Pakistan Nears the Breaking Point
The United States has chosen to allow India to establish itself in Afghanistan—Pakistan’s only regional geopolitical asset and ally, at least when it was controlled by the Taliban–at Pakistan’s expense, thereby coupling a long-term American presence and the fate of the Karzai regime with New Delhi’s continued influence inside Afghanistan.
Now that the battle in eastern Afghanistan has become desperate and the Taliban have been exploiting their safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the U.S. has been pulling all the political, military, and economic levers at its command in order to compel Pakistan’s active and effective cooperation in the struggle, and to force Islamabad to accept a security condominium in South Asia by which the U.S. is the dominant power, India its ally, and Pakistan a disrespected client of dubious loyalty and reliability.
A wake-up call for Pakistan was undoubtedly the American response to the suicide bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul in July 2008.
Rather than tacitly understanding Pakistan’s right to punish Indian meddling in its Afghan/Muslim back yard, or just shrugging its shoulders at yet another episode in the brutal South Asian dance of death between New Delhi and Islamabad, the United States came down openly and unequivocally on India’s side, dispatching a CIA official to confront Pakistan over the matter and, significantly, leaking the news of intelligence linking the ISI to the attack to the New York Times.
When energy and food price bubbles, the global recession, and a healthy dose of government mismanagement and inaction pushed Pakistan on the brink of defaulting on its foreign debt in November 2008, the United States forced Pakistan into the arms of the IMF—considered inside Pakistan a symbol of national humiliation that compromises its status as a proud regional power.
The IMF conditions for its $7.6 billion loan, including a slate of price and tax increases in a severe recessionary environment seem wrongheaded enough to exacerbate the crisis and force Pakistan’s government to become even more dependent on the so-called “Friends of Pakistan”, the group of nations that the U.S. has corralled to control the flow of further international assistance to Pakistan.
Read Full Article | Peter Lee