Friday, October 09, 2009

Options in Af-Pak


(from the BC thread "The McChrystal letter")

The Pakistanis are laying out their negotiating positions. That is fair enough, The have attacked Al-Qaeda linked Taliban. They are demanding that we grant them an exclusive contract for prosecuting the war complete with technology transfers, useful if they are worried about our technology tracking their nukes, and in addition we toss India and the Dalai Lama under the ever expanding bus. Maybe we should also buy everyone who is a field grade officer in the ISI a villa in Baja while we are at it. The alternative they can threaten us with is choking off our army, opening supply routes to their chosen clients among the Taliban, accelerating confrontation with India, and open rather than covert alliance with China. In other words the downside they threaten us with is to do what they are doing anyways only faster.

What are our desires? We want Afghanistan free of al-Qaeda or any other group that would pose a similar level of threat. We want the Pakistani nukes secured and no threat of WMD proliferation to terrorists. We want secure supply lines.

What are our options?
1)   We can capitulate to the Taliban or Pakistan or anyone willing
       to accept our sword.
2.1) We can try to buy supply lines from Russia to lesson dependance
       on Pakistan.
2.2) That is the feeding the Bear to avoid the Crocodile plan.
3.1) We can float the idea that if Pakistan proves obdurate we can plump
       for India regarding claims on Sind, Punjab and Kashmir.
3.2) We can hold very secret meetings, that everyone knows about, with
       Baluchi nationalist leaders.

If we even entertain discussions about undoing the twin sins of the Durand line and Partition the ISI and the Pushtun will have to examine just how small a set of cards they have to play. They have talked so loudly about uniting the Pushtun nation that we could remind them to be careful what they wish for. If the map was really redrawn the neighboring despotisms would all feel threatened. The Pushtuns now get to dominate two countries in which they are the most powerful minorities. They have much to lose if those other ethnic groups were removed from their control.

There are good reasons not to attempt to break up Afghanistan and Pakistan. For one thing it sounds to much like Joe Biden's plan for Iraq. That might make it a good idea to have loquacious Joe muse about the idea just to get the ISI worried. While redrawing the map to free Hazaris, Tadzhiks, Baluchis, Uzbeks, Punjabis etc, from Pushtun domination may destabilize the Iranian regime and thwart Russian ambitions it might also provide fertile grounds for their influence to expand.

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