Talk about the triumph of hope over experience: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to expect the Pakistani government will pressure its proxies in the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups into “reconciliation” talks. It was only last month that Admiral Mike Mullen blew the whistle on the Pakistanis and their nefarious connections with some of the world’s worst terrorist groups. Yet according to this Times account, President Obama is furious with Mullen–not the Pakistanis–because Mullen’s “remarks further enflamed the Pakistanis.” Onnly a few weeks after Mullen spoke, Clinton led a fresh delegation to Islamabad seeking the Pakistani army’s help to bring the Haqqanis to the negotiating table.
How the Pakistanis must have laughed. The only time they provided much help for us was in the early days after 9/11 when they were afraid of the consequences of not doing so. Since then,they have learned they can ignore our demands with impunity–or, more accurately, selectively grant a few demands while stiffing us on the rest. Thus, they allow us to keep flying drones to target al-Qaeda while they provided funding and direction to the Haqqanis as they carry out horrific strikes such as the suicide bombing in Kabul on Saturday that killed 13 NATO soldiers and contractors.
It is long past time to switch to a strategy of applying real pressure on the Pakistanis–e.g., targeting the finances and travel of ISI generals and their families. More kowtowing to the Pakistanis will only convince them of our weakness.