They have their eyes on the Indian northern territories and hegemony over the Afghans, and their defense imperatives are less concerned with the Taliban than the Indian tiger to their south. The Taliban are, in many (if not most) cases, their proxies. To the extent the US can be milked, we’re tolerated and used as a whipping boy. And since they can play both sides off against one another, it’s the best of all possible boards for their games.

    I am not that concerned with the notion of the Pakis (or the Iranians, for that matter) ever allowing nuclear materials into the hands of anyone they did not totally and absolutely control. You don’t hand that kind of stuff to people who have set off more bombs in your country than ours . . . and the idea that there’s a “bomb” to steal is ludicrous – the fissile packages are under one control, the fuses another, the delivery assemblies another, and the arming codes next to the president. Losing the fissiles would be ~bad~, so you can bet their tightest, most paranoid security surrounds them. But Steven Segal movies notwithstanding, it would take a major cooperative policy decision on the part of the civil, intelligence, and military communities to assemble a nuclear device. And you only do that when you think you may have to use them *now*.

    Just an aside – I find amusing that almost 100 years ago (1916-17), a bunch of ragtag banditos on horse and mule back ran rings around the most technologically advanced army in the world, Blackjack Pershing’s Mexican Expedition, complete with aerial reconnaissance and a railhead at his main base. Some things just never seem to change . . . If the locals have the backs of our enemies, the war is lost. Turn them, and you win the war.

    • ottovbvs

      “Just an aside – I find amusing that almost 100 years ago (1916-17), a bunch of ragtag banditos on horse and mule back ran rings around the most technologically advanced army in the world,”

      Actually the most technologically advanced military in the world in 1916-17 was undoubtedly the German Empire (you should know this Herr Baron) followed closely by the British and at a little more distance the French. When America entered WW 1 in 1917, the British and French had to loan them heavy artillery and tanks, and license the manufacture of various materiel. But I wouldn’t disagree with your underlying point, we’ve never been very good in situations where our colossal advantages in resources could be partially neutralised by assymetric strategies and tactics. No air support or ice cream and we’re in trouble.

  • baw1064

    Pakistan may be “too nuclear to fail,” but it’s also too nuclear in which to intervene.

    Our policy vis a vis the Middle East should be to extricate ourselves from dependence on any critical resources from that region (i.e. oil), so that our economy doesn’t collapse when the inevitable nuclear war involving Pakistan, India, Iran, and Israel occurs.

  • Secessionist

    To the contrary, Obama has abdicated his responsibility to the American people. Obama could pull the rip cord on this Afghan debacle any time day or night; instead, he decided to stay until 2014. Meanwhile, he allows the Pakistanis to get away with nuclear blackmail while collecting billions from US tax payers.

    - DSP / Southern Populist

      • Secessionist

        If you don’t see extending a failed decade long war into 2014 as an abdication, then the comment is fail.

        But let me ask this question: Is there any excuse you guys won’t make the faux progressive currently sitting in the White House?

        Obama’s standard excuse for not getting things done — GOP obstruction — does not apply in the foreign policy and defense realm. Obama does not need the GOPs cooperation to pull the rip cord on a failed war costing money and more importantly lives.

        • fgtayl01

          Just to inject a bit into the “getting out Afghanistan” discussion.

          There is no ‘rip chord’. 2014 is about as good as it could get regardless of the political climate.

          It’ll take 24 months, minimum, to properly retrograde out of Afghanistan in the best of circumstances.

          There’s just no easy logistical way out and the idea of leaving 10 years of equipment buildup behind for whoever gets there first isn’t too appealing.

    • balconesfault

      Obama could pull the rip cord on this Afghan debacle any time day or night; instead, he decided to stay until 2014.

      Damn Obama for taking his campaign commitments seriously!

      We need a President like Romney, who we know will do a 180 on anything he pledges at the very moment it becomes the easiest pathway!

      • TerryF98

        Thanks. I thought calling Fail on whatever name he is calling himself today was the best answer I could give. Yours was far too thoughtful a response to his nonsense.

  • indy

    Six months ago Komireddi wrote, in an article encouraging the US to take away Pakistan’s nuclear weapons:

    Washington has often rushed to assuage Islamabad that it is not after Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. But measured against the very real possibility that they may end up in the hands of extremists, U.S. intervention would serve to help rather than harm Pakistan.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/05/24/take_pakistans_nukes_please

    Yeah, he’s somebody I’m going to listen to.

    • icarusr

      Indy – thanks for my morning laugh :)

      After all, the only thing easier and less costly than wrestling Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs from Saddam’s dead, cold hand, is invading a nuclear power whose Defence Minister boasted, barely ten years ago, of “a strategic depth of 17 million”.

      Where does Frum find these bozos? My nephew’s birthday is coming up and I would love to order me some of these clowns :)

    • Hal

      Your comment to the linked article was a bit disingenuous – unless you didn’t bother to read it. The recommended method to get Pakistan to “nuke-free” status was for us to buy them out – and encourage them to use the money to develop their industry/infrastructure to the betterment of the population. Naive perhaps, but not exactly saber rattling.

      • indy

        Uh, that was his first suggestion. Then, his second suggestion was economic sanctions. And then…? Well, he is circumspect enough not to say it out loud, but it was hardly simply unicorns and rainbows.

        The title of the article was, btw, ‘TAKE Pakistan’s Nukes, Please’.

        If military action wasn’t the bottom line, he certainly had some odd word choices, not only in the title, but throughout the article.

  • icarusr

    “Washington grovels before Islamabad even as American soldiers die at the hands of Pakistan’s clients.”

    It is difficult to imagine that a literate person, let alone an intelligent one, could actually write that sentence without 1) mendacity or malice; or 2) falling off his chair in paroxysms of lunatic laughter.

    I recall a debate, not long ago, at which Obama was openly and actively attacked by a former military person for his adventurism in suggesting that he could, er, bomb Pakistan to root out terrorist cells; and not only that, but upon coming to power, Obama actually proceeded to do as he had promised (didn’t one such bombing go wrong just recently?). The naïf, weak, feckless groveller then ordered a night-time raid on a city where Pakistan’s retired generals live – to this day, no one knows if the Pakistani government or army knew of the raid and, frankly, no one cares. No one really knows how actively American forces are working inside Pakistan, but we know that they continue to do so. Under the command of the chief groveller.

    This is all getting tiresome – really tiresome. Pakistan is a problem? Of course it is – it was a problem when successive US administrations of one stripe or the other supported a regime that, at best, was a “kleptocracy” and more often than not an international outlaw state spreading islamism and terrorism across the globe. You want to know what’s wrong with Pakistan? Ask the idiots who armed and trained the ISI throughout the 80s to fight the Soviets. What to know why we can’t do anything about it? Ask the idiots who did nothing as Pakistan developed its nuclear arsenal because it would, they tought, contain the pro-Soviet India. Want to know what’s wrong with Pakistan of today? Ask the morons who engineered the Iraq and Afghan wars, and who needed a Muslim “ally” in the region to help them out in these adventures. And so on.

    The “Obama grovel” liberl is part and parcel of the “Obama apologising for America” calumny that has been the only foreigh policy answer of Frum’s favourite Republican, the pseudo-Martian Romney. This sort of crap is not helping “reform” Republicanism or conservatism; it is reinforcing all the rank prejudices of the base.

    Sad …

    • indy

      It all makes sense when you realize that the revitalization of the Republican party might not even be in the top half of DF’s priority list…

      • icarusr

        Fair enough, but even if you consider Frum’s first order of business the defeat of Obama, this appears to me a rather ham-handed approach. I mean, you can accuse Obama of just about anything in foreign affairs, but grovelling to Pakistan? This is a “jump the shark” moment, I fear, for FF’s foreign policy “credentials”.

  • LFC

    I see Frum the Analyst stepped out to lunch and Frum the Chestbeater (the one hired by the Bush administration) decided to write a post. He still harbors neocon fantasies of the U.S. being able to exert our will over any other nation at any time.

    David is doing a decent job on economic and budgetary policy but when it comes to foreign policy, especially when Israel is involved, he’s “nutty as rat crap in a pistachio factory.” (Hat Tip: “Two and a Half Men”)

  • midwest guy

    We have proved beyond any doubt that our attempts to force democracy on tribal regions does not work. I cannot imagine any good which will come from another attempt to force our will on yet another third world country. What exactly is the author proposing?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    great thread, not much to add except that I have no idea why Frum chose to link to such a rubbish post.

    look at this part: But his forced resignation puts an end to the pretence of civilian rule in Pakistan — and heralds the unapologetically solemn re-takeover of the country by the military-intelligence camorra that spawned the forces of destruction in Afghanistan

    yet Republicans backed Musharraf to the hilt with his military dictatorship.

    Here is the ending: Obama is seeking to obtain a cosmetic “end” to the mission in Afghanistan by cutting deals with the Pakistani army and its clients in the Taliban. This will involve a reduced presence of American troops on the ground, a heightened use of targeted drone strikes, and, to keep this arrangement, bribes to the Pakistan army in the form of vaguely conditional aid. Relations between the United States and Pakistan will return to “normal” in short order. A poltroon deal will be struck with the Taliban chieftains.”

    And I favor precisely this. Reduced US military presence and reliance on drones and proxies, it is exactly what won us the war in Libya.

    “As the fighters currently enjoying Pakistani hospitality in the country’s northwest make their way back into Afghanistan, the gains made over the last decade will wither away.”
    What gains? What damn gains have been made in Afghanistan that won’t require an eternal garrison of US troops. This writer hates America no question about it that he would sacrifice American troops for nothing except to have US soldiers act as a target for the Taliban and divert their attention away from India.

  • jakester

    So in other words, Obama is as spineless and accommodating to the Pakis as Bush was?

  • armstp

    Kapil Komireddi or David Frum or anyone else outside the State Department or the CIA who thinks they know what is really going on in Pakistan is full of sh@t. At best this post is highly speculative. There are so many cross-currents and so much hidden that criticism of Obama’s Pakistan policy is entirely without any merit unless you really know what is going on. You are just speculating.

    For example, there is a lot more to the Husain Haqqani story than what Kapil Komireddi leads us to believe. Kapil Komireddi does not have a clue.

    “terrorist leader Sirajuddin Haqqani operating with impunity…

    What a completely moronic statement. I don’t think the Haqqani network is operating with impunity, given the number of drone missiles raining down on their heads.

    This is just a junior varsity post. Basically an opinionated rant to try and tear down the Obama administration with very little value-add and very weak on any actual facts. All speculation.

    What we do know is that the Bush administration failed to even consider Pakistan to a great extent in its Afghan policy/strategy. It was Obama who rightly looked at things from a larger strategic regional perspective. And remember it was McCain who said he would not even go into Pakistan because it was a sovereign country.

    Again, you conservatives and Kapil Komireddi can’t deal with the fact that Obama took out Bin Laden, one of hundreds of extremists who have been taken out in Pakistan. You are looking at any speculative BS to criticize Obama.

    Obama’s Pakistan and Afghanistan policy has been spot-on. He has walked the delicate balance of larger strategic and tactical issues in the area very very well.

  • ottovbvs

    “Where does Frum find these bozos?”

    You do have to wonder.

    “Kapil Komireddi or David Frum or anyone else outside the State Department or the CIA who thinks they know what is really going on in Pakistan is full of sh@t.”

    It’s even doubtful State or the CIA know exactly what’s going on and yet (apropos the earlier comment) Frum appears to take bozos like this seriously. But then he took the Chalabis seriously didn’t he.

    • armstp

      Given the technology and much improved intelligence gathering, I am sure the U.S. government knows quite a bit about what is actually going on in Pakistan. They certainly make very little of it public. I think it is probable that the U.S. government knows more about what is going on in Pakistan than many of the Pakistanis themselves, particular more than President Zardari, who really has very little control and can be pushed out by the military any time they want, as I am sure they have a pretty big corruption file on him.

      Other than Israel there is probably no more of a complicated political and strategic situation in the world than in Pakistan.

      If only Condi would have paid attention to the warnings: “Bin Laden determined to attack the U.S.”. It could have been so much different.

      • ottovbvs

        “particular more than President Zardari, who really has very little control and can be pushed out by the military any time they want, as I am sure they have a pretty big corruption file on him.”

        Absolutely, the military can pull the plug on Zardari anytime they want. The proof that this guy and Frum are idiots or plants is the comment about the Obama administration allowing the government of Pakistan to slip back into military rule. It’s never been out of military rule. It was under military rule (Mushareff) when Bushco first made a deal with the devil and it remains under military rule (Kayani) even if the military have been shrewd enough to put a few civilian stooges front of house. As to whether we know exactly what’s going on this is more problematic although we’ve probably got a rough idea. But then we thought we knew what was going on in Vietnam.

        • armstp

          Different world than during Pakistan. I hope we have gotten our money’s worth given the increase in spending of several trillions in military/security/intelligence spending.

          I am sure there is not a phone or Internet line in Pakistan that is not tapped by the CIA. The intelligence capability you would think would be just incredible now, both in term of hard and soft assets. Tapping into networks, agents, satellite, etc. I am sure provides the U.S. government a lot of information, particularly in a relatively unsophisticated country like Pakistan.

        • ottovbvs

          “I am sure there is not a phone or Internet line in Pakistan that is not tapped by the CIA.”

          Since you know this don’t you think it likely that the top echelons of Pakistan’s military also know this and react accordingly.

          “particularly in a relatively unsophisticated country like Pakistan.”

          It’s also a mistake to assume that all of Pakistan is primitive. Unsophisticated countries aren’t capable of producing atomic weapons!

  • Dazedandconfused

    We lost an opportunity to deliver fresh ultimatums to the Paki military? What ultimatums are those? Threaten to advocate stronger civilian rule to the Pakistan people? I think they would laugh at that, because we are about as popular in Pakistan as Herman Cain would be at a NOW convention. I suppose we could have threatened to advocate stronger military rule….

    India wants us to fix Pakistan….Israel wants us to fix Iran….quite a “honey-do” list we are building up here. What’s in it for us?

  • booch221

    Oh Frum, don’t be such a noob.

    Watch what Obama does (taking out bin Laden, drone attacks inside Pakistan) not the niceties of diplomatic speak.

    Pakistan is a failed state–not to be trusted. Barack and Hilary understand this.

    You don”t.