Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Deadly Fruit of Pakistan's Poison Tree

For the past 30 years Pakistan has been playing a crazy game with radical terrorists. They feel that they need these Islamic groups to help them fight against India, and in particular to keep Afghanistan from being taken over by a government that would be friendly to India and thereby surround them with enemies. So their intelligence service has been deeply involved with the Taliban and many similar groups; some people say that the Taliban are actually a Pakistani creation. But Pakistan also covets the support of the U.S., so from time to time they carry out purges of these terrorist groups, arresting a few dozen and handing some international criminals over to the Americans. After the U.S. drove them out of Afghanistan, the Taliban grew so strong in western Pakistan that the government felt obliged to wage a small war against them, to prevent those areas from becoming completely independent. These conflicts are very controversial in Pakistan, since many Pakistanis prefer the Taliban to their own hopelessly corrupt government.

Yesterday's massacre at the school in Peshawar is just the latest horror to emerge from Pakistan's embrace of violent fanatics that it only partially controls. The policy is deranged; India poses no real threat to Pakistan, but the Taliban manifestly do. More, the huge secret infrastructure set up by the military and the intelligence services subverts the Pakistani government at every turn, so that the civilian leaders don't really control key parts of their own country. It is a perfect illustration of what happens to a country that puts its trust in secrecy, violence and lies rather than openness and peace. Let the slaughtered children bear witness: this is the poison fruit of embracing terror as policy, and outsourcing a nation's defense to half-mad fanatics. Other countries should take note.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Yeah, if you're going to make shady deals with extremists and psychopaths, do it overseas. Then when it goes bad, it's only the local foreigners who suffer, and who cares about them, right?

This smacks of the kettle calling the pot black. The Taliban and others like them only exist with the strength they do today because American foreign policy has long been to make deals with monsters.

Time and agains we've supported warlords, dictators, mass rapists, genocidalists, and worse as it suited our whims - and that includes the Taliban, whom we willingly and knowingly aided for decades during the Cold War. We've sold chemical and biological weapons to people we knew would use them, and used entire nations and peoples as chess pieces in our games of proxy war and black politics.

The only difference between us and Pakistan is that we're lucky enough to be separated by vast oceans from the devils we deal with to achieve our own twisted ends. Pakistan has no choice but to play the hand they've been dealt by history - which means dealing with the reality of their neighbors and their own backyard. They don't enjoy the luxury of toying with forces beyond their control in someone else's backyard.