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  • A New Pakistan Policy: Containment

    A New Pakistan Policy: Containment | NY Times Op-Ed | October 14, 2011

    A New Pakistan Policy: Containment
    By BRUCE O. RIEDEL
    Published: October 14, 2011

    AMERICA needs a new policy for dealing with Pakistan. First, we must recognize that the two countries’ strategic interests are in conflict, not harmony, and will remain that way as long as Pakistan’s army controls Pakistan’s strategic policies. We must contain the Pakistani Army’s ambitions until real civilian rule returns and Pakistanis set a new direction for their foreign policy.

    As Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee last month, Pakistan provides critical sanctuary and support to the Afghan insurgency that we are trying to suppress. Taliban leaders meet under Pakistani protection even as we try to capture or kill them.

    In 2009, I led a policy review for President Obama on Pakistan and Afghanistan. At the time, Al Qaeda was operating with virtual impunity in Pakistan, and its ally Lashkar-e-Taiba had just attacked the Indian city of Mumbai and killed at least 163 people, including 6 Americans, with help from Pakistani intelligence. Under no illusions, Mr. Obama tried to improve relations with Pakistan by increasing aid and dialogue; he also expanded drone operations to fight terrorist groups that Pakistan would not fight on its own.

    It was right to try engagement, but now the approach needs reshaping. We will have to persevere in Afghanistan in the face of opposition by Pakistan.

    The generals who run Pakistan have not abandoned their obsession with challenging India. They tolerate terrorists at home, seek a Taliban victory in Afghanistan and are building the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal. They have sidelined and intimidated civilian leaders elected in 2008. They seem to think Pakistan is invulnerable, because they control NATO’s supply line from Karachi to Kabul and have nuclear weapons.

    The generals also think time is on their side — that NATO is doomed to give up in Afghanistan, leaving them free to act as they wish there. So they have concluded that the sooner America leaves, the better it will be for Pakistan. They want Americans and Europeans to believe the war is hopeless, so they encourage the Taliban and other militant groups to speed the withdrawal with spectacular attacks, like the Sept. 13 raid on the United States Embassy in Kabul, which killed 16 Afghan police officers and civilians.

    It is time to move to a policy of containment, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable. When we learn that an officer from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, is aiding terrorism, whether in Afghanistan or India, we should put him on wanted lists, sanction him at the United Nations and, if he is dangerous enough, track him down. Putting sanctions on organizations in Pakistan has not worked in the past, but sanctioning individuals has — as the nuclear proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khan could attest.

    Offering Pakistan more trade while reducing aid makes sense. When we extend traditional aid, media outlets with ties to the ISI cite the aid to weave conspiracy theories that alienate Pakistanis from us. Mr. Obama should instead announce that he is cutting tariffs on Pakistani textiles to or below the level that India and China enjoy; that would strengthen entrepreneurs and women, two groups who are outside the army’s control and who are interested in peace.

    Military assistance to Pakistan should be cut deeply. Regular contacts between our officers and theirs can continue, but under no delusion that we are allies.

    Osama bin Laden’s death confirmed that we can’t rely on Pakistan to take out prominent terrorists on its soil. We will still need bases in Afghanistan from which to act when we see a threat in Pakistan. But drones should be used judiciously, for very important targets.

    In Afghanistan, we should not have false hopes for a political solution. We can hope that top figures among the Quetta Shura — Afghan Taliban leaders who are sheltered in Quetta, Pakistan — will be delivered to the bargaining table, but that is unlikely, since the Quetta leadership assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a former Afghan president, last month. The ISI will veto any Taliban peace efforts it opposes, which means any it doesn’t control. Rather than hoping for ISI help, we need to continue to build an Afghan Army that can control the insurgency with long-term NATO assistance and minimal combat troops.

    Strategic dialogue with India about Pakistan is essential because it would focus the Pakistani Army’s mind. India and Pakistan are trying to improve trade and transportation links severed after they became independent in 1947, and we should encourage that. We should also increase intelligence cooperation against terrorist targets in Pakistan. And we should encourage India to be more conciliatory on Kashmir, by easing border controls and releasing prisoners.

    America and Pakistan have had a tempestuous relationship for decades. For far too long we have banked on the Pakistani Army to protect our interests. Now we need to contain that army’s aggressive instincts, while helping those who want a progressive Pakistan and keeping up the fight against terrorism.

    Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author of “Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad.”

  • #2
    India did and is still trying to delink trade from the other conflicting issues with Pakistan. India knows that empowering the civil society yonder, will definitely help in undermining the hawks at GHQ Rawalpindi. That being said, I don't find any real philosophy that can convince India to become more conciliatory on Kashmir and ofcourse, there can be NO question of releasing those scums, whom our boys captured with much blood and sweat. Or does the author has really faith in sending those Jihadis to some reformatory school and get them defanged?
    sigpicAnd on the sixth day, God created the Field Artillery...

    Comment


    • #3
      DCL Reply

      "...I don't find any real philosophy that can convince India to become more conciliatory on Kashmir and ofcourse, there can be NO question of releasing those scums, whom our boys captured with much blood and sweat. Or does the author has really faith in sending those Jihadis to some reformatory school and get them defanged?"

      Reidel and the hand-wringing Obama cabal disgust me. For somebody who supposedly advised the Obama administration on these matters such that Obama has viewed Pakistan without illusion I also found Reidel's thoughts on these matters hopelessly child-like.

      Long-since time that the gloves came off and we treat an enemy for what they are and in the manner fully deserved.

      I'd far prefer that we completely cut military aid and reduce civil aid to a line-item review. WRT trade, I see no point in mixing our signals by promoting an enhanced tariff status regarding Pakistan. Current conditions haven't prevented the United States from being Pakistan's leading export market. Further, we run a large net trade deficit with Pakistan. All this while Pakistan's all-weather friend, the PRC, runs a huge net trade surplus.

      Finally, the Pakistani generals HAVE calculated correctly. We will be leaving shortly. To soon, by far, to effect substantive change in Afghanistan's security posture but not soon enough for myself. America's best hope lies in an Afghan civil war. This is not in the interest of the afghan people but, as a nat'l entity, they hardly exists in any case. The disparate ambitions of the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazara, Baloch and Turkomen make nearly impossible the fielding of a representative government to which all ethnic elements will freely offer their allegiance. That said, a civil war will assure that the taliban-dominated pashtuns are denied unilateral control of Afghanistan.

      If true, that'll be a nat'l security mission for Iran, Russia and India. The Pakistanis have a huge head-start. Should that be satisfactory to India then who is America to argue otherwise? If Iran's interests are secured by a sunni-Pashtun domination at the expense of shia Hazaras and others why should we care? If Russia's vulnerability to a turbulent and restive CAR resulting from taliban-inspired islamic militancy can be ignored, should America fill the void?

      Seems clear to me that we've done far too much too poorly and for too little to be involved in this internecine squabble. America's only clear caveat should be that holy hell shall once more rain down from the skies if we're again attacked.
      "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
      "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by S2 View Post
        If true, that'll be a nat'l security mission for Iran, Russia and India. The Pakistanis have a huge head-start. Should that be satisfactory to India then who is America to argue otherwise? If Iran's interests are secured by a sunni-Pashtun domination at the expense of shia Hazaras and others why should we care? If Russia's vulnerability to a turbulent and restive CAR resulting from taliban-inspired islamic militancy can be ignored, should America fill the void?
        Steve,

        Do not get me wrong. India's best interest in Afghanistan lies, wherein the ISAF/NATO keeps the Taliban/Pakhtoons from running an unilateral show. Even though it doesn't serves the US interests, or is rather detrimental to it, to keep pouring zillions into that country along with blood and sweat, to stabilize a nation which isn't actually a nation to start with, NO sane General in the Indian Forces wants you Americans to return anytime soon. We know it isn't your eternal war, but we still want you there.

        Having said that, militarily, it still baffles my mind, as to what tangible/intangible benefits an Indian conciliatory posture can bring to the overall mix of things, apart from embolding the PA/ISI? Releasing enemy captured in war isn't really the right thing to do IMHO, specially when the enemy still hasn't returned to the negotiating table and worse, still holding the gun.
        sigpicAnd on the sixth day, God created the Field Artillery...

        Comment


        • #5
          Two faced Writeup

          America should contain the PA's machinations while India should be conciliatory and release the terr scumbags.

          On J&K, India needs to be responsive to needs of all Kashmiris (Pandits, Muslims, Buddhists), not Pakistan and their proxies.
          "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

          Comment


          • #6
            S2,

            How would your logistics run when the gloves come out with Pakistan?
            I believe Afghanistan as a nation is a terrible idea. There are like just as you said disparate interest between tajiks &co and pashtuns. I believe we should let the Pakistani have what they really fear. Pashtunistan. Let the hill people then fight against the Punjabi's for the eradication of Durand line for amalgamating current Pakistan pushtun areas into Pashtunistnan in Afghanistan. Divide Afghanistan into Pashtunistan & Afghanistan.

            O

            Comment


            • #7
              DCL Reply

              Major,

              We're of one mind but for your generals wishing our continued stay. I disagree. Our fight is with the trans-nat'l terrorists and Pakistan's military leadership. That fight, IMV, is not best conducted from Afghanistan nor in the manner we've prosecuted that campaign.

              OTOH India, Russia and Iran all have decidedly regional interests in Afghanistan that should be pursued. There are plenty of anti-pashtun allies with which to align...and they'll fight hard to preserve their ways of life against the pashtuns, the taliban and even Al Qaeda (should they re-emerge). Hell, there are many, many pashtuns that wish nothing to do with Pakistan nor the taliban and deserve assistance.

              Only not from America nor ISAF. Staying would mean continuing the clearly-failed policies that have led nowhere. I'm of the mind that Afghanistan as an idea isn't conceivable presently and can only occur over great time by virtue of Afghan sacrifice towards such.

              Nations aren't built. They grow. Often painfully...or not, but only upon their own merits if at all.
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

              Comment


              • #8
                S-2,

                I have been following your post quite closely in this thread, so much so that it made me register. I think the whole board in is agreement regarding fanatically duplicity of Pakistani nation with regards to their participation in War on Terror and more importantly their commitment to stopping terrorism as a world wide phenomenon. As an Indian, It is very imperative for us to deny strategic depth to the Pakistani, which in reality is nothing but Pakistani not bothering about their western front, a strong Afghanistan is not in their interest, no matter with whom it is aligned to, India or no India. Pakistani's have blood of American soldiers and Indians, and it should be repaid.

                As you rightly put as of today there isnt much coming from the people of Afghanistan for being a single nation. Tajiks&co and Pashtuns have disparate views as you rightly put.
                So why not divide it? What the Punjabi Army of Pakistan is really scared about more than India and America is the Pashtun, if we are able to create the land of Pashtunistan in Afghanistan, the focus of the current Pashtun's will turn from Americans, Jihad to Durand line and Pakistani's for the quest of unified Pashtunistan, as well as the rest of Afghanistan can be salvaged. This is Pakistan's biggest nightmare. Its about time we gave'em that.

                PS: Please note, I havent really thought through this on how it play out in the larger context. Do go easy on me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Years and years worth of discussions in this section (and other parts of the board). Your views generally concur with mine, particularly here-

                  "...if we are able to create the land of Pashtunistan in Afghanistan, the focus of the current Pashtun's will turn from Americans, Jihad to Durand line and Pakistani's for the quest of unified Pashtunistan...".

                  Trust that the Pakistanis aren't particularly interested in a taliban unified Afghanistan. OTOH, having the areas adjacent to Pakistan will serve nicely if they can transport their jihadis into Afghanistan for pre-Kashmiri training while keeping the taliban focused both north and west instead of east.

                  Enjoy the WAB, WABBITs and WABBITville. It can, on occasion, be a very interesting place. Be nice to the Pakistanis here. They're not many but folks like IHM and Sparking Neuron have some atypical views.
                  "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                  "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by S2 View Post
                    Years and years worth of discussions in this section (and other parts of the board). Your views generally concur with mine, particularly here-
                    Reading up on it, I know what I have stated isnt new here. But I havent seen much of a earnest discussion in that direction, is there a reason for that?


                    Trust that the Pakistanis aren't particularly interested in a taliban unified Afghanistan. OTOH, having the areas adjacent to Pakistan will serve nicely if they can transport their jihadis into Afghanistan for pre-Kashmiri training while keeping the taliban focused both north and west instead of east.
                    There are several question we have to answer before we get to that point?

                    1. We need a strong group who is more interested in Pashtun cause than 'Death to America and infidels', We cannot just hand over control of half Afghanistan to a Pakistani proxy.

                    2. Will we have troops stationed there, or in the new Afghanistan as we cannot stop anti-terror ops as this area of Pakistan and Afghanistan will remain the hot bed of terrorism for the foreseeable future.

                    3. Creation of Pashtunistan is not going to stop Al-Qaeda and their likes, but it will stop majority of the Taliban.

                    To be honest, the more I think of it, the less viable it looks.

                    ***I do believe India should act as a 'Outsourcing Partner for NATO', We would send you all non-lethal supplies as well as everything related to reconstruction of Afghanistan through Iranian port of Chabbar, and the Indian built highway into Afghanistan. US-Iran still maintains their distance in front of the world, ofcourse Iran will have to be paid for it and it will be a Indian responsibility. Pakistan looses their importance as the Logistical lifeline of NATO. How will US-Israel and India-Israel relation be affected by this another question.


                    Enjoy the WAB, WABBITs and WABBITville. It can, on occasion, be a very interesting place.
                    I intend too, hopefully I wont step on the poo.
                    Be nice to the Pakistanis here. They're not many but folks like IHM and Sparking Neuron have some atypical views.
                    Dont worry, my mamma has taught me well ;) Moreover I am more bothered about the Chinese.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by S2 View Post

                      Trust that the Pakistanis aren't particularly interested in a taliban unified Afghanistan. OTOH, having the areas adjacent to Pakistan will serve nicely if they can transport their jihadis into Afghanistan for pre-Kashmiri training while keeping the taliban focused both north and west instead of east.
                      Being a little more specific than my other post.

                      You could be correct, Pasthun's might not appreciate division of Afghanistan, which they believe they can dominate. And I repeat of Taliban - Northern Alliance is possible in the new form of Pashtunistan v/s Neo-Afghanistan.
                      But the Pastunistan as an idea is very dear to the Pashtun's much more than Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think there will be tremendous internal pressure's for them to erase the Durand line.
                      Pressure on Pakistani western border is imperative for India, though I have to say we are doing next to ziltch regarding that. We havent taken any active interest other than sugar coated bloated words. Whether it is a script dictated by Washington or India's inability, I am not very sure.

                      Indian expectations are clear, Strong non-nuclear Iran having, Strong Afghanistan and heavy fencing on the Indian border with Pakistan. How this plays out in a greater global scene is another matter.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Afghanistan is essentialy unwinnable without Pakistan and particularly the frontier provinces, which Pakistan seems unable or unwilling to clear. Three choices:A. Invade and clear (if possible), B. withdraw and hope (current policy) while supporting Pakistan, C. withdraw and cut aid.

                        A is too expensive (money and men) and even then doubtful. B relies on supporting massive corruption in Afghanistan. May as well give C a try as it saves lives and money.
                        Last edited by snapper; 12 Nov 11,, 00:48.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by snapper View Post
                          Afghanistan is essentialy unwinnable without Pakistan and particularly the frontier provinces, which Pakistan seems unable or unwilling to clear. Three choices:A. Invade and clear (if possible), B. withdraw and hope (current policy) while supporting Pakistan, C. withdraw and cut aid.

                          A is too expensive (money and men) and even then doubtful. B relies on supporting massive corruption in Afghanistan. May as well give C a try as it saves lives and money.
                          Afghanistan is essentialy unwinnable without Pakistan
                          I would disagree with that. Afghanistan is winnable without "whacking" PA hard.
                          Problem is US itself does not want to do this. Afghanistan being democracry is all fine, but having a millitia like Pakistan Army is priceless in such a strategic important place. So US is hurting itself to save PA!

                          Imagine knocking off another Sunni power after Iraq and going in to visit Riyadh!

                          If US wants, it can do something like this.
                          It is cheaper and effective.

                          Pakistan does the same thing with India and India has managed to control Pakistan's proxies coming in. So the example is already there.

                          Only US itself does not want to do it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            n21 Reply

                            Yes. America should look to India. There's been 63 years of policies, continuing today, providing no lasting resolution.

                            "...Pakistan does the same thing with India and India has managed to control Pakistan's proxies coming in. So the example is already there."

                            After how many years and what altered circumstances might be influencing such? India is not operating in a vacuum. There are other factors. I would suggest there's been a marked change on India's western borders since American forces have shown up in Afghanistan.

                            Meanwhile, try imagining some of the salient differences between U.S. forces operating on Afghanistan's eastern border and Indian forces on your own western borders. I can imagine a list almost as long as my arm. Please let me know if you have difficulty doing so.
                            "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                            "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Deltacamelately View Post

                              Having said that, militarily, it still baffles my mind, as to what tangible/intangible benefits an Indian conciliatory posture can bring to the overall mix of things, apart from embolding the PA/ISI?
                              Lets say India strikes a deal with the titualar civilian leadership of pakistan to open the J/K border region so families can reunite, small traders can ply back and forth etc, and announces talks on water and hydroelectric issues...

                              1. You legitimize the civilian leadership by giving them gains the military could not. And since India's giving, she gets to choose what to give...

                              2. Huge intelligence scoop for India... I mean seriously, assuming the proper controls* are in place granting verified j/k families with members on both sodes of the LOC "j/k visas" doesn't cost India a whole lot. But since to establish familial relationship everyone on both sides of the LOC seeking a "J/K Visa" get a dna swabbed as part of the visas process. That way when there is an attack, perhaps militant blood trails will give you intel other than hey some one is bleeding here. Plusonce enough people are swabbed you can build the regions family tree and then announce a simple policy based on long settled military law- militants/spies who get caught out of uniform, and who can't prove a familial connection get to do the Tyburn Jig... after sentencing by a competent tribunal

                              3. Deny Pakistan easy access through modern anti-forgery technologies mandated by the J/K deal plus the dna swabbing. That way, maybe the guy who came through 6 months claiming to be from J/K turns up in Delhi after another attack, but this time his papers say Baloch or Punjabi instead of Pashtun... But both sets have anti-forging technology built into them by the government of Pakistan and are not fakes.... ISI with egg on its face.

                              4. When a person talks and demonstrates a desire for peace, few will notice if he is also sharpening his knife... Real peace overtures take the spotlight off arms purchases which is good for domestic Indian politics at least.
                              Last edited by zraver; 12 Nov 11,, 22:33.

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