Commentary Magazine


Obama’s Pitiful Pakistan Plan

Here is Barack Obama on how he’ll deal with Pakistan’s lack of earnestness in helping us fight terrorism:

And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.

But as usual, Obama doesn’t make anything clear. We already have Pakistan’s okay to take out high-level targets in the tribal region with predator drones, but do not have their okay to hunt down or take out targets using actual American troops. Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi recently said

Our government’s policy is that our troops, paramilitary forces and our regular forces are deployed in sufficient numbers. They are capable of taking action there. And any foreign intrusion would be counterproductive. People will not accept it. Questions of sovereignty come in.

And handling such questions is more complicated than merely “mak[ing] it clear,” especially considering the suspicion Obama has already inspired among Pakistanis with his clumsily phrased vow to attack targets on Pakistani soil without permission from Islamabad. So: what’s Obama’s plan to get Pakistan on board with “foreign intrusion”?

It’s time to strengthen stability by standing up for the aspirations of the Pakistani people. That’s why I’m cosponsoring a bill with Joe Biden and Richard Lugar to triple non-military aid to the Pakistani people and to sustain it for a decade, while ensuring that the military assistance we do provide is used to take the fight to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Where in that region has humanitarian aid ever yielded military cooperation? For decades the U.S. has been the Palestinians’ chief benefactor and for decades we’ve been funding an enemy regime. Egypt, another massive recipient of American aid, has produced all that goodwill in Ayman al-Zawahiri. In the fiscal year 2001, the U.S. gave Afghanistan $117,869,525 in aid, and what happened after September 11? They protected their low-rent sponsor Osama bin Laden and told us to take a hike. Obama’s proposal is rehashed root-cause blather. He has no viable Pakistan plan.