Positive Development in Pakistan

This is a potentially important and positive development in Pakistan: President Asif Ali Zardari has announced the extension of political parties to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The reason FATA has not had political parties is that this region remains governed by anachronistic regulations created a century ago by the British Raj. The British despaired of incorporating the hill tribes of the Northwest Frontier into India proper (which then included Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, as well as modern India). So they essentially left the tribes to their own devices, loosely supervised by political agents and a paramilitary Frontier Corps. This worked well enough from the British standpoint, although there was constant fighting on the frontier until the end of the Raj, but it essentially cut off this area from all political and social development. The result today: FATA has become a breeding ground for Islamic extremists who prey on a largely poor and illiterate population. As the New York Times writes:

The ban on political activities and parties had created a vacuum that was increasingly exploited by militants and religious extremists, allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to tighten their hold on the region as they mounted attacks on tribal elders and the area’s political overseers appointed by the central government, analysts and political workers here have said.

The government of Pakistan must commit its armed forces to a long-term effort to drive out the militants, which is starting to happen. Moreover, it must act to incorporate FATA into mainstream society, providing the kind of educational and political opportunities that would help to wean the inhabitants away from the extremists. Zardari’s announcement is a small step in the right direction. But Pakistan will have to do much more to follow up on some of the progress its troops are making on the ground.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

Positive Development in Pakistan

Must-Reads from Magazine

Can Turkey be Trusted with F-35s?

Are the warplane's secrets safe?

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the newest generation air platform for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Lockheed-Martin, which builds the F-35, describes it as “a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.” For both diplomatic reasons and to encourage sales, Lockheed-Martin subcontracted the production of many F-35 components to factories abroad. Many program partners—Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, for example—are consistent U.S. allies.

20
Shares
Google+ Print

The Trump Right’s Martyrdom of Kim Guadagno

Too many martyrs make a movement.

If the GOP is to be converted into a vehicle for politicians who evince Donald Trump’s brand of pragmatic center-right populism, Trump will have to demonstrate his brand of politics can deliver victories for people other than himself. Presidential pen strokes help to achieve that, as do judicial appointments. Nothing is so permanent, though, as sweeping legislative change. On that score, the newly Trumpian Republican Party is coming up short. If the passive process of transformational legislative success fails to compel anti-Trump holdouts in the GOP to give up the ghost, there is always arm-twisting. It seems the Republican National Committee is happy to play enforcer.

10
Shares
Google+ Print

The Conservative Crack-Up, 2017 Edition

Podcast: Conservatism in shackles while O.J. goes free?

On the second of this week’s podcasts, I ask Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman whether the health-care debacle this week is simply a reflection of the same pressures on the conservative coalition Donald Trump saw and conquered by running for president last year—and what it will mean for him and them that he has provided no rallying point for Republican politicians. And then we discuss OJ Simpson. Give a listen.

2
Shares
Google+ Print

Macron’s Terrorism Idiocy

Hyperbole yields cynicism, not the other way around.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron surprised almost everyone when he invited President Donald Trump to celebrate Bastille Day with him in Paris, especially after the two leaders’ awkward first meeting in Brussels in May. After all, between now and then, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and Macron has become perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump among European leaders.

13
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Quietly Gives Putin What He Wants

Quid pro quo?

Until now, the notion that Donald Trump was providing Russia and Vladimir Putin with concessions at the expense of U.S. interests was poorly supported. That all changed on Wednesday afternoon when the Washington Post revealed that Donald Trump ordered his national security advisor and CIA director to scrap a program that provided covert aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

30
Shares
Google+ Print