Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everyone Is Someone Else’s Pakistan


The infuriating thing about Pakistan’s federal government is that it never really owns up to any of the things it does or fails to do that might be helping insurgents in Afghanistan.

While Islamabad makes sporadic attempts to suppress insurgents on its side of the border, it doesn’t publicly own up to the fact that flows of narcotics and al-Qa’ida operatives from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory, and opposing flows of money, gunmen and materiel through its territory into Afghanistan, fuel warlordism and insurgency.

How refreshing then that Secretary Clinton has owned up to the idea that U.S. money and weapons are similarly destabilizing northern Mexico, and probably the Mexican national government as a whole.

This is partly caused by U.S. citizens’ drug use and partly by lax U.S. firearms policies—but it's still events occurring on U.S. territory that are causing the harm, regardless of whether U.S. nationals are directly responsible.

It’s refreshing to hear a sitting Secretary of State acknowledge U.S. responsibility for something, especially when that something inadvertently destabilizes a friendly neighboring state and important trading partner.

If we want the Pakistans of the world to take responsibility for events on their territory, it only helps American soft power for the U.S. to do the same.

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