Saying no to Tina

Musharraf is certainly down, but still not quite out yet

Joshua Foust, over at Registan.net, has a perspicacious post on the ‘myth’ that the United States can solve the Pakistan problem.

So Musharraf is stuck in a basically unwinnable situation: he cannot openly support the militias he once did and they hate him for it, and he cannot openly defy the U.S. and they don’t trust him for it.

Musharraf’s unwillingness to bear the cost of actually choosing a side has had grave consequences for Afghanistan. Though firmly opposed to the practice during the Soviet War (going so far as to refuse to bomb the Salang tunnel because it was too dangerous), the militants now brag about employing the technique, having claimed their first casualties in Lashkar Gah.

The point is, Pakistan is why Afghanistan remains as unstable as it is. And Pakistan cannot be changed through simplistic policies or a lackadaisical understanding of all of the issues engulfing South Asia. Which is why it won’t be solved any time soon—I have yet to see any evidence that stabilizing the region that brought us 9/11 is a priority in any Western government. [Registan.net]

Joshua is right. And as JK points out, unless India changes course, it will be the first to suffer for it.

Whether or not the United States has an inkling of how to address the complex challenge that Pakistan poses, it certainly is letting it be known, after more than half-a-decade, that a post-Musharraf dispensation may not be intolerable after all.

Over at INI Signal, Chandra Dulam discussed an article in The Washington Quarterly that pointed out that the United States didn’t get value for US$10 billion it paid the Musharraf regime. And then the New York Times and The Australian went so far as to announce the succession plan in Islamabad. Still, America’s silence over the the political tremors caused by Musharraf’s hamfisted sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry suggests that it has not given up on him just yet.