Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Sure, We’re Your Problem

In Pakistan, anti-Israel protesters are targeting the American consulate:

Security forces used tear gas and batons to repel anti-Israel protesters who tried to attack a U.S. consulate in Pakistan Sunday, as tens of thousands in Europe, the Middle East and Asia demonstrated against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

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Some 2,000 protesters in the Pakistani port city of Karachi burned U.S. flags and chanted anti-Israel slogans, and several hundred of them marched on the U.S. Consulate, senior police official Ameer Sheikh said.

Meanwhile, after the Mumbai attacks America’s entire foreign policy apparatus has been focused on downplaying evidence of Pakistani intelligence involvement and keeping India from retaliating. Everyone from John McCain to Condoleezza Rice to George Bush has weighed in to reassure the world that the Zardari government is a serious committed partner in the war on terror, but Pakistanis just want to torch our flag because we don’t institutionally discriminate against Jews.

The biggest challenge in dealing with the Muslim Middle East is getting publics to react to phenomena based on what we take for granted: the logical connection between actions and outcomes. If they can’t recognize favors, they won’t recognize allies. And if they can’t spot genuine atrocities, they’ll never renounce terrorism.