Instead of indulging its dictatorship, the United States must engage the Pakistani economy
The New York Times makes a very good point.
Three weeks ago, the Commerce Minister of Pakistan came to Washington to meet with his American counterparts. His request was familiar: that the Bush administration lower the odious duties on underwear and shirts from Pakistan, and consider a free-trade pact with the predominantly Muslim country. The response was also familiar: no.
Unhappily, in rejecting Pakistan’s reasonable request in favor of protecting a dying but politically powerful textile industry in the American South, the Bush administration missed a chance to put some truth behind its oratory about winning the hearts and minds of the Islamic world. Certainly, Mr. Bush can continue to buy off Pakistan’s military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, with F-16’s and money for battling insurgents on the Afghan border. But that shortsighted policy fails to take into account the convergence of economics and national security.
Economics cannot be separated from national security. Young Pakistanis who can’t get jobs in factories that export to America sometimes go to training camps to learn how to kill Americans.[NYT]
That’s not all — some of the American money and arms find their way into the hands of those very same young men who kill a lot of other people, besides Americans.