Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.

The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More US aid to Pakistan, with mild griping in the place of clear objectives

From BBC News by Kim Ghattas in Washington, Oct. 21, 2010

First, an important stat from the BBC ...

"Since 2005, Pakistan has received more than $1bn (£636.4m) of military aid a year from the US - and received close to $2bn for the last fiscal year."

Next, an excerpt ...

A White House report sent to congress earlier this month laments the Pakistani army's inability to hold territory it has seized from insurgents, a failure that means gains are likely to be short-lived.

"The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda's forces in North Waziristan," the report said, referring to the region in north-western Pakistan seen as a Taliban and al-Qaeda haven.

"This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets."

Full story

The end of the BBC piece references an Oct. 19 New York Times editorial written by By Zalmay Khalilzad, former US ambassador to Afghanistan.

Its suggestions are clear and outline a possible future of the US in Central Asia that not only continues along the current self-appointed world police trajectory, but reveals how intricately the pursuit of US enemies fits together with conquest and empire. It's a slight variation on colonialism, but with a much more tempestuous wind at its back. Which brings us back to spending tax money on military equipment and missions.

An excerpt ...

The United States should demand that Pakistan shut down all sanctuaries and military support programs for insurgents or else we will carry out operations against those insurgent havens, with or without Pakistani consent. Arguments that such pressure would cause Pakistan to disintegrate are overstated. Pakistan’s institutions, particularly the country’s security organs, are sufficiently strong to preclude such an outcome.

Nonetheless, this aggressive approach would require the United States to think through a series of likely Pakistani responses. To deal with an interruption of our supply lines to Afghanistan, for example, we must stockpile supplies and start bringing in more materiƩl through the northern supply routes and via air.

At the same time, we should present clear, significant incentives. In exchange for demonstrable Pakistani cooperation, the United States should offer to mediate disputes between Pakistan and Afghanistan; help establish a trade corridor from Pakistan into Central Asia; and ensure that Pakistan’s adversaries do not use Afghanistan’s territory to support insurgents in Pakistani Baluchistan.

More fundamentally, the United States needs to demonstrate that, even after our troops depart Afghanistan, we are resolved to stay engaged in the region. To that end, the United States should provide long-term assistance to Pakistan focused on developing not only its security apparatus, but also its civil society, economy and democratic institutions.

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