Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kelly's Pakistan Take

As I have in the recent past, I find myself in partial agreement Jack Kelly's column this week. It really should not be news that the Pakistani's have no better than mixed feelings about the US. I have heard the stories about Pakistani intelligence for years, and the stories about a radical Muslim current running through Pakistani society have been there for years. So yeah, there are good reasons to question the motives of the Pakistani government, has influenced by there desire to play to the Pakistani public on whatever levels.

Still, are we supposed to be that Jack Kelly is so dim that he doesn't understand why our government (under both Bush and Obama) is courting and essentially paying off the Pakistani? Besides basically paying Pakistan to inform on Muslim radicals, we have been begging the Pakistanis to allow us to supply US troops in Afghanistan (crossing their territory and airspace). This brings up another can of worms. Yes, there are good reasons to question whether we should still be in Afghanistan. Should we have gone in, in the first place? (To go in after Al Qaeda, probably) Did we create a mess by dismantling the Afghan (and Iraqi) government(s), that maybe we should clean up (to show we can actually accomplish important things, like fixing governments we break). Obama, now, has a tough balancing act between finishing the wars he inherited (so to speak) from Bush, being forced to continue to deal closely with the Pakistanis or hold them more at arms length, and addressing both international concerns and domestic sensibilities. Those domestic sensibilities are of course influenced dimly by sophisticated analysis and more strongly by simplistic comments like Jack Kelly's.

Which is where I part with Kelly. As I said above, I agree that our relationship with Pakistan is complicated and troubled, and needs to be looked ad closely. But if Kelly won't acknowledge the complexities Obama faces in the US's dealings with Pakistan, then he does no one among his readership any favors with this column.

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