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Old 12-17-2010, 05:27 PM   #496
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5 to 10 years from now, we'll be talking Pakistan. I think that is inevitable.
That's what every South Asianist is afraid of. Pakistan is still wagering that by providing qualified support for the Taliban on Afghanistan (and unqualified support for Taliban allies in Kashmir), they can keep enough of its support base happy to avoid all-out war on Islamabad. If they miscalculate... And even then, there's the question of how the US would react if/when we withdraw and Afghanistan collapses back into civil war.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:07 PM   #497
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That's what every South Asianist is afraid of. Pakistan is still wagering that by providing qualified support for the Taliban on Afghanistan (and unqualified support for Taliban allies in Kashmir), they can keep enough of its support base happy to avoid all-out war on Islamabad. If they miscalculate... And even then, there's the question of how the US would react if/when we withdraw and Afghanistan collapses back into civil war.
I wish people knew more about Pakistan, but that's asking a lot.

I think a basic rule of society should be that you can't support a war in a country unless you can find it on a map, nevermind knowing its population, main business and exports, basic history, etc.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:49 PM   #498
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I wish people knew more about Pakistan, but that's asking a lot.

I think a basic rule of society should be that you can't support a war in a country unless you can find it on a map, nevermind knowing its population, main business and exports, basic history, etc.
I agree with this 110% .

That is indeed a scary balancing act Pakistan is doing there. I can't even imagine the tension the people living there must feel on a daily basis. How they interact with us in the midst of all that will be telling, too. That's the problem so many countries over there encounter-they're torn between their support of the leaders of those areas and their support of us, because we're just as integral to their structure as anyone else. Whether or not one sees that as a good or bad thing is debatable, of course-so far, it looks mostly like the latter to me, 'cause we're not exactly helping the situation.

Angela
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:14 PM   #499
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I should really bump the Afghanistan thread for this, but since we're already discussing the topic here...

New York Times, Dec. 17
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The Central Intelligence Agency’s top clandestine officer in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was removed from the country on Thursday amid an escalating war of recriminations between American and Pakistani spies, with some American officials convinced that the officer’s cover was deliberately blown by Pakistan’s military intelligence agency. The American spy’s hurried departure is the latest evidence of mounting tensions between two uneasy allies, with the Obama administration’s strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan hinging on Pakistan’s cooperation in the hunt for militants in the mountains that border those two countries. The tensions could intensify in the coming months with the prospect of more American pressure on Pakistan.

As the cloak-and-dagger drama was playing out in Islamabad, 100 miles to the west the CIA was expanding its covert war using armed drones against militants. Since Thursday, CIA missile strikes have killed dozens of suspects in Khyber Agency, a part of the tribal areas in Pakistan that the spy agency had largely spared until now because of its proximity to the sprawling market city of Peshawar.

American officials said the CIA station chief had received a number of death threats since being publicly identified in a legal complaint sent to the Pakistani police this week by the family of victims of earlier drone campaigns. The American officials said they strongly suspected that operatives of Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, had a hand in revealing the CIA officer’s identity—possibly in retaliation for a civil lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month implicating the ISI chief in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not immediately provide details to support their suspicions.

The mistrust between the CIA and ISI, two uneasy but co-dependent allies, could hardly come at a worse time. The Obama administration’s Afghan war strategy depends on greater cooperation from Pakistan to hunt militants in the country’s western mountains, and yet if Pakistan considers Washington’s demands excessive, it could order an end to the CIA drone campaign. “We will continue to help strengthen Pakistani capacity to root out terrorists,” President Obama said Thursday in a briefing on the war strategy. “Nevertheless, progress has not come fast enough. So we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.”

The job of the CIA station chief in Islamabad is perhaps the spy agency’s most important overseas post, one that requires helping oversee the agency’s covert war and massaging its often testy relationship with the ISI. That relationship has often frayed in recent years. American officials believe that ISI officers helped plan the deadly July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks later that year.

The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month, brought by families of American victims of the Mumbai attacks, names the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, as being complicit in the attacks. The suit asserts that General Pasha and other ISI officers were “purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material support or resources” to the planners of the Mumbai attacks. A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the Pakistani government “believes that the suit in New York does not have a sound legal basis, and is based on conjecture...We did not need to retaliate,” he said. “As far as the government of Pakistan and the ISI are concerned, we look forward to working with the Americans in securing the world from transnational threats, especially the shared threat of terrorism.”

...The C.I.A. officer’s name was revealed last month in a news conference by Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the lawyer who filed the complaint this week. Soon afterward, the name began appearing on a number of Pakistani Web sites generally believed to have a close association with the ISI. One Web site mentioned the CIA officer on Dec. 14 and asked readers to track down pictures of him...Mr. Akbar, the lawyer who brought the case against the CIA, said it would continue despite the station chief’s absence. He is representing Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan who said that his son and brother were killed in a drone strike.

A vast majority of CIA drone strikes in the tribal areas have occurred in North Waziristan. Mr. Khan is seeking $500 million in compensation, and accusing the CIA officer of running a clandestine spying operation out of the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “My brother and son were innocent,” Mr. Khan said in a recent interview. “There were no Taliban hiding in my house.”

...Discussing the conclusions of the latest review of the Afghan war strategy, Obama administration officials said this week that the United States would be more aggressive in going after militants in the tribal areas—with or without Pakistan’s help.
The public response in Pakistan to the US drone strikes--and the CIA presence everyone knows accompanies them--ought to give supporters of the "less confrontational" targeted strikes/black ops "alternative" pause. Letting the US stomp AQ associates outraged Waziris the Afghan Taliban is not in Pakistan's strategic interest, nor is letting Pakistan keep the Afghan Taliban primed for future use against India the Northern Alliance Kabul in the US's strategic interest...it's an impossible situation. You could argue that since all the above actually have to live there whereas we don't, their interests must take priority even if that means (once again) betraying part of that 'their'; but even then, that leaves the unnerving question of whether Lt. Pasha will still be able to keep his ducks lined up in light of the divided loyalties this latest round of provocations has exposed.
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Originally Posted by kramwest1 View Post
I wish people knew more about Pakistan, but that's asking a lot.

I think a basic rule of society should be that you can't support a war in a country unless you can find it on a map, nevermind knowing its population, main business and exports, basic history, etc.
Haha, I agree. Though even among the relatively well-informed, there are limits to what can be foreseen (and in any case, more knowledge doesn't always mean better judgment). I know several Afghanistan and Pakistan experts who supported this war, and those who didn't aren't muttering "God, it's all so predictable" too often--I think because what's unfolded has led most all to acknowledge that s/he seriously underestimated, overestimated, or failed to grasp all the components of some aspect or another of this conflict and the parties to it. The structure and inner workings of the ISI have always been exceedingly murky, for instance--and that remains true, but I think most would say they underestimated the full extent and nature of its strategic investment in the Taliban, even though the general fact and origins of that investment were well-known.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:04 PM   #500
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Prior to 1994, the Taliban did not exist. So its obviously incorrect that Pakistan has a strategic interest in keeping the Taliban alive. They managed just fine before they existed, plus now Pakistan has nuclear weapons to deter an invasion from India or elsewhere. The Taliban have primarily brought instability to both Pakistan and Afghanistan which is not in the long term interest of any ruling government in Pakistan. Its about time that the government and military remove any elements that continue to support this disease.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:09 PM   #501
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major victory for Obama, and especially for his liberal base -- DADT will be repealed.

furthermore, and while Lieberman and Collins deserve much credit, Obama was right and his critics (especially on the Left) were wrong on the strategy for this issue. passing a law to repeal DADT was the best possible outcome because an Executive Order would not have been nearly as credible and letting the courts decide this issue would have given the GOP ammo to use for years about "activist judges" and to whip up more and more right wing paranoia.

while a nail-biter, this is precisely what needed to be done. and it proves, again, that Obama plays chess while everyone else plays checkers. sure, he loses in the short term sometimes, especially in the face of a GOP right wing who are the political equivalent of suicide bombers, but in the end, this will be a signature achievement for Obama's base, and everyone in the military will wake up and find that virtually NOTHING is different, and it will just be another Tuesday morning. though the gay servicemembers will have slept that much more soundly the night before. all this does is remove the knife from their backs. many will choose to be closeted, many will put a picture of their partner on their desk, some will finally be able to write letters to their partners from Afghanistan, and that's about all that will change.

now ... on to DOMA ...
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:06 PM   #502
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especially in the face of a GOP right wing who are the political equivalent of suicide bombers, ...
Are you serious? Whats DOMA?
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:26 PM   #503
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Are you serious? Whats DOMA?


the nihilism of the GOP these past 2 years and their use of the filibuster at every conceivable opportunity and their absolute refusal to work with the administration on anything to the detriment of the country has been clear to see. the goal of the GOP is not to make the country a better place but to make Obama a 1-term president, as McConnell stated in the National Journal in November. that's nihilism.


the Defense Of Marriage Act.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:54 AM   #504
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the nihilism of the GOP these past 2 years and their use of the filibuster at every conceivable opportunity and their absolute refusal to work with the administration on anything to the detriment of the country has been clear to see. the goal of the GOP is not to make the country a better place but to make Obama a 1-term president, as McConnell stated in the National Journal in November. that's nihilism.


the Defense Of Marriage Act.
Well, The President has had strong majorities in both houses of congress, so its not like he has really needed the Republicans. In addition, many Republicans would say that they have opposed Obama's policies because enacting those policies would be to the detriment of the country. There are naturally going to be political or philosophical differences between members in both parties about what course of action to take. Obama's job was certainly made easier by the fact that he had some of the strongest majorities in the house and senate that had been seen in perhaps a generation.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:56 PM   #505
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Well, The President has had strong majorities in both houses of congress, so its not like he has really needed the Republicans. In addition, many Republicans would say that they have opposed Obama's policies because enacting those policies would be to the detriment of the country. There are naturally going to be political or philosophical differences between members in both parties about what course of action to take. Obama's job was certainly made easier by the fact that he had some of the strongest majorities in the house and senate that had been seen in perhaps a generation.


yes, because, historically, the minority party in the Senate has always used the filibuster in the way that it has the past 2 years.
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:05 PM   #506
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wondering if START can get the 67 votes it needs.

or is one more Obama win not tolerable?
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:31 PM   #507
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Scott Brown to support New START treaty - Political Intelligence -

Brown is batting two for two

Now if we can get McCain to ramble on about elites in the Kremlim celebrating.....
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:59 PM   #508
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McCain in self-destruct mode is quite a sight to behold.
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:05 PM   #509
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Judging from McCain's temper, I get the feeling START might be DOA.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Opponents Taking Revenge On Russian Arms Treaty
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #510
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"There'll be toasts over vodka and caviar in the Kremlin tonight, my friends..."

Lugar said today he thought they had the votes, but that securing them in time to ratify it this session might be a problem. Although, frankly it'd serve him right to be let down by his own party, after showing them his weakness by caving and voting no on DADT repeal. 2012 primary fears... Regardless, it'll be a terrible mistake if they fail to ratify it.

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Lieberman said that such a threat "takes us way back to an earlier day when people used to do things like that to stop civil rights laws from passing"
Damn...
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